I was reading a story today about a transgender young lady who was elected to her high school’s homecoming court in Georgia. (She is a junior and so not eligible to be homecoming queen.) It was a heartwarming story that included her father’s support of her throughout her transition. What I found much more difficult to bear was some of the comments. Although many of them were supportive, many were not – and some of those were downright cruel. More astonishing to me were the comments that definitively declared that this young lady was not, in fact, a girl but rather a boy. They reflected a belief that whatever opinion I happen to hold determines reality. That’s just, well, stupid.
For untold centuries we believed the earth was flat, but it was round. Our opinion that it was flat did not, in fact, change the reality that it was round. For untold centuries we believed our planet was the center of the universe, to the point where the Church excommunicated Galileo for asserting it was not – but that belief didn’t cause the sun to orbit the earth. For untold centuries we were told that the moon was made of cheese, but that belief would not have made it beneficial for the Apollo astronauts to take a supply of crackers and a slicer with them on the moon landing expedition. I could go on and on, but by now you either understand where I am going or are completely lost.
While our opinions may define our truth, they do not make our truth objective fact. It doesn’t matter what you think about this young lady’s gender – but insisting on your opinion of her gender being objective truth really does reveal much more about you than about her.