Friday, April 1, 2022

F ³: An Unusual Appearance

I’ve written some fun April 1st posts. If I have a moment I’ll come back later and put in some links in case some of my readers are looking for a bit of a laugh.

But now, the sermon:

Yesterday, on Transgender Day of Visibility, this post by a parent captured something important about love and acceptance:

Today is the Transgender Day of Visibility. In honor of that, I'd like to take a moment and reintroduce to you someone I  love more than life itself: my child, who is non-binary. They do not identify as either male or female. They feel like something completely outside of the gender norms. 

I was not prepared for this, and hadn't considered it a possibility, since just a few years before they came out as non-binary, they were wearing pink and frilly dresses every day. But the thing is, regardless of what I feel, or expect or want for them, my job is to love and support. Not shame or try to change them. They are is perfect as they are. With a family behind them to love and support them, and a Mama Bear who isn't afraid to show her teeth when necessary. 

Transgender people exist and always have. Just because you don't like it or understand it or condone it, doesn't make them go away. And in 2022, I am saying that we as a society can no longer accept behavior that endangers the health and wellbeing of our transgender loved ones. They exist, and we are protecting them.

I don’t often respond to things like this, but this time I did.

Yes! This is so beautifully said. I hope your gentle and honest witness helps other parents who struggle with these issues and want to be the best parents for their children that they can be.

The group where this occurred is a supportive one. Throughout the day I saw many positive responses. This morning I noticed my comment had provoked a response.

Where did this child get the idea they can be a non gender? What ignorant adult told this child this is a thing. Kids don't do this unless an adult said this is a thing. Hey kids you can be any gender you want, or no gender. Really?  Stop  lying to children!  This is a woke adult problem and shame on you!

I had a variety of gut responses to this. Basically, I wanted to report the poster to someone for being a jerk. I wanted to go on a rant. “This is a supportive community!  Where have you been? This has been an ongoing topic here. Read the room!” But I didn’t.

I found myself invoking God. It may have been the first time my faith has made an appearance in a social media dispute. I’m not one to throw religion around. I have that rather idiosyncratic reticence (often found amongst Episcopalians) to keep religion close and to avoid making messy scenes about it. I don’t feel the need to force my beliefs on others. In fact, I consciously choose not to.

If you were to put my feelings about faith into fortune-cookie form it would probably read like this:

Faith - - it’s a journey. I am doing my best and, as to others, I try not to judge.

I looked at that negative and judgemental comment. And I thought.

I am sad and sorry that your heart is so small that you cannot accept all the beautiful and diverse wonders of God’s creation. I will be keeping you in my prayers.

Now this may come off as a smart-ass comment and it would be if I were merely using it to smack someone in the face by using my religion as a weapon. But I honestly believe this. I am sad and sorry that there are so many people who cannot or will not accept all the beautiful and diverse wonders of God’s creation. That includes the infinite variety of gender and sexuality. 

Don’t step on or try to shrink God’s love with your fearful, small-minded exclusion. 

To be honest, that bit about “keeping you in my prayers” kind of slipped out at the end. It’s a bit too glib. But now that it’s out there, I need to hold myself accountable and take the time to offer prayers for someone I’d rather ignore or delete. 

It’s a journey. I’m working on it.

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