The L.A. Times ran an article about a nine -year old transgender girl. She’s nine. She’s always identified as a girl, even as a toddler she wanted to play with toys traditionally associated with girls, wear girl costumes when Halloween rolled around, she always gravitated towards little girls at play time- in other words, it was clear to anyone who had half a mind to notice, to see, that he was a she. She may have been born with a male anatomy, but her brain was absolutely female. Lucky for her, she has parents that are educated, and wise, in touch with their child’s reality, accepting of who she is, supportive from a very early age. She’s lucky that way.
She’s also fortunate that she lives in California where the law states she can use the restroom she identifies with; she can play on the girl’s volleyball team, because she is a… girl. She’s unique in that she has remained at the same school after transitioning, meaning there are students who knew her as a ‘he’ before she transitioned which has created some confusion, but also the opportunity for education and understanding, it has also opened the door for bullying, but bullies as we all know flourish everywhere, so I guess that’s to be expected.
I just can’t stop thinking about the ‘what if,’ what if she lived in North Carolina where the state is battling the federal government to restrict transgender kids, and adults the right to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. I imagine they would move to a state that is accepting and tolerant, enlightened, because the state of North Carolina is anything but enlightened, and it’s frightening to think how many people are ignorant and just plain stupid when it comes to the subject of transgender.
Why are people so fearful of what they don’t understand? It was the same when AIDS was first publicly talked about, the confusion, the hatred, the prejudice was astounding. Kids were banished from schools, people were treated as outcasts; there was so much misinformation, and mistaken information and fear. Why anyone would be afraid of a transgender child or adult is beyond me. I can understand the transgender person being fearful, their fear makes sense to me in a climate of ignorance and stupidity, and some people can just be mean and vicious when confronted with something they don’t understand. But here’s the thing I don’t understand, we live in a digital age where information about anything is readily available, so why are so many people so ignorant?
This little girl was asked by one of her friends, “What’s transgender mean?” She answered, “Google it.” The girl did, and told her that she and her grandmother had learned what it meant. It was that simple to go from being ignorant to becoming informed. Why can’t everyone educate themselves, and stop being ignorant?
It’s because a lot of people, a frightening number of people are happy in their ignorance, happy in their hate and mistrust, their narrow bigoted ways. These are the people we need to fear, to establish laws against, worry about exposing our children to, not some little girl just wanting to be who she is.