Writing 101, Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern
Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.
Dear Well- Meaning Person,
When dealing with a transgender person who is not walking around wearing a t-shirt that says “Born a girl, now a boy,” respect his privacy.
Transitioning is a major life-altering process. It is important for a transgender person to be acknowledged as the gender with which he identifies. For some, this will be a lifelong process with times of going back and forth or somewhere in between. This will happen for a variety of reasons- maybe they have no choice due to circumstances or maybe they are trying to figure out exactly what they want to present to the world. Acceptance as the person they know they are inside is VITAL to their existence.
Please understand that this is not a form of dishonesty. Let’s get real here. Do you practice full-disclosure with every person you meet? Do you tell everyone you know that your child is in therapy or has a learning disability or is on medication for anxiety? It’s no one’s business, right? You only share those intimate details with certain people, right? A transgender person’s sex at birth is his business and no one else’s.
I know that you might have questions. By all means, feel free to ask them. Just use common sense. Sexual orientation is different than gender identity. Transitioning does not always mean hormones and/or surgery.
I know that you mean well. Maybe you are trying to show how “fine” you are with this. If so, great! Show it even more and support the transgender person by accepting and loving him. And oh yeah, respecting his right to privacy! Outing a transgender person without his permission is not cool.
Have a nice day!