…”You’ll stumble in my footsteps
Keep the same appointments I kept
If you try walking in my shoes…”
Last night we celebrated Rex’s birthday with friends over at his house. I baked him a cake, and the five of us talked all evening. I got my kitty-fix. Some human “catnip” and scotch may have been involved. 😉
One thing I’ve noticed, hanging out with a cross-section of this particular community here, including T individuals, is that even among themselves they still only have a vague concept of what the “T” is. Whether unconsciously or intentionally, they can be just as prejudiced, uninformed, and factional as the general population. Stereotypes and assumptions abound, even among those who should know better. Thus, they are a part of the problem, and give Ts a bad name, making it harder for those actually transitioning to live a normal life.
Living with someone, though enlightening, is never the same as being them. You can witness the injustices and humiliations they endure daily, but you still can’t conceive of what it’s like to be in their shoes, with all the ignorance and indignities they’ve suffered.
You can never generalize about a population, but you can pick up on common threads, like the fact that many Ts have experienced, at the very least, misunderstanding and insensitivity growing up, if not out-and-out abuse and abandonment. This means that many of them have not been afforded the fundamental decencies and opportunities that others take for granted. They’ve started life at a disadvantage, and often don’t receive the benefit of basic nutrition, nurture, education, or job equality. It’s hard to find informed doctors who understand and respect their unique medical needs, and so-called professionals persist in misgendering and demeaning them.
I guess my point is, try walking in someone’s shoes before you presume to know what’s good or bad for them. The point being, you really can’t. All you can do is raise your awareness, reserve judgement, and be supportive. It’s challenging, believe me, leaving all your presumptions and biases behind. We live in a culture of first impressions and false conclusions, before we’ve given people the benefit of the doubt or a chance to speak for themselves. I’m still learning to do this myself, and I’m like 200 years old.
Anyway, here are my kitty friends, demonstrating how to keep it simple and mind one’s own business.