Let’s say you’re at a party. Someone comes up to you and introduces themselves. “Hi, I’m Carol.” You look at them and say, “You don’t look like a Carol, so I’m going to call you Brenda.” For the rest of the night, you insist on calling them by the wrong name, but you get angry when they don’t answer to the name you’ve decided to call them. You’re a jerk.
This is what I have seen happening the last few days on social media after Caitlyn Jenner revealed her new name. Despite the fact that there are many people who have supported and encouraged the acceptance and protection of people not inside the cisgender and cissexual boxes, there are still influential voices, mostly in the conservative sphere, insisting that they have the right to misname and misgender Caitlyn Jenner.
I’ve pointed out before that no one has a right to decide how another person presents or by what name they will be called. Stay in your lane, folks. This is not about you. If you haven’t gone through this person’s experiences, maybe you don’t know enough to have an educated opinion.
Do you want to have an opinion? Go do your damn research. Spend time reading about the process, listen to people’s stories, try to see life from their point of view. After all that, if you’re still demanding you be allowed to say whatever you like, guess what? You’re still not educated enough to dictate someone else’s life. That’s not in your control (and I thank my lucky stars for that). Learn to keep your uninformed opinions to yourself
Mike Huckabee’s disgusting display of uneducated idiocy shows that people in power do not understand the basics of human variability, nor that of basic human decency. Gender, sexuality, and romantic orientation are all fluid. This isn’t just wishful thinking. This is real life.
As someone who doesn’t fit into the cisgender/cissexual boxes, it is painful to see this sort of hatred pouring out of the mouths of leaders who are supposed to be serving the people. How can I trust that leaders have our best interests at heart when they seem to be catering to a very niche crowd that wants to stone gay people and allow their teenagers to molest children without alerting the authorities?
Luckily, there are people, Caitlyn included, who are working to change this. Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, and others are in a place where they can speak on these issues and bring them to light. We need to stand together if we’re going to make this world a better place. People like Leelah Alcorn must be protected. We must do what we can to prevent such tragedies from repeating.
Caitlyn, I’m pleased to meet you. I’m glad you’re here.Image Credits: Vanity Fair