31 October 2014

The Wrong Way To Go About It

None of us likes to hear ignorant, hateful comments, especially when they're directed at us--or, at least, some notion that the person making the comment has about us.  I really hope that one day we will live in a world in which we--and the trans people who are coming after us--don't have to hear such things.

At the same time I oppose, and have always opposed, censorship  and in any form. People--at least in this country--have a right to say what they please, even if it's something people don't like or is simply wrong.  If the latter is true, it's our job to point out the error in their thinking or expression; if we find something not to our liking, we should say what we find objectionable about it.  

That is the reason why I think Houston mayor Annise Parker was wrong to subpoena pastors who oppose the recent city ordinance prohibiting businesses from discriminating against transgender people.  

Now, I don't want you to think that just because I've become involved in a church, I've begun to side with all members of the clergy.  Far from it:  I still cringe when I hear of some of the pure and simple hate some of them are spewing from their pulpits, and I have to remind myself that not all ordained people do such things.  In fact, the priests at my church make great efforts to make trans people welcome and the senior pastoral associate--a very intelligent and compassionate straight woman--spends time with me and other trans members of our congregation in an effort to better understand our needs and wishes.

It is precisely because I've found her, and the other priests and the congregation of my church that I know things can be better.  And that is another reason why I think that we should--no, must--allow bigoted clergy people to express their opposition to laws designed to protect us, or simply to whatever they think we represent.  Simply demonizing, and trying to silence, them will only deepen their opposition to us because it shuts off any possibility of dialogue.  Even if they don't want to talk to us, we can't win the right to exercise the rights God and the Constitution gave us, let alone any possibility of gaining the respect of others within and outside our community, if we deny the rights and humanity of those who want to push us back into the closet.

Please understand that I am saying things that I have a difficult time accepting myself.  A part of me still wants to dismiss those "fundamentalist" pastors as barbaric and hypocritical.  (After all, how can someone preach the love of God and hatred, or simply bigotry, against human beings?)  Having said that, it almost goes without saying that I cringe at the thought of having to love such people.  But, really, there is no other choice:  No one has ever won a battle against hate by using hate.

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