Monthly Archives: February 2016

Wisdom from Elain

“Nature chooses who will be transgender; individuals don’t choose this.”
– Mercedes Ruehl

Yesterday, I wrote a blog called The Guise of Love.

Today, I read another blog post similar to mine by a man named John. While going through the comments on John’s post, I saw one comment that deserved a blog post of its own.

Today’s blog is dedicated to Elain. These are her words.

They need to be heard.

Open your mind and your heart and listen.

 I’m transgender. Do you know what I think about when I go into the bathroom? Going to the bathroom. Washing my hands. Checking my hair and makeup. Full Stop. I and every other transgender person I know (and I know about 600 transgender people personally) feel exactly the same way. We just want to pee.

“Use the men’s room then” people say.

I have rather pronounced breasts (Yes, real, physical breasts, natural and made by my body). I wear a dress. Heals, Blouses. My hair and makeup is not even close to being masculine.

Do you know what happens to me when I go to the men’s restroom looking like this? 4 times I have been assaulted. Once that put me in a hospital for a week. I have been spit on at least 30 times. I’ve had more disgusting things said to me than I can count. I’ve had urine thrown on me twice, feces once. I’ve had to pull my pistol out on men 5 times. I started carrying a firearm after I was hospitalized by a right wing Christian hater in Florida, who nearly beat me to death and would have, had he not been pulled off me and restrained btw. One of these days I am going to be forced to shoot someone who thinks it is perfectly fine to assault the transgender person for no other reason than I am transgender. And it will be because of right wing pretend ‘Christians’ and their ramped up hate towards transgender people, since they can no longer legally hate on gay people.

We are the next target for their disgusting, un-Christ like hate.

I got so tired of the hate I was facing, on a daily basis. EVERYWHERE I went, that I chose to relocate to a state with transgender protections because I REALLY don’t want to have to shoot some hate driven so-called ‘Christian’ for trying to assault me because they have been taught by their church that I am an easy target for their hate and fear.

‘Christians’ are always screaming about people who are LGBT being so militant.. you know why we are that way? Because YOU do everything you can to cause us harm, to revile us, to hate us, to treat us as less than human. So.. we got active. We defended ourselves from YOU. Now many of you are crying we have an agenda.. that we are trying to take away your rights. NO.. WE RE NOT! We are just trying to be allowed to live, love and be happy, like everyone else. BUT YOU WON’T LET US. So we have to activate, protest, be militant. We’d rather not have to do that. We just want to live, like everyone else, without being afraid we will be fired for who we love, evicted for who we are, not for anything we did wrong. Be able to walk down the road without pretend ‘Christians’ spewing their idiocy and hate at us. Be able to marry the person we love. JUST LIKE YOU!

And then we have people like John here, who actually gets it. Who understands that humanity isn’t black and white. One way or the other, that we are in fact an amazingly diverse and variable species. People like John give me hope that someday, I will be able to walk down the street without fearing I will be attacked, and possibly murdered, just for existing. Right now, that is a very real fear for me EVERY TIME I STEP OUTSIDE OF MY HOME. And I blame that 100% on ‘Christians’.

If any of you walked a day in my footsteps. Lived a day in my shoes. Had the faintest glimmering of what goes on in my mind, how I feel, how I think… you would know that being transgender isn’t a choice, it’s a matter of living or ending your life. It almost ended my life. I fought who I was as hard as I could. I created a façade. Male. Tried to live so society would leave me alone. Buried myself so deep, that nobody even knew I was there. And I hated myself and life so thoroughly, just hated everything and everybody but mostly I hated myself. I was so deeply, miserably unhappy that death seemed a viable and much better alternative. Every day of 50 years of life, I was miserable. Unhappy. Hated myself. Hated everyone else. It came to a head. I almost succeeded in killing myself. My doctors don’t even know how I survived and have told me that I shouldn’t have. That was a year ago. I stopped pretending and playing YOUR game, and finally accepted what I had been forced to deny my entire life. I accepted who I was, something I knew before I even turned 4.

Oh yes. I have memories going back to 4 and earlier. Massive distress at my body, at parts of my body. It was wrong. Broken. Misshapen. I didn’t know what to call it back then, but the one and only time I voiced it… I got beat so badly I had to lay on my stomach for three days. I never mentioned it again until a year ago.

