For sure my outside has changed a lot. I have been presenting female for a number of months now and it has been fantastic. It is like a butterfly finally being allowed to come out of her cocoon. There are times when I am so overjoyed at just being able to be me. But there is another part of being me that all of this has brought out, one that is not so visible, but if anything an even greater change.
Growing up in a white upper-middle-class family I had lots of privileges. But like so many things people have, I just took them for granted. In fact, I never even knew I was privileged. All the advantages were just normal life for me. My parents had a summer home and we took vacations multiple times a year. We lived in a big house with plenty of nice things. Every Christmas was a smorgasbord of new toys.
But beyond all of the things that being in a wealthy family gave me were the privileges of being a white male in a white patriarchal world. If I wanted to join a club I never considered the possibility of being denied just because of who I am. If I wanted to get a loan, I never had to think about which banks might be willing to consider me, they all would. I could go just about anywhere without concern for my safety; the cops were there to protect me. I never had to worry about getting fair pay for my work. The possibility of being harassed just because of who I am, who I was born as, never entered my mind.
I now see I was living a very privileged life, I never had to consider any of that. And true to my conservative upbringing, I only considered me and mine. My life was all about what I could get for me. Oh, I knew there were others with less, but I always told myself that there was a reason for that. That they have less because of their own lack of trying to do better.
Coming out of the Closet
Being the real you isn’t something you can do partway, at least I couldn’t. Along with my gender identity, one of the other things I buried very very deeply was my sensitive heart. When I came out it was a package deal. There was no just getting the fries.
So much greater than anything you will see outside is the change in my heart. I have gone from a cold callus person who always has an excuse not to help, to someone who cares about everyone, who hurts for all of the injustice in the world.
I use to think we lived in a reasonably just and fair society. Now I see so much that is wrong. Hate where there should be love. Rejection where there should be acceptance. Discrimination where there should be equality. Oppressing the victim where we should be supporting them. Rejoicing over lies when we should be calling them out. It is like waking up from a dream and realizing that it was just a dream, this is reality.
Why should someone be denied going to a given school, or be harassed, just because of the color of their skin, or who they love? Why do some have everything handed to them, and others are never given a chance? The list of questions goes on and on, and I care about all of them. I want solutions to all of them.
The world needs so much to grow and learn and heal. We need for our societies to grow past ‘all for me and who cares about you‘. We need to grow past the petite cravings of wild animals, to kill and destroy, to take and hoard, to not think past the present moment with no regard for the future. We need to get past all of this. Humanity needs to grow up into what HaShem created us for.
I am sure some of you have known this for a long time. For me, it is all quite new and very intense. I don’t know how yet, but I need to, I must make a difference. There must be some way I can make a difference, some way I can bring a bit more equality to our broken world.
If those that have do not help those that do not how are we any better than the beasts of the field. Where is the spark of life HaShem breathed into us? You can’t have humanity with just one or a few. It needs to be all of us. So I ask how can I, how can you, how can we take a step to build a world that shines with that spark of life in all of us?