To Lila Perry

Dear Lila

I hope it was not your intention to make the national news, but you have done so. Because I also am trans, friends quickly let me know about your school bathroom situation, as in this story: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/423449/common-sense-part-i-not-every-kid-thinks-gender-malleable-david-french. This morning, you are all over the news sites which I visit each day.

It didn’t have to be.

You are a young trans woman, still in high school, in need of bathroom facilities just as is the next person. You have not had surgery, so you continue to have male genitals even as you present yourself as female. If I were you, I would not want to use the locker room facilities with the boys. If I were one of the girls in your class, I am pretty sure I would not want you using the communal facilities with me.

According to the law, the school was obligated to make available to you a neutral bathroom, and they have. You refused to use it, claiming to be a girl and not wanting to be separated into a gender-neutral bathroom. I feel for you in this. As a teenager, especially, when life presents so many challenges with us growing into our bodies, plus peer pressure, added on top of our studies and preparing for the future and extra-curricular activities—enough said. As a trans teenager, so much stress and strain and push and pull is added to each one.

I feel for you, but you are wrong.

Here is a tremendously important life lesson for you, my dear trans sister. You and I long for a host of things from our families and friends and government and schools and jobs and society. We want people to understand the great challenges we have with transitioning, of being this type of different.

We crave their compassion. We call on them to be considerate. We appeal to their sense of fairness, that we, too, were created equal and we are no less than them and they are no better than us.

And we are no better than them.

Everything we want from our families and friends and government and schools and jobs and society? It is imperative that we give the same to them. It is vital for us to show them the same compassion which we crave from them. If we were one of the cisgender girls in high school, might we also not want a trans girl in our locker room? You bet, we might be right with them on this.

Lila, your school has followed the law. They have provided you with proper facilities. I hope you will use the gender-neutral bathroom. Use the bathroom for now, and follow proper channels for making your appeals.

When you and I make the news, let’s do it when someone catches us being controversial because we were the rare one who showed the same thoughtfulness for other human beings which we expect from them. When we do that, we will do what many adults teach the next generation: kill them with kindness.

Let’s show the world who we are, Lila, and what we are made of, that we are good students and friends and citizens.

Let’s show them that we are respectable and respectful.

Let’s show them that we are gentle even when we need to speak up for ourselves, that we care about others just as much as we want others to care about us.

I hope, Lila, after you weigh all of this, the next time you are in the news is when you are quoted as having had a change of heart, when you thank the government for its Title IX protections, when you tell the school you appreciate the nice, private, safe space they have provided.

Then, you really will be a spokesperson for us trans folks. Then, you will show the world that we are not all about us, but we are all about the entire community.

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3 thoughts on “To Lila Perry

  1. I watched the news report and from his tone and attitude, I saw only arrogance and self-righteousness. His claim that they not uncomfortable and that they are being bigoted is pure nonsense. As for as I am concerned, the school went above and beyond to provide for him. They rightly could have told him, “You have a penis. You can use the boys room or none at all.” Instead, they offered him a gender neutral bathroom and he flat out refused and continues to use the girls room. It is of my opinion that unless his activities cease, the school should rightfully expel him for indecency, the well being of the other students, and his own safety. If he continues to use the girls room and the school does not remove him, then it is safe to assume that some of the students will physically take matters into their own hands.

    While he may not realize it, by his actions, his attitude, and the way he carries himself (at least from the news report I saw), he is effectively asking someone to physically do something about it. The walk out was merely a peaceful protest. If he keeps it up, people will eventually get tired of it and do something about it.

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