Transsexuals & Others on the Fringes of Society
By: J. Marlando
Like a lot of other people I was raised to grimace at the sight of blatant homosexuality or even the thought that anyone might be "that way." After all, I was a straight human being who had my first "affairs" with Playboy's centerfolds and a good imagination. Eventually I grew up and married. That was nearly forty years ago. When I was in my teens, however, I learned that my aunt was a closet lesbian. Back then, very few were purposely out of the closet and so my aunt never fulfilled her same-gender compulsions. She ended up having an extremely lonely and sad life. She died in her early 50s.
Around a week or so ago I watched a Diane Sawyer special about Bruce Jenner, an Olympic athlete
He has not only "come out of the closet" but has done so in front of millions of TV viewers. He told how, when he was a boy, he would secretly dress in his sisters clothing and knew, even as a child, that he was born feminine.. Not that he understood it back then but, nevertheless, he realized a drive to be girlish. He nevertheless kept this yearning a secret for a great many years and like my aunt, he endured the pain of hiding his true identity from friends, family and, well, everyone. Then, finally he began taking hormones and getting ready, both physically and psychologically, for a sex change That change has not occurred yet but is planned.
I will get back to Bruce Jenner on a later page but first I want to address homosexuality in overview: Some years ago I met a guy in a bar and we began talking as men will do. He was a massive man, a grizzly type who was a hard-working laborer. I couldn't have been more shocked when he made a pass at me and I had to tell him that I wasn't "that way." The big man's eyes welled with tears and he apologized saying, "I don't know why I am like I am," and soon after that we parted company.
My aunt had said that very thing to me many years before, "I don't know why I am like I am," her voice was quivering with guilt and shame
My aunt was born homosexual She didn't know why either but there remains a big difference for heterosexuals and homosexuals in our society. Heterosexuals are excepted while homosexuals are, at best, tolerated by the majority these days. Not too long ago, they were loathed by the many. Indeed, there was a time when homosexuals were jailed and in the US, my homeland and many were involuntarily sterilized back in the 1930s. In today's world, however, some countries are still hanging and stoning homosexuals to death because of their sexuality. So ignorance and cruelty still marches on. When my aunt was growing up homosexuals were ostracized by their churches, looked down upon by their communities and often abandoned by their own families, the very reasons why my aunt lived in the shadows of fear her entire life.
Statistics in United States tell us that the William Institute at the UCLA School of law, says that an estimate of around 9 million of Americans identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual of transgender. In a recent survey around 4% of adults aged 18-45 identify as homosexual or bi-sexual. In New York's public schools there is said to be at least 100,000 gay students. Sadly enough, gay teens are 8.4 more like to attempt suicide and around half of gay males experience negative responses from their parents. Around 26% percent are actually thrown out of their homes. As a result a great number of kids that are homeless and living on the streets is because of their sexual orientation.
These statistics reveal that, in general, we are still a country that is neither tolerant or understanding of homosexuality
While there are some men and women who are simply sexually orientated choosing to "go one way" and then "the other. The vast majority of homosexuals (lesbians and gays) do not have the choice. They are what they are just like we "straight people" are what we are. And this is a vital point: The vast majority of gays and lesbians are homosexual from birth. And, as far as transsexuals, there are two year old girls who declare they are boys and two year old boys who declare they are girls. Children, far too young to be sexual, realize that they are "different" in their bodies while they do not understand it. Yes, children that young! Many young people do not grasp that difference until later in their teens of course. What is being said here is that it is obvious they are what they are and like all of us, they don't know why either.
I am making this point over and over so the reader that is prejudiced against transsexuals, gays and lesbians fully grasp that these people are NOT mentally ill, degenerate or evil doers.. Like we heterosexuals they have the mentally ill, degenerates and evil doers amidst them but so does every group of people on the planet. And, like the rest of us, gays, lesbians and transsexuals have their outstanding individuals too: Their artists and scholars; their doctors and lawyers, scientists, theists and so on. So what else do we have in common? Well, we are all people with our fears and frailties along with our virtues...straight and gay alike bleed when they are cut, have tears equally as salty, feel pain and pleasure, failure and success....the same! Each have their dreams, their buildups and letdowns. Their laughter is as hardy and their sorrow as deep. Indeed, there is little difference except one has an attraction for the opposite sex and one has an attraction for the same sex. And, like the rest of us, what they do in the bedroom is nobody's business but their own. (The only rule of sexuality for any and all of us, is nothing coercive or harmful. That's it).
