I'll admit I've been confused about transgenderism in the past. I'm not ashamed of it; all people are ignorant about many facts and issues, until they take the time to seek understanding. But I never was so adamantly against their lifestyle in and of itself; I never thought it was too weird to fit in my worldview, as it seems many people do. I never thought of it as immoral or bad. Other than ignorance, what is it that causes bigotry against LGBT?
I had a short conversation with what I assume is a British girl on a comment thread on an article about Leelah's suicide on The Rolling Stone. Her user name included the name Abigail and the word tea, so let's call her Abigail. Part of her confusion seemed to stem from where mine did: if you are biologically a boy, then you are a boy. Right?
But that's not really how it works to be transgender, is it? You can make all kinds of fancy arguments as to why a transgender person can never truly be the opposite gender biologically, but there's no point in doing that. To be transgender is about how you feel, after all, not what you look like. Many people probably think that gender identity is a choice; while it could be for some, that's not the case with transgenderism, and this simple understanding is important.
The hatred seems to have roots deeper than that, though. Any person who is confused about what it is to be transgender, but doesn't despise people for living the way they want, will find out the true nature of what it is to be transgender; it only takes a little bit of reading. Ignorance can be cured, you know.
Abigail, like many others, showcased not only pure ignorance in the form of poor understanding, which is something for which no one should be looked down upon, as we've all been ignorant and still are about many things, but also in the form of bigotry. Someone named James commented that "transsexuality and homosexuality are both abominations and should be treated as either crimes or mental illnesses. Period." He's probably a troll, but there's no reason not to assume this isn't how he and others think. One wonders how being transgender is a crime, whom it hurts, and if these people are saying that anyone whose identity they dislike is a criminal.
Like the woman Jazzmine who commented on my Facebook page about my last blog post, LGBT rights, long overdue, there seems to be no empathy or even sympathy in the cold hearts of bigots. They ignore the larger issue of transgender persons being bullied into the grave. Instead, they choose to be annoyed that someone who committed suicide got some posthumous attention. They criticize the person for being selfish enough to kill themselves and to scar a man (the driver) for life. Jazzmine even said she's struggled with depression and suicide herself, and yet she doesn't understand how the mind of a suicidal person even works. Suicide is not a selfish choice; to a suicidal person, suicide seems like the ONLY option out of a dark pit; they don't think rationally or clearly when they commit suicide.
Many other people, in fact James again, simply commented "good riddance" and similar. This is the level of bigotry LGBT people face. It's not just misunderstanding the nature of what it is to be transgender; it is pure hatred.
Abigail wrote, in response to my writing that people are ignorant both when it comes to the nature of transgender people and depression, that there's "nothing natural about DENYING what your chromosomes state. If your chromosome declared you to be male then you are male." So far, that's a misunderstanding, so I told her to read up on what it is to be transgender.
Then she started talking about propaganda. She claimed that it is extremists like me who spread propaganda, "forcing people to accept transgendered delusions and calling them bigoted if they do not." She said that people like me are no different from right-wing, conservative extremists. I found this to be a curious position to take. What similarities are there between people who are socially liberal and socially conservative?
At any rate, I replied, "Oh, yes, I am indeed an extremist when it comes to inequality and ignorant bigotry; I am extremely against it. Guilty as charged. What you just wrote says enough about you for me to know that it is no use arguing with you. Seriously, just read about what it is to be transgender. Until then, have fun justifying your bigotry."
She continued to say that I proved her point and that I accuse anyone who disagrees with my "propaganda" of being a bigot. She said social liberalism is going way too far and that I should go join hands with right-wing extremists, an assertion I still don't understand. She wrote, "You clowns demand everyone accept your delusions and lash out against them if they do not." And then she continued, "And go see if your 'anything goes' agenda is what society needs. No limits, no boundaries, no standards. Just extremely politically correct, emotion-based 'acceptance' propaganda."
I wrote to her, "If you knew me at all, you'd know I'm definitely not politically correct or spread emotion-based propaganda (as I see you do). I actually agree that extreme political correctness is a bad thing, but that's not the issue here." I wrote that the science and common sense support acceptance of transgender persons, not her deluded view. She isn't a bigot for disagreeing with me, but for using her own preferences to judge and push down a group of people. I wrote that she's basically saying, "You transgender people don't fit in my worldview, so you're not allowed. Be normal, or get out." Where does this kind of thinking leave transgender people? Not only are they not allowed to be themselves, which I'd say is a basic human right, but they are driven to the brink of suicide and pushed over the edge.
I then questioned what the "anything goes agenda" of which she spoke actually is. I said I haven't heard of it yet, and I've been to all the "Socialists Who Plot with ISIS to Bring Down America with the Help of Muslim Leader Obama" meetings. I also noted that I'm not sure we'd get along with right-wingers. I asked what the limits, boundaries, and standards of which she spoke are. Who gets to decide these standards? I asked if she is the totalitarian leader who decides the standard to which all people must comply, so they don't use their own bodies in a way she doesn't find appropriate. I didn't get an answer.
What's noteworthy here is to point out the classic fear one can often find in both bigotry and a conservative mindset: "What comes next?" That's the simple question that forms the basis for much of the criticisms of social liberalism. "If we allow gays to marry, what comes next? We'll have sex with animals and then we'll start rolling in mud and throwing feces at each other." It's not a rational line of thought; bigotry and socially conservative morals are basically a phobia of change.