Friday, 13 September 2013

Where is the love?

I've seen two programs about trans-gender people recently.  In case you're not sure, trans-gender and those who are born with a male or female body, but internally believe themselves to be the other gender.

Let me say, right up front that I don't know any trans-gender people (that I know of), so I am not talking from a position of experience.

The thing that's struck me the most about both of the programs I've watched is the pain of the trans-gender person, and that of their parents.

The trans-gender people suffer from feeling like they're in the wrong body.

They suffer from being so completely different to the majority of society, in a world where difference is awkward or even a cause of abuse.

They suffer as they decide whether to try to make their body match their internal life, and if they do, they suffer from the operations and recovery of the physical changes.

They suffer guilt for feeling like they're deceiving those around them if they don't "fess up" to who they "really" are.

And the parents suffer too.  They suffer grief for the loss of the child they thought they had, even if they support them.  They suffer as their child is rejected by a cruel world.  They suffer for their child as they face complex relationship questions.

I watched a mother on the program this evening, standing with her arms crossed across her chest, telling her son-who-feels-like-a-daughter that she wouldn't call him/her a female name.  And I saw the child's soul crushed.

Later in the program the mother took that child shopping for girl's clothes in an attempt to rebuild the bridge over the chasm between them.

And as I sit here writing and reflecting my eyes are welling with tears.

Life is nowhere near black and white.  And whether you believe trans-gender people are who they say they are or not, the reality is that they are people.  And in all probability, they have suffered.  Greatly!

And my tears are not only for trans-gender people, but also for gay and lesbians.  Because, although they are much more accepted in society these days, there is still a great deal of fear and loathing.

And whether you believe anyone other than you is born that way, or whether you think their lifestyle is an abomination, or just plain weird, surely the thing that's most important, the issue that is first and foremost, is that they are human beings who suffer pain just like you and me.

You don't have to agree with them.  You don't have to join the Mardi Gras parade.  You don't have to do anything except treat others as human beings.  At the very least, be civil!  "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all".

Because by simply holding our tongues, or acknowledging the pain of another, we can make the world immeasurably better.

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