I once ate cereal with wine because my neighbor was being annoying. It was actually quite delicious. Sometimes you think two things don't mix while all you have to do is to try it. Even if it's not your thing, at least you learn that there are people out there who enjoy it.
Today is a day worth celebrate because we have made another step forward on the scene of transgender equal rights movement.
Coy Mathis, a six year-old transgender first grader, has been told by her school that she cannot use the girl’s restroom because “as she grew older and developed, some students and parents would likely become uncomfortable”, and that “Coy’s birth certificate stated she was male” even when her recent medical and legal documents acknowledged her identity as a female*, according to today’s New York Times article.
After an investigation since Kathryn Mathis, Coy’s mother, filed a complaint with Colorado Civil Rights Division in February, the Division has ruled in favor of Coy Mathis. It has become the first case ruling in the U.S. that holds that “transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms that match who they are”, said Michael D. Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (where Coy’s story made the homepage of the organization’s website).
While advocating LGBTQ rights, or any human rights in that matter, there’s always the question of “why bother?”. Why not just be gay, be lesbian, be bisexual or be trans and go on with your life? Why vocalizing it and announcing it to the world? Why ‘pride’? Why advocate?
It seems easier to save the trouble; it feels safer to remain silent. Speaking up means exposing yourself, means to take matters into your own hands and putting yourself on the line. Even in California, one of the most LGBTQ friendly states in the U.S., over 78% of transgender individuals have reported being harassed at school, according to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force‘s regional report. Sometimes, speaking up puts you in danger.
But not saying anything is also dangerous.
Not saying anything is breeding ignorance, is allowing the discrimination to continue. Hatred and discrimination doesn’t stop itself. Not saying something against it might be avoiding the confrontation and immediate danger, but it only puts the danger in the future.
Of all the things I fear, ignorance the greatest. People fear the things they don’t understand; fear grows on ignorance, and hate grows on fear.
Saying something is to break the silence, removing the barrier and let conversations happen. It might be intimidating at first, but just like what R says in the movie Warm Bodies: all great changes are a little scary at first.
How old is it old enough to ‘decide’ whether or not one is transgender? Is gender identity something one could decide? Below are three documentaries of profound stories, about children who started transitioning at a young age.
“You don’t make a decision about your gender identity. It’s not something you decide.” -Dr. Olson
“I knew I was a boy when I was two years old. I think everybody knows what gender they are at a very early age.” -Jackie’s father
“Many people think after you have the [sex reassignment] surgery you are completely happy with your life. No! It’s just you feel complete, you feel at a beginning. Because that’s what other girls have when they are born.” -Kim
“Just because I’m a little different, does not mean I should not have the right to play with my team [girl’s soccer].” -Jazz’s response to her school board rejecting her from playing in the girl’s soccer team