America is my home. I love it for its landscape, its history, and especially its people. I grew-up here; I work here; I shop here; I go to church here; I raised a family here; I laugh, cry, live and likely I will die here.
May I please share something intimate and important, something most people do not guess about my medical history? You see, I am a female person who has become a woman through her transgender nature and experience. My doctors and I have worked for years to help my body match the way my brain is wired. There are complicated reasons for this, and (for my case) the science is pointing to how I was formed in my mother’s womb.
Goodness! Why is this relevant to anything???
Well, it is important because I also use public bathrooms and change-areas. Yes, I know that’s “personal information,” and it should be…really, it should be. But what once was private for me, sadly may no longer be the case…
…Some among us, mostly well-meaning people, grossly misunderstand people like me, and consider us to be a threat, even evil, for just existing as our authentic selves. Many assume God feels this way about us too…
…That is difficult enough, but they also want it to be illegal for me to use the same bathroom and changing facilities that other women use, facilities I have used for years without incident…
…In their eyes, nothing my doctors say, nothing science says, nothing I say, not my legal status, nothing that has or ever could be done to my body can ever amend the opinion of the doctor at my birth when I was assigned “male.”
Do you realize, I could be criminalized for life, for simply using the “wrong” public facilities? Even a minor brush with the law endangers my livelihood, my family, my special position of trust within the Department of Defense, my employability, even my very life.
Some will say: “so just use the men’s room.” Well, only if you want people to be really shocked! Seriously: only if I want to put my life in danger. Ironically, I could easily subject myself to arrest for being in the “wrong” bathroom, because I am legally as well as socially and visibly female.
Neighbors, I am not a threat to anyone, much less my sisters in gender-segregated-areas.
When asked, police departments around the country have confirmed that transgender people are nether predators nor “perverts” in these spaces – on the contrary, there are numerous documented cases of us being hurt by “normal” people. Our fears are backed by tragic experience; the fears of some of you are backed by: nothing.
Dear People, decades of reasoned debate in the medical community is over: we transgender people are not “disturbed” nor “disordered;” we are not “perverts.” We are simply different from most people, in that parts of our biological sex do not align with our gender identity to varying degrees. Each of us find our own way to live with this. Some of us are invisible to you, while many others of us are not. We are no less human beings than any of you; we are no less decent because we are transgender. There is no shame in being transgender.
Whatever your religious, political or personal view is about us: compassion is the appropriate response to people in our community – being transgender is not about sex; it is about who we are as people.
Please remember these things when you think of us, vote, and pray for (or against) us.
Blessings & Joy!!
I sent this letter to a number of newspapers in response to the recent spate of bills in several states that are attempting to criminalize attempts by transgender people to use bathrooms and change-rooms matching their gender identity and presentation. These laws would apply equally to trans people who “pass” poorly and people who blend-in “perfectly.” It will also criminalize the entire population of intersex people, who cannot be seen as anything but innocent in this part of the culture war. To add insult to injury, some bills even criminalize non-trans people who would try to accommodate our needs. Such laws are antithetical to American principals, oppose the highest ideals of the Great Religions, and violate simple, common human decency. They must not be allowed to take effect, as they (and the oppression of all weaker peoples) are a poisonous stain upon our collective souls. [This letter has been edited in minor ways.]