Unfortunately, this column is not about the new curves I have developed in transition. Redistribution of body fat has allowed for some deviation from my previous shape, but nothing I would go so far as to say were curves. Least ways, not like the curves you see on television. However, my mom did tell me I was getting "hippy" the other day, which I took as a great compliment.
This column is about the infamous "bell curve". My crime, my sin, is that I don’t fall in the middle of the bell curve. I am left-handed. Oh, and I am also transgender. Lots of people are not in the middle of the bell curve. In 2008, seven-year-old Tyler Cook chose to have his birthday party guests make a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital instead of giving him gifts. This most assuredly is not in the middle.
Michael Jordan’s basketball skills are totally not in the middle. Mother Theresa’s compassion was way out on the curve. Albert Einstein and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were far from the middle. Jesus lived and died at the very edge of curve.
So, how do we decide when it’s good to be on the edge of the curve, and when it’s not? Who makes the decisions about this? When I was a child, my parents tried to correct my left-handedness, as if there were something wrong with it. They tried to get me to learn to write with my right hand and throw with my right arm. Their efforts were so blatantly unsuccessful that they soon gave up and accepted my left-handedness.
I wonder if MJ’s dad ever considered telling him to quit playing basketball because he wasn’t in the middle of the curve. Do you think they told Mother Theresa to stop working with the poor because that was “not normal”? We know what they did to Jesus because he didn’t fit into their idea of the model citizen box.
It is interesting that society has tried to correct my transgenderism, asserting in many ways that there is something wrong with me. I pledge my undying allegiance to the company that airs the first national ad campaign showing a gay couple looking at wedding rings, or a transwoman shopping for clothing. How about an advertisement of a lesbian couple, with their children, driving down the road and the kids say, “Mommies, can we go to McDonalds?” When that happens, I will say, "I’m lovin’ it”.
Then there are those people with the rainbow colored signs. Always telling me to repent and stuff. Actually, they are just talking about the LGB community, but since they don’t know that transgender is not quite the same as LGB, I think I should believe that they are talking about me too. I wouldn’t want to be left out.
The transgender community has our fair share of detractors. We are still listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. And I wonder if Awaken Manhattan would have been quite so engaged in further dehumanizing God’s children, if my wonderful friend Jonathan Mertz and the Flint Hills Human Rights Project had not been insistent about leaving the T in the Manhattan anti-discrimination ordinance (by the way – FHHRP rocks!!).
Have you seen the “Video Confession” on the Awaken Manhattan website? If not, you should check it out. These pastors apologized for not taking the time to learn more about LGBT individuals. I had my suspicions, but we set up a transgender educational opportunity for them in the Manhattan Public Library. For some reason, no one from Awaken Manhattan showed up. Makes you wonder about their sincerity.
So why do people have a problem with transgender? In objecting to my being transgender, people often use the word, “unnatural”. How do you suppose they reach that conclusion? It seems to me that Mother Nature was in the room when I was created, when I was in the womb, and when I was born. I am pretty sure that she has been around for billions of births.
Nature loves diversity. You see it in every living thing. The most beautiful things in the world are nowhere near the middle of the curve. Imagine never looking at a rainbow, except through a pinhole. Seeing only small parts of the rainbow, and never being able to understand the awesome display of inclusion that stretches across the sky.
Finally, it is interesting that as people question the appropriateness of my being transgender, they often ask me if I think that God made a mistake. I’m like, “No, I’m just not in the middle of the bell curve, and I don’t think God made a mistake. Do you?”
© 04/03/2011, Stephanie Mott
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