Shannon T.L. Kearns
Shannon T.L. Kearns
Do I Have To Be Okay With Transgender People
Shannon T.L. Kearns > Do I Have To Be Okay With Transgender People
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Is it possible for me to not change my mind on transgender issues? To believe that it’s wrong?

I hear this question a lot. The sense I get is that the asker is saying: “Can I still be a good and loving person and believe this way?” At least that’s the generous understanding. It could be coming from a place of “In this age of political correctness is it possible to hold a viewpoint that feels offensive to some people?”

The answer is yes. Yes you can believe that it’s wrong to be transgender. Yes you can hold whatever beliefs that you want.

But there are some things to consider:

Realize what you are giving up

You can absolutely believe that being transgender is wrong, but if you do I am probably not going to be your close friend. You might be an incredible person. Loving. Kind. Give you the shirt off your back type. But I will always feel guarded around you. I won’t let you in on my deepest thoughts. You won’t get to see my heart, not really. I’ll keep you at arms length not because I am mad at you for not changing your beliefs but because it’s not safe for me to be super close with someone who thinks I am wrong simply for existing.

There is a chance that at some point in the future I might have to cut you out of my life entirely. I might need to, for my own sanity and safety, choose to not surround myself with people who believe that I am wrong.

That might be hard to hear but it’s the truth. And you have to be willing to deal with that.

You cannot disrespect me

You cannot refuse to use my name and pronouns. You cannot refuse to use my name and pronouns. Full stop. If you do that you have crossed a line.

You cannot legislate against my life

You can believe whatever you want but you cannot pass laws that make it harder for me to live and exist. You cannot vote to outlaw medical transition. You cannot vote to make it so that health insurance doesn’t cover transition related care. You cannot vote to make it impossible for trans people to change their names or their documents. You cannot vote to make it impossible for transgender people to pee (and therefore to exist) in public. 

If you do those things then you have moved from holding a belief to being hostile to me and my community. You have moved from holding a personal feeling to be downright oppressive. That cannot stand. We will not allow it to stand.

It’s that simple

You can hold whatever beliefs you want, but that doesn’t give you the right to make it harder for other people to move through the world and exist. You don’t get to disrespect other people and put barriers in the way of their success because of your personally held beliefs.

And you don’t get to be mad about someone cutting off contact or not wanting to be your friend when you hold beliefs that are harmful to them and their community.

That might sound like a harsh truth, but it’s true all the same. You can choose what you want to believe but you don’t get to be angry about what it costs you.

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Photo Credit: ATENCION: Flickr via Compfight cc