My recent dive into media coverage for the last blog brought to my attention an interesting phenomena. Stories about younger people and their acceptance of transgender are not just on the rise, but are rising at a rapid pace.
When I was young, decades ago, even the slightest hint of femininity in a boy caused massive schoolyard teasing, bullying and often ostracization. It was not quite so bad for girls, who could play the ’Tomboy’ card, but by middle school (then called ‘Jr. High’), that card would not fly and the insults flew.
Kids were cruel, and unforgiving of anything that did not match their predefined classifications of the world around them. Maybe this was because we were all just coming out of the horrible racism of the decades before. My first grade class was the first desegregated class in the history of my town. Or maybe it was just because our parents saw the world, specifically gender, as completely black & white. We were taught you were a boy or a girl, there were no words for anything else.
But things have changed, radically, in the 21st century. A few examples:
I have kids, in their 20’s now, and they were immediately OK when I came out to them, actually more enthusiastic than just OK. Their friends are right there with them, most are openly supportive.
One daughter makes it a regular habit of telling her friends and co-workers that her dad is trans. She loves to drop in the fact with an impish smile, just waiting to see their reaction. The older co-workers are astonished, some speculating that parents must surely be divorced, to which she replies ’No, they have been married for 35 years.’
The other daughter has made transgender the subject of college projects to great success, earning her a scholarship.
Youtube is full of videos by teenagers documenting their journey, and a Florida girl, Jazz Jenkins, has become a media star in her own right. I mentioned that she will be the subject of an upcoming TV show and has written a children’s book. She was offered and accepted an endorsement deal with a skin care company.
There are of course some stories without a happy ending, two recent suicides were tragic and heart breaking.
The point of this rambling is that overall we have a bright future as the generations that are coming up have shed most of their prejudices. As we move forward, our place in society will become more commonplace, and that is a good thing.