The truth is that not even science can give a conclusive reason why one child is born (or becomes) homosexual. They are doing research now on white matter trying to determine what drives a transsexual. As for homosexuality one theory is that there is a correlation between hemispheric dominance in the brain, (See: The Whole Brain Path to Peace). But no one knows and anyway, homosexuals, male and female, have been around, if you will, as long as the rest of us. After all, homosexuality is not confined to human beings either. All kinds of animals are known to be same sex orientated such as rams, monkeys, bears, caribou, elephants
One important point to be made here is quite simply that as every snowflake is different so are we. (Perhaps it is as Joshua Loth Liebman so elegantly put it: God apparently did not want a regimented world of sameness. That is why creation is so manifold).
It's time that world societies and religions stop condemning others and starts living in tolerance and understanding of those who live outside the boundaries of their centers. What was it Jesus said, judge not...and this takes us back to Bruce Jenner. As I watched the two hour interview by Diane Sawyer, I kept seeing my aunt having such a depressed life because the status quo made her feel like she was something disgraceful, freakish and inadequate. At least Jenner has love and acceptance from his family. But of course, this kind of an article should never have to be written...Why can't people learn to simply live and let live?
What is being said here goes beyond the bias that is so often turned against gay people. What we are also talking about here is inspiring change in both the collective and individual minds of society. In the U.S.A. where I live, prejudice prevails regardless of our so-called "political correctness" fiasco. Racial prejudice is less than it was 50 years ago but it still ribbons through our society and nearly everyone is well aware this applies to our justice system. Our black president has probably received more criticism and threats than any other. And so racism and sexism, still remain serious flaws in the fabric of our society. Even some religions remain segregated regardless of new laws or their preaching of "God's love" for all.
As a nation we need to walk as we talk. This means that beyond all else gays, transsexuals, males, females, blacks, whites and everyone else in America needs to actually have the freedom to pursue their own happiness, just as long as that pursuit does not harm anyone or infringe on their freedom.
In recent times we clearly see how deeply rooted prejudice and ignorance go hand in hand. The Islamic radicals are examples of the harm that results from the mindset of segregation and bias. Just think about it: we all either remember or have been given the awareness of Hitler's Nazis and the terrors of the Holocaust. These are now historic metaphors for how cruel our species can be! Indeed, our history of so-called civilization is bloated with wars upon wars and unnecessary suffering of people. It is simply time to let loose of judging others by ourselves and ourselves by others. To open our hearts and minds to each other regardless of our race, color, creeds and sexual orientations to be reminded that we are all just people doing our best to have a little happiness and well-being in our lives.
While I cannot tell you why a star athlete, or anyone else, would desire a gender change, I can tell you that like the rest of us, all that is important to that person is to love and to be loved; to be accepted for who and what he or she is.
Look my dear readers, we're in an age of high tech, of fantastic medical advancements and exploration into the cosmos, not to mention incredible inventions. We need a world of cooperation and peace. because we all know that our world can be better, safer, kinder and more loving. This cannot happen as long as we live in centers making judgment values against those who are not the same as us. For one thing, we are all the same and our differences only apparent in any case. It is simply okay if people bow to different totems and dance to different tunes. We certainly to NOT want to be like fundamentalist Muslims who are still clinging to values inherited from an ignorant and cruel past. We want to free our women to make good livings equal to what men earn in the same positions, we want to have religious freedom even if we don't agree with the dogmas and doctrines and we want to live our lives as we see fit. We are a nation that should serve as a light in the window for the rest of the world, where racial prejudices, sexism and homophobia are put in the archives of the past. We need to become a nation of compassion and love. But how do we accomplish such goals. Well it is as Gandhi once said, "we (each) must become the changes that we desire for the world. We need to stop preaching sin and suffering and begin living out the ethic that tells us to treat others as we would be treated. How difficult would that be?
I cannot tell you what inspires or drives a man like Bryce Jenner to want a gender change but I can tell you that it is nobody's business but his own. Remember that great moment when somebody said, let he without sin throw the first stone? Well, common sense tell us that "sin" can only be a deed that harms others, like gossip and holier-than-thou attitudes, like racial hatefulness and hypocrisy; like murdering innocent people in the name of religious ideology and corruption in business and politics. It is certainly not what anyone does in their private life that brings them pleasure; an inalienable human right that the Declaration of Independence is supposed to protect.
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