|Kudos to the guy that builds these!|
If public disapproval or lack of understanding is a breeze, condemnation feels like rocks being cast down onto my little house. Lately, I feel like a lot of rocks have been falling on my home hurtling broken toothpicks like shrapnel, leaving giant gaps in my lovingly crafted, yet fragile abode. I start repairing the damage and another rock falls. Sometimes I feel like I can't keep up with the damage. I wonder how anything is left standing at all, only a fragile skeleton of a home remains trembling at the slightest breath of wind.
This latest bout of stones was brought on by the LDS Church's amicus brief regarding the transgender bathroom issue. Now, I should clarify it was not the Church's brief (which was consistent with past policy, and didn't really affect me or change anything... still waiting for further teaching from the brethren here), but rather the response from my fellow Church members.
Let's be clear, in every way I try to be a faithful member of the Church. I attend church regularly. I play organ every Sunday. I teach Sunday School and try to get the kids to love God as much as I do. I fulfill my callings, honor my covenants, heck I even do my home teaching. Those rocks being thrown are aimed at those "other" people, the "rebellious" ones not living "right," the nameless victims of the unending culture war that we are constantly waging. Yet each time those stones are hurled, they land in my house. They break my heart, and they attempt to evict me from my little shack here in Zion.
Let me explain. People say lots of different things about transgender people, but a surprising portion of those critiques are of mental states, of cosmologies, rather than of lifestyle, like you'd expect. Lots of statements such as: "God doesn't make mistakes." "Your feelings are delusions, they aren't real." "Just be like the rest of us." "What is right is right, what is wrong is wrong." -- Black and white. Right and wrong. Get with the program. Your struggles aren't real, your problems are fake or you are simply crazy, stop wasting our time and get a grip.
Some are far more pernicious, attempting to take away my right to be human: "If a person thinks they are dog, it doesn't make it right to urinate in public." Such comparisons to animals, to criminals, and to pedophiles abound.
Lest you doubt me, these are all quotes from Facebook and discussion sections on the Deseret News and Salt Lake Trib, and I can send you links to them if you'd like.
Now, you might say something like, "but Kyle, these quotes obviously aren't talking about you. You aren't one of them," meaning, I presume, that I haven't transitioned to an extent that makes people uncomfortable. I'm following the "right" path. But the difference between me and the people for whom those comments are meant is minor, a difference of degree of expression rather than condition. I understand their desire to transition because I too have felt that desire. I understand their need to fit in because I also want to fit in. In every way, I share in the "delusion" of gender dysphoria, only expressing it differently from some people. I am that trans Other in every way that matters, and thus, those stones hit me too.
Some might say, "But Kyle, Dumbledore says our choices make us who we are, not our characteristics, and your choices are different, so don't take these things to heart." How can I not? I don't feel so very different. My experience is not so very different. The vast majority of these careless remarks focus on the experience of having gender dysphoria, feelings just about every trans person I've ever heard of experiences every day, including me.
I was recently asked by a good friend how they could help, what they could do. All I wish for in this unending war is that we can treat the Other side with a touch of human dignity and compassion. So if you too would like to help, please stand up, remind others that we are human, that harsh words hurt people like me too. Please don't be silent. Share my story. Share the stories of other transgender individuals you know. If you don't know me, please ask me questions, and get to know me. Teach your children that it's okay to disagree, it's okay to not understand, but it's never okay to denigrate a child of God.
As you think about this. I'm busy trying to repair my place in Zion. I'm picking up scattered toothpicks and trying to super glue them back together. I'm carefully returning them to their place. Some of you might still cast stones. Others of you might wonder why I am even here, thinking me insane for building over and over again, but hopefully some of you might come lend a hand. I've come to see that the good Lord has plenty of toothpicks for us all.