When I consider what these posts ought be about, if I may engage in a bit of “inside baseball” discussion, I try to be mindful of what would make for the most broad audience appeal. Too often a writer, particularly a blogger, can get so mired in their own particular interests and lose site of the diversity found among the readership.
To that end, I really ought to be framing this post as something broad like “Being Trans within the local culture” or some such. That is, how is it different to be a crossdresser, or a transsexual, in the South, say, as opposed to in the Northeast. How is it different in small towns as opposed to metropolitan areas. I have a sense that the prevailing stereotype exists for a reason, and that the response would confirm that the urban resident has an easier time, that the Bible belt resident faces a lot of cultural pressure to conform more so than on the West Coast. In that sense, it hardly seems worth bringing up.
But what makes it interesting is when events DON’T meet the stereotypes. For instance, while Colorado has legal protections for trans people, we still seethe case of Coy Mathis in which a school district somehow figures being compassionate to a six year old is a bad idea.
Or on the other end of the spectrum, the case that really made me want to write this post because it so warmed my heart. The stereotype says that if there’s any place where it’s hard to be trans, it’s Mississippi. No legal protections, no support groups of any note, heck even few doctors that want to treat you for transition related care or anything else. Being a resident of the deep south, you can imagine then how happy it made me to see god news out of such an unexpected place as Batesville, MS.
A couple of weeks ago, a high school senior identified as “Leah” for the press came out publicly as trans and intends to complete her education presenting as a girl. In direct defiance of what one might normally suspect in the South (and in small town America as a whole) the school backed her. Yes, there were some ignorant protests (30ish students out of a high school student population of over 1100) almost certainly fueled by ignorant parents, but the excellent news is that the people in charge got it right! In Mississippi!
I know that on the whole, this sort of “current events” material isn’t what you’ve come to expect from TGI, but there’s nothing wrong with us celebrating once in a while when things go right. The last couple of years have been, though plagued by stories like the Mathis case, overall a string of unprecedented success in terms of advancing our legal position in society. From time to time, I can’t resist a happy dance when some good news breaks and I hope you all will share the dance with me.
Photo by: armadillo444 (some rights reserved)