Don’t Put Your Damage on Me

Seems these days that the rule of mob mentality has become more and more pervasive. The expansion of which can likely be tied to the rise of the internet, but more so the rise of social media. So it would dictate that if you dare stand for something, someone will rise to counter that which you stand for. Who is right and who is wrong might be one of those things that seems difficult to establish, but that’s not actually the case. It’s actually super easy to determine who is right in a free society. So I’m left wondering why this overwhelming push to control each other needs to exist at all.

You’d have to be in a coma or otherwise predisposed with something life threatening to have avoided the brouhaha that recently arose when some football players chose to kneel instead of stand for the national anthem. This is an optimal example of the mobs quickly falling into two camps and both proclaiming to be righteous; in truth neither are.

With both sides so harshly polarized they didn’t bother to ask one important question. Does their personal mandate infringe on the freedom of another?

I saw both sides, and I get both sides. You’ve got the pro-kneelers who want to draw attention to violence perpetuated against a minority community by figures of authority. On the other side you have people who take failure to stand as an insult to the soldiers who have fought and died. I totally understand this.

I completely appreciate the self-sacrifice of voluntary service done in the sake of preserving the American way. But I can also understand a need to stand up to oppressors whom are expected to be trusted and unbiased ambassadors of justice. The irony is that those who stood, were actually performing the exact same form of protest. Those who have given themselves in the service of our country did so to fight oppression. The only differentiation between standing or kneeling is whether the oppression occurs on our soil or not.

So standing is a sign of solidarity for fighting oppression in the world, and kneeling is a sign of fighting oppression in this country. Both are noble positions to hold, still neither side is right.

Are you ready for this? Here’s where the irony gets even weirder. The fact that you have these two staunch divisions trying to dictate the actions of the other they become guilty of that which they protest against. Both sides have become the oppressors. Had this been anything other than a free country, one side would be more righteous based on the laws of that land, but this is the land of the free, and the home of the brave. We often think of that line and our minds go to our soldiers, however that’s simply the most extreme form of bravery. Bravery in the context of a free country means living free. And how do you live free? By fighting oppression.

So you can stand, you can sit, and you can kneel. If that is your choice, you are free to do whatever you choose. And when you do these things, you must acknowledge that everyone else has the same freedom, and you have no right to dictate their course, lest you become the oppressor.

The Constitution of the United States was written with the sole purpose of creating a nation united in freedom, but this week I saw a nation divided by a unified call to impinge on those freedoms. Make no mistake about it, the ones who are right are those who took no position in shoving their personal posture preference down the opposition's throats. The people who stood up, and the ones who knelt were right to do so. But the fact remains that imposing your will on another is absolutely un-American.

So how is it that determining who is right can be so easy? Always keeping in mind that this is a free country, you need only ask yourself one question. Who is being oppressed? Whomever is forcing their personal belief or will on another is an oppressor, and through this action they disrespect the core virtues that this country was founded on.

Protest is not oppression, protest is the result of real or perceived oppression. It’s intended to create a dialog, not to incite violence. As of late we have seen people engaged in protest switch to violence. In this instance one becomes an oppressor, and oppressors are enemies of American values.

I would be remiss if I were to gloss over how this affects me, after all this blog is about experiences in transition. Suffice it to say that coming out has opened me up to new views of oppression. As a white male, I knew it existed, but as a Transgender woman who is now subject to oppression, my eyes are wide open. I suppose it’s evidence of the tired cliche that one can be oblivious of oppression until it actually affects you.

One could certainly write a novel on the oppression of the trans community, but having already laid the groundwork for explaining how forced ideals are an affront to American values, it should be simple. It harkens back to that same easy question; “Who is being oppressed?”

The counterculture seems overwhelming intent on dictating the narrative surrounding the transgender community. They want to tell us what we can do with our bodies, how to dress, which bathroom to use, all while identifying us with the wrong pronouns. They justify such indignity with biased and unresearched statements like “You’re mentally ill,” “God doesn’t make mistakes,” or “you can’t change biology.” If they had any formal education in the study of gender dysphoria, they would know that their beliefs regarding the community aren’t based in anything other than their own ignorance.

Unfortunately, a lack of desire to break from ignorance is the root of all Transgender oppression. Such people could benefit simply by allowing trans people into their lives. But that’s unlikely to happen, especially since their beliefs are so steeped in negativity, most Trans people wouldn’t dare share space with them due to the possibility of harassment, assault or even murder. You might think that’s a tad reactionary, but I assure you we are always aware of the death toll in the community; as of today 21 Transgender people have been murdered in 2017. And it should not be ignored that the manner in which these murders occur tend to reflect an overwhelming hatred of their Trans identity. The violence is just that over-the-top.

Again our country was founded on principals of freedom, and attempting to hold any form of dominion over another runs counter to those principals. What more can be said than an attempt to manipulate a person to live in accordance with anything other than their own will is wholely un-American.

Having a difference of opinion isn’t oppression. There is an important distinction; it’s the difference between someone’s belief that I’m mentally ill versus telling me I’m mentally ill. Your beliefs are valid, but when you insist that another live in accordance with your belief, that’s when you become the thing you hate. Unfortunately most lose sight of when they’ve crossed that threshold. To be fair, what I’ve said here is my belief. I put it here for understanding, I am not telling you what you should believe.

Bottom line: Don’t put your damage on me, and I won’t put mine on you.

You do you, I’ll do me, and we’ll all get along just fine.

Kira Wertz (she/her) is a Transgender woman who openly identifies as pansexual and polyamorous. She is a top writer in LGBTQ for Medium, Editor of The Transition Transmission, and Professional Truck Driver. Kira is a strong advocate for Transgender rights, especially the rights of Transgender youth. She is a public speaker, a panelist, and can often be found helping her local Transgender community. You can connect with Kira on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.



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