Being Gay - or Straight - Doesn't Give You The Right to be Cruel
Updated: Jan 25
I have a deep love for the LGBT Community. As the Mother of a gay son, I can appreciate more than most that the journey is not always easy and acceptance is often hard-won. With that being said, I would like to say that being gay - or straight - does not give you license to be an ass. Your attitude, not your orientation, says the most about you. Case in point:
The other day, I was in our local bookstore when a transgender person walked in. She was clearly mid-way through her male to female transition and when our eyes met, I smiled and said hello. I always try to give off as much loving, positive energy as I can when I meet members of the LGBT community because I want them to know love and acceptance, at least from me. She didn't say anything and continued her browsing, so I made no attempt at conversation. There were other people in the bookstore and they were not as welcoming. I felt myself growing angry at their sideways glances and whispered comments. I felt protective of this person, even though I didn't know her. She and her friend continued their shopping and I lingered longer than usual, just in case they needed a little support.
About this time, a young woman and her daughter walked in. The little girl was about four and she and her Mom were wearing matching dresses. The Halloween season is upon us and they looked adorable in their black dresses with orange jack-o-lanterns and matching black boots. Holding tightly to her Mom's hand, you could tell she felt like a million bucks in her Halloween dress! She was all smiles...until...
As she passed by the transgender female, this individual let out a long, exaggerated sigh and rolled her eyes at her friend. The friend said "I know what you're thinking..." and this person looked right at this child and said "I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. Dressing exactly alike just makes you look stupid, not cute." Then she laughed, as the little girl and her Mom just stood there, clearly embarrassed for being singled out like that. I was dumbfounded! Here I was, hanging around the bookstore in case this person needed an ally and as it turns out, she was a real bitch. She caught me staring at her and said "What?" in a tone that made me want to slap her sideways. I just shook my head, but she persisted, asking,"Do you have something you'd like to say?"
"Yeah," I replied sarcastically, "You're a dick." Then I smiled at the little girl and her Mom, told them I thought their outfits were precious and walked out. I was very upset by what I had just witnessed! How could someone who expected inclusion herself, be so cruel to an innocent child? I'm sure she has been subjected to the same heartlessness and criticism. Did it just cause her to lose her compassion? Did she even care? I really don't think so. I think the fact is, she is just not a nice person, whatever her orientation. Skin color, gender identity, religious affiliation- none of that determines whether you're a nice person. That comes from within and unfortunately, can't be changed with surgery.
I know my name-calling wasn't the best example for that child. I'm sure I could have handled the situation with more grace, but in the moment, that was all I could think of to say. Next time - if there is a next time - maybe I will say "I'm sorry this world has made you hard and you feel it's appropriate to take your wounded feelings out on an innocent kid. I wish you could see that your worth isn't based on what you look like or what your gender is. I wish you understood that she will remember your words, possibly for the rest of her life. You robbed her of something precious and you - of all people - should know better. Shame on you." That might be more productive than calling names and walking out; but you don't get to hurt someone and then cry "Bias!" when I call you out on it. Just like I don't get to call names and call it "justified".
Looks like we both have a lot to learn.