And you know what? I am happier. I no longer hate people. No longer look in the mirror and hate myself. For the first time in my entire 51 years of life… I like who I am. I will kill myself rather than be forced back into that THING I pretended to be for 50 years. You don’t know my pain. None of you except another transgender person can really know it. But you can be empathetic. Understanding. Instead of hating and fearing what you don’t know. You can educate yourself. And if you really are Christian… you can do what Jesus told you to do in the first place. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You can’t love your neighbor when you are trying to criminalize their very existence.

Sorry for the rant John. You strike me as a decent person and one I could respect and admire. But it had to be said. From our view.

~Elain

public-restrooms

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The Guise of Love

wolf

If you’re my Facebook friend, you knew this blog was coming.

If you’re not, let me catch you up.

Yesterday, a Christian lady in our small mountain community posted a status about a new Charlotte, North Carolina law that was passed Monday allowing transgender people to use the public bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. This woman, who has repeatedly told the world in Facebook statuses, a self-published book, numerous selfies, and a multitude of scripture posts that she is a Christian and loves all, expressed her concern at this new ruling. She said she would no longer feel it would be safe to allow her children to use these bathrooms and that this new ruling “made her sick.” She said it “goes against all she believes is right and true.”

But oh, it didn’t end there. In fact, this was just the beginning.

Once the comments started rolling in from people, including me, who saw the hypocrisy and hurt in such a statement coming from someone who is supposed to be in support of love for all, this woman was quick to start deleting and blocking the naysayers and rewording and deleting some of her negative comments. She then went on to create a video selfie (which I want to post the link to soooo bad but those last few shreds of maturity are stopping me) showing her crying over the hurt and pain that standing for God was bringing about. To which, came numerous comments flooding in supporting her in her plight and remarking that they too were standing with her on God’s side.

*sigh*

*ahhem*

[Maturity, Melissa. Maturity.]

Alrighty then. Let’s discuss, shall we?

First and foremost, as someone I greatly admire was quick to point out, I’ve yet to see the parts in the Bible about public restrooms. I mean, seriously. I try and try to be just a smidge educated before I start mouthing off about something but, for the life of me, I’ve scoured that thing and I simply cannot find it. So, I’m just not quite sure how these people know how their God feels about men and women using each other’s bathrooms. This has become such a mystery to me. But, hey, surely such devoted Christ followers wouldn’t make up stuff from the Bible just to support their own ignorance-based fears, would they?

Surely not.

So, let’s assume it’s in there. (You know, somewhere around all that “judge not” silliness.) And let’s assume that this woman is truly standing up for her Lord and is bearing the brunt of such a burden. Okidoke, Got it.

So, video selfie and numerous photo selfies later, here we are. And the comments are still rolling in. Now, even though this woman managed to block every member of my family from her Facebook page (as Jesus would have her do), I still have my ways of seeing the things that are posted. (Just chalk it up to my evil ways…muhaha). And in the past 24 hours, here are the things I’ve seen.

“Keep standing for God, you have a heart of gold and He knows it!”

“Thank God there are people like you that will stand up for what you believe in!”

“I’m so sorry someone hurt you.”

“Exactly what I was thinking. This is a fruitcake nation.”

(My favorite up there was how sorry someone was that she was hurt. That SHE was hurt?? Seriously? She describes a fairly significant portion of our population as people who “make her sick” and whom she fears will harm her children because of a condition that they have no control over and yet she is the one that’s hurt? Give me a friggin break.)

But, fruitcake nation aside, another of the commenters really tickled me. Let me give you a little backstory.

About 5 minutes before this guy got married, he made out with me. Yup, that’s right. It was before I met Richard, of course, and I could make all kinds of excuses for the way things went down, but the facts are the facts. His Facebook and public persona showed the world how happy he was with the love of his life, while his private self was trying to get in my pants.

And now where is he?

Commenting on this status about how horrible this world is and how awful it is that this poor woman is being faced with such adversity in her plight for God.

Excuse me while I THROW UP ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD.

For the love of God, can we stop with the hypocrisy?  I mean, seriously, people. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. The city of Charlotte isn’t perfect. Transgender people aren’t perfect. We all make mistakes and we all SUCK. Can we please, please, stop judging people on things they have no control over?

Sure, I get it. I’m partly hypocritical because I’m ranting on this post about this Christian woman and her non-Christian ways, but do you see the difference here? Yes, I’m being judgmental and yes, I’m being snarky and bitchy. But it’s because of this woman’s personality. I don’t like her. I think she’s a fraud and I think she’s leading thousands of people down a path that is making this world an ugly place filled with ignorance and intolerance of things they don’t understand. But I can do that. I’m human. I don’t claim to be Christ-like because I’m not. Yes, I do judge. But my judgment is based on how you ACT, not who you are.

