Sunday, January 4, 2015

Question from A Tea Partier

I get asked often why I keep right wingers and extreme right wingers as friends on my Facialbook page.  Usually these right wingers are former coworkers, but sometimes actual friends.  Sometimes they are transwomen, which I still don't understand as a republican transwoman is like a Jew supporting Hitler.

So why do I?  My first reaction is that no one can tell me who I can and can't be friends with, and no explanation is needed.  But there is a reason I keep hard core rethuglicans on my friends list- education.  Mine and theirs.  In my case, it's so I can learn why they think the way they do.  Usually that answer is simple- they think the way Rush or Fox News tells them.  They have breathtaking cases of "projection" too, taking the worst qualities of their party and projecting them on their common enemy:  "Liberals."  And I pity them.

But once in a while, one of the extreme cases gets past the programming and has an independent thought or query.  And we can have dialogue.

And so it was that a former coworker sent me the following after I posted about the suicide of a trans teen, Leelah Alcorn (17 year old transwoman who committed suicide last week.  He has graciously allowed me to answer his query here on the condition of his anonymity.

The following is his query to me, edited only to preserve his identity as promised.

"Ok, so I'm totally fine, cool and don't give a crap about who does what to whom, how someone wants to dress, or what the fuck ever as long as you aren't hurting anyone else (unless they want it).
But when you "identify" as something you are not that doesn't make it so.
I'm not picking a fight I'm seriously curious.

I identify as the majority shareholder of Microsoft and the starting middle linebacker of the [NFL Team he likes] But I have a natural autoimmune disease that prevented the ladder. (Sic)

Why does some reality vs identity factoids trump others?"

Ok, Anonymous, here is my answer.

My first reaction was "Be glad you don't understand, as the only ones who DO understand being trans are those afflicted with it.

But in the end, that's not enough, is it?  

The main point is that you seem to think that this is a choice, just a whim.


I DIDN'T choose this.  I was born this way.  Being transgender is NOT a mental condition, it is a Physical condition. There are several theories as to how this happens:  a flood of estrogen in utero at the wrong time, faulty hormone receptors in the fetus... but in the end, no one really knows for sure.

Here's a VERY good dicussion on the current theories.

Now I realize that you have in the past have rejected science in favor of political dogma.  Yet here we have proof- Trans people are BORN this way.

Why would someone CHOOSE to be TG?  Why would they choose a life of prejudice and hatred?  A life where they constantly feel the anguish of not being "Right"?  41% of TG people attempt suicide.  And that's just polling the survivors.  Compare that to 3% who attempt suicide in the non-trans population.  Our murder rate is much higher than the cisgender population as well.  It's a HARD life.  An expensive one.  And, in the end, a life of uncertainty and pain.  Yeah, definitely my first choice.  *rolls eyes*

Now let me put it to you this way- would I have put my Wife through all of this just for fashion choices?  If you think so, de-friend me now, as you obviously not only don't know me, but don't care to know me.  

Being Trans is a life of Pain.  It's a life of hiding and shame.  I grew up before the internet, and I thought I was the only one like me.  In time, I discovered I'm not alone.  How many of us are there?  No one knows for sure.  I've heard anywhere from .01% to 4% of the population.  For ease of calculation, let's choose 1% as an example.

The current US Population as of this second is 320, 112, 120.  (source)  Let's assume 1% of the US population is trans.  Doing the math that's 3,201,121 trans people in the US alone.  Now I have read that of the trans population, only 1% of us actually transitions.  So that means the transitioned trans population is 32,011.

That's about the size of a mid sized city.  And it's definitely a minority.

So.  Lets do what is currently happening in the US and strip all rights away from 3,200,000 citizens.  These people can be thrown out of where they live, fired, told they can't use a public restroom, simply for the way they are born.  And in many states- murdered ("trans panic defense").  

Let's do more.  Let's not solve the cases of those murdered and not care if they're beaten and raped.  Make it very difficult for them to secure legal counsel.  Call them every name in the book and insist they are "abominations in the eyes of God."  Insist they are perverts out to rape children.

Sound like fun?

Welcome to the Trans life.  That is life as a transperson in the US TODAY.  Wonder why at least 1,312,460 (including me) have attempted suicide?  (That number is 41% of 3,201,121)

So what is the reality?  That Trans is a PHYSICAL condition, that it's real, and that comparing it to your whimsical ideas of playing linebacker is actually pretty damn insulting.

Being Trans isn't a choice.  It's my life.  And if it weren't my life, it would be my death.

As it was for so many others.  

As it was for my dear sister Lisa Empanada.

As it was for Leelah Alcorn.


  1. Sophie -

    Well put. Even if the figures are a third of your rough estimates, the point still holds - there are enough people who transition to fill a small city. Would anyone choose being Trans? I doubt it, given all the hatred out there. (And you have experienced it first hand.....)

    Keep up the good work....


  2. A perfect opportunity for education, which I think you did well with your reply Sophie.

  3. Maybe people are republican because they don't like what they see happening to the country. One must care about the whole picture here, not just one agenda, like TG or gay rights. I heard a gay man state this the reason he votes this way. Then once the country is in order, these agendas can be worked on.

    1. This has historical precedent. The Germans elected Hitler and his extreme right wing to "fix the country." And the trains DID run on time, etc. But we all know what happened there on the social side...

    2. Sophie -

      And that is something I warn about in my blog from time to time.