Did you know there’s a 5am?? Seriously. It exists. I’m actually surprised I can get up, go out and bike 10 miles at that hour but I can. And when I do, besides feeling great for the rest of the day, I actually do a lot of thinking, pondering and meditating. While most buddhists meditate on a cushion, I’ve always found — especially on longer rides — that I can better meditate when I’m a road somewhere lost than when I’m “sure” of where I am. It is hard to get up at 5am sometimes but I know I have to do it, even if I only go for 30 minutes. It’s better than not going.
This morning I was pondering a few things, the most prominent how society (yes, I know I’m generalizing; bare with me) has decided that we shouldn’t present our opinions. It’s almost as if we’re ashamed of admitting to our prejudices, opinions and such. K and I have been watching All in the Family lately and for all the misguided views of Archie I will say that he was rarely shy to admit his true feelings and views about things. We’ve become so concious of other people’s views that we almost are afraid of forming our own. And if someone challenges our opinion of something, rather than facing that challenge, we give up and walk away. I really have no problem with people not liking the path that I’m on. It’s their choice to accept it or not. As long as they respect me as a human being, that’s fine. I would rather have someone debate with me about an issue or view using some variation of logic than not have the discussion. It then remains the giant elephant in the room that no one dares discuss and that means no one learns anything.
Mike Stivic: You know, you are totally incomprehensible.
Archie Bunker: Maybe so, but I make a lot of sense.
It’s not to say that being vulgar or abrasive is necessary, nor are ad hominem attack needed. But that discussions need to be done, even if we do not agree. I almost wonder if the true art of debate and intelligent discussion is gone. We’re so intent on our own view that we do not consider any other as potentially valid and allow others to voice their views. It is a two-way street for everyone. I don’t think it’s that impossible to open the door to discussion, even when others are set in their views and ways, to have a respectful discussion if we acknowledge that everyone has different experiences in life that both give us rosy views and jaded views. Language, specifically the English one, is a cumbersome method of communication at time. What appears neutral to one appears otherwise to others.
A recent discussion, which I’ll admit I’m not fully sure why there is an uproar over, has been over the use of “cis-” (as in, cisgender, cis-sexual, etc.) to describe natal-gender born individuals (e.g., natal men and natal women). Some natal individuals find the use of “cis-” offensive. It was suggested to me that non-trans would be a better term. While I’ll be respectful and not refer to a person that finds “cis-” offensive, I’m not fully clear as to why it’s offensive. It’s true ignorance on my part but I’ve been having difficulty as to finding the reasoning behind it. Is it because it’s a term that the trans community seems to use to describe those whose gender DNA matches their gender soul? Is it because it’s an academic term? Is it because it might (a guess on my part) make them feel less than special? I’m open to discussion as to the how and why this is an issue but I haven’t found anyone who is willing to discuss it.
I know that many people hate labels but we, as humans, often use words to describe others or identify people. Some nice (e.g., given names) and some not so nice (e.g., derogatory terms) labels exist. The challenge is learning which ones are acceptable. The reality is that it often ends up being a very personal thing as to what is acceptable and what isn’t. I think, often, it’s not an deliberate attempt to offend someone, particularly when written online in forums, blogs and such, to use what some perceive as “offensive labels”. It’s important to not only identify why it’s offensive to the reader but what terms you would prefer to use. Both the author and the reader are not representatives of the whole of their “community” but rather are representing themselves in society as a whole and their place in it. That distinction is important for everyone involved to remember.
I do not speak for all white Canadian (Acadian) trans men in the world but speak for just me and how I view the world from my view of being those labels. Others may disagree with me and I welcome that. But that respect for individualness in the world means respecting the individual first. I don’t know how to bring that kind of discussion back to online communities so that actual discussion and debate, IMO, could continue again. As long as those don’t happen, we cannot as a society, again IMO, move forward to evolve.