There’s a big fat huge hairy difference. Got it?

I do not think this woman is doing God’s work and I pray that each and every one of you out there think twice before you blindly follow someone just because they say that’s what they’re doing. No matter how many scriptures they post, God said you’re going to know them by their fruits.  What were the fruits of that post?

Hurt feelings. Exclusion. Rejection. Embarrassment.

Is that really what Jesus would do?

Hatred disguised as love is one of the most dangerous things there is in this world. It frightens the bejeebus out of me and makes me terrified for all the young people out there who are going through identity crises. The world is a scary place when you’re young, immature, and people who are supposed to be so “good” make you feel like a leper. Nothing but bad can come from that. Believe me when I tell you this.

Please.

Think for yourselves, people.  Come on, THINK. It’s not that hard. It’s really not. If you don’t like someone because of how they act, that’s cool. You’re human. Don’t like them. But if you don’t like someone because of who they are and if you think they don’t deserve the same rights as you because of things that are beyond their control, I think you might want to recheck that religion thing you’re basing your beliefs on.

I think you might have screwed up somewhere. And the God I know does not want you using his name to promote your selfish agenda.

Don’t preach about love. Love. It’s a verb. Do it.

And that’s all I have to say.

***

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
– Jesus Christ

Everyday Friends

“The surest sign of age is loneliness.”
– Anne Dillard

Let’s talk about adult friendships, shall we?

I want to show you something that I saw yesterday.

“Wish those people who talk about their recent outings or make plans in my presence realized that they never invite me. Are they insensitive? Do they assume I’m busy or disinterested?
Feeling a little hurt because I’m realizing that I invested over a year trying to build friendships that will never be more than functional, practical acquaintances.
I’ve got people who live too far away for random, everyday interactions. I’ve got people I can call in a crisis but I don’t have that circle of local girlfriends I’ve been hoping for. Guess it’s time to move on. Problem is, surrounded by so many locals, no one has an opening for an ‘everyday friend.’”

friendship blogWhat you just read was an online post from my Facebook friend Tiffany. I saw it yesterday while scrolling through and I haven’t been able to get it off of my mind. I had a passing thought to blog about it, but then decided maybe not. Really, what could I write about? And what could I offer? Advice? Ha. Hardly. Why? Because I’m not qualified, that’s why. I’m just like Tiffany.

I feel exactly the same way.

And then today, as if the universe knew I was trying to hide from the thought, I received a message from Kim, a mutual friend of mine and Tiffany’s. This is what she had to say:

“I am sadly amazed at the responses to Tiffany’s post. Given the outpouring of understanding she received, I would love to see you blog about this. It is a widespread topic that we are reluctant to put out there. Oh, I’m whining, or pathetic, or some other dreamt up stupid adjective that is not accurate (except in our mind). You write THE best, honest, open and heartfelt pieces. For all of us who feel strangely disenfranchised, please write.”

Could I write about this? Really? What would I have to say?

So, the first thing I did was go back and read Tiffany’s post and peruse the responses. Here’s what I saw:

 “Ditto. Ditto exactly.” – Veronica

“I can relate to this.” – Blakeley

“I feel the same way.” – Heidi

“Thank you for your honesty. More people than you know feel the same way here.” – Becky

“I don’t have this either.” – Cassondra

(And let me just pause here to point out that Cassondra is my next door neighbor and a friend from my community theatre. Geez.)

Now, aside from the many commenters who simply voiced their understanding of Tiffany’s statement, there were also a few who attempted to rationalize it as well.

 “This makes me….wish I was less generally ‘hermity.’” – Season

Looks like Season seems to be blaming herself here. She sees it as a flaw in her own personality or is seeing it as her choice to be alone.

And on that same note:

“I don’t have it either. I think it’s harder to be close to people as I get older. I’m less trusting and more self sufficient.” – Melissa (Oh, wait, that’s me.)

Like Season (gosh I love that name), my comment fell into the same category. Somehow I feel as if I have chosen to feel like Tiffany does.

