Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Brandy

Ignorance is NOT Bliss – Educate Yourself Before You Speak Out

The other day I became extremely disappointed in someone.

Someone who I used to consider a good friend.

Someone I grew up with and who knows everything my family and I have gone through these past number of years.

A few days ago my brother posted a link on his personal Facebook page to an article regarding Member of Parliament (MP) Rob Anders’ stance on the transgender rights Bill C-279 proposal.

Now, I could rant and rave about the ridiculousness of Ander’s statements alone. But that is not what this post is about.

Along with posting the link my brother also wrote and shared his own experience with the issue by adding this to his posting,

“People look at me shockingly when I tell them my bathroom fears… And then this bullsh*t happens. I wonder if any of these close minded people have ever taken the time to talk to a transgender individual. Chances are it’s a no.”

A few hours later, this comment appeared in response to my brother’s posting,

“what’s the big fear, you ain’t got a d*ck so use the ladies room yo.”

Obviously, my friend (well former friend now) missed the point entirely.

He apparently does not care that my brother is a transgender individual. Or what he goes through each and every day.

Does my former friend have any inkling about what it is like being my brother?

Does he know what it feels like to be almost beat up because people do not believe you are what and who you say you are?

Does he know what it feels like to be spit at?

Does he know what it is like to be called names? Ugly, hurtful and degrading names?

Does he know what it is like to be stared at?

Does he know what it feels like to be pushed in the chest and bruised while attending a friend’s wedding and being told over and over “you’re a girl, remember that!”

Does he know what it feels like to not be served in some restaurants or places of business?

Does he know what it feels like to have to hide just so that he and his girlfriend can catch a cab ride home? Otherwise, they get passed on by.

Does he know what it is like to bind your breasts so tightly you bleed all because you hate the body you were born in?

My guess? Not likely!

I do not know how my brother does it, but he dusts himself off and continues on. He does not retaliate either. He just tries to ignore it all and move on with life as best he can.

I asked my brother how he does this. His answer, “well after watching Mom die, I’m pretty sure anything else is easier to deal with. I just want to be happy within myself and for the first time I’m closer to that than I’ve ever been. And people can push me around and say things but I’m still alive.”

This from a person who has had to deal with all of the above. My brother is truly amazing!

Using a public washroom is one of my brother’s biggest fears and it always has been.

I remember when we were young how people would look at him (when we would enter the ladies’ room) and they would ask him quite rudely what he was doing in there. Boys weren’t allowed they would say. We would explain that he was a girl and that he was allowed to be there. They still didn’t believe us.

My brother still has trouble entering a public restroom. He sent me this picture the other day to illustrate how he and the many other transgender individuals feel before choosing what door to open.

Transgender Washroom Ignorance

I cannot imagine being scared to enter anywhere, let alone a restroom.

I take it for granted that I can enter without fear of either being yelled at, beat up, or worse.

But the world is different for my brother.

He does not get the same right.

And all because he is “different” from the norm.

What my former friend needs to learn is that the world is made up of different kinds of people. People who should be treated the same as any other. You know the old adage, the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Transgender people, along with lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, deserve the same rights that heterosexual people enjoy. They deserve to have the right to be considered EQUAL!

And most importantly, we all deserve to live in a world free from fear.

My initial reaction to my former friend’s post was to message him and ream him out for his comments. How dare he make such an ignorant statement? But then, I thought about it for a day or two and I realized it wasn’t worth my time. He doesn’t understand and probably never will.

If I had messaged him I would have said many of the same things I said above. But I would have also included the following analogy.

What if that transgender person was

… your best friend,

… your sister,

… your brother,

… your mother,

… your father,

… your son,

or your daughter…

Would you feel the same way?

Would you have the same reaction?

Or would you quickly dismiss them as you have seemed to have dismissed my brother?

Think before you speak because your words have power.


Image Source: Unknown

Author:
Brandy Reid is a stay at home mom to two very active and hockey obsessed boys. As a former YA librarian, Brandy loves to read and is obsessed with reading everyday whether it be books or blogs. Brandy proudly admits that she is a wee bit addicted to social media, especially Twitter. She also believes that everything in life you can related to the iconic TV Show Friends. No day is complete without chocolate.

