Breaking the silence 

     So I took a little over a month off here to reprioritize my life, organize my thoughts, and remodel my kitchen and in that month some things have transpired that I feel as a transgender woman (be it in western PA) I need to speak on.  A small part of me wants to go off the rails on North Carolina and many other states on their recent passage and submissions of some questionable bills.  I will not allow myself to fall into that and instead would like to go on an educational stand point along with my polite opinion on the matters.  Hopefully many find this more receptive then the usual political uproar we have been seeing.  
     

     To start this I will first speak about where I fall in this society we live in.  I fall very much into the realm of visible in who I am.   I can not, nor will I hide the fact from my friends in person, or online that I am a transgender person.  I also do not hide the fact that I am an atheist.    What some may not know is I am a libertarian and fall completely in the independent category.  Sometimes I wonder if my political views mimic my gender in the ways of being stuck in the middle.  I’m conservative when it comes to gun rights yet liberal on equality and the rights of all, not just some.  I’m fiscally conservative, yet feel that the need for programs to help others better themselves in many ways in a more liberal light.  You may be wondering why I am laying this all out for you but trust me it will all make sense shortly.   Long story short I’m transparent in my views and very open to discussions to help broaden the horizons.   

     The other day I posted a picture about Mississippi with my comment being “interesting statement”.   This proceeded to bring out some who blamed democrates for the issues in America.  Now knowing I have some conservatives on my FB doesn’t bother me because 95% of them are good people and have no problem going into logical educational debates.   One that tripped me though was a person who decided to first call me by my “dead name”, which is an insult by the way, and then proceeded to not debate but go ballistic on how “libtards” are destroying the country.   Another friend (who lives in North Carolina I might add) agreed that it was an interesting statement as it could be taken numerous ways (as I also seen).  This brought me to a point of call when the more vocal decided to tell me I should stop before I hurt myself of someone else.   This made me question not my journey, but what had brought him to such hate.   I think the deeper issue though is not one of religion or bigotry, but of fear in the unknown (ignorance in it pure form as “lack of knowledge”). 

     I’m mostly going to speak on North Carolina as it is the one all over the news media and social media.  Let’s take pause for a minute to consider the people there.  Not to judge them, but to truly ask what do many know about a person who is trans?  Have you spoken to someone trans? Had coffee with one?  How about working with or having  a neighbor that is? I ask this because it’s easy to fear out of ignorance and I believed half of what I have seen on the internet I would have the possible same fears.   This isn’t the case however.   

     Being a transgender person isn’t an all encompassing epitome that we can fit into a nice little check box.   We come in all shapes and sizes and all walks of life.  Males, females, and even some considered non bianary (or no gender) and where we fall is something we delt with for most of our lives. Now we have legislation coming that is concerned about where we are to use the restroom yet it’s guilded as “religious freedom”.    Now to touch the basis of this I will say I’m all for people practicing religion anyway they see fit (or notto if they prefer).   I believe in the freedom to be able to practice your religion anywhere you need.  The issue here falls along the same lines as gay marriage as with the constitution and separation of church and state.  You may have your opinion about me and I’m ok with that.  You may not like what I had to do to live a genuine life and I’m ok with that too.  So where is this going you ask?  The entire basis of HB2 (and many others like it) are more then just “bathroom bills”.  They are not only bringing genitals into a debate that up until the past year… Didn’t exsist but they are Basically legalizing descrimination based in religion.  So it could be the inter racial couple next door, or that unwed mother.  They can be told to move or denied basic civil liberties.  They also remove the ability for those people to sue as it removed the access to civil court.  Removed the right to court proceedings that are to constitutnally protected.  
 

   Now let’s have some potty talk for a minute.  Transgender people use the bathroom of their identity daily and most likely, you didn’t even notice.  So we inlay “protecting the women” into these bills to justify a solution to a problem that no one even knew existed.   Now in my humble arena this was a hard bridge to cross.  I questioned daily about if I looked feminine enough.   I worried about being seen as an outsider.   The point that I switch was when I was stopped numerous times leaving the men’s room to the point of harassment.   So now as a user of the ladies room I can attest, along with many coworkers, that all I do in there is go to the bathroom, behind a locked stall door.  What a concept, we go to the bathroom and leave.  
 

    Now let’s talk about the available options for equality.  Sure, I could have my papers amend to show female on my birth certificate.  But in PA that requires a surgery that costs $25,000 to get a paper so we can pay to edit the document.  Very few health insurance plans cover it because… Well many of the same people writing these laws don’t find it nessasary for us to have surgery  to correct it.    Then in other area (like my friend Zoe) she has had her surgery but the beurocratic red tape makes it near impossible to complete.   So it’s almost a catch all to discriminate against trans people.   Sure, if they have the money to alter this or that…. Jump through these 8 loopholes, spend your last pennies for that surgery, then do these other steps to change your birth records and we will all be good.    Does this seem fair? Maybe if the legislation was based on better access to doctors and health care covering the costs this wouldn’t be a concern.   

     Let’s talk.  Let’s come together.  Let’s sit down and work out those details you don’t know.  Bring an open mind and a willingness to listen.  Let’s find that middle ground for us all because while some are fighting about democrates and republicans and others are screaming equality and others worry about religious freedom we have people suffering.  People are being hurt or killed daily in ignorance.   People are comiting suicide because they fear they will never be accepted.  People who happen to be transgender.   People who want to just live.  People who want to be themselves in the land of the free.  We are all different, but that’s what makes us beautiful.   So let’s stop the fighting and name calling.  Lets help each other understand each other.  Let’s talk so we can live as one people, as humans in a civilized society.  

Sending love to you all, 

Ali

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