I am CIS straight male who might not be so CIS had I recognized an alternative as a child. Not that I am uncomfortable with my body: I am and always have been comfortable that way. Nor would my sexual preference be different, I would still be attracted to women. What I have never been comfortable with is what others seem to think my body should say about me. I have never fit my gender stereotypes and I have never wanted to. Part of the reason I am attracted to women is that I relate better to women than to other men, and that has always been the case.
I am not trans-phobic, but I am somewhat trans-ignorant, and I am very ignorance-phobic. So, I want to learn, and I want to give my support. To answer your specific questions, here:
- Yes, I am aware of the fact that existing trans members of the military will be affected, and it sickens me. Sexual orientation and gender identity should have no place in deciding whether a person is fit for any kind of employment or public service. A person should only ever be judged on attitude, performance and capability.
- I haven’t posted on the subject, but if I did, I would try to be respectful of the people for whom I am speaking out. If I failed, it would be because of my ignorance, nothing else.
- I try to use people’s pronouns and names when I know them. Sometimes, if the person is someone I have known for a long time by a different set of pronouns and name, it takes me a while to absorb their newly public persona to the point where it becomes automatic, but I make the effort. ‘They’ is a hard one for me because linguistically it sticks in my throat to use a plural pronoun in a singular context, but I am learning to do it, and will keep trying.
- I believe that trans women are women and trans men are men, and everyone in between is legitimately in-between and has a right to own whatever it is they know they are. That said, I am a product of my age (born in the early 60s), so understanding is relatively new to me. I believe these things in my soul, but I only understand them in my mind.
- I am tangentially aware of the murders of trans women of color, but I have not reacted to the news one way or another publicly, at least until now: no human attribute justifies or even mitigates murder. Ever. There are no exceptions to this, and even the suggestion that this is negotiable is unacceptable.
- I hope I use my CIS privilege to help the trans community where I have the opportunity. Part of my CIS “privilege”, sadly, is not to have a lot of knowing contact with the trans community. I do not have any close openly trans friends (mostly children of friends) from whom to learn, or to whom I can offer my direct support. I hope, as the trans community opens up more, that I will have those friends and I can learn from them and more actively support them.
Self-reflection is a life’s work. It is never done. I will join you, joyfully. I think you are the first person on Medium I am actually going to commit to following, because I hope to be able to learn from you.
Thank you for your post.