50 Comments

  1. anne
    anneReply
    October 17, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    AMEN. And, to your brother- peace and love to you. Stay strong!

  2. Trina Stewart
    October 17, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    Wow very powerful post. Never judge a person until you walk in their shoes is my life’s mantra. Recently, one of my friend’s children came out of the closet and I asked them how they felt about it (being a gay father). He was ultimately scared for him and knew the repercussions intimately. I think your brother has a fantastic attitude. To acknowledge your differences is a huge step. Being comfortable with yourself is massive.

    If this was a friend who commented,would have been said in jest or in ignorance? I think before you rush to judgement, you should acknowledge their statement and ask them to clarify if this friendship means a great deal to you. Many times, we’ll be sitting at a table with our gay friends and say things that we wouldn’t say to another gay person. There’s a comfort zone where our friends know that it wouldn’t be taken seriously. Sometimes people have no filter and end up saying things that shouldn’t be posted online. If anything, it will bring you closure to the whole scenario.

  3. ashley p
    ashley pReply
    October 17, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    very powerful indeed…. really glad you posted this!

  4. Suzanne
    SuzanneReply
    October 17, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    wow…very well said!! …..this reminded me of some conversation that took place in my former workplace about unisex bathrooms…..and how going unisex could perhaps alleviate this particular problem your brother has to deal with when he wants to simply….”take a pee”. The conversation was interesting to say the least and I was intrigued by the various reactions, responses and different people’s attempts to problem solve in order to make “everyone” feel comfortable. In the end….most of us liked the idea of there simply being bathrooms….with one door that whoever entered could feel comfortable in. Don’t you wish the world could just somehow sort itself out so solutions such as this could be arrived at…….so a basic human need could be dealt with? Anyways…….great job ……fantastic food for thought….I hope lots of people read this and really think!

  5. AnnMarie Brown
    October 17, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Wow awesome blog post… powerful and well said. I really hope many read this post even if they all don’t comment!

  6. Jennifer Martin
    October 17, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    what a great post Brandy, definitely something to think about, wonderfully written!

  7. torviewtoronto
    torviewtorontoReply
    October 17, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    lovely post

  8. SnyMed
    October 17, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Some people are scared of what they don’t understand. You are rightfully proud of your brother for living the life that he felt should have been his at birth. It sounds like he has a great friend in big sister in you, and that is the way it should be.

    Jenna

  9. Rene
    ReneReply
    October 17, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Great post!

  10. Cheryl KidsOnAPlane
    October 18, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Powerful and well written! You’re a great sister Brandy. I probably would have had the same reaction too if I was in the same situation.

  11. Mommy Outside
    Mommy OutsideReply
    October 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Thank you for sharing this Brandy. I can’t say that I have any personal experience that I can relate to what you are saying but I recall very clearly watching a TV documentary about young children living with being transgender and it broke my heart. Not because of who they are, they are beautiful who they are, but because of the way the rest of the world projects their own insecurities and ignorance onto them. We are all equal – it doesn’t matter if we are male, female, gay straight, bisexual, big, small, healthy or sick – I am no better than you and you are not better than me. We are different from each other but always equal. I’m not sure why that is such a hard concept for people to comprehend sometimes.

  12. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Great comment! “I am no better than you and you are not better than me.” Exactly!

  13. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Thank you Cheryl!

  14. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Thank you so much!

  15. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    You are right, they are scared of what they don’t understand. They need to educate themselves to better understand. Then maybe this world would be a better place.

  16. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Thank you!

  17. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Thank you Jennifer! It was a hard one to write but something I had to get out there to make people more aware.

  18. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Thank you AnnMarie. I hope it helps others to understand a bit more about what transgender people face in their daily lives.

  19. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Thank you Suzanne! I hope more public places take a look at this situation and find a solution that works best for everyone.

  20. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Thank you Ashley.

  21. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    I love your mantra! You truly never know what a person goes through in their daily lives unless you live it yourself.

  22. Brandy InsaneMamacita
    October 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Thank you so much Anne! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.

  23. AMotherhoodBlog
    January 9, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    The world is a cruel place and it disgusts me that we allow it to continue with the vast different people around the world every single day. Transgender, gay, straight, woman, man it doesn’t matter we are all HUMAN BEINGS. We all have thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams and I really wish people would get past their “it has to be this way” shallow standards and start appreciating each other for who we are. I don’t know what your brother is going through but I feel his pain through your writing. Life is hard enough, the world needs to open their eyes and get a clue.

