“How do you feel about gender selection?” my dad asked my brother as we all gathered around the table eating an early dinner. It was the first hot day of Spring and the sun was still beaming hard. We sat in the backyard, our hair wet with chlorinated water and plates full of grilled food. It was too good a day to be ruined with the conversation I knew was coming.
Having heard the question asked before by my dad, I groaned silently as I prepared for my brother’s response.
“It’s freaking stupid,” my brother scoffed before taking a sip from his can of beer. I somehow managed to swallow whatever reaction I had; it went down about as easily as a jagged rock.
My dad laughed. “Right? You should listen to those lectures by Ben Shapiro.”
I should say something, I thought. The topic of conversation had presented itself multiple times in the past, and though I felt like I should’ve said something all those times, I never had. This was finally my chance. But as I listened to the two, I started to get heated, so I grabbed my plate and quietly left. Momma said if I don’t have anything nice to say…
Lately, it’s been getting harder and harder to keep my mouth shut. Earlier in the afternoon my brother made a joke while we discussed the new Avengers: Endgame movie, saying something along the lines of women belong in either the kitchen or the laundry room. I’m not sure how the conversation came to that because I wasn’t listening, but that got my attention. Whether he was joking or not, I don’t know, (we’re not close) but still, I fail to see the humor in such a “joke.”
Afterwards, I told him he should really get out more, because a joke like that today would guarantee an ass-kicking by the nearest woman/ group of angry women.
Now, I’m not trying to just chunk my family under the nearest bus. I love my family. Love em to death, and it pains me that we’re not all as close as I’d like–but at times I feel like I was born in the wrong generation. How is it that I’ve spent the majority of my life with them, yet our thoughts and opinions on such matters are worlds apart?
I just don’t believe I’ll ever understand why everyone feels the need to have their nose in everyone else’s asses. Why we can’t just take our one life and live it freely, the way we want. I know, I know–I sound like a child. I sound like your classic dreamer who’s oblivious to how the world actually works. But I’m not. I’m aware this is America, and everyone has an opinion to share and a topic to debate. I just don’t understand why everyone has to scream what they think from the rooftops.
So, my dad has never asked ME how I feel about the whole “gender selection” debate, and I suppose that’s a good thing. He’s the kind of hard-headed guy that likes arguing, and I’m the kind of free-spirit hippie that thinks this shouldn’t even be a debate. I also think he knows where I stand with it. If so, then I’m pretty sure he keeps asking for everyone else’s opinion around me just to piss me off.
Anyway, since no one’s going to ask for my opinion, I figured I’d share it anyway with my online journal. HOWEVER, I’m not going to share it until at the end of this post. First, I’d just like to talk briefly about where my view of the LGBTQ community comes from.
For a little disclaimer here, I’d just like to say that I am straight. I’m as straight as they come and then maybe even a little straighter. But that doesn’t stop me from having a major respect for the community and what they stand for. It’s like this:
So, when I was growing up, I actually had quite a few friends who were openly gay. A few who were closeted but most were surprisingly vocal. Still do today. I actually like my gay friends more than the straight ones. Also have a gay uncle and freely listen to gay music. Is gay music a thing? you might ask. Not yet, but I’m sure it will be soon. Anyway, one thing I’ve noticed about my gay friends and family members is this:
I’ve always admired people who stood their ground and remained authentic in the face of adversity. In America–especially today with fucking Trump–it can be incredibly difficult to be yourself. Look at me, for example. I’m a normal, everyday, average (somewhat average) guy, and at times I find it impossible to take off the mask and show who I really am to the world. Even the thought of being that vulnerable makes my insides shrivel.
So here’s this:
Remember I mentioned “gay music?” Two of my favorite gay artists are Troye Sivan and Kim Petras. Kim was actually the youngest person to ever go through the transgender process, having the surgery at just 16. But I digress. So, I don’t really venture to many concerts. In my whole life, I think I’ve been to like 4, and I don’t know why that is, because I actually love concerts. Anyway, back when I first started listening to him, I decided rather quickly that I needed to go to a Troye Sivan concert.
So I bought tickets.
And I went. (I’ve actually gone to two–one for each of his albums).
As expected, I had the time of my life at both. At the 2nd, I drove to Charlotte, NC, and a woman saw me sitting alone and actually gave me an extra ticket she had for a seat all the way up at the 4th row! It was genuinely one of the best nights I’ve had. And I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I’m 99.9% certain I was the only straight guy at both concerts. As you can imagine, it was a very interesting experience.
At his first concert, one of the songs Troye played was called “Heaven,” from his Blue Neighborhood album (I’ll put the song at the end). In it, Troye expressed his fear of how he may be judged by God because of his sexuality. He essentially says that if he can’t make it into Heaven simply because he’s gay, then maybe he doesn’t want to go to Heaven at all.
“Without losing a piece of me, how do I get to Heaven? Without changing a part of me, how do I get to Heaven? All my time is wasted, feeling like my heart’s mistaken, oh. So if I’m losing a piece of me, maybe I don’t want Heaven.”
-Troye Sivan, Heaven
During the song, plenty of people in the crowd cried as they held each other. They held up rainbow flags and waved them to the slow and powerful rhythm of the song… That was the first time I saw firsthand, with my own eyes, the power, dedication, and love of the community. I was amazed to say the least.
At the second concert, I was standing in line to get my ticket when a few people started going up and down the line asking people if they’d like to sign something. When they got to me, I saw that it was a petition. I don’t ever get involved with these things. I typically say no if not ignore the people altogether. But then they explained their cause. The petition was to try and end gay conversion therapy in the U.S.
For those of you who don’t know, conversion therapy is based on the notion that those who are LGBTQ have a mental disorder that needs to be cured. Essentially it’s a method of conditioning used to train out “negative” thoughts and behaviors. The therapy often results in depression, guilt, shame, suicide… and has been proven highly ineffective. Just recently Massachusetts became the 16th state to ban gay conversion therapy.
As for the petition, I signed it. Not only did I sign it, but I also gave the nice people gathering signatures my email. I NEVER HAND OUT MY EMAIL! And even today, I still read the emails they send about the Trevor Project, and I still support it.
For anybody interested in learning more about conversion therapy or The Trevor Project, click this link to be taken to thetrevorproject.org
Now that we’ve reached the end of the post, I suppose I have a promise to keep. But I’m not going to answer the question, “What do you think about gender selection?” After reading this post, I’m sure you have an idea of my opinion on the matter. Instead, I’ll answer a more specific question:
Do I believe people can be born with the wrong gender?
I don’t believe I have the ability to answer that question. Honestly, I don’t believe anyone does but the person going through the experience. What I do believe is that gender dysphoria is real. I believe there are people who do not identify with the gender they were born with, and I believe that because I’m not in their head, I don’t have the right to answer on their behalf.
I especially don’t have the right to say that what someone else is feeling is “freaking stupid.”
So many petty people in this world are stuck in their rigid, single-minded ways, seeking to find an issue where one doesn’t exist. To create travesty out of love. They see others embracing themselves fully and being who they are, and instead of supporting it, they find ways to shoot it down. In this one life, what really is the point of it all if not to live happily and without regret? So why tell someone who they are? Why tell someone how they feel? Why debate?
Thanks for reading,