Oh God, there's Jenner everywhere!!
Yeah I'm glad that's over too. But anyways, right around the peak of that, a cousin of mine wrote a very unpleasant anti-trans rant about the whole thing on Facebook, stating among other things that "Bruce" would never be a "real lady." This particular cousin happens to be someone I generally like so I resisted the urge to simply comment "Fuck you, [name]" and unfriend her. Even so I figured I should still address it somehow.
By the time I got around to commenting, several others had called her out on it and she had already apologized for the tone of her post, if not exactly it's content. I responded the only way I really know how to respond to these sorts of things: by making a joke. "Well that's a shame," I wrote, "I'm sure when Jenner began this transition her fondest hope was that some random ass person on the internet would think she was a reel wummin."
After that I made a few brief comments addressing some specific things that had come up in the massive thread which had by then been spawned. I didn't explicitly say I was trans but I did use the word we to refer to trans community so it couldn't have been too hard to figure out. And then I left the thread, because it's not my job to educate people and I had more important things to do with my time than write an essay on why trans identities are legitimate.
But then something interesting happened: my brother started commenting on the post. Now you need to understand, Carson almost never does anything on Facebook. The most recent item on his wall is from... *checks* ... January of 2014. So it was pretty unusual.
His first comments seemed to be more along the lines of "Being a decent person and respecting someone's pronouns is more important than whether someone's really a man or woman." (Which is nice but like, I dunno, maybe a little patronizing??) Carson's always been totally supportive of me and has always accepted the fact that trans-ness is a thing, but I feel like up until this happened he'd never really made a huge effort to actually understand it. But now he was trying to explain it to someone, and he needed to know what he was talking about, so he started texting me questions. And I did my best to answer them.
He and I ended up having a long texting conversation over the course of a couple days, going over a lot of the details of what being trans is and why it makes sense to consider trans people as the genders they say they are rather then what they were assigned at birth. I think he gained a much better understanding of the whole thing, and this understanding was reflected in his continuing comments on the ever-growing Facebook thread. He ended up quoting one of my texts (saying it was from "an actual transwoman" he knew), as well as linking to this academic paper which I'd sent him.
And he got through to her.
The next day there was a PM in my Facebook inbox from the cousin who'd started the whole thing in first place. I won't quote all of it, but to condense it somewhat, she wrote:
I feel I owe you an incredibley earnest apology. I spoke from my emotions when I posted that status and didn't give it nearly enough thought with respect to how it would come across and how it would disrespect you and many others. [...] When I realized just how much my comments had the potential to hurt, I felt, and still feel, so wretched. You are so gracious to even respond, honestly. [...] I would love to hear your thoughts on this stuff. To hear it from someone who lives it is really, I think, would give a clearer picture to someone like myself.
But the perhaps the best part of the whole thing, as far as I'm concerned, is that during the course of Carson asking me questions, this happened:
|(And yes, I took this photo with my camera 'cause I couldn't figure out how to just take a screenshot with my phone. Don't judge me.)|