04 May 2016

Some Sad Day Thoughts

I am just sad.

It's not a usual emotion for me. I am generally quite optimistic, if apathetic. But not today.

The inevitability of Trump's nomination was something I was preparing myself for, but I wasn't ready. And it really just scares me. I refuse to think about what will happen come November. Regardless of whether or not he wins, his followers remain.

Besides that, I daftly decided to read the blog of one of my favorite authors -- Orson Scott Card. Now, I've known for some time that, though I adore (most of) his books, I don't agree with him politically. Basically, I should have stayed away. He is Mormon and lives in North Carolina. He doesn't actually agree with the bill, but he is none too friendly toward liberals and those in the LGBT community. It just makes me sad.

And then I read an article about my alma mater, Colorado Christian University. A law was passed some years ago requiring universities to accommodate transgender people according to their preference. CCU has requested to be exempt. And I get it. It's a Christian school. But it does receive some government funding. And it is the name on my diploma. Some students (trans, gay, atheist etc) don't have the option of not attending CCU. Sometimes it's not up to them. Parents often make the decision, hoping perhaps to sway the student, or because they are oblivious. I was one of those. Or became one after a couple years in school. Now, I do not hate CCU, or resent my time there. I met many of my current good friends during those four years. I had great professors and a good education (if a bit lacking in some areas.) It's just that rules like this are what make the suicide rates among young trans (and other queer) people rise. It is this sort of misunderstanding. This sort of "morality". This sort of dehumanization. Because that is what it is: dehumanizing. For a group of people (Christians) claiming to be full of love and forgiveness, they seem to often fall short of recognizing that other people exist.

I do exist. I attended CCU before I came out to even myself as anything other than a straight female. Yet I exclusively wore clothing purchased from the men's section. I kept my hair short. I was into adventure and video games and some other "male" things instead of "female" things. (Those are in quotes because I don't believe that interests are gendered.) However, according to the lifestyle expectations at CCU, "members of the CCU community are expected to refrain from engaging in, advocating, teaching, supporting, encouraging, defending, or excusing homosexuality, transvestitism, transvestite behavior, transgenderism and transgender behavior. (The link is for employees, but I assure you there is a similar covenant for students.) Technically, I fell under that, and have for at least 20 years of my life. But transmasculine people are often overlooked. I was not a guy in a dress, so I guess it was fine.

I am considering writing a letter to CCU as an alumnus (not alumna!), telling them a bit about myself. I doubt it would get anywhere, but perhaps it would make me feel better. I think I'll start by requesting my name be changed on my transcripts.

So today I feel the effects of oppression, though not first hand. I have never felt threatened or in any way unsafe due to my gender or sexuality. I have felt bad about myself, unsure at times, but I have never seriously contemplated suicide or serious self-harm. But I am rare among my peers (trans people have around a 50% rate of suicide attempts.) For that I am thankful, but I am one among many. And we are people. When this bill was enacted in North Carolina, the suicide hotlines blew up. People are despairing.

When I was first coming out it was difficult to find resources. It was difficult to be recognized. I was off the radar. Now trans people are in the media. And representation is fantastic, but it's drawing a lot of hate toward us. First we didn't exist, now we are actively hated. It hurts.

I am human. Please see that. We are human. We deserve at least a modicum of respect. We deserve access to healthcare, public restrooms, public spaces in general, religious universities, secular universities, jobs, houses, on and on and on.

Just like everyone else.


D said...

Thank you for expressing your thoughts so well. The continued bigotry and ignorance of so much of society saddens me and makes me angry.
Thank goodness for the less frequent instances of decency, such as Harvard, also making headlines and breaking down barriers.
There is much more that this post has me thinking, that I can't figure out how to say.
Thinking of you,

Abby said...

I'm glad you wrote this out. Although understandably sad, you seem to be in a pretty good mindset, all things considered. Maybe you should go ahead and write that letter to CCU - "I doubt it would get anywhere, but perhaps it would make me feel better."
You know I live among some narrow minded people and organizations here in springs. I'll continue to hope for change, but there are some who are pretty beyond reach it seems.