Like many of you, I’m already against the next war. But like many of you I am from a military family. People who serve and have served deserve respect and admiration for sacrificing themselves in service to the nation.
As far as I’m concerned, the option to serve should be offered to anyone. Short people. Overweight people. Skinny people. Deaf people. Gay people. Immigrant people. Minority people. Transgender people. People with and without bone spurs. Most everyone is good at something.
The thing all those people have in common is that they are people. And to quote the great Depeche Mode, “People are people.” Seems simple.
If you happen to be one of those people who are concerned about what kind of people other people are, you should try stopping. Worry about your own weird self.
Because in this cosmic stew that we call humanity there are many variations on the theme and to judge or single out any “variety” is on its face absurd. To do so on religious grounds is even more insulting. Until God herself comes on TV with a fireside chat on why one person, race, religion, sex, configuration, etc. is to be exalted while others are to be damned I say it’s just a bunch of old-school nonsense.
Do what you want, be who you are, have fun, just don’t hurt anyone (unless they ask you to) seems like a pretty good roadmap to us all getting along. If I’m offending you because I’m wearing a pink pussy hat, you should come to grips with yourself. If you are concerned with what someone else is doing, it might be time to go back to the mirror and ask yourself, “What makes you so special?”
So, I’m pleased the new administration rescinded the past administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. Why not? Can you shoot straight? Run up that hill? Swim for miles? Run a network? Manage logistics? Have at it! No one is going to assault you in your foxhole.
The last administration’s policy prevented transgender people who were even planning to pursue gender-affirming hormones or surgery from enlisting. All service members were required to serve as their assigned sex at birth.
This is not a subject I would have considered on my radar but politics and civil rights and righteous discrimination have been colliding in a messy cauldron for more than the last four years. Lately, we as Americans are being forced to look at the ugly underneath of our prejudices and decide what is acceptable. The bar got lowered to the ground when gluten-intolerant racists with Viking horns and Confederate flags stormed the U.S. Capitol a couple of weeks ago.
And on the subject of sex at birth, this may come as a surprise, but everyone’s different. Some people were born with three testicles. Some have none. Some have a blend of male and female parts in there, so if a doctor or nurse takes a quick look downstairs on the day you are born, their clinical observation should not be the final arbiter of how someone is defined.
It’s been a long time since I read “Middlesex,” by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s a great novel and the narrator goes from being Callie, to Cal.
“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”
Now I’m reading a book written by Grand County local Martin J. Smith called, “Going to Trinidad: A Doctor, a Colorado Town, and Stories from an Unlikely Gender Crossroads” (Bower House and Tantor Audio, April 15).” The book explores an unlikely rancher and gifted surgeon, Dr. Biber, who becomes a hero to those who seek the relief of a surgical solution to their gender dysphoria. Yes, rural Colorado is an odd setting for a sex-change mecca but for decades it was exactly that. This rancher had a way with the blade and he saw nothing wrong with helping people to achieve some kind of parity with how they felt inside.
In the book, Smith explains that “… research suggests that as many as 1.7 percent of people are born with “intersex” characteristics that are some subtle form of sex anatomy variations — roughly the same ratio as the number of redheads in the human population.”
Apparently, sometimes God gives us a little of this and a little of that. And no one should be discriminated against because of this or that.
Let them serve. Live and let live. We must learn to tolerate ourselves, which is a lot harder than being intolerant to others.
Steve Skinner was born with red hair and used to play with dolls sometimes. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.