Another beautiful NYT piece by Jennifer Finney Boylan, this time to mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
As a young trans girl, I could only assume that the odds against me were long. What would happen, I wondered, if I spoke aloud the thing that was in my heart? Even worse: What would happen if I did not?
Boylan writes about something some of us fear: that our own children may be LGBT+.
Dear God, I thought. Anything but this. Given how hard being trans has made my life, it was the one thing I hoped my own child might be spared.
We’re not scared because deep down we feel there’s something wrong with being LGBT+. We’re scared because we know that there is nothing wrong with us but a great deal wrong with how some treat us. We know what it’s to be hated by strangers and hurt by people close to us, to endure the casual little cruelties of some and the monstrous, deliberate cruelties of others, to spend years trying to stop ourselves from being ourselves.
Being LGBT+ is tough, and not everybody makes it.
Who in their right mind would wish that experience on their children?
It’s important to realise the parameters of your own worldview. To take an uncontroversial example, we all believe that the best music of all time is the music we loved in our late teens.
And that applies to more serious things too. The fear I felt going into the city centre last night in a dress – something I haven’t done for a while for various reasons; I’ll post about it some other time – is largely based on the attitudes I experienced growing up, and the hatred that I see online. But my lived experience is completely different to my expectation. The mental model I have of How Things Are is hopelessly out of date.
We see the world based on how it was for us, not necessarily how it is for the people in the generations that have come after us.
Why is my daughter’s generation better than mine when it comes to accepting abundance and variation in human sexuality and identity? Why, to them, is being queer a delight and a cause for celebration, when for me it was something for which I felt I had to apologize, over and over, and to endlessly explain?
The answer is in the title of Boylan’s piece.
Love prevails, mostly.