Saturday, July 15, 2017

Gender and Transgender – III

Five years ago, I wrote a post about gender confusion and my dissatisfaction with the abbreviation "LGBT." I used that post to air a perceived grievance that gay people and transgender folks are often lumped into the same category. In that post, I flaunted my cis-ness, and my privilege was on full display.

I think about that post often, and although I haven't written in this blog in years, it still haunts me to know the post is out there. I won't be deleting the post, because I don't care for revision of history, but I will be adding an appendix linking to this post, which contains my current view of transgender (which I feel has evolved and is less closed-minded), particularly as it relates to the LGBT movement. Let me affirm, loud and clear, that if you are a transgender person, you are a person foremost and therefore worthy of love, respect, and dignity. I apologize for that post from 2011. It was unnecessary and borderline hateful.

Nothing about me has changed in regard to my gender identity. Aside from a the occasional night out in heels, a skirt, and outrageous makeup, I have very little desire to be anything but what I am: a gay, mostly cisgendered male. As I've stated before, I've never seriously experienced gender confusion or a feeling that I belonged to a different sex.

Before, I would regard those who feel gender dysphoria or who identify as transgender with pity and confusion. Perhaps in my darker, less affirming moments, even disgust. But after years of learning and, most importantly, listening, I've purged those deconstructing reactions from my heart. It would be a lie to say I understand what transgender folks go through (because I could never), but the more I learn about the world, the more I realize that we're all just trying our best to do what will bring us and those around us lasting joy.

I currently sing in the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. My first season with GMCLA, the chorus spun off a separate group, called the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles. In doing so, these oft-marginalized folks—even within the LGBT community—were given a literal voice. After one half-season under GMCLA's tutelage, TCLA took off on its own wild hair, performing proudly at sports games, community events, and other very public opportunities. Some of these folks have fascinating stories, but some of them are just plain ol' folks, trying to do the right thing the best way they know how. In that wise, they're no different from any of us.

I'm not adding anything unique to the dialogue, but I wanted to set the record (that I wrote in 2011) straight: Trans folks are people too, and we're all doing our best with the tools that we've got. Regardless of the morality question, there's no reason for any of us to turn up our noses at other children of God. Like I said, not breaking any new ground there, but it's how I feel.

A friend with whom I recently reconnected had told me that she left the Mormon faith (and indeed all faith entirely), saying she now belongs to the Church of Don't Be an Asshole. Couldn't agree more, and once again, I apologize for not belonging to that church in 2011.

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