An anonymous commenter on the Topeka Capital Journal website by the pseudonym of Zorak has chosen to repeatedly misgender me and to refer to me by a name that is not my legal name. Apparently, Zorak think this is cute or clever or something.
Also apparently, Zorak seems to think the my blogs on the Capital Journal website are somehow meant to create some kind of discussion about the rightness or wrongness of living authentically. Positions that denounce authenticity are not worthy of the dignity of a response and it normally satisfies my purpose to simply note that the time has come when the naysayers have become the best witnesses for the advance of equality (which is true).
There have been monumental advances in the last few years as people become more aware of the fact that there is wide-spread discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, and that treating all people with dignity and respect, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is a human rights issue and an American value.
The idea that creating legal protections for LGBT citizens grants special rights is purely absurd. Special rights are rights that one group of people have while others do not. The special rights in this situation are the rights that are denied to LGBT Americans – the ones that everyone else has – but LGBT Americans are denied.
The idea that any other human being can possibly know another person’s gender identity is equally absurd. When people like Zorak misgender people like me, they are claiming to have that knowledge. Perhaps the Zoraks of the world are also able to determine every other intimate aspect associated with other people. Or perhaps the Zoraks of the world are just full of the stuff that comes out of the south end of a north bound bull.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it would seem that having a penis is what makes someone a man, there would be a lot more men in the world. And the world would indeed be a different place in which to live.
The claim that a person’s gender identity always matches their biological birth sex is certainly utilized as a weapon of bullying, discrimination, and even violence. This claim is also grounded in ignorance. The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health have reached a different conclusion than Zorak. All of these professional, knowledge-based organizations have determined that my identity as a woman is valid, in spite of what Zorak and Zorak-like-persons would like to believe.
All of this having been said, there is a reason that I write about being transgender. There is a reason that I live as an openly-transgender woman. There is a reason that I post my blogs at Huffington Post, and lgbtSr.org, and the Topeka Capital Journal.
Someone transgender teenager is contemplating the act of walking in front of a moving semi on the interstate. Some LGBT person is wondering whether or not their life has value. Some desperately harmed and shamed human being is trying to determine if life is just too hard for them to continue the battle.
It is my hope that a few of these people will find hope in the words I post. Hope that they can discover the incredible joys of living authentically. Hope that their lives are just as valuable as the lives of everyone else. Hope that there is a reason to continue the battle.
And it is a battle – a needless, pointless, shameful battle that is being fought by LGBT Americans day after day after day. It is a battle that is perpetuated when people like Zorak find it necessary to misgender people like me.
No, it is not for Zorak that I write these words. I write these words so that the people who need to hear them will know that there will always be Zoraks, but there are other voices in the universe. There are people who are willing to stand up and proclaim that there is nothing wrong with living authentically, and the voices that say otherwise are the never-ending gasps of ignorance that have no rightful place, but will always exist.
There will always be Zoraks, but there will also be people who expose their words as shallow and hollow. People who understand that the value of a human being is not based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The value of a human being is based in the fact that they are a human being. Anyone who tries to tell you anything different, is . . . well . . . a Zorak.
Stephanie Mott is a transsexual woman from Topeka, Kansas and a nationally known speaker on transgender issues. In addition, Stephanie is the executive director of Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project and a commissioner on the City of Topeka Human Relations Commission. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org