Lately there have been some odd confluences such as Easter and April Fools day and snow falling on the first day of spring. And last Saturday was the Trans Day of Visibility and Monday was Autism Awareness Day and so I’ve been deeply considering that it may be time to finally come out on Facebook and let everyone know that my child is a double rainbow kid. She is someone who lives on both the gender spectrum and the autism spectrum. But then another coinciding event – my former church announced that they will be discussing (again) what they think the Bible says about homosexuality and transgender. And I thought, oh no, maybe this is not a good time, because I’m pretty sure they haven’t changed their minds since the last time I heard a sermon about it there. And a large percentage of my Facebook friends are people I met at that church.
But then again, if these days are set aside to give visibility to transgender people and autistic people in order to increase understanding and acceptance, then maybe its the perfect time to let everyone know that not only does my child exist, but she is a wonderful human, created in God’s image. She lives and breathes among you and she is not someone you should fear or shun. If you meet her, you’ll be impressed by her.
MJ has become a skilled photographer and outspoken activist. She designed and 3-d printed a sculpture reminiscent of the Bernie Boston’s Flower Power image from the Vietnam War protests in 1967. She produced quite a few of them that were carried by activists and photographed during the March for Our Lives event on March 24.
As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, she knows a great deal and can speak articulately about the things she’s passionate about. She’s currently developing a speech regarding internet privacy issues, Facebook, and net neutrality which she will deliver to groups of college students next week. She has an in-depth knowledge and detailed grasp of the issues and is working hard to explain them in a way that will convince people to protect themselves and to get out and vote intelligently. I’m so happy that she’s found a productive outlet for her some of her frustrations. She is a beautiful person inside and out.
While MJ has been out for a long time now, I’ve been carefully choosing who to come out to. As a protective mother, I have been surprised by and incredibly grateful for all of the love and understanding of family and friends that I’ve shared with. One of the reasons I thought to come out on Facebook now is because I want to share freely about all of the cool stuff MJ has been doing and not have to debate about which pronouns and which name to use.
I think its important for people to understand there’s always another side to the story, other perspectives and other interpretations to consider. I don’t have any illusions of me changing everyone’s mind. But I wish that my Facebook friends would be humble enough to consider that they might be wrong about their beliefs and to remember that its more important to love than to be right. Consider the questions posed by Noel Koenke in her article published in the National Catholic Reporter:
Could we be born inherently good instead of with “original sin”? What kind of person do you think a child could grow to be if from birth they were told they are inherently good and worthy of love? Less anger, less sadness, less depression and more authentically living the life God intended?
Could we pursue happiness in this life instead of “carrying our cross” and waiting for a reward in the next? What does venerating sacrifice do to the self-worth of the individual? How does a life in pursuit of joy exist in any contradiction to the love of God?
Could we simply be human and treat others with kindness, actively making time to connect with the universe and all that is in it, rather than having the “commandment” to love our enemies? Isn’t love only love if freely given? Is commanding it of others with the threat of punishment a free choice?
Could we radically accept all people, celebrating the diversity of difference rather than shaming their uniqueness? I speak directly in favor of LGBT persons who are marginalized and chastened for their honest expression of God’s love. Where is Jesus in all this? What does the church lose, other than a monopoly of control, in loving and accepting and smiling upon all God’s people?
MJ has stated many times that she doesn’t want me to make a big deal about her gender identity and I don’t want to make a big deal about it either. But I’m tired of hiding and feel its important that people know my story. I want to be able to share MJ’s accomplishments freely. Maybe I just start posting about the things she is doing, using her preferred name and pronouns. If people ask, then I’ll be happy to answer their questions. But I don’t know if I want to deal with any negativity and unsolicited advice. Given all of the criticism of Facebook, and the convincing arguments that MJ has made to completely get off of it, I’m so conflicted! April is Autism Awareness Month so if I don’t do it soon, I guess I’ll wait until next year. Or, maybe I post and then close my Facebook account. Ugh!
What do you think? Should I go for it? Light it up blue …and pink and white? Will it make a difference or would it just be asking for trouble?