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      My belief is that we are one race, the HUMAN RACE. Thank you for visiting and sharing my very important post. :)

  24. AlwaysARedhead
    January 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    It always baffles me how people know the sex of people just by looking at them (with the exception of those that do know you). Personally I think we should have unisex bathrooms, period. I despise the long line up there always is for the women’s washrooms.

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:11 PM

      Unisex washrooms would solve a lot of problems! And yes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover… the same goes for people. :)

  25. Suzanne Rudge (MapleMouseMama)
    January 10, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Good for you for taking the high road. I can just imagine how hard that must have been. While not the same, I often came to my older sister’s defense when we were growing up. She was and is, different then her friends, but it was natural to be her protector as I know she would have done for me. As hard as it is we have to try to ignore the ignorant and pray for their enlightenment. God bless you and your brother Brandy. May life only have open doors for you both..

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      Thank you so much Suzanne! I truly appreciate your support and taking the time to read my blog.

  26. Alex
    January 10, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    This is an incredible post, so gutting, so bare, and so important for everyone to read. Ignorance is absolutely NOT bliss. It is awful that anyone has to suffer through what your brother and others have had to suffer.

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      It’s a cruel world we live in. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. My brother has had to deal with far too much. I am so glad that his life is so much better now and he is truly happy with who he is and where he is.

  27. SL
    January 10, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Excellently put, Brandy! This is a wonderful blog post!

    I hope it gets shared and reposted a LOT!

    Hugs to your brother. He deserves lots if those for putting up with dingbats!

    Keep writing!

    • Ida Mae
      January 10, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      I suspect someday your ex-friend may find himself in a situation where the tables are turned & he experiences some form of discrimination. I hope he will recognize it.

      • Brandy
        January 19, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        I sure hope he learns something from it. Thank you for visiting Ida Mae. :)

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Thank you so much chickee! I hope you keep reading!

  28. Kyla@Mommy's Weird
    January 10, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    I am honoured to share this world with you. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      Aww, thank you so much Kyla! I really am glad you loved my post.

  29. Heather
    January 10, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    Wonderfully written, you are a great sister :)

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      Thank you! I will always stick up for my little brother.

  30. Mona (Moxie-Dude)
    January 10, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    A-freaking-men.

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read Mona! I am truly honoured so many have shared it and commented.

  31. Kathryn
    January 10, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    Best to your brother! Keep his head high, he is who he is.
    Have you had a chance to see these wonderful children profiled on 16×9 on Glibal last month?

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      I will definitely check out the special on 16×9. I have seen a few other documentaries they have done and they are always so well done. Thank you for sharing and for stopping by.

  32. Dani @ lifeovereasy
    January 10, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    There is a lot of fear and hate in the world, but I have to believe this is changing. I know my girls do not even raise an eyebrow at a transgendered person. They are the next generation, and that means things will get better. I hope your brother finds a way through all this. He is lucky to have you!

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      Thank you Dani! That is great that your girls accept all people. I love that!

  33. Courtney
    January 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Thank you for sharing this with us all. I’m sorry that your brother has to deal with such ugly reactions to who he is – I hope that at some point in the near future we can all be so much more accepting and loving of those who make different life choices than us. Your brother must be such a strong individual.

    • Brandy
      January 19, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      And thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and read my post. I truly appreciate it. I hope the world changes and becomes more accepting of people with differences. We really do need to embrace our differences as they are what make us unique!

  34. Nicolle Dawne
    February 13, 2015 at 10:33 PM

    Just found your site through the post on the Reminder website. Just wanted to say that I admire your brothers strength, and I applaud you for supporting him. You are truly a wonderful person!

    • Brandy
      February 25, 2015 at 10:11 PM

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate you visiting my blog and reading my post. :)

  35. Kristin
    KristinReply
    July 17, 2015 at 9:52 AM

    Such a moving story Brandy. Your brother is very courageous. . Thank you for this beautiful tribute. . Wishing peace and happiness for your brother. Thank you for sharing this link with your friends.

    • Brandy
      July 28, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment Kristin. I really appreciate it. :)

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