Some seemed to blame it on the small area we live in:

“Our area is a difficult place to form friendships. I had so many good friends in SC that I went out with on a regular basis. When we moved back home, I had my family but no friends.” – Andrea

“That’s the problem with small towns; they typically aren’t very welcoming to ‘outsiders’ in a deep friendship way. We really haven’t had good friends since we lived in Atlanta.” – Jill

And one mentioned the fact that we don’t make the time for these friendships:

“We are busy and allow the urgent to overtake the important, we don’t take time for girlfriend relationships.” – Cyndi

Then, one that really stood out to me and got me right in the feels:

“I struggle with this same thing. Since I’ve changed my life and try to focus on doing good I don’t have anyone that likes to come around either. It’s funny when you party and act wild you’ll have friends around but as soon as I sober up nobody calls or comes around. So I just hangout with my sweet boys all the time. But it’d def be nice to have a friend too.” – Crystal

(Oh, Crystal. Do you have any idea how strong you are, lady? I sure hope so.)

So, here we have a variety of women with a variety of reasons why they think they have lost this connection with other women. Which one is right?

Are Andrea and Jill onto something? Is it the area we live in? I can certainly relate to that if it is. As a woman who definitely did not grow up in this small town, I often feel left out when I see these female friendships that have been blooming for years.

Or, is it what Cyndi said? Is it the fact that we don’t make time for friendships? As women who are all grown up and now have jobs and kids to take care of and houses to keep clean, is it that we just don’t have the time anymore to pick up the phone and make a plan for a girls’ night? Again, I get it. It seems frivolous in a way. We are women – we take care of things. Who is going to keep things on track around here if we take the night off?

Or is Crystal the one who has it figured out? Have we just outgrown friendships? While we might not have all changed as profoundly as Crystal has (and again – you go girl!), we’ve definitely all changed. There’s no doubt about it. We get older and the things that were once important to us just aren’t anymore.

Or are Season and I the ones that have it figured out. Is it just our choice to not be close to people anymore? Some of us realize it, but maybe some of us don’t?

Sigh. Again, like I said at the beginning of this blog, I don’t really know why I’m writing this. I don’t have the ability to provide answers. Like another commenter, Conor, said, “I can’t offer advice, only empathy.” What is there to say?

Well, other than this:

Tiffany, you are obviously not alone.

“Do you know how many people feel the same way? You have opened up a conversation here that so many are afraid to even contemplate because they don’t want to recognize the hurt and rejection that comes with it. Community is SO needed!!!” – Julie

Julie, my dear, you are on to something. You see all of those suggestions of why up there? They don’t matter. They really don’t. We can sit and try to analyze it all day. Maybe there are a million different reasons it happens, but the fact is that it does happen. It has happened to so many of us.

And now, the question is this – what do we do about it?

I want to go out on a limb and hypothesize about something. I think social media plays a huge role in this conundrum. Now, hear me out here.

I have friends. Really, I do. In fact, I have about 1,045 of them. Don’t believe me? Just ask Facebook. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t cherish those friends on there. I do. In fact, I have a few that I don’t know what I’d do without. When I need a listening ear, I just type away and there they are.

But is that the same thing? Really?

How many times have I said, “I have a problem I need to talk about. Can I come over?” Or how many times have I reached out to someone else? How many times have I said, “I’m sorry you’re hurting, I’ll be right over.” I’ll tell you how many times. Zero. It’s just too easy to have a typed conversation. Or send a funny meme. Or post a facebook status and watch the empathy roll in.

But is that enough?

Tiffany’s status and the overwhelming amount of responses she received tell me that maybe it’s not.

So now what?

I’m a runner. One of the things I always tell people who are just starting out, and the thing that was always told to me when I was first starting out, is this: the first step is always the hardest. Even as an experienced runner, that never fails to be the case. Some days I just don’t feel like running. But as soon as I put forth the effort to just get into my running gear, lace up my shoes, and take those first sluggish steps out the door, it gets easier after that.

Maybe that logic is the same that needs to be applied here.

Kudos to Tiffany. She took that first step. She acknowledged the problem. And not only did she acknowledge it, she put it out there. What courage that took. And because of that courage, she received messages like this one from Christy:

“You, me, coffee? I’d love to spend time with you! I guess I always figure people already have their group of friends since I’m new to town. I always need more girlfriends, though!”

And there you have it. Will Tiffany and Christy become best friends? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. Friendships are like relationships. Some work, some don’t. But, also like relationships, you have to try. You just have to.

It’s just way too lonely out here alone.

And as for me? Well, I guess it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. I have a neighbor that I’d like to get to know better.  And how ridiculous of me that I haven’t asked sooner.

***

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson