In the weeks following speaking at church, people have been telling me that I am brave…that it took a lot of courage to do what I did. I appreciate their kind words. It would have been much harder to get up there if I didn’t have so many people praying for me. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. I really felt like Jesus was sitting on that stage with me. It gave me the strength to share what I did. The harder part for me has been the aftermath. I knew it would be difficult…living in the tension of wondering what people are thinking of me. The tension of worrying about people being upset and possibly leaving my church…just for having the conversation. I know that discussions are taking place, but I don’t know the content of those discussions. I knew all of this going into that Sunday morning, but courage doesn’t mean things will be easy.
Courage looks different depending on the circumstances:
The little girl who is afraid of water, but trusts her dad and leaps into the pool into his arms…has courage.
The little boy who rides his bike without the training wheels for the first time…has courage.
The child who raises their hand in class to answer a question…has courage.
The parent who teaches their child how to drive…has courage…can I get an AMEN (smile).
The recovering addict who swings their legs over the edge of their bed in the morning and faces the day sober…has courage.
The soldier who defends our country…has courage.
The family who waits for their soldier to come home…has courage.
There are many courageous things that people do every day.
I didn’t want to write about this topic. I felt there had already been a plethora of discussion about it already. You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard all the verbiage about Caitlyn Jenner recently. Especially when she received the Arthur Ashe award for courage. Many were up in arms about her receiving such an award. I like the saying…’Comparison is the thief of joy,’ but I think comparison is the thief of a lot of things. I don’t think anyone has the right to tell someone they aren’t courageous just because their courage looks different then someone else’s. My guess is that the people who had a problem with her getting the award have never known a transgender person…or the parent of a transgender person. They’ve never buried a transgender child or held vigils at a hospital bed because someone tried to murder them. How would they know what any of them have gone through? How can they judge their courage?
I felt prompted to write about this when I first saw the courage comparisons that were being posted. I ignored it. Like I said…so many people had already written about it. Unfortunately, I still see the jokes on FB about Caitlyn Jenner. And I guess the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back…was my birthday. On July 23rd, a transgender woman was murdered…the eleventh this year. She was 66 years old and was stabbed to death…left for dead in the street. So you see, the meme’s that you post on FB about Caitlyn Jenner and others make a difference…in a bad way. They contribute to the misunderstanding of other human lives. They portray that person themselves as a joke…and I think that is dangerous.
So whether you agree with the person or not…think about what you post. Think about who may see that post. The suicide rate among transgender teens is staggering. Please don’t contribute to their pain. Think of what it might be like to walk in their shoes…
Love each other because love matters…but how we love matters even more.