So last week, I saw a nice video about Ryland Whittington and his family. Ryland’s parents followed their child’s (very obvious) cues about his gender. The child had been born with female anatomy but identified as a boy. Because the parents loved their child too much to force him to live in the wrong gender, they allowed him to transition and now he’s a happy 6 year old. It was touching and I liked it very much.
Yesterday, someone linked to blog post written by a well-known conservative blogger who seems to traffic in outrage about things that aren’t actually hurting anyone. I’m not going to link to him because he’s got a big enough audience but, suffice it to say, his whole blog is him waxing put-out about feminism, liberalism, homosexuality, and all kinds of other things that only penetrate his conservative bubble by way of FoxNews. In this case, he’s mad at Ryland’s parents for “brainwashing” him into thinking he could change genders and calling this some kind of liberal conspiracy to…actually, I don’t know. I’m not sure what bad outcome he seems from this. I certainly can’t visualize any, at least not on a macro scale. Ryland Whittington can’t hurt this blogger no matter what gender he presents at any point in his life.
I’m not willing to argue with people over whether transgender is real. It is. Gender has a spectrum and people can present gender in a lot of ways. It may be a weird idea if you’ve never spent any time thinking about it before, but that’s how it is and even psychiatrists with lots of fancy letters after their name will tell you so. So that’s not a question I want to explore. The question I do want to ask is why does anyone care about how another person presents gender?
Seriously? What’s the deal?
Trans people aren’t hurting anyone. They’re trying to live in a way that works for them without being abused, harassed, or discriminated against along the way. They want to not be fired over their gender presentation. They want to go to the bathroom in peace. They want to have the little M or F on official forms match their interpretation of their gender. They want people to address them by their chosen name and pronoun and do it politely.
None of those things are hard to grant to another human being if you have even a scrap of empathy and some basic good manners. You just have to be prepared to listen and remember that the person’s motives are not to hurt you. They’re just trying to get through the day.
As I’ve said about sexual preference, it only matters if you’re thinking about asking the person out. The same is true of gender. It only matters if you’re considering a romantic relationship with the person. For everything else, it’s not really relevant and it certainly doesn’t affect you in any negative way if a person with an F on a birth certificate says “I’m really male and like to be addressed as such”. The worst that will happen is you’ll have to think a little harder.
Maybe some conservative bloggers could stand a little of that, huh?