Tag Archives: transgender

Empathetic Acting – Okay or Nay?

“I’m curious about other people. That’s the essence of my acting. I’m interested in what it would be like to be you.”
– Meryl Streep

***

Okay, my dander’s all up.

For those of you that know me well, I’m sure you’re shocked. I mean, me?  Irritated? Feeling passionate about something? Shocking, I know. But alas, ’tis true.

And in this day and age, you’d think it would be about politics or Trump or something. But nope. This time, it’s about theatre.

Theatre?

Yep, theatre. I’ve argued over a lot of things before, but theatre is new to the list.

[Disclaimer: I had originally intended to say that I was arguing with an actor for the first time, but my husband politely reminded me that that is sooo not true. I have a lot of friends who are actors. And I argue with them about everything. So, I scratched that and made it a little more specific – it’s definitely the first time I’ve argued with someone about acting.]

To be even more specific, the argument was over who should and shouldn’t portray certain characters.

Okay, here’s how it started. This was a post I saw on Facebook.  Apparently it’s a new “pledge” that we’re supposed to take, both as actors/directors, but also as theatre and movie-goers (that’s all of you):

“As a cis performer, I will never play a trans character. Should I ever direct or produce, I will never cast a cis actor to play a trans character. As a cis consumer, I will do my best to avoid projects that do the above. In addition, as a white actor, I will never play a non-white character. As an able-bodied actor, I will never play a character with a disability.

I will not occupy space that isn’t mine.”

I write about a lot of things in this blog, so I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m a community theatre actress. I’m also sure I’ve mentioned that I live in tiny little nowhere, right smack in the middle of the bible belt.  And if you didn’t know, now you do. And armed with that knowledge, I’d say you could probably correctly infer that “trans” actors, “non-white” actors, and “disabled” actors are probably a bit few and far between in this area. So, when I saw that “pledge” that all of us actors are supposed to take, I recognized the absurdity – at least for my little neck of the woods.

If we waited for those people to show up – especially ones that had the ability and the desire to tirelessly work, unpaid, for months, to produce a show that would be viewed only three or four times – we’d never get anything done.

So, I said that. I commented on the post.

And it all went downhill from there.

I was accused of not hearing these people’s cry for justice. For not allowing them to tell their own stories.

Okay, stop.  If this were Hollywood, there might be tons of people showing up to claim these roles. But it’s not. It’s a little county in the middle of the North Carolina mountains. We performed The Wiz for goodness sakes. We had approximately one and a half black people in it and we had to beg them to do it.  (And how lucky we were to get them – holy crap, they were phenomenal.) But were they offended that we did the show anyway, even though we were unable to cast the entire thing with people of color as it is intended?

I don’t think so.

Or were they?

We did To Kill a Mockingbird. While we had a few people of color who were able to join us but, again, we were faced with a 99% white cast. But we still did it. And it was phenomenal.

Should we have left that story untold because we didn’t have enough people of color to play the roles?

We performed Wait Until Dark. I portrayed a blind woman, Suzy. Should I not have done that? Should we have not performed that powerful show about a disabled woman who uses her superior intellect to outwit her would-be killer? Should we have not shown that audience that anyone can overcome their disabilities and kick some bad guy booty, simply because we didn’t have a real blind woman to play the role?

And how about when we performed The Dixie Swim Club. My good friend and actress Rebecca portrayed an aged woman with Alzheimer’s disease, who didn’t leave a single audience member dry-eyed for four straight performances. Should she not have done that?  Should she not have given a voice to the millions that suffer from that horrendous disease because she didn’t herself?

What about my sweet friend Cynthia portraying Shelby, the diabetes-ridden daughter in Steel Magnolias? Should she not have done that since she’s not diabetic herself? Should I not have portrayed her distraught mother who loses a child because I’ve never lost one myself?

No.

No, no, no.

Let’s stop this.

Theatre is one of the most beautiful things around. If you haven’t been a part of it, you’re missing out. It accidentally teaches you empathy. You become another person. You literally “walk a mile in their shoes,” so to speak. What better way to understand someone than to tell their story? To actually become them?

Now, I get it. I know where this pledge came from. Apparently Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson was recently cast as a trans man in an upcoming movie and there has been a cry from the trans community about not being represented fully because it is not a trans person playing the role. There’s even a hashtag for it – #supporttranspeopleinentertainment. I get it. I do. But my question is this – was there a more qualified trans candidate?  You have to be more than trans – you also have to be an actor. A damn good one. Acting is a business, like any other. You have to be great at what you do, or you’re going to passed over.  I’m all about fighting for equality – believe me. I run my mouth about it all the time. But there comes a time when you have to really ask yourself what you’re doing. Are you really asking for equality? Or are you asking for special treatment?

