It is crazy to think we have come so far when it comes to understanding and accepting those who are different from us. If you had asked me whether gay marriage would be a reality back in 2007, I would have told you that you were an incredibly optimistic person. I would even have thrown the word “idealistic” around. But here we are, and progress has been made. However, it does not mean that we are home free either, as bigotry will always exist, in one form or another. And if one community is receiving some relief, it usually means another community is suffering.
The transgender community has not made anything like the progress of the gay and lesbian community over the past decade. Yes, there are parts of the United States and the world where it is more acceptable to come out as transgender, but there are still swaths of cities and towns where something like this is almost unthinkable. There are still so many who think of being transgender as a mental disorder, instead of a wrong that needs to be righted through therapy and possible surgical procedures. It appears the ignorance towards transgender issues has not changed much since 2007.
And it is fitting that we should go back to a classic report from Barbara Walters on the transgender issue back in 2007. Barbara Walters decided to interview multiple transgender children for a report she had aired on ABC News at the time. The report featured her talking with and trying to understand the lives and minds of transgender children, even those who are not yet in their teens. For many people, the idea that a young child may not be comfortable with their gender is something that we have a very hard time understanding.
And that is why Barbara Walters’ interview was and is so important. Each of us could do with going back and re-watching her interview, where she talks to a young girl named Jazz, who transitioned from being a boy. It may be tough for us to understand a mindset where a young boy can look down on his genitalia and wonder why it is not different. We often think of these matters as being trivial, or children being confused, but that does a huge disservice to the transgender community. As the interview conducted by Ms. Walters showed, transgender children are incredibly aware of their situation, even more so than we are.
Ten years later, and it is no easier being transgender than it was in 2007. There are many who find the latest trend of acceptance towards the transgender community as problematic. They struggle to see why someone may want to be referred to with a different pronoun than the one used to call on them since birth. However, not everything is about us. When we have a community where nearly 50 percent of individuals will attempt to commit suicide at least one time, perhaps we must start thinking about what would make their lives easier, instead of what makes us the most comfortable.