I would like to write about the way last weekend’s snowstorm robbed my little village of its short season of fall color. I would like to write about playing with my granddaughters yesterday, as they took on convincing British accents and pretended they were royalty. I would like to write about how wonderful Jen Jepsen’s sermon was on Saturday evening, as we continue our series on the ethos of Left Hand Church. I would like to write about anything other than what I feel the need to write about today. But thanks to the current administration in Washington D.C., that is not possible.
Yesterday the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is preparing to defy the conclusions of the medical and psychological communities and declare that transgender people do not exist. If current estimates are true, and .58 percent of the population is transgender, then in one stroke of a pen 1.88 million Americans will be erased from existence. A few weeks ago, I would have trusted our nation’s courts to overturn such a misguided policy. Today, not so much.
Let me spell out some practical ways in which this might affect me. I might no longer be able to travel outside the United States, because my next passport renewal would list my gender as male. I might lose medical coverage for a plethora of conditions, because my federally guaranteed health insurance would list my gender as male. I might lose all guarantee of access to medications and surgeries that are gender confirming.
I would lose all federal civil rights protections related to housing, employment, education and medical care. Religious institutions already have exemptions from providing these rights. That is the sole reason I could be dismissed by all of my employers just for being transgender, not even for actually transitioning.
I ask my conservative acquaintances, most of which are evangelical, what do you hope to gain from the enaction of this policy? Do you think it will force me transition back to the male gender? Do you have the misguided notion that would be a good thing?
We do not know the suicide statistics for those who transition back to the gender on their birth certificate. It happens so rarely that no clinical studies have been done. The latest study indicates 96 percent of those who transition genders are happy in their new gender. But a few do transition back, which is what those supportive of this decision would expect all of us to do.
How would those people do? While there are no statistics on the subject, when I looked at something easier to determine, I was shocked. When transgender women who are as well known as I am have transitioned back to their birth gender, 100 percent have ended their lives. I am not surprised. I cannot begin to imagine how impossibly difficult that would be.
So, if you are in favor of this new policy, and you expect all of us to de-transition, you really only have two options. You are either going to have to confess your ignorance, or you are going to have to accept that you want all of us to die. Yeah, well, we’re not going to die. We’re here to stay. Got it?
One of my granddaughters happened by my computer yesterday when it was opened to the front page of the New York Times. She saw the word transgender, and being the inquisitive child she is, asked what the article was about. I told her, and she wanted to talk about it. Two of my other granddaughters were present and I explained as simply as I could, “Well, the president wants to make the nation pretend that transgender people like me do not exist.” One of the twins said, “But Gramma Paula, if they knew you, they wouldn’t be afraid of you. They would like you.” “Yes, ” I said, “That is probably true.”
All three started coloring again, and one of them casually said, “Sometimes people are stupid.” “Indeed, they are,” I replied.
Or maybe they are not stupid. Maybe they know exactly what they are doing. Maybe they want to see how the nation reacts to eradicating the rights of a very marginalized group to see what will happen. If nothing happens, they will know they can move on to larger groups. But there’s no historical precedent for that, right?
17 thoughts on “Sometimes, People Are Stupid”
This is utterly horrifying. The wilful ignorance of the current administration is shocking to the rest of the world. I keep hoping that all of the minority groups (and one slight majority group – women) will unite against all of this dangerous rhetoric. There has to be a tipping point. I would have thought it would have been before now, but let’s hope it’s on Nov 6th.
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So many people foresaw the evident fascism of Trump prior to his election and yet a huge swathe of America chose to ignore it (believe me, it’s not much better on this side of the pond!!) His actions and rhetoric are so worrying to the whole world. I’m sorry for the way he has undermined who you are (and all other transgender people). I really, sincerely, hope that his ludicrous policy can be stopped in its’ tracks .. as you say, what do they hope to achieve!!
Thank you so much Trudy. And I’m sorry it isn’t much better in your neck of the woods!
