Talking Transgender with Cisgender Men

I had a potentially dangerous conversation with a very intelligent man which could have ended in a bad disagreement or even a crippled friendship, but instead it resulted in a sketched-out awareness of a space to find solutions in a psychologically and socially complex situation, such as teaching the world what transgender sexuality is.

I was at a dude’s house, and we wuz just talkin’ and shootin’ the breeze, no biggie. It was a queer cis male and I chatting to a heterosexual cis man who presented a very interesting pseudo metaphor for a transgender person, and “their movement.”

What he said was simplistic but also the kind of mind opening we are seeking humanity to conduct and process collectively here. He said, “Imagine a Chinese family comes into your neighborhood, and you’ve been living there all your life, and after a few years, the government decrees that, to make the Chinese family feel more comfortable in their new environment, you must learn how to speak Chinese. How would you feel about being given that choice?”

I knew what he was saying, and why he was saying it. He admitted that he was playing devil’s advocate to a degree, so he could learn more.

My answer was that I would walk a fine line between my freedom, morals,and beliefs in respecting humanity, and see how much I would be able to stand up to the government if I felt like they were going too far in what they were asking me to learn—I would determine that at my own pace. I choose which battles I want to fight, and when.

His point was heard when he said, “The hostile environment is the hardest part to deal with, since divisions get created, and echo chambers just trap people’s opinions with those they are similar to. This is not the way to peace or understanding.”

I understand how people who are not trans feel that they have to learn to understand transgenderism. If we learned about trans in grade school, it would be SO much easier to comprehend than it is now!

Ultimately, he and I came to some kind of compromise, and he even referred to the majority of boundaries as artificial, and we went for a joint. Understanding someone who could wind up as the enemy as your great friend—good times!

Addi Stewart

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