Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1, 2015

In the past, Poppets, I have been…judgy, shall we say…about Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (et al) activism. I’ve made the case that changing one’s avatar or sharing something with “THIS!” over it doesn’t do a whole lot. And no, I’m not about to back down from that. I still don’t think it necessarily, automatically does much except make the individual feel better about themselves. However! I think it can do something.

There’s a movement right now to put on your social media site that you are willing to share a bathroom with a transgendered person. Whichever site you use, the suggestion is that you write it up there in plain English: I’m willing to share a bathroom with a transgendered person. No having to know what the code is, what the red t-shirt, or double giraffe picture, or cartoon character means. 


In Florida, there’s a bill in committee that would require people to use the bathroom of their birth-assigned gender. No matter how they look. How they’re dressed. How they live their daily lives. None of that matters. What matters is what gender they were assigned at birth.

An exception has been made for people who have a government issued i.d. recognizing their true gender. Except that getting an i.d. changed is a complicated, expensive, and long legal process. Many transgendered people live their lives as their true selves, but are blocked from getting legal papers declaring their gender. 

And let’s be honest – being asked for a photo i.d. before going to the bathroom would be a demeaning, insulting experience. Just because someone doesn’t fit some societal standard of female or male shouldn’t mean they have to prove themselves in any way. It may be different for you, but I frequently go out without an i.d….or I’ll leave my bag at the table with David…or in the movie theatre with my friends...and just run to the restroom quickly. As someone who lives her life as the gender assigned at birth, this is never an issue. But I cannot imagine how horrible it would be like to just want to wash my hands – or really need to pee – and be stopped at the door because I didn’t look right and couldn’t present an i.d. assuring some random stranger I am who I say I am.

Yet that is exactly what Florida is trying to do.


Which brings us back to social media activism and why this case is different. It’s different for 2 important reasons. First, there’s no code. I admit, I am not the world’s most tuned in person – but I’m not the most oblivious either. As such, I know I’m not the only somewhat astute person who has looked at a sea of changed avatars and wondered what the hell was going on, and what I had missed. This isn’t about a code. This isn’t about being in the know. This is about saying flat out I support this. You are safe with me. I want this in my school, office, church, synagogue, hospital, club, mall, and town.

And that leads us into the second reason this matters – we tend to be online friends with supervisors, worship leaders, and gym trainers. The people who can make these kinds of decisions. Who can create a safe space for transgendered men and women – or deny it. So the more of us who say, flat out, we want this! the more the people in charge will hear. 

Don’t let silence speak for you, Poppets. In this instance, or ever. Dignity matters. Pride matters. Acceptance matters. This matters.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

No comments: