In her recent post Blind Guides, Charissa, the writer of Charissa’s Grace Notes says-
“You’re so appalled at what my body is becoming you miss the becoming of my soul.
How unbecoming…how blind.”
On the surface, the words appear to be so simple. And then, as is often the case with Charissa’s words the enormity of those words packed a punch. It came out of the blue, from around the corner and stopped me dead in my tracks.
My son is transgender. Born in a female body, he identifies as male. It’s not a choice he made. He spent most of his life trying to explain to me what he was feeling. (It’s very difficult for a 2 year old to say much more than “I’m a boy!”)
Have you ever thought about how that would feel? To be trapped inside a body that does not fit you in any way? You can’t imagine it. TRY!! please 🙂
Imagine you woke up this morning and you were as much “you” as you ever were inside but your body was that of the opposite sex. Complete package. Guys, you were a fully blossomed woman complete with breasts and your period, oozing blood for a week once a month that you couldn’t stop. Ladies, you were this hairy guy with you know what dangling between your legs. Would you feel that you were any less “you” because of these things? Is that all it would take? This possibly temporary (or maybe not) transformation into the wrong body? And imagine how it would feel if everyone did not acknowledge “you”? If your entire identity and how everyone saw you was based on your parts? If some of your closest people were saying NO? If your relatives looked away when they saw you/couldn’t meet your eyes when you spoke/ACTED LIKE YOU DON’T EXIST?
Are you no longer you?
Now, transgender people do not wake up in the wrong body one morning. They don’t choose to be a different gender. They already are that gender when they are born. The only choice they make is their decision to adapt the body they have been given to represent who they truly are and that can include a vast variety of changes. It doesn’t always mean surgery or hormones or name changes…. It is whatever it takes for them to feel like themselves- a gift most of us were given at birth.
When they make that choice, they are doing something braver and scarier than anything most of us will ever face in our lives. They are exposing their true inner selves to us. They are sharing their most private being with us. They are more vulnerable than most people ever are because they are laying it all out there for us, their trusted loved ones, to see.
And all they want? The things so many people take for granted. To be loved and accepted as who they are. It’s that simple. And what makes me so mad and sad and a million other things that I can’t even express is that most of them will settle for being TOLERATED.
Well, guess what- my child has faced a lot and will face even more throughout the course of his life. What I find unacceptable is when people (and by people, I’m talking about f-word people- I can’t use that word with them because to me it’s something sacred. It’s a word I use for the people who love us unconditionally and stick with us through thick and thin….. and I do not use that f-word with people because of some chance blood connection. Blood is not thicker than water when it comes to that word because if it does, it just made that f-word that word that comes to your mind when you hear that.) who I thought did love my kid unconditionally, now tolerate him.
And by tolerate, I mean that IF they speak to him at all it’s with those stupid inane niceties that mean NOTHING- “Hi! How are you? How’s school? Your hair/shirt/shoes are cute” They mentally check their good deed off their list and send a mental note up to God- “See how supportive I was???” and they move on, blocking my kid from their mind. They don’t really look too closely at him because when they do they can only see the girl they thought he was.
And the ones who completely ignore him, avoiding him at all cost….they probably sneak glances at him out of the corner of their eye or from across the room, as if rubbernecking at an accident on the road. All they see is someone they can’t even acknowledge.
Now to themselves and each other they voice their love and support repeatedly- and it has to be repeatedly because they need to convince themselves that it’s true. But what’s true is that when my kid or that transgender person put themselves out there to their loved one, they really did want love and support and acceptance- not tolerance. And that loved one’s inability to see my kid- REALLY LOOK AT HIM AND SEE KRIS is not accepting, not supportive and not loving. It’s saying that they don’t accept him as himself. That they would prefer to have that messed up suicidal girl they used to know. That they don’t want to make the effort to find out who Kris really is. They look through him, if they look at him at all. And it hurts Kris, and by proxy me on Kris’s behalf, more than words can say.
So, Charissa’s words bring to my mind and heart this song.
I’m looking through you,
Where did you go?
I thought I knew you,
What did I know?
You don’t look different, but you have changed
I’m looking through you, you’re not the same
I feel like I could keep editing this piece for days and not get it right. And by editing it, I feel like it will lose the parts that are coming directly from my heart.
Please take a moment or two to stop by Charissa’s blog- Charissa’s Grace Notes . Her poetry is moving, her words are powerful and her journey is amazing.
Thank you so much for stopping by and if you actually got to the end of this post, double, triple, quadruple thanks!!!