I don’t mean to be sophomoric with this question. What does it feel like to be male? What does it feel like to be female? I don’t doubt that a man can feel like a woman or vice versa, though I’m not even sure what that means. I’ll just take it as fact. If you’re rocking outdoor plumbing but love to belt out with Shania Twain that you feel like a woman–those feelings are real!
Though all feelings are real, not all feelings are valid. We can really feel something and that feeling not be rooted in reality. We’ve all seen American Idol and the countless contestants who sing like a drowning cat. They are soundly ridiculed by the judges and mocked by millions at home. And yet, they are convinced of their talent. Feelings and reality–not the same thing.
Before any claim, feeling or perception is validated, debated, affirmed or denied–it would be helpful to first define it. What is a man? What is a woman? The problem isn’t that we disagree on where the facts lead. The problem is that we disagree on what the facts are. I’ve got some questions. I think they’re hard questions, but not harsh questions.
- How do we determine which self-perceptions to reject and which ones to embrace?
- Why do we value how one identifies over why one identifies a certain way?
- When treating people with eating disorders, why do we treat their self-perceptions and not simply the harmfulness of the behavior?
- If gender can be defined by perception, why not ethnicity or age as well?
- Would any of the groups rallying against North Carolina’s HB2, also rally in support of white males who identify as African American or Native American, making them eligible for scholarships, Affirmative Action or other benefits reserved for minorities?
If you care, I mean genuinely care for people who feel trapped in the wrong body…If you care about the soul-cracking hurts, self-doubt and oppression these precious folks feel…If your dander is up because you sense these questions are driven more by a desire to hurt than to understand–I’m going to ask you to stomach just one more.
How can it be caring to affirm a life choice with such a high suicide rate? The wide-mouthed, narrow-minded voices pushing this agenda are playing Russian roulette with people’s lives.
Transgender people report attempting suicide at a staggering rate—above 40%…The evidence is staring us in the face. Tragically high numbers of transgender people attempt suicide. Suicide is the result of untreated mental disorders. A majority of transgender people suffer from untreated comorbid disorders—yet against all reason, laws are being enacted to prevent their treatment.
People can identify however they want. That’s one of the two sharp edges of freedom. Some are pricked and ticked by what people can choose. Others are nicked and incensed when told what they should choose. True freedom is not found simply in what we can do. Rather it’s discovered when longing, ability and imperative happily intertwine. Simply put. When what I want to do and what I ought to do are the same thing I am most free.
What you can do is clear. What you should do…that’s another thing all together. There’s more on the line than winning and losing. Lives are stake, both the quality and quantity of years. Why then would so many advocate and celebrate life choices that so frequently end in suicide? Many are simply unaware of the brutal facts. Others are content to brutally use transgender folks as pawns in an agenda war.
One last question. If the transgender road is less likely to lead one to resolution, but instead to a self-inflicted bitter end, what does it truly mean to care? People are dying for an answer.