I finally put words to what I had been feeling (and denying) all of my life on Oct 15th: I am a girl. Being 5…over 30, I have found hope and comfort in Paula’s story (Ted talk ftw. Thank you very much!). Less than a week later this happens. I have to remind myself constantly that the great country I defended for 10 years is still here somewhere, we just need to rescue it from both extremes before she torn in half.
As to your God Child: Out of the mouths of babes great truths can be heard.
I agree, sometimes people are stupid. When will we learn how we limit our love for others and for ourselves? There are many angry men ( in my case I’ve been bullied the most by men) , and I am sure there are angry folks of any gender. Let’s work things out so we can talk to each other in polite discourse. Otherwise, there’s no hope of working this out.
You are an inspiration, and the bravest woman I know of. Thank you and I will resist, even though it may seem I’m exempt from the madness in Washington. If we allow one group to go under, we collectively go under. Stand strong Gramma Paula!
Thank you so much Clare!
Every time I think there is no way, no POSSIBLE way, that the circus taking place in this country could get any worse, the clowns step up their game. I am sickened, horrified, and so, so furious. And so helpless. The people who represent me and mine are already doing what they can to combat this virus. It’s up to the folks on the mainland to open their eyes and see the clowns for the clowns that they are. To see past the images and rhetoric designed to most appeal to their particular set of priorities. The women in those groups are as indoctrinated as their menfolk, and all of them seem to support lunacy, I don’t even know what can be done for them, for just as one can lead a horse to water but not make it drink, one cannot open the mind of a person who does not wish to have their mind opened.
This country could be so much more than it is, and that we have fallen so far, so fast, is truly mind-boggling. I was reading an article recently about Australia (my birthplace) and their compulsory voting requirements. What a concept. It is required, by law, that every individual over the age of 18 must vote or pay a fine. They make all sorts of effort to ensure that no matter the circumstance, your vote may be cast, be you in hospital or home-bound, basically the only way you are excluded is if you’re in jail with a sentence that exceeds three years. Can you imagine what that would look like in THIS country? Shocking! And so long overdue!
All of us in the LGBTQA+ community are on my mind a lot these days. I hope something changes for the better, and soon. Thank you for continuing to speak up. It means the world and is so, so important.
I just read yesterday that they only expect about 20 percent of Gen Z to vote. Quite sad.
It is mind boggling. I was horrified when I read this in this morning’s paper. Really?
I am hoping that the tide will reverse itself. We will see what the elections bring, and where we have to go from there.
The leaves going suddenly to brown and dry from just beginning to turn rather mirror these horrible changes. And there will be spring either way. And many of us are paying attention and are angry.
Yes, there will be spring!
This is why it is so important on November 6th, to get out and vote, and also to encourage other friends and family members to do the same. The Millennial generations accounts for one-third of the electorate. I have read that young voters are more likely to support issues such as legalizing same-sex marriage, supporting a pathway to citizenship for immigrants and legalizing abortion than other age demographics. Every vote matters. Through voting you have the opportunity to influence the government. Citizens of many countries complain about the world around them, and many don’t have to option to change that world. However, WE do, so lets change it!
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Paula, here is a petition that is currently floating around. Not sure if any of your followers know about it, but I figured I would place it here just in case (can’t put it on a comment section of your Facebook for some reason).
Reading this from the other side of the world is horrifying. Thank you for shedding light on this for all of us.
You are right on. As someone who is almost 50 and has grown up in and spent my whole life in Evangelical churches and now finally accepting that I am transgender I share your same perspectives and concerns. This is very disturbing.
Just saw your post, Paula. Love your writing, and began following you because I have so many wonderful trans friends and family members. I uphold that my world, and the world in general, is much better and interesting because you’re all in it. And it is just wonderful that you’re OUT there, generously offering your brilliant and affirming words. Be safe, my dear, and hang steady.
Thank you so much!