Human beings are very trusting by nature. Each day we jump into 3000 pounds of metal, turn a key and propel ourselves at speeds up to 120 km/hr without once ever stopping to think of or even attempt to understand the engineering involved. It is a part of our lives and always has been. It works well for us.
Perhaps one of our most astounding examples of trust is what we humans refer to as "faith." Otherwise, intelligent people from all walks of life have no problem believing that the Earth is 5000 years old, an assertion that flies in the face of all of the science that humans have learned through 2000 years of research and technical experimentation.
Why then, in the case of a transgender human being, do we as a society refuse to believe that this condition is a valid medical one?
As a person born with this condition, I can assure you that understanding it is difficult, even for me. But wait, you don't understand much of what goes on around you, but you have no trouble accepting it and making it a part of your life. Why then do you refuse to accept me?
I have three beautiful children who love me unconditionally. While my transition has not been easy for them, I believe that they have become much stronger and well-adjusted individuals as a result of dealing with this issue. My children have had the benefit of knowing me both before and after my transition. They understand my happiness at addressing my medical issue and dealing with the consequences, of which there have been many, including finding any sort of employment.
I have been attacked both physically and verbally in public. I have had RCMP members intentionally misgender me and physically assault me. Imagine not being comfortable calling for police when being threatened because you may become an even greater victim. I am at a much greater risk of violence since transitioning and cannot count on the police for protection.
Unfortunately, human rights are a crazy thing and suffer from a decided lack of understanding within the portion of the population who would choose to withhold them from others. The funny thing about human rights? We seem to lack a basic understanding that human rights are present for all of us upon birth into this world. They are not there to be taken away or allocated at the whim of the general population.
I find it sad and hilarious when politicians believe that these rights should be voted on either by themselves or by the masses. Our parliament voted on two transgender rights bills during the Stephen Harper regime. One of them was passed but died on the unelected Senate floor, awaiting approval when the last election was called. Hell, Harper recalled Senate on a Sunday a few years back to legislate the Posties back to work but let's let this human rights protecting bill die in front of an unelected bunch of partisan cronies. The bill was presented again and again. It passed but guess who twice voted against protecting the human rights of an oppressed minority in our fine country? None other than your former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Where is the outrage from the media and the public? My rights cannot be negotiated.
I would love to debate the issue of human rights versus religious rights but really? Human rights must always trump religious freedoms. There can be no discussion here. I suppose that society's difficulties have made me so very aware of what counts in life. To be one's self without fear and without worrying about what others think. Without caring about the totally unrealistic expectations that are brought upon us by the media to achieve. One of the most astounding occurrences in our society is when we feel compelled to airbrush supermodels' photos. Just think, if a cisgendered woman can't measure up to society's expectations of beauty, how difficult is it for a 62-year-old trans woman to achieve that lofty goal?
My daughter Zoe came to me a couple of years ago and said, "Of all of the things that I have learned about life through witnessing your transition, your ability to see the inner beauty in everyone is what strikes me the most." I suppose that in my position, it would be very hypocritical to go through life in any other fashion. Still, I was thrilled with her observation.
There is beauty and wonder that surrounds us. We need to learn to love and accept, even what we do not understand. Only then will we understand the true meaning of life.
Live, and let live, love, and be loved in return.
Kaitlyn Gabrielle Bogas is a member of the transgender community in Kelowna, BC.