23 February 2012

Victory And Backlash In Baltimore County And Maryland

The good news:  Baltimore County, in Maryland, has approved a bill that would ban discrimination against transgenders.  It thus becomes the fourth jurisdiction in Maryland to take such action.

Also:  The Maryland Legislature has just passed a law to allow same-sex marriage, thus becoming the eighth state (last week, Washington State became the seventh) to allow same-sex marriage.

The bad news:  The unfounded but predictable objections. There are the ones who think that a "lifestyle" is being "pushed" on their children or grandchildren.  

Hmm...When other previously-disenfranchised people, such as women and blacks, were given the right to vote, own property and such, and when laws to fight discrimination against them were passed, was someone "pushing" a "lifestyle", or anything else, on people who had always enjoyed those same rights?  Did anyone accuse them of putting dangerous ideas in kids' heads?  Imagine...a girl in 1920 thinking, "Wow!  I can vote for the President!" Or a young black man thinking, "Dang!  Now I can run for Congress when I grow up!"  

I know a pretty fair number of transgender people.  Not a single one of them has ever tried to "push" his or her "lifestyle" on anyone or "recruit" anyone's kids.  Even though most of us (I include myself) are happy that we decided to live as the people we really are, none of us try to convince anyone else that he or she is transgendered.  That is a realization one can only make for one's self.  

A few parents try to raise their kids as the "opposite" gender from the one they were assigned at birth.  Most of those kids rebel against it; many run away from home.  The kids who want to live as the "opposite" gender will, in one way or another, manifest that wish without any help or prodding from anyone else.  Or they simply carry their true selves within them until the moment they feel they can live as the people they are.  If anything, the truly transgendered survive in spite of attempts to make them conform to the gender they were assigned at birth.  

I know that the last two sentences of the previous paragraph describe the childhood and adolescent experience of me and many other transgendered people of my generation.  Most people had little or no idea of what it meant to have a conflict over one's gender identity, much less to be a child with such a conflict.  So, even parents with the best of intentions tried to make their kids conform because they didn't know what else to do.

Those of us who've grown up that way want to help anyone who realizes he or she is really transgendered.  But none of us would try to convince anyone that he or she is like us.  And I doubt that any non-transgendered person would try to do such a thing, either.

So tell me...Who is trying to "push" what on whom?