What is Wrong With You?

When adults conspire to assault and mutilate a 12 year old child, we have a very serious problem.

As a truck driver in Oklahoma I have been known to get all over this state. Once a month I make a delivery to a dollar store in the rural Oklahoma town of Achille. The town is so small that if you put a thumbtack on a map, you wouldn’t even see it. You can literally pass through this town in all of about two minutes. For a place with approximately 500 residents you’d think nothing noteworthy would ever happen here. But attitudes in such backwoods places tend to be narrow minded and ignorant, therefore it was only a matter of time before those attitudes were set to conflict with someone like myself; someone who is openly Transgender.

To be fair, I never thought much about the town. I just know that as you drive in from the from the west, the police are often camped out on the opposite side of the school, just waiting for someone to violate the oddly low (20 MPH) school zone speed. Thankfully I’m a safe driver, and can navigate that speed trap without incident. But in the back of my mind, I do wonder what kind of hassle a Transgender woman would get from the local police, and that probably makes me extra cautious when entering that town. Perhaps I’m just jaded about small town cops after watching too many episodes of Knight Rider and The A Team. In truth, I’ve never met one that I felt was bad; let’s hope that feeling doesn’t ever change.

Despite my apprehension, I have never experienced an issue in Achille regarding my Gender Identity or anything else for that matter. Sure I get some weird stares when I get out of my rig and do a job that most men would likely struggle with. It sends a valuable signal to those who would hate on me that I am not one to be trifled with. I’m granted a good deal of respect just from my build; as dysphoric as that can be, I must admit that I take this completely for granted. I’m never certain if the people at the store get that I’m Trans, but (thankfully) they don’t seem to care either; they’re usually too busy giving me a compliment on my hair.

This weekend there was a dust-up in that community relating to a Transgender girl who does not have the luxury of an imposing stature to keep her haters at bay. No, this girl is 12 years old, and has been targeted by a handful of bigots from around that Southeastern Oklahoma community for her use of a school restroom that aligns with her Gender Identity.

This post was made in a closed group.

As is the custom with those who refuse to see Trans people as human, the poster (Jamie Crenshaw) opted to use all the typical dehumanizing tropes that we get from most bigots. Referring to us as “The Transgender” while intentionally using pronouns based on natal gender instead of Gender Identity are typical ignorant and bigoted ploys to remind us that they consider themselves morally superior based on the fact that they are comfortable in their assigned gender. Clearly anyone who feels different is in the wrong (sarcasm implied).

The implication about “looking over stalls” would be triggering for anyone, except that the child would have been 9–10 years old at the time, and it’s hard to imagine how that would have been logistically possible. Certainly seems like it was thrown in there to whip some parents into a frenzy, and for a brief period I bet Mrs. Crenshaw felt very vindicated when the replies began pouring in.

I can’t help but be troubled when hearsay is used to determine a person’s intent. Again, the validity of looking over stalls seems very suspect to me but I have more concern about what’s being implied here.

This idea that this is a gateway to perversion is disturbing because it involves a parent imagining what would happen if a cisgender individual were in the same space. They jump to conclusions that remain unfounded and can be easily research by simply by searching “how many Transgender people have committed assault in a public bathroom.” Instead of doing the most basic of research these individuals fall back on personal instinct and then apply that instinct to an individual whom they absolutely cannot relate to. It’s more of a reflection of what THEY would do in those spaces; they simply don’t understand that Transgender people do not share the same thought processes that they do.

I’m more inclined to believe the pervert is the person who’s imagining a 12 year old doing perverted things. That’s what’s really messed up. As a Transgender person, I do not spend an ounce of my time imagining what other people do with their bodies. It’s not my business, and I’m always shocked when others feel compelled to think about such things. But then again, these are the same kinds of people who insist on knowing whether people like me have had “the surgery;” as if I’m not complete until that happens. They don’t get that I was Trans before, and I will be Trans after; a surgery will not change what I am. Surgeries are intended to combat dysphoria, and each of us experiences this dysphoria differently. These people really need to ask intelligent questions instead of jumping to ignorant conclusions.

Everyone in this community knows that there is no evidence to support the conclusion that Transgender individuals are prone to committing assault in public restrooms. It’s actually disgusting that minds of others actually drift to these perverted fantasies; it highlights that there is infinitely more perversion being imagined by cisgender individuals than is perpetrated by Transgender individuals. Moreover, the implication that protections regarding Transgender bathroom use will increase the incidents of bathroom assaults by emboldened cisgender individuals is continually moot. Assault is illegal and no additional laws need be enacted to prevent what is already considered criminal. It also goes without saying that someone bent on violating another individual doesn’t really care if there is a law; as we dig further into this drama, you’ll see some great examples of that in the comments suggesting an assault be committed.

The flipside of this is that when Transgender people actually use a bathroom that corresponds with their natal gender, they inevitably and often become the victims of assault. These parents act as though concerned for their child's well-being, but if a Transgender person is assaulted or harassed, it’s a non-issue. They literally don’t care if we get beaten when they force us to use a restroom based on how they feel about us; in fact they want that to happen. Kinda makes you wonder how many of those individuals consider themselves “decent” folk whilst desiring the harassment, assault, or murder of Transgender people.

