Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life
My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009
Earlier this week and the week before, there was much buzz going on about Radio Station KRXQ in Sacramento and the hateful comments two of their on-air personalities made about transgender (TG) kids.
I got involved, tweeting about it, writing e-mails, and even encouraging support of businesses that pulled their advertising from the station in response. But, you might ask, why did I care? Why did I get so upset about a group of which I am not a part? Is there something I should be telling everyone?
First off, I'm not transgendered. I don't say that because I think it would be a bad thing if people thought I was but because it is relevant to my point. Not only am I not transgendered, but before this brouhaha, I don't think I even knew anyone who was. I certainly don't understand it. While I'm not afraid of my feminine side, I really don't have any desire to be anything other than what I am. I'm a guy and, frankly, I couldn't imagine being anything but a guy.
Further, despite my impassioned support for gay rights, I'm not gay either. Again, it doesn't bother me if people think I am; I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are convinced that I am a major closet case. I'm not. I've considered the possibility and determined that guys just don't do it for me. In fact, they're pretty gross. And women, well... don't get me started on that. Suffice it to say I like women. But again, it's not that I'm trying to distance myself from homosexuality, it's that my sexual orientation, like my gender identity, is relevant.
I'm not transgendered and I'm not gay and, to be perfectly honest, I don't get either one. I'm a guy, I'm fine being a guy, and women are hawt.
So why do I care about marriage equality and why do I care what a couple of hick DJ's say about transgendered kids?
Why do I care?
Let me bring up one last bit of information that, while seemingly completely unrelated, is entirely germane. On Wednesday of this week, the day before the KRXQ DJ's were to offer up an apology, a man walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and opened fire, fatally wounding a security guard before he was subdued. James von Brunn was a white supremacist who denied the holocaust and wrote that "Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media."
This is why I care. When someone calls a transgendered child a "freak" or an "idiot", they simultaneously condone the actions of von Brunn. Different target, different level of atrocity, but nonetheless the same. When someone says a transgendered child should be beaten down, it is no different from von Brunn thinking it is "okay to kill Jews." There is little difference between saying they'd throw a shoe at a transgendered child and saying it's okay to own someone because they're black. There is not much difference between shooting up a holocaust museum and nearly wiping out an indigenous culture. Anytime someone oppresses or dehumanizes someone else, we all pay the price. Our shared society becomes a little more barbaric; our lives a little more poisoned.
My father was Jewish; he came to this country from Germany as a boy of thirteen. His parents and his sisters were supposed to make the trip the following year; they went, instead, to Auschwitz. When I was a boy, we had swastikas painted on our garage. Our house was egged on a regular basis. So I have an idea of what it is like to be part of an unprotected minority.
But the main reason I got involved in the KRXQ situation, the reason I march in the marriage equality protests, the reason I argue so strongly and passionately that everyone be treated with respect is that it is the right thing to do. To stand by and do nothing is to condone tyranny. To allow such abuse is to become less human.
I think the KRXQ DJ's thought that they could get away with picking on transgendered kids because, after all, they are a very small minority; a few might complain, but nobody else would care. I also think they were surprised by the response. Because it wasn't just the transgendered community or even the LGBT community, but people from all points on the map. People who weren't transgendered and didn't even know anyone who was stood up and said "I don't know those people but I'm not going to stand idly by and let you get away with saying that. What you said was wrong, no matter who you said it to or about."
People took a stand on behalf of people they didn't know or perhaps even understand because it was the right thing to do. And that makes me hopeful and even a little bit proud.
I care because it's the right thing to do. I hope you care too.