My entire life, I stayed as quiet as possible, trying not to make waves.
I’ve never been the type to enjoy the spotlight, despite being a Leo. I’d go out of my way to make sure that people were comfortable, regardless of how it made me feel.
I’d just keep my mouth shut, sit in silence, and let people continue to go on as if the way they treated people—the things that they thought were right and wrong—was absolutely correct.
Put that on the backburner.
Eight and a half years ago, I came to the realization that I’m transgender.
Thirty years of my life made sense in a matter of just a few days. Thirty years of confusion.
Thirty years of feeling like I was different but having no idea what made me different.
Thirty years of feeling completely out of place. Thirty years without feeling like I belonged anywhere.
My friends and cousins had boyfriends and girlfriends, many friends, and it just seemed like they knew what they were doing and where they wanted to go in life.
At that point in time, I had been out as a lesbian for four years, but, as the previous 26 years of life had gone, I never felt “right” in that box, either. I hate boxes, for the record, but everyone has to categorize people, so here we are.
I don’t know how to describe to anyone what I mean when I say that I never felt like a lesbian. But…I didn’t.
Growing up, the friends I played “house” with always put me in the “husband/dad” role. We never had to discuss it; it was never up for debate; it just was.
My first crush was a girl. When I got to be old enough to learn that boys were supposed to be with girls and not boys, and girls with boys and not girls, a whole other level of discomfort set in.
I give you this back story to bring you to where I am now: I’ve been out openly as a trans man for a little over two years. I don’t wear flags, and I don’t go around announcing it because, honestly, it’s nobody’s business.
But if someone brings something up that opens a conversation, I’ll totally go there. It’s a fairly recent development thanks to a few factors, but this post isn’t about that. (Don’t worry; I’ll touch on that another time.)
Now, to the meat of this. Listen…
How are we going to grow into our humanity if we aren’t made to be uncomfortable?
Does change in any shape or size come without at least a little discomfort? Hint: if you answered anything but “Hell naw!” you’re wrong.
I don’t mean that as asshole-y as it came out, but hear me out.
I’ve recently had this conversation with a couple of people—being willing to call people out when they need to be called out.
Why are we so likely to just sit by and let people remain ignorant? Sure, educating people can be exhausting. Trust me. I get that. But also…do we really want people getting educated by Bing and Google?
And I’m not even talking solely about LGBTQ+ issues. I mean things across the board, from religion to the LGBTQ+ issues and literally everything in between.
It’s going to take being uncomfortable and being willing to make people uncomfortable for us to progress and unify on the hot topics that keep us so divided.
Haven’t we been divided long enough already?! It’s ridiculous.
We have to stop being so afraid of the tough conversations. We have to quit being complacent in this division. Reach across the aisle. Offer a handshake or a firm slap, whichever is appropriate for the situation at hand.
Being uncomfortable sucks. I’m 10,000 percent with you on that.
But you know what makes it suck less? When you come to a middle ground with someone who you never thought you’d be able to find common ground with.
That is what it’s all about. Seriously.
We need more compromise. We need more discussion. We need more discomfort.
It’s the only way we’re going to become more comfortable with each other.