It has been widely reported that Transgender individuals have limited their intake of food and drink simply to avoid the possibility of assault or harassment when using public facilities. Therefore, it would stand to reason that if you encountered a Transgender individual in a public bathroom it’s highly likely that they have nothing beyond personal relief on their mind. I know that’s the only thing that’s on my mind when I’m in a restroom, and ironically the only time I was ever told to leave a restroom I was only about 40 miles north of Achille, in Atoka Oklahoma. I no longer have an issue in that establishment because cooler heads (the legal department) prevailed. And wouldn’t you know, I have never violated anyone while using public restrooms; go figure.

While I am sure these folks would love to latch onto the first story that negatively portrays an encounter with a Transgender person in a restroom, I feel compelled to highlight where such assumptions take us. One does not have domain to deride an entire group for the actions of one. If that were the case, all white males owning an assault rifle would have been thrown in jail after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. See what I did there? I bet you got immediately offended and clutched your nearest firearm. You don’t get to assume a person’s intentions, any more than I do; this isn’t Minority Report.

As you can see from the continuing screenshot, it’s being implied by one parent that their child should whip this child’s ass until they didn’t want to come to school. This of course is disturbing on a couple levels. A parent who seemingly is so outraged they don’t even bother with diplomatic solutions, or the application of common sense. Instead they choose to encourage their child to commit a hate crime. That’s a really bad way to start out a person’s existence, especially since these days a criminal record will haunt you till the end of your life. The parent seemingly takes no stock as to how proding their child to violence would set that child up for repeated incarceration, and limited employment options. I don’t view this as much different than how Osama Bin Laden convinced his followers to kill themselves for his own pathetic crusade. It’s easy to push an agenda when you will never face the consequences of that agenda; ringleaders tend to be the biggest cowards.

As if to continue down a rabbit hole of ignorance we see this parent equate human beings to objects. I gotta agree that you can’t put the Ford logo on a Dodge and say it’s a Ford. But as stupid analogies go, let’s go right ahead and compare a BEING that experiences sentience to a THING that cannot.

These people need to understand, we are not confused about what we are. We know we were born different than what we feel comfortable with. It’s a God given aspect of our being, and it’s insulting to have someone outside of ourselves try and tell us who we are based upon our external attributes. If I could wave a magic wand and give Mrs. Jamie Blanchett a penis, she’d argue tooth and nail she shouldn’t have it. Why? Because she knows she is female in her core; Transgender people are no different, and it’s audacious to have individuals outside of yourself telling you what gender you are based upon your external features.

If a female develops excess body hair as a result of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) would I have the right to call her a male? After all, the hair growth associated with that condition can be considered very masculine. The answer is no, and the more basic answer is that I have no right to tell her how to feel with regard to her gender at all; if she doesn’t identify as a ‘she’, then I’ll call her an applicable pronoun and go on with my life. We all know who we are, and no one has the right to dictate that.

I could follow this logic with regard to dozens of other unseen genetic conditions which affect an individual’s physical characteristics. We have NO right to determine who a person is based upon those physical traits. While we might instinctively be compelled to calling someone ‘he’ or ‘she;’ if they identify differently, it’s a small step on our part to recognize their personhood and refer to them with a pronoun that brings them comfort.

Willfully mistreating another for simply living as the person they feel themselves to be doesn’t elevate yourself, it just makes you an asshole. Now imagine if every time you intentionally misgendered someone they intentionally responded “thank you asshole.” Would that not be upsetting? Would that not eventually grate on your self-esteem?

Unfortunately that’s an indignity that people who are Transgender are made to tolerate everyday; people going out of their way to intentionally make us feel “less-than.” No one would choose to be placed in that situation, and it bears testament to the fact that this is an existence that is so far removed from choice.

None of us woke up and thought, “yeah, I think I want to be treated like shit for the rest of my life, what’s the best way to achieve that? I’ll just be Trans!”

That doesn’t happen, and the sooner these people realize this, the better.

Here we see continuing ignorance perpetuated through righteous indignation. I am not surprised to see the Bible being trotted out in this situation given the location of this small town. After all it’s easier to assume the Bible as a work of undeniable truth, than to consider the wealth of knowledge that has been gleened since it’s conception.

By “easier” I am implying just that; these people would rather bury their head in the sand than crane their necks up and acknowledge that gender variation has existed for millenia. Unfortunately learning about this variation is scary because it means that what they consider immutable, isn’t.

I’ve been writing about these issues for quite some time, and if these individuals were apathetic about doing extensive research I could direct them to a few of my older entries such as; Dear “Normal” People, You’ll Never be a Real…, and What are You Having? Of course I’d rather they read my apology piece A Grand Gesture, as it might clue them into how their apathy is toxic not only to society but also themselves.

