Why Don’t People Think?
It seems like I spend all my time lately engaged in debate with people who are caught up in the lies of the Pharisee Traditionalists who are the driving force behind laws like those which have passed this year in North Carolina and Mississippi.
I have tried, from the beginning of this journey, to take a philosophical point of view on those who “morally” disapproved of my transition. After all, I used to believe what they believe – I can relate to it. I think I have a solid grasp on where that sort of thinking comes from, consciously and subconsciously and because of that I make a direct effort to not see such people as enemies or “hateful” or “bigots” – I’m of the opinion one can ignorantly hold a bigoted view and not BE a bigot, depending on the attitude behind the view and the willingness to be open to new information.
I have chosen to approach the subject, particularly given the area in which I live, as an opportunity to “give back” by trying to help people of good will understand the subject better so that they might by more kind and compassionate to other trans people who come into their lives after me. That choice puts me somewhat more on the “front lines” of confronting and disputing ignorant and misinformed thinking, and obviously there is a delicate balance between that confrontational philosophy, and the tendency to dismiss those who disagree as bigots. So I make every effort to try to plainly speak the facts that the hearer (reader) might be unaware of. On occasion, I’ve had people actually change their mind because I presented things in a light that they had previously not considered. Often I have run into a wall that I could not break through. That’s simply the nature of the game.
I don’t find that frustrating, really. If you expect to change every mind you are setting yourself up for disappointment. What I do find frustrating is stubborn irrationality. the sort of thing that is exemplified by clinging tenaciously to a belief that is not in any way intellectually defensible.
For instance, the argument that is common that people like me are “perverts.” when one can demonstrate that one has known they were trans from early childhood, and that no molestation or any other traumatizing event has occurred, then that begs the question – WHAT exactly made a seven or eight year old child a “pervert”? Perversion, by definition (in this context) is a sexual term – have you ever met an eight year old pervert? Has anyone?
One of the classic examples is the whole ongoing bathroom debate. It’s not difficult at all to find a minister convicted or accused of child molestation or child porn or similar perversion, yet no one ever assume ALL ministers are perverts (nor should they!!!). Yet it is essentially non-existent to find a trans person, or one pretending to be, misbehaving in a woman’s restroom – yet far too many people take it as a given that it will be epidemic if you allow a trans woman the legal right to use the ladies room. How does that make any sense? I have had people, even loved ones, tell me to my face that they had better never catch me in the restroom with their daughter/niece/whatever – do these people even realize they are in effect implying I am dangerous to children?
Based on what?
This is what I mean – it’s not the disagreement that’s frustrating, it’s the maddening habit of so many to not THINK about what they believe. What good is it to believe anything if you have not reasoned it out and examined the facts logically, instead of just believing what you heard someone else say because it appeals to you emotionally?
And the bathrooms? Every time I get into one of those debates I’m thinking “Do I seriously need to cover this again?” I’ve had blood kin tell me they would attack me for being in the bathroom with a female child, old “friends” tell me they would call the law on me if they found me in the ladies room. Suddenly, the person they respected for decades becomes a potential rapist and pedophile because they are trans? How does that work? Is it sexual attraction? Let’s think that through. If, in fact, I am attracted to men as most suppose, then I am no more interested in the other women in the bathroom than is any woman born with a vagina. In fact, in that scenario you guys should be worried about me being in the men’s room (or attack me for being there which would leave me no option at all in many places). If on the other hand I remain interested in females, then I am as much a threat to other women as the typical lesbian – how many women have been molested by lesbians in the bathroom?
The reality is that the LAST thing a trans woman wants is to draw any attention to themselves in there. We are more motivated than any other person on the planet to be above reproach in such settings lest we find ourselves assaulted or arrested. We’re the safest possible companions for that reason alone. Furthermore, for a trans woman who’s on a full course of HRT, she typically has neither the sexual drive, the penile function, or the upper body strength to be a threat if it crossed her mind. I won’t even dignify the insulting and bigoted implication that we are a threat to children with an explanation.
I know that for many readers I am “preaching to the choir” but possibly I’m providing you ammunition to use in your own discussions. Or maybe you’re someone who just stumbled across this page. If the former, then all I can say is that I encourage you strongly to go out and engage, if we don’t, we WILL lose. If the latter, then I challenge you to examine your heart, particularly if you’re motivated by faith, and if you sincerely find no animosity there, then examine your sources. Millions of you are being fed lies and swallowing them unquestioningly. This is not something that reflects well on your faith. Point being, we need more people who THINK and fewer that follow blindly.
Image by: John Goode