This probably comes as no surprise to some of my readers, but I grew up in a very conservative family, and for many years, I had a… shall we say "less than salutary" view of homosexuals, transgenders, queers, and all of the rest of the terminologies and categories people can fall into other than "straight and square". I would not say I was homophobic, per se, simply because they did not frighten me, but rather in the "separate but… y’know what, just stay over there" heading.
I am quite proud to say I have gotten over that particular kink of mine. As to the how, it is quite simple – I got involved in firearms, and then the rights and liberties revolving firearms. After all, if I firmly and ardently believe that people should be free to choose how they will defend themselves and their families – or even if they will defend themselves and their families – it just is not internally consistent of me to not likewise believe that people should be free to choose with whom they spend their lives. And, being the engineer I am, I hate internal inconsistency almost more than anything else, so I modified my world view to be logically consistent across the board.
In other words, it all comes down to freedom of choice, and while liberals pay lip service to that concept… except when it comes to “firearms”, “self-defense”, or any of those other icky concepts, those of us who fully support the notion of “freedom” are honor-bound to uphold it… in its entirety.
So what does this have to do with the price of .22LR in Hell, Michigan? Regular readers of this weblog should be familiar with the name Erin Palette – after all, I gave her a fairly decent character reference on my way (mostly) out the door. Regular readers of hers are fairly aware of the fact that she leads something of a… non-traditional lifestyle.
Well, today, you get to find out how non-traditional.
Though I cannot access the logs directly at the moment (my desktop is in a box… somewhere, with my monitor in another box… somewhere, and… yeah), I can remember my private IRC conversation with Erin wherein she “outed” herself quite clearly, simply because her reaction amused me slightly. She told me she had something important to tell me, and that it would probably cause me to freak out a little. After even just four years in the Navy, it takes a bit to wierd me out, so I asked her to proceed, and she informed me that she was functionally a woman living in a man’s body. My response, and I darn near quote was, “Oh. Huh. Ok.”
A little surprised by my relative lack of reaction, I would imagine, she asked if I had any questions, and I asked for a little clarification, simply because my experience with the concept was… limited. Once we cleared up my relative ignorance, it was pretty much a non-event for me, though I understand how it was quite stressful for her.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares my opinion on that matter, even amongst those folks in the ostensibly pro-rights community, and those people have convinced Erin to be rather… cautious in how she shares her particular situation. Out of the goodness of her heart, she decided to do a photoshoot with Oleg Volk to try to increase the funds donated for the “Spay Squeaky” campaign, but knew that doing so could potentially have some pretty significant repercussions for her, even amongst the community she largely regards as friends.
And, frankly, that disappoints me. Unfortunately, having personally witnessed some of the bigotry Erin is concerned about – bigotry even from those who argue in support of rights… at least when they pertain to firearms – I know she has cause to be concerned. Which brings me to the upshot of this whole post:
If you have nothing nice to say, then sit the hell down and shut the hell up… to completely bastardize a comment my mother was fond of.
“Outing” herself to the world as body dysmorphic was a hard decision for Erin to make, and an even harder one to follow through on, as you can see from her post. However, should that decision or her lifestyle cause you heartache or grief, that is your problem, not hers, and if you make it her problem… Well, I would point out that not only is she armed, she has a lot of friends who are likewise armed, and none of us are terribly fond of standing by and allowing our friends to be bashed, be it gay-bashing or otherwise.
There is nothing wrong with Erin. There is nothing that should be fixed, or, as I understand it, even could be if the desire was there (apart from a full-up gender-reassignment surgery, which is not on the table for a variety of understandable reasons). And, frankly, it is none of your damned business or concern how Erin identifies herself – it does not impact your life, detrimentally or otherwise, and you have as much vote regarding it as I have a vote regarding what Pantone number your skin should be.
If you claim to support freedom, then it is time to support the freedom of all people to live their lives as they see fit, in whatever way they see fit, so long as they are not detrimentally affecting another person against other’s will. If you cannot bring yourself to do that, then you cannot honestly claim to support freedom, can you?
And if you are one of those folks who do wholeheartedly support freedom, head over Erin’s way and give her some words of kindness or support; I can only imagine what it is like to live with something like this for a significant fraction of your life, much less admit it to the world, but I know words of encouragement never hurt.