Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.
This is either the end or the beginning.
When I write, I am rife with passion. I think my wife knows this, and I think that my friends know it. Today I am replete with emotions that I cannot quite contain, but if I don’t put them on the page (so to speak) I will freak out.
As luck or fate would have it, I drove into Achille Oklahoma today. It was emotional and tense entering a place I've been at least a dozen times before. This time I knew the circumstances were different; I knew people like me were considered less-than for a few people in this place. But more than that, I knew these people had so much hate in their hearts that they would take NO issue with harming someone like me. People so entrenched with their own perverse narrative that they would cut my genitals with a sharp knife. I expected the worst, and I knew what to look for.
As I entered the town, I passed the School; the home plate of controversy. Not more than 200 feet from there, I passed the police station where I saw what appeared to be two of the accused speaking to a police officer in a squad car…
I carry on…
I pulled into the only dollar store in the town, and backed my Semi between the building and a Coors truck like a pro. My gender not in question… Because, believe it for not; Transgender people are just as skilled as you cisgender folk (gasp — you should).
I got out and made my delivery. I am always looking; sometimes for vanity, sometimes for self-preservation… The line is usually paper thin, but this time it’s more the latter. Regardless I would not leave this town without getting a feel for what’s going on here.
The news has been all over. You’ve seen me write about it; you know damn well what’s about to happen here. I am sickened by this issue, but I am resolute. I could simply drive away; I could just hang out at a hotel in Durant on my weekly layover and pretend this doesn’t matter, but that’s bullshit and you know it. I can’t simply ignore what’s happening... I go into the business, grab something to buy, and I banter about what’s about to take place in this town with the cashier.
My conversation might only last a few moments, but a gather as much intel as I can.
She doesn’t know the family or the child. Honestly, I doubt that; in a town of 500, she would have seen them in the ONLY major store in town. Maybe she just didn’t realize it; I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt since a Transgender child under the age of pubescence can easily fly under the radar.
She says it’s the adults with the problem; I agree. Once you get to adulthood, you throw out the logic and surprisingly accurate common sense that you carried as a child. Where I can explain to a child that I have a girl brain and a boy body, they simply get that. But most adults conflate sex and gender and end up using that as a basis for deeming anyone who is Transgender is sexually deviant. Their own ignorance becomes their own worst enemy. I honestly wish these people would learn to ask intelligent questions before drawing ignorant conclusions; “Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups.”
She tells me there was a small protest today, and that there would be more tomorrow coming from OKC. I am a bit taken back by this, because OKC is my stomping ground, and if a protest was coming from OKC, you’d think I would have heard about it. If that’s actually happening, I am grateful, but if it isn’t, I’m worried that my community isn’t rising to a necessary challenge. Regardless, I think a presence needs to be made; Maddie needs to know she has supporters.
She tells me that the FBI are in town. This is a small comfort to me. It’ll only serve to keep the miscreants in-line for the time they are present. After that, I begin to concern myself with the safety of Maddie.
As I leave town, I notice a police presence on the north side town next to an old fire truck that looks like it hasn’t moved in a decade. I’ve never seen them parked there before, let alone two vehicles side by side pointed north and south. It’s hard to say if this is good or bad. I opt to leave heading west, the same way I came in; back past the police station and the school.
By now the couple that I saw speaking to the police officer have left, and the officer has moved on as well. There’s nothing of interest here, I pass the High School while still obeying the oddly low school zone speed (even though I know the school is closed).
As I get about 3 miles out I pass a news vehicle heading into Achille, I’m not confused why they’re heading there, I’m just worried about how they’ll report the news. Unfortunately some in the media have been doing a typical whitewash on this piece; completely glossing over the FACT that the threats that were made were advocating beating and assaulting a child with a knife. Had someone of a different ethnicity or religion made that same threat, not only would this be condemned, but the police would have made an arrest. Where is the outrage? What the hell is wrong with this country when the severity of the punishment is determined by the color of a person’s skin, or the God they claim to worship. This issue is a cancer on our nation, and Chester Cheetah is the Saccharine feeding this cancer.
As I settle in my hotel, I’m deeply concerned about what’s going to happen tomorrow. I want to drive back to Achille and stand guard over Maddie as she returns to a school that’s been shut down solely to address this controversy. She needs a bodyguard, a protector, and I am replete with guilt that I am not that person.
Maddie is a braver version of me; she is my cheerleader. She is my hope that thousands of other children can find the strength in this world to admit who they are; stand their ground, and live proudly as their authentic selves. I wish I could have had a tenth of her strength at her age; It might have changed the entire course of my life.
Even though I’ve never met her, and may never, I feel like my life is somehow contingent on her survival. I feel that many lives are contingent on her survival.
Save the Cheerleader, Save the world.