Regardless of the big Hollywood story, however, let’s take it back down here to our level. In the community theatres of the world, you are just not going to have the abilities to fill every role with a person who is what they’re portraying. And, frankly, isn’t that what acting is all about?  Isn’t that what we’re doing?  Telling a story for someone else?

Is there really something wrong with that?

If you ask me – NOPE. Not only is there not something wrong with it, but it is exactly what we all should be doing – acting or otherwise. We need to take every opportunity we’re given to try to understand what it’s like to be someone else, and to let their story be heard. For the actors of the world, we do that with our acting talent. For the writers of the world, we try to do that with our writing talents.

I recently read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Ms. Picoult wrote a powerful, almost life-changing novel from three perspectives – a privileged white lawyer, a discriminated black nurse, and a male white supremacist. And my, what a story it was. In the end of the book, she wrote an author’s note. In that note, she said that she was well aware of the backlash she’d receive from writing this book. How dare her try to speak as a black woman? And she was right – there was definitely backlash and mixed reviews. But as she described in her note – she has written about many characters in the past – victims of rape, men, abused spouses – all things that she, herself, is not. And how did she do that? By talking to them. By learning about them. By putting herself in their shoes and living their lives through her words.

And why did she do it? Because she could. She was given a gift. She’s a storyteller. And with this gift, she knows that it is her duty to give voice to the voiceless. She is using her talent to change the world, one novel at a time. And, personally, I think she’s doing a damn good job of it.

Stories deserve to be told. Silencing them is never the answer.

Never.

What say you?

***

“Stop explaining yourself. Shut up and act!”
~ Craig MacDonald

***

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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

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

The Great Divider

“Yes! Truth, truth! What’s so awful about it? I like it.”
– Maggie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I haven’t been writing for a while. Why? Well, that’s a good question. I’m a very opinioned person so current events are usually the fodder for many of my blog entries…and there has definitely been no shortage of those these days. The Kentucky court clerk, the upcoming presidential election, the transgender boy who wanted to use the girls’ bathroom at his school – I’m telling ya, it’s a blogger’s smorgasbord out there.

But yet, there I sat. Silent.

Until now.

Now, maybe “silent” isn’t exactly the right word. (I mean, silence is not exactly something I ‘do.’) I’ve had a few things to say here and there…shared some articles and memes on Facebook…that kind of thing. But when it came to sitting down and writing my thoughts out in a blog, there just seemed to be too many. There’s just so much going on out there, where would I start? Should I blog about each issue individually? No, somehow that just didn’t seem to be the right answer. Deep down, I knew that there was an underlying theme to all that was going on in the world…all that was going on in my head and in my heart…and I couldn’t sit down and write about it until I figured out what that theme was.

And now, here it is.

Two specific events happened this week that put all of this into perspective for me.

As I said, I’ve been sharing a few memes and articles on Facebook with regard to current events. I’ve also ventured to comment on others’ posts as well. One such post was one about the Missouri teen Lila Perry, a transgender teen who, though born with male genitalia, fundamentally feels female and lives his life as such. But when he attempted to use the girls’ locker room at school, that didn’t go over so well. Cue the media.

lila perry

Lila Perry

Now, although I do feel strongly about certain aspects of this whole situation, I do completely see both sides of the coin. So, rather than venture into sharing or posting about this particular situation, I opted to just keep quiet and observe. Until one commenter really pissed me off. He referred to this child as “it.” Not “he,” not “she.” IT. That really got my blood boiling.

Like homosexuality, being transgender is something you’re born with. Argue with me all you want to, you’re not going to change my mind. It’s not a choice…it’s a truth. So, when this man called this child an “it,” it suddenly became clear to me what monsters some of us can be. Okay, let’s jump on the “choice” bandwagon for a second. Let’s assume that the kid was not born with a scientific disposition that made him feel female. Let’s assume that he is, in fact, choosing to live his life wearing a wig and dresses and that he actually ‘enjoys’ the ridicule and the, I’d venture to guess, thrashings he has received because of it. Ask yourself this, if you were truly in your right mind, could you choose a life like that?  I’m thinking not. So, if It Man is right and this child did actually choose this, then I guess it would be safe to say that he’s not in his right mind, right? That he is a “freak” and that he is “mental” as some of the other commenters have called him. Okay, so we’re agreed?  So, with that being the case…are you now going to call mentally retarded children “it”?  How about kids with down syndrome? How about anyone with clinical depression? Hey, those are all mental impairments, right? Are we all “its”?

I’m going somewhere with this, I promise. Bear with me.

Moving on to Incident #2 of the week.

