Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Walking the walk

I've come to realize that I talk the talk really well; I ain't walking the walk so good.  Why have I not shared my blog on Facebook?  The answer came to me the other day while I was at work.

Lady Gaga, no matter how you feel about her music, is a trailblazer when it comes to speaking up for the folks in this country who are often overlooked, ridiculed, and misunderstood.  If Bulldog and I allowed our daughter to tattoo, "Baby I was born this way," it would have been staring at me from the front of her forehead by now.  So the other day, when Lady Gaga was on a music awards show dressed as a "guy" one of my coworkers just shook his head and made some remark resembling, "What is wrong with people today?"

I realize that I'm in a fairly good position in my life right now.  I'm secure in my job, respected among colleagues in my profession in my department and multiple other departments.  I've worked with enough people and taught enough people that they KNOW I'm not "fruity" or overtly weird.  In fact, I've even managed to change a few people's minds regarding how they perceive people suffering from depression, how they perceive gay people, and African Americans, as well.   Granted, the one or two  male coworkers that I might have influenced may not be ready to hug a gay man, but at least they won't openly sneer in a gay man's presence.

My daughter goes to school and she frankly doesn't give a damn, in the sweetest way possible, WHAT people think, on the whole.  She's ready to be responsible to other people in her shoes by speaking out and being open about her reality.  She's not "in your face" about it, but she doesn't pull any punches on Facebook.  And let's face it, EVERYBODY in high school is on Facebook.  She knows the risk she's taking and takes it willingly, nonetheless, because she believes transparency allows the light of truth to shine more brightly.

And me?  I could make some of my Facebook friends see what a regular family with a transgender family member is like.  She's not strange, we're not strange.  And after all, isn't that what changes people's minds?  We can easily disparage what we don't know up close and personal.  But once we meet  and know people who embody what would previously frighten us, it's just so much harder to revile those people to the same degree.  Those kinds of baby steps led to repealing of poll taxes, allowing women to vote, more and more women in positions of authority in the workplace, hell, the making of the Grand Canyon even.

What's holding me back?  It's simple and everyone who may be reading it has certainly guessed it by now.  I'm afraid.  I will be outed- that's how it feels to me and my misery over my guilt only potentiates my cowardice.  People will snicker about my daughter and about me.  They will think we've done something wrong as parents.  I'm not ready to hear remarks about my daughter.  I don't know what I'll do and I'm terrified at what I might not do which is to tear whoever dares to speak against my daughter in my presence a new posterior orifice, because I'm too much of a freaking pansy.

So, as I listened to my coworker's remark about the state of humanity, I realized I had an opportunity to share, and I didn't.  And then I hearkened back to what Bulldog said that first day after DJ came out-"I hope I can be as brave as you."  I'm not as brave, not even close.