My Family is in the Crosshairs
Pride is Every Day!
I am the proud grandmother of four grandchildren. I am lucky. All my grandchildren are healthy, smart, aware and well-behaved. Each one has a unique personhood and each one is deeply loved. They live surrounded by good role models and plenty of opportunities.
Two of my grandchildren are cisgender and two of my grandchildren are trans. I have concerns for the world my cisgender grandchildren will inherit and want the best for them, but right now I do not perceive them as gravely at risk. My trans grandchildren on the other hand are the targets of a campaign of political hatred that is causing pain and anxiety to families like mine all over the country.
My trans granddaughter is a talented and beautiful 15 year old who loves making music, reading novels and spending time with her boyfriend. She's politically and socially aware and wise beyond her years. My other trans grandchild is 11 and they identify as nonbinary. With an hilarious sense of humor and an inimitable sense of style, my nonbinary grandchild is a true delight to all who know them. Right now, they are mostly interested in their dogs, their pet rats and design and fashion. If you knew either of these precious children you would be hard pressed not to fall in love. If you spent even an hour with their families you would find yourself in an environment characterized by wholesomeness, respect, kindness and joy.
These children and their parents are just trying to live their lives as they see fit while harming no one. They want to pursue life, liberty and happiness in freedom and peace, as is their right. Unfortunately, politicians have found it profitable to focus on hatred of trans families. They want to force us to conform to rigid, binary concepts of male and female. Just as they have restricted women's reproductive rights now they want to deprive children and trans adults of gender affirming care. They care nothing for the human right to bodily autonomy because for the most part their bodily autonomy is not in question.
Some of the people making these laws appear to be ignorant about cruelty they are inflicting. Others know better but see that hatred and ignorance are more likely to get votes than nuanced human understanding. Faced with these powerful forces some people feel they have no choice but to hide or flee the discrimination that is being unleashed. For children trying to come out as trans this situation can lead to profound misery, even suicidal behavior. For families in states where these laws have been enacted the suffering is overwhelming. What can be done?
Mindfulness practice requires that we renounce ignorance, hatred and greed whenever they arise. To counter ignorance, learn all you can about gender nonconforming identities and develop an informed understanding about the rights of individuals, including children, to bodily autonomy. To counter hatred, renounce hating persons who are different from you. Instead, bring respect and compassion to the forefront when interacting with others whether in person or on social media. Confront hateful behavior from others directly without resorting to hateful actions such as insults and name-calling. Speak up, speak out and be an ally to trans families and LGBTQ people in your life. Vote out the perpetrators of these discriminatory laws. And finally, to confront greed, recognize that the voice that says "Don't bother with concerns about trans families--just get what you can for yourself and your family and look the other way."
No. Take the time to know, understand and bring compassion to all the people in your life, not just your own family. Be especially concerned about vulnerable people targeted by the powerful. Do not turn a blind eye to prejudice. When prejudice is ignored grows like a cancer.
May your mindful practice bring you courage and peace.
Here are a few resources I recommend to learn more: www.hrc.org
www.thetrevorproject.org -- general information
Transgender 101, by Nicholas Teich, John Malone, et al--an oldie but goodie full of information
The Transgender Teen, by Stephanie H. Brill, Coleen Marlo, et al
Being Jazz: My Life as a Transgender Teen, by Jazz Jennings