Now, anyone who knows me know that I am not a fan of The Donald. It’s pretty safe to say that I despise Donald Trump. I hate everything that comes out of that billionaire bully’s mouth. So, being the outspoken liberal that I am, I occasionally share these thoughts in the form of memes or articles on Facebook. In the process of doing so, I have had the unfortunate occasion to find out that many of my friends and family are actually supporters of that blowhard. How do I feel about that?

Eh.

I mean, I wish they weren’t, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not going to change their minds anymore than they’re going to change mine. Is knowing that people I love disagree with me going to stop me from speaking my mind? Heck no. Who I am says nothing against who they are. I’m just me and this is how I feel. My own father and I have the most varying political stand points you’ve ever seen in two people. He’s Republican all the way, I’m Democrat all the way. How do we handle that? We mostly avoid the topic and when it does come up, we just condescendingly grin at each other’s ignorance and end the day with an “I love you” and move on with our lives. That’s how it should work. To quote my Aunt Rebecca’s Facebook status the other day:

A very wise woman once passed on a quote, from another wise woman, that stuck with me. “If two people agree on everything all the time, then one of them is not necessary.” Sometimes, we need the “sandpaper” of other’s opinions to “smooth out” our own perspectives.

We disagree and life goes on.

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 28: Chairman and President of the Trump Organization Donald Trump yells 'you're fired' after speaking to several GOP women's group at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino April 28, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump has been testing the waters with stops across the nation in recent weeks and has created media waves by questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

But this week, that philosophy didn’t apply to a few of my family members. Because of my standpoint on certain things, and one of my family member’s disagreeing with those standpoints, she “blocked” me on Facebook. Now, I know that sounds silly. (The “I unfriend you” commercial comes to mind…) But silly as it may be, it’s actually pretty hurtful. In this day and age, social media like Facebook is a way that we keep in touch with people we don’t see every day. So someone “blocking” you is a way of saying “I no longer want you in my life.” And to have that coming from a respected, beloved aunt that you’ve adored all your life?  Well, let’s just say it doesn’t feel too swell.

Now, as things like this tend to do, this family division spread like wildfire. Sides were taken – I was accused of disrespecting my aunt. (I still for the life of me can’t figure out what I supposedly did – I haven’t had one direct conversation with the woman about anything, political or otherwise, in months.) I can only assume that my outspoken political and social opinions went against hers and that she took them as a personal attack on her character. I hate that. I truly do. In fact, I spent a good part of that evening crying my eyes out. Knowing that this woman I have always adored and that half of my cousins (though not as a big of a loss, truthfully) all decided that I’m some kind of monster and ganged up against me over some mysterious offense is a pretty tough blow to take. I wanted to defend myself…and I did for a while. As is always the case, I covered up my hurt with anger and responded accordingly which, as is also always the case, got me nowhere. I considered deleting my entire Facebook account (the typical cowardly way out). I considered contacting the family individually and begging them to show me my transgressions so I’d at least know what it was I was supposed to be defending. I considered so many things but what I finally settled on was this: sleep.

That’s right. I went to bed. I stopped crying, got a good night’s sleep, and then woke up with a clearer mind and vision. And I also woke up with the answer to my non-writing conundrum. Just like that, the tie that binds all of these events together was staring me right in the face.

TRUTH.

That’s what is happening here. Truth. You had the middle ages, the ice age, etc. And here is what we’re in now. The Truth Age.

Suddenly, people are no longer afraid to be who they are. Somewhere, somehow a switch has been flipped. Be it political progress (or regress, depending which side you’re on), or be it the social media craze that has swept our nation…people are now speaking up and letting the world know who they really are. Lila Perry is no longer living as a girl trapped inside a boy’s skin. She is now a girl. Gay couples are no longer living their lives behind closed doors as if they are some kind of dirty secret. Non-Christians are no long adhering to laws and customs that go against what they don’t believe. And I, little nobody Melissa in Nowheresville, am no longer afraid to publicly state my opinion on all of the above. And not only am I not afraid to do it, I now have a platform to use for it – Facebook. A blog site. Social media.

Remember that famous movie line from A Few Good Men? “You can’t handle the truth!” Well, there you have it. Some of us can’t handle the truth. We just can’t. Hiding our heads in the sand and pretending it doesn’t exist has just been so easy for so long. And now, suddenly, truth has descended upon us like a hawk who has finally located its prey. Truth is EVERYWHERE. It’s in the eyes of Lila Perry. It’s in the two men’s hands that are clasped in matrimony. It’s in the stubborn refusal to change that exists behind Kim Davis’ words and actions. It’s in the picture of a three-year old Syrian refugee boy’s body washed up on shore. It’s in the hatred behind the word “it” as some random man typed it onto a social media site as the description of a child.

It’s truth. Sometimes it’s ugly. Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes it’s beautiful. And sometimes it’s all of those things all at once.

