This post is going to make some people angry. Some people will get upset with me. Others might write me off as a friend. But I am done. Done, done, done, done, done.
This is the image that has brought this to a head for me. This is Caitlyn Jenner. After years and years and years of confusion, frustration, anger, hiding, and fear, Bruce Jenner decided he was finished with lying & pretending. He decided he was ready to share his journey with the world.
And, as expected, there has been hate spewed at his reveal and subsequent introduction of Caitlyn. People using words like “monster”, “monstrosity”, “gross”, “creature” and other derogatory descriptions. I’m sure she expected it. But that doesn’t make it right.
Let me set down a few foundation stones here so you understand where I’m coming from. I am a born-again Christian. I love Jesus Christ and have accepted Him as my Savior. I strive to be more like Him, see myself the way He sees me and to treat others in Christ-like manner.
In 2003, I had a baby. A baby that I thought would be like every other baby. I was shocked and leveled by the realization, at 2 weeks old, that this beautiful baby has Down Syndrome. Through no fault of his own, through no choice, through nothing I did wrong, my son jumped from “normal” to “different” in the span of a second. In that second, I realized that my entire worldview needed to change. I needed to be an advocate for my son – for who he is, what he is, what he does, and what he can do. I realized, through the thoughtless and hurtful words of others, that I had no control over how others viewed my son, what they thought of his “disability”, and (thanks to an “I’ll pray for healing” comment) their ignorant & short-sighted viewpoints. From that moment, I decided that if I wanted to have a world for Henry that gave him all the opportunities he deserved, I had to work on changing how people saw him. Letting them “know” him – either personally or through my blog. And that’s what I did. I will not tolerate others using the word “retarded”. I will not stand by and let others treat my son like he has a disease or he’s catching or he is somehow less deserving of love & acceptance.
As I grew older and became close to (mostly) young people I knew who were gay, lesbian, bisexual or in any other way “non-traditional” in their gender identity or sexuality, I realized something. How hypocritical I’d been. These people I knew, came across online, or saw on TV no more made a “choice” about these issues than Henry did in having Down Syndrome. Than Steven did in having Asperger’s. Than I do in having brown hair. This is who they are. You cannot convince me otherwise. When someone knows these things at 5, this is not a choice. Nobody would choose this. Years of confusion, self-hatred, denial, hiding, all of it so they could….what? Why would you choose those feelings?
Anyway. I made a decision that I haven’t really talked about. And you know why? Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that my friends who are also Christians would attack me. Would judge me. Would feel it’s their duty to convince me I’m wrong. Throwing Bible verses at me.
You know what it is I do? I love people. I accept them where they are. I encourage them, build them up, and allow them to be who they are. Because THAT is what Jesus told me to do. Not to lecture them or tell them they’re wrong or who they are is a mistake. (Digress: Can you IMAGINE? Spending your whole life being told that who you are and what you feel is wrong on every level? What that would do to your mind, your soul, your spirit? THAT is what so many people in this community have felt all of their lives. And don’t tell me “well, people feel they should be able to have sex with children or animals – is THAT okay?” Because that’s just ignorant. I won’t even bother to explain why, because if you need me to, you need more than I can give you.)
THAT is my choice. I will absolutely, unequivocally, with my whole heart, LOVE people. Straight people, gay people, bi people, trans people, ALL people. I will acknowledge that who they are is who they are. I will never make them feel small or wrong or a mistake or anything other than acceptable JUST AS THEY ARE. I know there are people out there who will talk about sin and sinners and “hate the sin & love the sinner” and “The Bible says….” and all sorts of ChristianSpeak. Here’s what I have to say about that. If my going to heaven rests on making sure that other humans on this planet know that I think who they are is wrong? I DON’T WANT TO GO. I have zero interest spending eternity in a heaven filled with self-righteous, stone-throwing, hate-filled souls who spent their time on Earth crushing the spirits of others.
I choose love. I choose encouragement. I choose edification. I choose support. I would rather be wrong about an issue and have a legacy of love than be right and have some person’s suicide on my heart. And as far as Caitlyn Jenner goes – congratulations. Accepting who you are is a huge thing. Speaking out about it in a world that wants to call you names and tell you you’re wrong is very brave. Bringing all of yourself into the light is empowering. I myself haven’t done this fully. But others would encourage me to do it and that I should and “who you are is great!” Why do I deserve that, but Caitlyn doesn’t? Because you think it’s wrong? Great. Think it’s wrong – that’s your business & your right. Nobody is asking you to be a transgender woman or man. No one is asking you to be gay. No one is asking that you change anything about yourself. They’re simply being who they are and asking to be it. Does it directly affect you? Then why are you so upset about it?
“Oh, but what do I tell my children? Why should they have to see this???” Because the world is diverse and filled with differences. You know what? I’ve already explained it to my 5 year old – and HE GETS IT. People are different. Some boys love boys. Some girls love girls. Some boys realize they’re actually girls. Some people have Down Syndrome and look different and can’t do everything you do. Some people have autism and can’t handle loud noises. Some people are smaller than you’re used to. It affects you in absolutely no way. Just accept it and treat them like you’d want to be treated.
How can I ask it for my children and not give it to others? Answer: I can’t. We are all just people trying to get by on this Earth – trying to love and be loved, trying to explore, learn, grow, experience, and make connections.
Oh, and if you feel it’s all being “shoved down your throat”? This is me totally not caring. ALL of the people I’ve mentioned (including those with DS and autism and other “acceptable” differences) have our “normality” shoved down their throat every freaking day – for the past 2000+ years. They see it played out over and over in everything they see, hear, smell & taste. Plus, they get our judgment SHOVED DOWN THEIR THROAT as well. They’re not asking for much – just to been seen and acknowledged as fellow humans. So, if you have an ounce of humanity in your body, do that. Please. Not only for them, but for you. Your world will be changed. Opened and brightened and made more rich & full. God loves differences. If you cannot accept that, then I hope you never, ever HAVE to embrace it.
ETA: While I appreciate and respect the differing viewpoints others have shared here (at least the ones that were kind & respectful), I’ve made a decision. I do not believe that I want comments on this post – that is my post about my feelings and my viewpoint – that continue the tradition of making sure those who are different are told that they’re wrong. I believe they have come across that particular idea enough in their lives and do not wish that this post is another place that they must hear it. Therefore, I am removing comments of this ilk and will not approve further comments like it. I have received personal, private emails from people who have bared their souls to me. Sharing their stories of hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and despair. I cannot allow more of that to happen on my blog. Please understand, I am not trying to censor anyone’s viewpoint. This is MY blog and I do have the right to make a decision about the comments. You have a right to your opinion and there are plenty of other places on the internet where it can be shared. Oh, I’m also going to change my sentiment of “shut up”. Because that was rude. Thank you for understanding.Tweet