THE BLOG
06/30/2016 05:39 pm ET Updated Jul 01, 2017

Jousting With Jugheads

One problem with being transgender is having to prove that I exist.

Someone writes, "Oh I don't believe in that." I think, "Well, here it is."

Whether the person's expressed disbelief is akin to that regarding ghosts, goblins and other denizens of the spirit realm or is rather a matter of some conflict with personal standards as to what is acceptable, the fact remains that I have spent many decades being myself and shall certainly not be stopping any time soon.

"But," decries another, "it's only a mental illness. Get help." I reply that I have talked with two psychologists and a psychiatrist in search of information for my own benefit. Then comes the angry, incongruous response: "They don't know anything!"

You know, I'm not bitter. After a while, it becomes laughable. How can you not be amused by a person who refuses to learn and instead -- from a safe digital distance -- hurls epithets such as "sinner", "pervert", "sick", "twisted", "diseased" and (gasp!) "lib" at your humble author, who is in fact the very epitome of vanilla, middle-of-the-road, unassuming, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent? (Forgive the detour into the Boy Scout Law. Some things you never forget.)

I'm alluding, of course, to the online "Comments" that follow articles regarding transgender matters. I know I should stay away, but alas...I cannot. I've learned at least to keep my opinions to myself, because that's a battle I'll never win. But sometimes I can't resist using the writers' own words to wind them up a bit.

It's not a fair fight, really. You say I'm a figment of my own imagination. I know better. You have beliefs, opinions and prejudice. I'm armed with facts. I want to educate. You want to hate. What's the point of me trying?

The ones who see this transgender "thing" as just a recent phenomenon seem convinced that there's some radical progressive gay agenda at work -- undermining all that is sacred and seeking to destroy the family, corrupt the children and possibly even redecorate everyone's home.

But for decades before they took up rhetorical arms against it, yours truly was engaged in a torturous internal war to be free of the condition. And look where I am now. The thought that it's all a matter of choice is ludicrous.

I've been pleasantly surprised to find that most people, once they know this one fact about me, process the new information quickly and then move on to more important things. To them, I simply "am". It's not a matter of believing.

Much like you, I would guess, I awaken now confident of my own existence. I waste little to no time defending the person I see each day in the mirror. I try to be the best "me" I can be. Whether or not that's "normal" is of no concern.

I suppose there will always be those who choose willful ignorance over knowledge and cannot abide anything that threatens their very narrow view of how things are and how they ought to be. They have only the two gender boxes in their zone of comfort. Not only do you not fit neatly into one or the other, but you have dared to bring along your own.

For a long time, I labored under the misconception that no mind was so narrow that a few facts could not be wedged in somehow. But a great many people I encountered online proved me wrong. And yet, when I least expected it, they turned out to be experts on matters of anatomy and physiology.

Someone whose grasp of grammar and punctuation is tenuous at best is quite at ease expounding on chromosomes as an inviolable determinant of gender, for example. And many are conversant with the complex, scientific definition of "male" and "female" being "what's between your legs".

In an attempt not to seem too academic, I think, they often substitute euphemisms such as "thing", "junk" and "pee-pee" for more commonly used anatomical terms.

No one wants to appear stuffy.