Both Sides Now By Cora Treoir Duncan: The Closer You Get, The More You Know

The news is not good. In the last six months forces have merged, converged and urged a growing number of conservative dominated state legislatures to consider and pass ‘Religious Freedom’ acts which have effectively legitimized LGBT, and more specifically Anti-Transgender Discrimination based on any individual’s ‘Religious’ belief system.

We learned yesterday that the lawyer who defended Kim Davis (the Kentucky County Clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples ) authored the bill that was embraced by dozens of state legislatures, some enacted already and many awaiting majority confirmation.

This is a war; harbor no doubt about that. It is the vengeful reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Same Sex Marriage and a decades-long reaction to progressive change. As a Transgender Woman of a certain age, I remember well the Civil Rights struggle bent on including all in enjoying basic human rights that were guaranteed by our constitution.

It took me 50 years to qualify as a persecuted minority. When I was 10, I became aware of the disconnect that excluded me from being viewed as just another person worthy of inclusion in this society. Everywhere I looked in my pre-adolescent years I saw labels that said unnatural, abhorrent, perverse, deviant and subhuman attached to my condition. Is it any wonder that there were so few of us willing to stand up and proclaim our state? I began a passion for authenticity that included standing up for acceptance of any marginalized group as best I knew how for 50 years.

For me, my heroes were Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Johnny Cash who all inspired me through their songs and relentless commitment to those without voices. My own personal journey was silent and hidden; I suffered, beat myself up, hid in plain sight, sought and found redemption and finally stepped out right into this shit-storm that rages around us today. The closer you get, the more you know.

Until you get close enough to recognize your own reflection in my mirror, we remain at odds. We know you are scared of change. We are, too; more than you know. We are totally aware of what our lives signal: what it threatens and what it offers. No change is without pain, but our quest can be a door opening to a new humanity, the start of a brave new future. Sometimes you know what is coming; sometimes you won’t know until you get close enough.

We need to redirect the attention away from bathrooms and bakeries and to the larger issue, which is one of violence against all things Feminine. THAT is what lurks behind this mask of Self-Righteous indignation of the perceived threat of TransWomen (and too a lesser extent Trans Men) in bathrooms and locker rooms. That distraction keeps our culture treading water in the 20th Century.

We need to be MORE visible and socially present and to engage and ignite constant conversations with every willing ear that we encounter. Let everyone who will listen know who we are, where we are going and why we believe in ourselves. The closer you get, the more you know.

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