This is an unfortunate interaction I have had with the father of a friend of mine from high school. It particularly hurt because I have had interactions with this person before and the friend and I were really close. Also the accusation that I was trying to swindle people out of their money on a “fake issue” even.
My friend and her husband both sent me a private message in telling me how sorry they were for his behavior, in which I replied that they didn’t have to apologize for anything, as he is his own person and they have no responsibility for his actions.
This is how I responded…
Dear Mr REDACTED,
First of all, I want to thank you for the hospitality and opening your home up to me all those years ago.
I don’t know if you remember me but back then I used to go by the name Sean. Linda and I were very close friends in highschool. I have been over to your home often to play super smash brothers, to do homework, to study for our AP tests together. But the one thing that I remember the most of my time there with Linda was how she helped give me an outlet for my need to express my femininity. I was a very effeminate “boy” back then and knowingly or not, Linda was able to see that I was struggling with my identity and she was able to give me one of my only avenues of expressing myself by helping me do my nails. I look fondly upon those days where she would do my nails for me using her amazing creative ways. To me that was an outlet that I needed that would help me express myself in ways that I didn’t understand why I needed. It was one of the things that I needed to start me on my journey of self discovery. And it was your home that gave us the safe space to let me start being myself a little bit.
I tell you this story because I want to thank you for opening your home to me those years ago but also to show you that us transgender people are just people. To show you that we are here.
The comments you have said were very hurtful to me and my community. To say that transgender people are looking for special extra rights is very misleading in the same way that people say that gay people are looking for special gay rights in order to get married. We all have the same rights that all affect us, but unfortunately these rights are not made equal to everyone. Gay people were not looking to get special rights that only apply to them. Gay people were looking for rights to get married to the person they loved in the same way straight people did. To say that gay people wanted special rights to get “gay married” is very misleading. Women didn’t seek special rights to be able to vote, they sought for the same rights to be applied to them. Same for black people.
We are not looking for special rights for transgender people, but we are just looking for the same rights that everyone else has to be able to live their lives genuinely to be applied to transgender people as well.
I would hope that this story would help you learn a little bit about the lives that we lead and more importantly be able to view us as people.
Unfortunately this didn’t help as he responded …
The part that hurt me the most was the fact that he felt the need to tell me that I should thank him for his hateful views. Fortunately due to his privacy settings I was unable to see his post on his own page and I didn’t bother responding because I wanted this all to stop.
I know that my friend is mortified and saddened by her father’s views and antics. I hope that he finds ways to open himself up to feel empathy for the sake of their relationship…
In the meantime I will keep on being visible and proudly being myself as this is the best way to help change the world.