I am absolutely exhausted with hatred - more specifically, hatred that comes directly from ignorance. Today, I made the grave mistake of commenting (and reading the comments) on a BBC video about how a family is handling their son transitioning to a woman. The comments ranged from the despicable ("would have been better off with one of those late term abortions") to the downright insane ("this is the genocide of white people" - yeah, I don't get it either), but they all shared a common theme. They all suggested that transgender people are sick, and should not live in a way that is most comfortable for them, because it is uncomfortable to others. I am particularly fed up with this being the opinion of many people, on many issues.
First of all, no one is obligated to deny their own happiness for your benefit. No one should be expected to live a life that makes them unhappy because it will make you a little more comfortable. I presume most of you believe that, if you really think about it. I assume none of you feel like you should have to give up your religion because others don't care for it, to work a job you hate because other people would like it if you did, to deny your own political views so as to not offend those on the other side. I can't imagine any of you would live in a way that would make you miserable because other people, some of whom you don't even know, would prefer it if you did.
Second - hold onto your hats here, as shit's about to get scientific - there is significant evidence that trans people have brains that either more closely resemble the gender they identify with or brains that are not typically male or female. What does this mean? Essentially, it means that a trans person is not delusional or mentally ill - they simply have a brain that is more similar to the gender they identify with than the sex they were born, or, at the very least, have a brain that lacks a lot of the markers of a cisgender person. Imagine for a moment that you woke up tomorrow with the brain you've always had - the same thoughts, emotions, wants, and dreams - but suddenly had the body of the opposite sex. Some of you would likely be able to adjust, but a whole lot of you, undoubtedly, would feel uncomfortable, miserable, wrong. You would know in your mind that you are still a man or a woman, but your body, your mannerisms, your voice, your very presence would be decidedly the opposite of what feels right to you. What you may choose to do about that is obviously entirely up to you, but I can't imagine you would want to be denied choices, shamed publicly, or even killed, for how you decided to handle it.
Third, and this is where I get super fucking angry, transgenderism isn't a mental illness, but that doesn't actually matter at all. The position that it's a mental illness is wrong, but it's also maddening from the perspective of those of us who really do have one. People with mental illnesses often suffer terribly, and would do absolutely whatever it takes to live normal, happy, functional lives. We will experiment with prescriptions, diets, physical activities, and even obvious woo in the hope of getting just a little relief. If there was solid evidence that cutting off my little toe would significantly reduce my depression, that little piggy would be gone by dinner. Claiming that transgenderism is a mental illness is wrong, but it's also stupid if you follow it up with something along the lines of "therefore, they should get help, not mutilate their bodies". Even if it were a mental illness, transitioning would be a perfectly reasonable treatment, just as taking anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication is a perfectly reasonable way to deal with those issues. They do not "cure" us of a "problem", they do not mean we've "given in to a sickness", they simply assist many of us in leading happy and functional lives. Why would you ask that we do otherwise? Why would you ask that we refuse the one treatment that might allow us to live happily?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, why the hell is this such a concern for people? As I hear every time I discuss this issue, trans people make up a statistically insignificant portion of the population. This is the argument presented each and every time anyone proposes a change to how we approach any number of issues - "why should the rest of us change on behalf of such a small number of people?" Why indeed! Why would so many of us focus so much of our attention, intolerance, hatred, and bigotry on a tiny minority? Why are billions of people so obsessively concerned with ~ 0.5% of the population? Why does a single video on Facebook about one individual transitioning generate hundreds of thousands of comments? If you are genuinely concerned with the well-being of others, might I suggest you first work on the approximately 100,000,000 people who are currently homeless? The nearly 80% of people worldwide who survive on less than $10/day? The fact that several million people will die of cancer this year? That, thanks to the anti-vax movement, preventable diseases are on the rise? Might I suggest that your concern for the health and happiness of others would be better spent on issues like a lack of proper medical care for people all over the world, our outright refusal to house the homeless and feed the hungry, rising education costs, the belief that manual labour and so-called "dirty jobs" are things we should not aspire to, the perpetuation of war and armed conflict, the worrying trend of racism, sexism, and religious bigotry being acceptable once again, or the fact that nearly 800,000,000 cannot read this rant - not because they don't speak English or have no internet access, but because they are illiterate? Might I suggest that if you are really do want to focus on trans people, you should perhaps consider that their alarmingly high suicide/suicide attempt rates are almost exclusively due not to their "mental illness", but the horrific treatment they face by society at large, and that they are murdered at a higher rate than numerous other demographics?
Please, for the love of all that is good, stop pretending that your bigotry is actually concern. Stop pretending that you are holding on to some sort of moral high-ground. Do not pass off your horrible comments and abhorrent behaviour as tough love and hard truths, because they are truly neither. The "trans issue" is yours, not theirs. Trans people exist. There is nothing you can do to change that fact, so you really only have two choices: you can spend your days frothing at the mouth about a teeny tiny segment of the population that has done you no harm; perpetuate dangerous hatred against vulnerable people; advocate less rights for citizens that make you feel icky, or you can learn a little about people who are different than you; challenge yourself to show love to people you don't quite understand; treat everyone with the same basic decency you'd like to be treated with. Those truly are your only choices, here. Please choose wisely.