Let’s talk for a minute about the shitstorm that is social media. It’s a wonderful awesome terrible thing. I’m going to let you in on a secret. It’s something that I had an inkling of for sometime, but it’s becoming more evident as time passes.
The big secret? You should not be “friends” with everyone you know. I’ll say that again. Just because you know a person, that does NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD BE FACEBOOK FRIENDS.
This is my life. I went to school with you 20 years ago. We ran into each other in Wal-Mart about 8 years ago. So now, I have to be your facebook friend for the rest of my natural life. Right? Wrong.
My wife has lately been the target of some people excluding her from activities because of me. Let me rephrase that…. because they think that I am the second coming of Satan herself, with better fashion sense and a much higher dose of estrogen, my wife can’t go to the movies with them. *AHEM*
So she found out that they were going to a movie and she wasn’t being invited. Why? Because I’m transgender, it might make this person uncomfortable because their religious beliefs conflict. Which of course, pissed me off. Not because they don’t support me being trans. But because they would exclude my wife from their reindeer games, only because I am transgender. Nothing changed about my wife, she’s still married. Still loves her kids, still loves her spouse. She’s just got a wife instead of a husband. I mean, I can’t even picture this person. I’m sure I’ve met her, but I don’t know her. I wasn’t trying to get invited to go see Magic Mike with them. (There’s a certain amount of irony that being trans is a mortal sin, but lusting after men in a movie is ok. Hey, whatever fits your narrative.) However, this was someone that my wife has known since childhood and obviously their views as they’ve matured have grown apart.
Apparently, the person de-friended my wife on facebook, which initially made me mad. I said some choice words about the situation. But looking back? Good. My wife has been very vocal on FB about trans issues and LGBT stuff in general, since I came out. It’s an issue that is now important to her, due to our relationship. As I told her, “You post more about it than I do.”
She’s also fairly active in the church and it’s very apparent that some people there, including some people in her own family are not my strongest supporters. They do pray for her and the kids though. Which is sweet. I always laugh when someone posts that. They never pray for me. Which I am perfectly ok with. I don’t need nor want their prayers. Mostly, because I’m sure they’re praying for me to be a man and not forsake God’s great creation of my body. They’re praying for my mortal soul and my whatever. Again, pray for your own damn sins. I’m over here enjoying my life. I AIN’T GOT NO TIME FOR THAT!
But that’s the whole point, I’ve de-friended people for their extreme right wing posts, hate speech, etc. Why? Because I don’t carry those beliefs. Would I shun these acquaintances if I ran into them at a barbeque? Of course not. That’s how we became friends. Over a beer. That’s where it should have stayed. A funny guy at a barbeque that I met once that’s a friend of a friend. I don’t need to be his facebook friend.
So when you’re considering that you have nearly 1200 people that you’re “friends” with, you should consider that. Statistically, they’re not all going to share your views. They don’t have to. I think you should surround yourself with people who support you. Which means thinning the herd.
Update – 7/19/2015
I need to take my own advice. I wake up and check my phone because, well, that’s what I do. What do I find?
I do have a sense of humor and I do enjoy laughing. However, do I need to be the punchline to every joke? Of course, I replied to this person’s post. By the time I got to my computer to collect my thoughts, they had deleted the post.
26 comments, not one of which was corrective of this transphobic garbage.. just a lot of agreement that being trans isn’t brave. More of how Caitlyn stole the Arthur Ashe award from runner-up disabled veteran Noah Galloway. (Which of course, is patently false.) More of how she/he was running away from being a man and that there was no courage in that. And of course, me. The whole post deleted before anyone other than the original author saw it, read something along the lines of “Why not just refer to us transgender folks as IT, that might be easier for you.” That’s the gist. I feel like it had more zing to it, but who knows. It’s 5AM, after all.
I will say that my post originally had very little to do with being transgender. I used that as a jumping point to say that just because you know a person doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to be their facebook friend. The reason is pretty simple. At some point, they’re going to show you what’s really on their mind. That truth, it may not be what you think of that person. It’s similar to the old saying “Never meet your heros.” That said, I guess that’s changed with this addendum.
Whether you want to admit it or not, transgender folks are brave. It’s a requirement to live this life. Unless you never admit to anyone that you are trans and you live a miserable life hiding yourself from the world. You can’t be openly transgender and not have some element of bravery and/or courage. Walking out of the house presenting in a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth is scary. The first time I left the house in a dress, I was terrified. Had it not been for a doctor that insinuated that I wasn’t female or trans enough, I wouldn’t have done it so soon. He, in his own shitty way, forced my hand. It’s the only good thing I can say about my experience with him. He pushed me out of my comfort zone. When I showed up in his office later that morning in my floral print dress and my leggings, he looked me up and down and said “Good for you.” Later that day, I walked into my first public women’s room at the mall. Not too long after that, I went to easter dinner and was misgendered and dead named repeatedly. No one corrected anyway. I sat in the corner, considering the fact that this could be the rest of my life. Up
In the end, it’s all about keeping your head high — keeping forward movement and just doing what you need to do to survive. Anyone who thinks that doesn’t contain some element of bravery is an idiot, and frankly I haven’t got the time.