I spotted an article last week on how the fantastic folks at Transgender Universe are dealing with the trolls that pop up against them. I like their ideas, but I prefer the trapdoor–troll here, and I’ll pull the rug out from under you in a shot. Nobody here has time for that shenanigans. Brutal? Yes. Who gets to decide? I do. It’s my space, not the troll’s.
The best and most important part of the article, to me, points out the thing I’ve been saying since very early in my transition:
The world is not going to change in the comments section on some news site or on social media. It is not going to change with politics and laws. It will change when more people literally know us personally, when people have positive experiences with us. Those moments are priceless, and they cut through all the discord and misinformation. That is when society will change.
Activism is important. We crucially need folks who are willing to go to the halls of Congress, our state legislatures, our city councils, and I admire those people without end. But I am not one of those.
We need people to write and speak about life as a transgender person, and the discrimination and struggles we face. I’m blessed to be one of those, and I’m happy people seem to want to listen to me doing so.
But the real prize is when I can sit down with one or two people, and just…talk. I got a chance to do that with someone at All Things Open last month, and it was one of the highlights of my trip. I’ve known this woman for a couple of years; she’s one of the organizing team for the conference, and she’s always been very friendly and helpful. She came to me, and asked if there was a time we could just sit and talk; she had questions, and (to her knowledge) had never met a transgender person before. Where better to share an Open Source Life, than at a conference about open source software and culture? I made time for that discussion!
She and many of her family were supporters of HB2 when it came out–but having met me, she had her doubts. I told her kind of point-blank that her legislator sold her that legislation with a shameful, contemptible lie, and she bought it hook, line, and sinker. At the end of the conversation, she left happy having heard my story, and resolved to talk to her family and friends about the dirty deal their legislature had done…by telling them about me.
Will transgender people ever get to full equality? Not in my lifetime, probably, nor my children’s. But when my grandson (now 18 months) is old and grey and running things…maybe. And it’s the work we do today that will make that possible, by reaching one heart at a time.