Friends and Family
Recently, I shared an article that an “angry dad” wrote about how the bathroom bills are pointless, and there were scarier things to be afraid of than people who were different than what we might be used to. In fact, the monsters often look Just Like Anyone Else, because that’s how they survive (and frighteningly, often thrive) at being monsters.
An old friend, who is still a cop, took issue with the article, because he felt it was better to have one more law in the arsenal to stop sex offenders than to cater to the 1% that would be harmed. I said that the article was talking about exactly those sex offenders, and how they didn’t have anything to do with transgendered people. He said something flippant about how I’d lost touch with common sense (again) and goodbye, and then blocked me.
It was upsetting. I’d hoped a) that he wanted to protect everyone, and b) that he cared more about hearing my side than just cutting me short after a quick exchange on Facebook. I’d hoped our friendship meant more, I guess. And then, of course, I was mad at myself. I’d already unfollowed (but remained “friends” with) several of our co-workers, for similar reasons. I didn’t like the racism, the misogyny, and the paranoia they were displaying. The rights they were worried about “losing” weren’t rights per se, and often had more to do with having to share them with others. So I knew that, much as it hurt, it was better to have the abrupt break (I can’t call it a clean one). And, in the hopes of not having to deal with more, I made the choice to cull my friend list a bit more.
I realize that’s weak of me. I stand up for my transgender friends. I stand up for all LGBTQA friends. Some of those friends are more like family to me. If someone jokes about something and it’s beyond the pale, I call them on it … most of the time. I’m still weak and will avoid things if I worry it will cost me my job. Any more though, that’s the only thing stopping me. I don’t always call bosses out on their prejudices. I’m trying to be braver. I’m white, and even though I’m a woman and sometimes wonder about my orientation, I’m always assumed to be straight because I’m married to a straight man. And I’ve always been with straight men. So, I have a set of privileges others don’t that I can use to be brave with as a starting point they can’t.
I’m trying. I still have room for improvement, and it’s sad and scary to discover people I love… loved… are close-minded and willing to trample other people’s rights because those other people are a minority. I will probably lose someone again, to this.
Just like it happens for gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, asexual, and gender queer people every day.