David on his dialogue with Cecilia: Eyes opened, but still some discomfort
David, a self-described “basic straight guy” from Pennsylvania, spoke with Cecilia, a transgender woman originally from Argentina. Listen to the podcast of their dialogue here. Below, David reflects on what he’s thought about since that meeting. In another blog post, Cecilia talks about her feelings on the dialogue with David.
Now that I have had some time to reflect on my dialogue with Cecilia, I have realized that we, as biological organisms burdened with self-awareness, are much more complex creatures than I first suspected. We humans are a fascinating and rich species, and I think there is room for everyone at the table. Maybe we need to increase acceptance of those who are different from the majority so we can all lead happy and fulfilling lives.
Talking with Cecilia opened my eyes to the problems faced by transgender folks, and I feel that I have a greater understanding of and empathy for them. For example, my feelings on the “bathroom issue” have evolved.
Before the dialogue, I was initially not interested or concerned about the bathroom issue. I sort of dismissed it as more fuss and bother over an extremely small minority of people, in the vein of accommodating 40 or 50 new “gender identities.” Then, as it took on more media attention, I gave it some real thought, and found myself uncomfortable with the idea of biologically “male” people in a bathroom with, say, my daughter or wife.
Now after the dialogue, I mostly have an “I-don’t-really-need-to-know” opinion, where maybe we need to simply allow people to use whatever bathroom they want, without worrying so much about who is using them. As Cecilia said in her dialogue with me, she just wants to go to the bathroom and get out. This seemed very reasonable, as I’m sure that 99% of trans people feel exactly the same way. She is just a “regular Josephine” trying to go pee, just like everyone else.
I have serious doubts that our society will easily or quickly get beyond this, however. Even though I’ve changed because of the dialogue, I will admit that the idea of a biological male sitting in the next stall from my young daughter still gives me pause. Maybe it is the ingrained idea of her helplessness if this person did try to hurt her that still affects me.
I think this is possible if we can realize as a society that this small minority of people does exist and acknowledge their differences and simply not worry about it. We do get hung up on these things way too much. That being said, I still believe there is the inescapable biological destiny of reproduction that is at the root of human life. We are a successful species because we reproduce ourselves so well, and I think that some straight peoples’ hangups may stem from this, and the fact that LGBTQ people are less likely to be creating new kids, and in “traditional” family structures.
I have been and remain fascinated by people who identify with genders different than their biological makeup. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with Cecilia again someday and see how her life has progressed. She is a kind and thoughtful individual, and I enjoyed our dialogue immensely.