A religious posture isn’t necessarily bad, I know a lot of great religious people. But one cannot profess to be a Christian and ignore all the things that Christ actually said. Unfortunately, when it comes down to giving credence to anyone in the LGBTQ2 community, ignoring the words of Christ is the only means of justifying hatred and bigotry.

There is so much going on here that this is hands down the most disturbing thing I took away from this string of hatred. A grown adult calling a child a maggot, another claiming parents are “letting” their kids be Transgender. I have to step back from that because the rest is even more vile and wrong.

Mr. Belcher seems confused about what it means to be Transgender. Instead of learning about the condition, and how it might manifest differently among each of us, he implies that everyone who transitions seeks some form of gender reassignment. Those of us in the community know this is not the case, but as ignorance runs deep, why bother researching anything when your opinion is really the only thing in the world that matters.

What’s truly disgusting about this is that Mr. Belcher is effectively implying that he would grab a child by their genitals and brutally sever them from their body. Just think about that for a moment; let it sink in. A grown man, implying he’ll touch a child’s genitals, and then assault them in a manner that would undoubtedly result in significant physical and mental injury, or perhaps even death!

People like me are often derided by people like Mr. Belcher as “deviant,” but under no circumstances would I ever harm another person unless it were to prevent imminent harm to self or another. So Mr. Belcher, I’m not sure what you’d call your actions, they don’t exactly seem normal to me; actually one might say they sound pretty “deviant.” One also hopes this “man” isn’t a pillar of the Achille community; if he is that needs to be addressed post-haste!

Not that I want that to overshadow Mr. Bickerstaff’s comment; we once again have a parent suggesting that their own children (or other’s children) be chided to commit assault. Again, these are grown adults advocating for the assault and mutilation of a 12 year old. There is no situation where anyone should have to have these things happen to them simply because they needed to use a restroom. These adults are truly savages and should be brought up on conspiracy charges.

The story didn’t end there. For all the individuals involved, they have had to go underground. Their social media pages have gone dark, and the closed forum in which they dumped this hatred has also gone silent. As far as I’m concerned, this is a good thing. Although, these individuals whom have confessed their evil thoughts are now deprived of their voice; like a wounded animal they might be more prone to turning violent at this point. The safety of this child is an even bigger concern now than ever.

While I don’t advocate for violence, I do want to see law enforcement step in and see that the individuals making these threats are given all relevant charges. No one should have to feel afraid for their safety because of a small group of ignorant bigoted people.

Hate Trackers has been following this story, and have done some interesting digging on the individuals involved. For all that detailed information, I highly recommend heading over to their page for all that information. Some of the details will surprise you, others won’t. But when you understand some of these individual’s backgrounds, you begin to think that perhaps there is credible threat to the safety and welfare of this child.

Additionally, Hate Trackers had received a suspicious email purporting to be from a police officer in Achille but sent from a Yahoo.com email address. For all intents and purpose it would appear as though someone in this hate group is attempting to discourage the Hate Trackers from continuing their exposure by means of impersonating a police officer. At this point it seems unlikely that there is any legitimacy to the email, and I sincerely hope this escalates the crime such that the offender does indeed get charged with a felony.

I would like to take a moment and personally thank the individuals at Hate Trackers for following this so closely. While OKC News 9 actually did do a story about this, as far as I am concerned that story was de-legitimized by the inclusion of the former Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director. I refuse to link to that piece because of this.

There is a very specific reason for why that individual no longer holds their position, and their lack of concern for the Transgender community was likely a contributing factor. As it stands, even without his affiliation with Freedom Oklahoma he seems apt to run in front of a camera for the purpose of his own self-aggrandizement. No doubt this pertains to the “attention from the national press” that Hate Trackers mentioned in their email.

It’s insulting that News 9 could have found numerous other reputable individuals within the Transgender community to speak this issue. The de facto public face of the OKC Transgender community and my first choice should have been Paula Schonauer. My second choice, Raychel Sanner, may have only gone public about her Transition days ago, but would have made a excellent voice because she’s extremely articulate and media savvy. It would have been additionally wise for the media to reach out Kelley Blair, the Executive Director at the Diversity Center of Oklahoma, to discuss the trauma that this hate may have inflicted on this child.

It’s time for the Local media (especially News 9) to hear actual Transgender voices, and not the voice of someone posturing for an ego boost. Just as we don’t need cisgender people portraying our stories in film, we do not need people who aren’t allies to the Transgender community speaking on our behalf.

This story is indeed gaining traction, and it’s my hope that it continues to do so. If for no other reason than to surround this child with love and shield her from all this pathetic and uneducated hatred.

If you would like to help this beautiful child I would invite you to share your feelings with the following individuals:

Lora Stanglin is the Achille Elementary School principal, you can call her at (580) 283–3002 or emailing her at lstanglin@achilleisd.org

Rick Beene is the Achille ISD superintendent; he can be reached at (580) 283–3775 or by emailing rbeene@achilleisd.org

Thank You

I’m Kira; looking forward to a day when people can just be who they are without someone else proclaiming dominion over that.
My message to Maddie’s school administrators.