But it’s real. And it’s here. We can cast blame all we want to. Blame our President. Blame the Christians. Blame the media. Blame out-spoken redheads like me who won’t shut up. Blame, blame, blame. That’s what we do. But the only thing we have to blame is the fact that truth always rises to the surface.

“Three things shine before the world and cannot be hidden. They are the moon, the sun, and the truth…”
– Buddha

The truth is here, folks. What are you going to do with it? Hide from it? Let it divide your friends and family? Try to stop it?

Accept it?

The choice is yours.

But as for me? I welcome it with open arms. And I am more than willing to accept the consequences.

***

truth

Controversy

“I’m not an activist; I don’t look for controversy. I’m not a political person, I’m a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights. I care about human rights.”
– Ellen DeGeneres

So, here’s an idea. I know it might sound crazy, but hear me out.

So you’re sitting there and this crazy controversial issue pops across your radar.  Let’s say it’s…oh, I don’t know…Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) And let’s say that your uber-Christian beliefs tell you that Bruce (not Caitlyn – because you refuse to call HIM Caitlyn) is going straight to hell as fast as the little fire-breathing demon chauffeurs can get him there. And let’s say that you think, “Hey! You know what?! I think the whole world needs to know that Bruce is going to hell” and so you decide the next logical step is to post something about that on Facebook. And let’s say you lean back, prop your crossed-legs up on your desk, place your self-righteous hands behind your self-righteous head and wait, with a “God loves only me” smile, for the ever-supportive comments and likes to roll in like the waves at high tide.

ConflictBut then…wait.  What is this?  Oh no!  You drop your feet back to the floor, sit forward and stare at your computer screen in utter disbelief.  Right there, in the midst of the support you receive from your like-minded friends, suddenly a comment pops up that….*gasp!*….goes against your opinion.  Whaaaaat?  Oh yes, ’tis true. There it is. Right in the middle of the self-righteous (have I used that word already?) rants from you and your cronies, there is a comment that has the audacity to imply that you might just be wrong in your stance. A comment that suggests that CAITLYN Jenner is, in fact, not going to hell and that God actually loves HER just as much as He loves you.

Whoa, nelly!

So, what do you do? You pout. You and your friends gang up on the commenter and tell her how wrong she is and how “rude” she’s being by going against what you have to say.  About how she and anyone who agrees with her are on the wrong path and had better turn from sin and see the light. And then…in a display of utmost maturity…you DELETE said comment so that your post remains nice and one-sided like the good Lord intended.

There. That solves that.

But wait….along come other comments that go against your beliefs. What?!  There are more heathens out there!? “Delete!” Pretty soon, after tedious editing on your part, your post sits there just as you like it, with only the supportive comments accompanying it.  Shew!  That was a close one.

Oh, but wait.  You’re not done just yet. Since you know the initial commenter’s mother, you decide you had better tell her what her teenage child did. You proceed to send the mother…let’s hypothetically name her…oh, I don’t know…”Melissa”… a private conversation you had with her daughter (where you contacted her to tell her how rude she was being by disagreeing with you) and then sit back to wait for the mother’s wrath to ensue upon the kid.

But uh oh. This didn’t quite turn out like you thought it would.

Momma Melissa doesn’t quite agree with you.  In fact, Momma Melissa is actually PROUD of her daughter. Can you believe that crap? What kind of mother actually encourages her child to stand up for what she believes in and to speak out against something she feels is an injustice? The NERVE! What kind of mother has raised her children to believe that just because someone is different from you, that doesn’t make them wrong? What kind of mother would not only not punish her child for voicing her opinion, but would actually congratulate her for doing so?!

What is the world coming to?

But no worries. At least you’re not the one going to hell, right? Those poor lost souls….

So, back to my point. That crazy idea I had, remember? How about this? How about you not post controversial things unless you want a controversial response? Hmmm? How about that? How about you realize that Facebook is a public forum and, as shocking as it may be to you, there are actually people out there who think differently from you! I know, sweetie. It’s insane, it really is. But alas, ’tis true. Some people out there don’t sit at their computer pushing the little “share” button on articles knowing that they sit at the right-hand of God and that they alone are his chosen one. Seriously. Some people out there feel that we’re all created equal and that, if there is a God up there looking down on us, he wants us to love each other and save the judgment for him to take care of and decide for himself what he deems judgment-worthy.

I know, it’s weird, isn’t it?  But darling, these people do exist. Sad as it may be to you…they exist.

And those Momma Melissas of the world?  Sheesh. Look out, lady. You try to tell them that their kid has done something wrong, when they know good and well that they haven’t…well, be prepared to hear about it.

In fact, the really crazy Momma Melissas out there?  Ha!  They might even have a blog and might write about it and call you out in it.  Crazy, right?

People these days, man.  I tell ya….

***

“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.”
– Chauncey Depew