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Monday, March 20, 2017

Thank You For Not Squeezing the Toothpaste

One thing I've noticed about myself is that whenever I talk about being transgender in situations where the topic is not specifically on the table (such as when I was a guest speaker for MSI), I reflexively apologize for bringing it up.

My thinking goes something like this: The topic of transgenderism makes people uncomfortable and I don't want to make them uncomfortable, especially when they didn't bring the subject up... but I have a really important and relevant point to address regarding the subject, so I'm going to preemptively apologize for making them feel uncomfortable.

I'm not sure that this is a socially healthy thing for me to do because 1) it makes it seem like being trans is something rude or socially unacceptable or otherwise not subject matter for polite conversation, and 2) it reinforces a feeling, however unconsciously, that I need to apologize for being who I am.

I don't want to constantly apologize for being me. I don't need to apologize for being me, because I am neither picking their pocket nor breaking their leg, and like I said the other day I have every right to be me and don't need to beg permission for it. However, neither do I want to be obnoxious about my trans nature, waving it people's face and bringing it up in every conversation like the stereotypical vegan crossfitter who announces it to everyone.

In fact, this whole "I am trans" is basically a necessary evil to me. I'd prefer just to drop the "trans" thing entirely and just be "woman", but before that can happen society has to stop seeing gender transition as something shocking, salacious and scandalous. While transition will never achieve the same level of non-event as changing your hairstyle or wardrobe (at least not within my lifetime), I'd be happy if it was regarded with the same lack of fuss as, say giving birth: a routine procedure that is a joyous event for family members and regarded as perfectly mundane by the rest of the world. 

Sadly, the world is not at that state right now, as shown by the recent "OMG we cannot let trans people pee in the same restroom as regular people, because who knows what kind of deviance they might perpetrate, so let's institute genital checks at the door" nonsense and other legislation that singles us out as freaks. 

So I bring it up in conversation when it's relevant in order to educate people. It's not a "Hey, I'm trans, applaud me!" thing, it's a "This is a teachable moment, let's see if I can help people understand" thing. And yet, I still end up apologizing, because I don't want to be that person. I've been told that the way around this is to thank people in advance for their understanding rather than to apologize, because that sets a positive tone which makes people more inclined to listen. 

With that in mind, then, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to make a point about LGBTQ rights and how they can be used to help the cause of lawful concealed carry. 

You may have heard about how Gays Against Guns (GAG -- isn't that precious?) has spoken against the National Reciprocity bill by saying “Federal reciprocity is a direct violation of an individual state’s rights to constitutionally protect its citizens." They then followed it up with a video (which I won't link but can be seen at this article) unironically titled "Reciprocity Is An Atrocity."
Refresh my memory: didn't some churches also not want to perform same-sex marriages?
I find this is a curious position for any LGBTQ group to adopt, because do you know what else certain states banned but were forced to accept through the route of national reciprocity? Why, that would be same-sex marriage licenses. I imagine if that was up for referendum again, suddenly -- magically! -- GAG would be completely against state's rights and completely for federal reciprocity. 

So the next time you see GAG or George Takei or anyone else saying reciprocity should be abolished, tell them that they're campaigning for a law that will set a precedent for their marriages not to be recognized nationwide, and ask them if they really want to squeeze that metaphorical tube of toothpaste. 

Thank you for allowing me this teachable moment!

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