Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Acceptance Before Understanding . . . a guide for human society

When I wrote this it was meant to capture my evolution of thought through my transition, but when thinking of recent political changes in the USA and discussions on a global basis of diversity, I think the core message here applies to all situations, although these words are from me on how I wish you to process my transition.

There are many diverse minorities outside of what I now call "normative society" that I used to be part of, instead I challenge you to see ALL of us as "Human Society" first and foremost.

Here is that post on Acceptance before Understanding;


Acceptance Before Understanding
This article represents my current knowledge and beliefs on the topic, while I continue to grow as a life long learner it is subject to change. I do not speak for the transgender community, their thoughts and feelings are theirs alone, this is me and I ask you accept me as I am.

I was a Father – I am a Parent
I was Married – I am Separated
I was a Brother – I am a Sister
I was a Son – I am a Daughter

The one thing that never changed during my transition is that I am still a Human Being!

Here are first 3 paragraphs of my coming out letter that I wrote in 2016 to my friends, colleagues, and family.  In it, I acknowledge that understanding will be difficult for some people, for some I now know it may be impossible.

I am about to share some personal information with you and although I do want to be up front with everybody that I work with, some of you might think that this information is a joke.  I assure you it is not.  Comprehending this information, in fact, may take considerable patience, understanding and compassion.  I expect that some of you will require a longer time to fully process this, as it is not a minor issue like a haircut or a bit of nail polish.

I am transgender.  Specifically, I am male-to-female transsexual. I have been aware of being different most of my life, but only came to a realization in the last few years that it had a name and the extent to which I felt like this. This has caused me an almost inexpressible degree of personal grief and confusion.

After many decades of struggling with my gender identify, I have finally come to grips with who I am.  I have been in therapy since the beginning of 2016 and it has become very clear to me that I cannot continue with the status quo in regards to my life without creating a union between my body and my spirit (for lack of a better analogy, my mind, heart and soul to not coincide with the physical body that I was born with).”

If we consult Collins English Dictionary the definition of the word understanding is:
Understanding (noun)
1. the ability to learn, judge, make decisions, etc; intelligence or sense
2. personal opinion or interpretation of a subject: my understanding of your predicament

So it makes sense that before you pass judgement/make a decision you want to understand. In fact to do so is human.

What I ask of people is Accept before Understanding. This is predicated on the understanding of the definition of Acceptance, based upon the same Collins English Dictionary source.
Acceptance (noun)
1. the act of accepting or the state of being accepted or acceptable
2. favourable reception; approval

The difference between the two words as verbs is that understanding is based upon needing to know the facts in order to understand, where as acceptance is at face value, not unlike faith as but one example.

The difference between the two words as it relates to my transgenderism is based upon a human rights concept of equality for all, or as I come to refer to it now, “Feminism”.

In that concept of equality for all (human rights for all) it beg’s the question, do you need to have understanding of me as a human being and the life journey I am on in order to define if I qualify for human rights? Fact is you never did before my transition!

Reality is that if you consider yourself a friend you are already accepting, while I suspect most of you don't understand, that’s OK and your not alone.

When I talk about acceptance, I am not asking you to accept whatever you perceive as my lifestyle. I am simply asking you to accept me as a human being.

Accept that as a human being my life journey takes me on a path, just as yours takes you on your life path. I ask you accept that I am following my path.

I am not asking you to accept that I decided this, because as you will learn, being Transgender is not a choice. Would you choose to risk EVERYTHING (loved ones, family, friends, home, career, finances) just to be transgender? We have not decided to risk it all, our life journeys have taken us on this path. We could continue to deny who we are in the many ways it manifests itself, but the unprecedented high double-digit suicide rate in all age categories is but one result of not following this life journey we are given.

For some people they will never understand and that's OK, because some days I am not sure I do. That’s why we use mental health professional’s who do not pass judgement on us, but help us unpack this journey so we can accept ourselves without the prejudice of your understanding.

The reality is that you may never understand.

And that's OK, because I am not asking why me, I am moving forward with the life journey I am on because moving forward is the only way we can go.

So please accept us before understanding

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