I’m a live and let live kind of girl.
No, really. I know my wit can sometimes be a bit biting, but for the most part, I say – if your deal doesn’t get in my deal’s face, we’re cool. Notice how the policies that most get on my nerves have to do with someone else telling me how I should be living my life. How about this: when you live my life, have my experiences, and are exposed to the risks I am exposed to, you can make a judgment call about how I should live. Until then, I’m capable of making my own decisions, thank you.
Therefore, I try to keep an open mind. I have friends from all walks of life and experiences. But, perhaps the most fascinating are the friends who don’t fit the mold of the traditional sexual box that society has made for us.
I’m “normal.” I am a woman. I’ve never wanted – or imagined wanting – to be anything but a woman. I am attracted to men. I’ve never felt sexual desires for females. It’s not something I question or overthink too often; it just is. And, because that’s normal, no one thinks twice about it. But, if you think of it in a broader context – for example, in terms of a person who is physically male but identifies as a female, or a person who is attracted to the same sex – it is actually quite fascinating that so many people question other’s sexual preferences.
A mandatory diversity training Thursday morning was a springboard for these thoughts, followed by an invitation to what I can only term as a transsexual “coming out” party. The person in question – a male to female transition, by the way – has been pursuing this for years. I had no idea. None of us did. He was always cranky, but in a charming sort of way. I never thought much of it. When I saw him – now, her – last night, she was smiling. Ear to ear. I had trouble picturing this person as a woman, until that very moment. She was beautiful. Radiant. Happy.
I know that feeling. I know the feeling of figuring out who you are, having it finally click, and then making a difficult decision to change your life to make it happen. It is often difficult to get to that point, but once you do, it’s empowering. However, the decisions I’ve made to change my life to get on the road I’m meant to be on do not hold a candle to the struggles she will face.
She doesn’t fit the traditional mold. Much of society has begun to “get used to” the idea of homosexuals. However, the idea of transsexuals transcends most people’s understanding. From a religious perspective, one might think, “well, why would God get it wrong?”
If you ask me, He didn’t get it wrong. He gives us a hand to play, that we are born into. He gives us our own challenges and struggles and dares us to make the best of what we’ve got. There are some of us whose challenges and struggles are more difficult than others. Why He chooses to give some people more challenges than others is a mystery, and I don’t try to question that.
I try to look at it from this perspective. I look at my friend, and while perhaps I’ve never needed to question my own sexuality because I’m completely content with it, I try instead to imagine what it would be like to have to question it. It’s difficult. It makes me question, would I have the strength she had to make those decisions? I like to think, yes, I would.
The affirmative action officer at my place of employment, who ran Thursday’s diversity training, is 3’10”. Her feet don’t touch the floor when she sits at her desk. She made a good point – that so-called “polite society” confuses asking questions and passing judgments, and why do we do that? Why are we so afraid to say, “You are different, and that’s okay with me, but I don’t understand. Please explain it to me.” Why is that considered rude? Why is it considered more polite to just swallow our confusion and let it fester with misunderstanding?
So, therefore, I ask questions. I’ve found, with asking, the responses are usually positive. I can live and let live without ignoring. In fact, that’s really the only way one can live and let live.