There are a number of posts that I have set up to write, but it’s been a pretty crazy summer here. That being said, last week was pretty tough. In fact, I pretty much spent all day Wednesday (and quite a bit of Thursday) in tears.
I don’t believe that I have mentioned it in previous posts, but Ben is a naval officer. While he was once an active duty submarine officer, he is now in the naval reserves. Both of our parents also served in the military, as did our grandparents. Point being, we have strong connections to the military. I remember one day last fall, Ben came home from his navy reserve weekend ecstatic. He had just had a briefing about how the military would start allowing openly transgender people to serve. This was a big deal and we both knew it. It was a very exciting time. Flash forward to last month when Ben spoke with a 3-star-admiral. During their conversation, the admiral remarked on how proud he was of the military about their new policy for transgender service members. Since this had been adopted as policy, we weren’t incredibly worried about what this administration would do.
This is where last Wednesday kicks in. As the family and I were driving down to my mom’s house (about 6 hours away), I notice a news story. Turns out, the president decided to Tweet that morning that transgender service members would no longer be allowed to serve in the military. His Tweet did not say that new service members could not sign up, but rather that even the current service members would no longer be able to serve in any capacity. I was floored. I’m not stupid. I knew it was only a matter of time before this administration full out attacked transgender people. This particular assault caught me off guard. It was kind of a double whammy; not only was this an attack on my child’s community, but it was an attack on veterans. I don’t care how you identity, if you are willing to stand up and put your life on the line for this country, you are a hero and should be treated as such. To be told that you are a distraction in the military because of your gender identification, to be told that your service isn’t good enough… it made my blood boil. If they could attack veterans like this, what else would they be capable of?
I only had to wait a few hours until the news story popped up about the Justice Department arguing that Title VII does not protect LGBTQ from workplace discrimination. It was two blows against us in the same day. I felt like we were living in an alternate reality. How is this what the world is becoming? Why is there all of this hate and fear? Lately, I have found that my usual coping method of logical thinking just isn’t working anymore. Science tells us over and over again that many of the preconceptions people hold about LGBTQ people are false. They are not sexual deviants. They have not been created by over zealous mothers. They are not hanging out in bathrooms waiting to assault people. And yet, it is OK to hate them? It is OK to refuse them service at your store or restaurant because it doesn’t comply with your religious views? I don’t understand. There are so many laws in the bible, you can’t possibly ban everyone who has broken biblical laws from your store, otherwise you would never have any employees or customers. Men who have cheated on their wives? Ban them. Women who have taken birth control? Not allowed. People who have master-bated? That’s a serious no-no. Who would be left? Why are we picking and choosing which rules to follow?
After a good day of crying, I decided to scrape myself up off the floor and do something about it. Instead or wallowing in my own self-pity and fear, I knew I had to turn that energy into something good. On Thursday, I applied to volunteer with two different LGBTQ groups near us. We have been donating money whenever we can, but after Wednesday it was time to get even more involved. If I want the make a difference, what better way than to dive in and get to work? I can’t sit back and let my daughter’s rights be decided by others. I need to jump into this full force and be an activist for her. She needs me, and you, and everyone who is willing to fight with us… her whole community does. I wonder how many LGBTQ youths thought about suicide after the events of last week? How many of them are worried that things won’t get better? K is still young and doesn’t grasp what the world out there will be like for her. Older kids (and adults) do though and we need to be there for them. We cannot combat the hate by ourselves; we are stronger together. This mama bear is ready to fight. Are you with me?