Caitlyn Jenner was on 20/20 tonight. It was not all about her this time, it was about transgender people in general with Caitlyn as a draw.
I’m watching this now and feel compelled to pause and post about this. I’m going to make this post all about me. Sort of. Because I tend to come screeching in kicking and screaming here a lot. One of the subjects I am most likely to do that on is gay rights. I will tell you that I am a proud fag hag from the beginning of time. That I have been waiving the gay flag proudly since the 1980s. I am the most accepting person of gay people who ever lived to hear me tell it, and I have always been this way.
That is a lie.
I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. I was baptized in the Mediterranean sea when I was 9 or 10 years old, because my friend Marvella was baptized. And she was someone I looked up to as a kid. We talked about it in the yard of my villa where we were sent outside to play for long periods of time. As I recall, she was telling me if we just dug deep enough, we could get to China. I believed her. I don’t think I wanted to go to China anymore than I wanted to go anywhere else that my parents were dragging me all the time, Malta, Madrid, Beirut, most often. It just seemed like a good use of our time. We had a purpose. I probably got my ass beat because we actually had a lawn inside the villa walls and that was no easy task in the Sahara.
Up through the first two years of high school, I went on mission trips with my church youth group, sang in the youth choir while my choir director hoped I would quit or at least lip sync. He and my pastor who I thought knew everything were both fired. The pastor as it turned out was a child molester and the choral director, and a deacon were both rumored to be having gay sex in a local park known for such things.
So I really don’t know when my adoration of gay males began exactly. It was some time after that. College I suppose where I really started to notice that a lot of my closest confidants were gay. I would later discover this is a common thing with females who have been sexually abused. All the fun of a gorgeous man, with none of the fear. When the Internet happened, I was immediately obsessed. And as it turned out my imaginary Internet friends were more often gay men.
One of the most profound relationships of my life is actually an online relationship with a gay man. He has enriched my life in so many ways. He has donated to the my classrooms when I taught. He has given me expensive personal gifts that blew my mind. The two best gifts he has ever given me was to be my friend despite my beliefs and behavior that may have hurt him and the things he has taught me.
For many of our initial years we were more imaginary Internet acquaintances. He has been in a long-term relationship since I met him. I remember telling him early on in our acquaintance that I was not really down with gay marriage. I was still clinging to a lot of religious beliefs from my childhood. I’m pretty well versed in the Bible. I studied it since high school fairly seriously for a bit for personal reasons. I told my new friend at the time that the Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. I explained to him that marriage was about family and children and that if gay people wanted to have the right to medical decision-making and such that was just fine with me, but they should probably just call it a civil union.
On the top ten list of things I am ashamed of, that text conversation is way up there.
Admitting all that should probably get my fag hag card revoked. Only it doesn’t. Because of him. He eventually got married. And he never stopped talking to me. He never preached to me or told me I was a brainwashed idiot. He barely even argued his points. He kept being my friend. He’s been my friend for over a decade now. We don’t talk a lot about “his marriage” we mainly just talk like friends. He will say, my husband and I are going here or there. He is married. The conversations we have with regard to him being a man married to another man are just like the ones I have with my straight friends who are married. He is a huge reason that I am such a strong advocate for gay men. I also had a close bond with a female co-worker and her partner who both worked at the same job I did. My point is, it is all the same.
And then the transgender thing happened. I got a LOT of backlash when I said that Caitlyn was clearly transitioning. There is literally no other reason for a man to shave his trachea. I was fine with it. See? Why do I need to be fine with it, why do you? What difference does it make to us?
If I remember my point while watching this show, and I do have one, it is I think we need to be more understanding of others. And watching this show with parents of transgender children really reminded me of how far I have come regarding gay rights. Despite my lack of knowledge at first, my gay aquaintance who became a friend and a huge presence in my life, has stood by me no matter what stupid shit I have done. AND THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF STUPID SHIT I HAVE DONE. That one person, who stuck by me when I was ignorant about so many things. Has taught me so much. He has done it through being kind to me. And incredibly forgiving. SOFA KING forgiving. I can’t count the days when I have woken up and said, well, I fucked that friendship up.
The transgender issue is something that many people are having a hard time understanding. I guess, my point in making it all about me, or making it all about my friend, was brought on by the part of the show where those who were not particularly compassionate to the cause became more compassionate when they went to the interview with the parents of transgender children.
If someone you love is transgender, then compassion comes easily. And understanding is soon to follow. I came here to post this after checking my twitter line. I don’t follow a lot of people but a lot of those I do are gay men. And I was particularly disheartened by the abusive comments I read on my timeline by some of them.
As an independent, I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. That pretty much means my democrat friends think I am Republican and my Republican friend think I am a liberal democrat. But it is my liberal democratic male gay friends that I saw bashing Caitlyn tonight I found disturbing enough to post this. Maybe they are just angered by her initial ignorance. Perhaps they didn’t watch the show at all. There is a T at the end of the LGBT community acronym. And even more Ts I think in the whole lengthy ridiculous acronym. It’s upsetting to me that the gay community is not as accepting to Caitlyn as they are to me. We all had to learn sometime.
That said, Caitlyn has allegedly gotten bottom surgery and plans to release a full frontal photo shoot. I think I speak for everyone when I say we don’t need of full frontal photo shoot of ANY ONE who is 67 years old regardless of gender, sexual preference etc…
Then again, I’ve been wrong before. Maybe we need to see it to understand?
The end of the story is about loneliness and family. It’s taken me a long time to write this. It is a personal post I may regret tomorrow as I have been relaxing with some wine.
But I am noticing a big trend on social media and here. There is a lot more hate than there is love on this site. I blame that on the fact we are all CONSUMED with watching shows where people are rewarded for bad behavior. I can’t seem to make a shift away from those shows. We are all feeding into that mentality, myself included. Bravo tends to promote “people you love to hate.” This feels like a problem to me. In politics it’s become about hating the other party rather than listening.
If we all don’t stop escalating the situation, things will only get worse. This is something I think about a lot lately.