Sometimes a discussion is interrupted and then never starts again. Why is that? The reason I ask that question, is that about a year ago, in the heat of political campaign rhetoric, I left a comment on Facebook in response to something posted by someone who’s very dear to me and the reaction I received was immediate and fierce.
I was responding to a post which involved placing one’s perceived personal desires ahead of the common good. My post simply said that while one particular candidate might very well implement measures which would most likely benefit me personally, that when our country was safe from terrorists, that everyone who wanted a job had one, and thousands were free from fear of losing their homes, then and only then could I, with a clear conscience, vote my own personal desires.
It’s a wonder my phone didn’t melt down within minutes of posting that comment. After an hour or so I returned the calls and a somewhat lopsided conversation ensued. By lopsided I mean that for the next hour and twenty plus minutes I was subjected to a thorough and devastating brow beating, made even more devastating because it was inflicted by someone I dearly loved. More problematic, was that the reasons for this person’s unhappiness with me, were rooted entirely in issues of self-interest.
The effort made near the end of the harangue to convince me that we had many other values in common did little to soften the blow. The main goal seemed to have been to make me feel like I didn’t understand what the person had endured because of sexual orientation. Really?
The point made to me, which showed a total lack of appreciation for my predicament was this: “You have a choice to be either George or Georgia. I have no choice to be gay.” Again, really? My response to that argument was never heard, because just as I began to rebut the charge somebody’s phone, not mine, conveniently died and I found myself talking to myself. If I’d been granted the opportunity rebut, this is what I would have said.
“You’re right, you have no choice to be gay, that’s way God made you, but … you do have a choice to act on and express that fact. Unless there is an issue of severe mental illness, we always have choices in expression, whether or not it’s expressing our choice of Coke or 7Up, do I wear black or white today? A person may be gay, but there is nothing which absolutely forces that person to express to the world what they are. The fact that they are ultimately happier and possibly a more valuable member of society, expressing what they are has little bearing on the undeniable fact that absolutely nothing but personal motivation forces the expression.”
And then I would have said this: “True, I do have a choice to express “George or Georgia” but like being gay I have no choice in the fact that I am both; that I am dual-gendered. For years I chose to express “George” because that was the body I was born in and didn’t know I had a choice, but that didn’t change the fact that I was also “Georgia” did it? No, of course it didn’t. Up to this point we’re carrying the same cross aren’t we? But, it’s not the same cross beyond this point.”
“From this point on it becomes an issue of appearance. I confess, God has blessed me immeasurably with physical traits and characteristics that for the most part make me, “Georgia” visibly indistinguishable from most women. But, in the dual-gendered community I am not the norm and I know and appreciate that fact.” Few others like me have the options and good fortune I have, primarily based on appearance.
I also appreciate the fact that having the opportunity to work in a regular job, in the eye of the public and being accepted as I am is a blessing beyond belief. And when I stop to reflect on that, I realize that what I wanted to add to the aforesaid conversation is probably of no value to anyone but me, because what I am is only a small portion of the who, what, where and how I am. Really!