By yesterday afternoon, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were full of posts about the lovely and courageous Caitlyn Jenner. Mostly using words that mirrored my own thoughts — lovely, courageous, brave, beautiful, strong, etc.
But there were a couple that did not. A couple that were derogatory, bigoted, hateful.
(Those I will absolutely not repeat nor re-post. Not here. Not anywhere else.)
Besides the general attitude of the posts, I noticed another difference that really stuck out to me — the grammar. The grammar was 100% better 100% of the time in the positive posts.
Is my feed biased? Oh, totes ma-goats. It’s bound to be chock-full of over-educated, grammar-enthused, open-minded nerds. It’s normal to cluster amongst like-minded people, I think. It was just something interesting that I noticed. That somehow misuse of their/they’re/there and its/it’s and except/accept, etc, tended to cluster with the posts full of anger and disgust and a basic disrespect for the humanity of one very famous woman who has made a brave and difficult choice to show the public who she really is.
I get that’s it’s Facebook. And I get that even on my own blog, my own feed, my own space, I am rarely grammatically perfect. But the one thing I strive to never be, in any of these spaces, is close-minded. And why is that? Why do I have that going for me? Should I be thanking my parents? My education? My privilege in general?
I don’t know. Kind of a big question. And as much as I’d love to explore it, I’m not really sure where to go. Or how best to respond to instances in which I note disrespect, injustice, and the like.
So I fall back on something I latched onto a while ago: Promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.
I love open-mindedness. Acceptance. The freedom of individuals to express their gender anywhere on the continuum, without conforming to the societal dichotomy of male (rawr!) and female (meow…)
I love celebration of courage and bravery. I love when people share their stories, their struggles. I love watching a family love and accept each other no matter their differences.
I love that we live in a time and place that allows a transgender woman like Caitlyn Jenner to be open and honest. Where a show like Transparent can be not just aired, but also adored. (Have you seen it? A-ma-zing.) Where this powerful message of courage and hope can be transmitted times a million via news media and social media and word of mouth to thousands and millions of other transgender individuals that currently live in fear or confusion. And perhaps even more importantly, to their friends and families who really just want to love them, for the person they are, male, female, or anywhere in between.
Yes, this world is a hard place too. There is fear and hate and anger. There are bad things. Bad things that happen to good people and some genuinely bad apples looking for trouble. But, you guys, what I saw yesterday… so… much… love! And so much progress! Even just in my relatively short lifetime. (I said relatively!) It’s a good, good thing. It’s hard not to be moved by the type of courage Caitlyn Jenner has shown us all. Or Jeffrey Tambor. Or even sweet Leelah Alcorn, rest her soul. Each in their own way.
PS: One of the best things I read yesterday was an article in which GLAAD provided tips for the media on transgender terminology — it was so enlightening and definitely worth the read. (I was definitely misusing the -ed ending!!) If you happen to notices any mistakes in the language I used above, please rest assured that 1) it is not intentional and 2) if you point it out to me, I will gladly change it. Or should I say GLAADly???
Oy. Bad pun. Can’t help myself.