Let’s face it. I am probably your token trans friend. I am probably the first person you go to when you have questions about transgender topics. I’m fine with that. I fully believe that education is the way to achieve acceptance. I am the best person to educate you on transgender issues. However, with any friendship comes a sense of responsibility. It is a responsibility to recognize that just because I am your token transgender friend does not mean that I need to see every single piece of transgender literature that comes across your computer.
Recently, the parents of a young boy named Ryland told his story on YouTube. He is a young transgender boy, who is living his life in the gender in which he sees himself. This is a great story. I wish there were more parents like Ryland’s parents. I wish that I had the kind of acceptance from my family that this young boy has. I have seen the story, not just once, but many times. Practically, every single friend I have has sent me private messages, emails and has even posted on my Facebook wall and Twitter feed to show me this video.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate everybody sharing this video with me. I do. I understand why you want to share with me. You want to celebrate the happiness that this young man clearly feels thanks to his parents’ acceptance. Who better to share it with than your token trans friend? But you see that’s just it. Imagine sending your black friend an article every time there was a story in the news about black people being accepted? Eventually, your friend would wonder if all you saw them as, was someone who was defined by the color of their skin. For me, people that rarely ever speak to me have been posting and emailing this video to me. By this point, I’m a little exhausted with all the comments and emails I’ve received.
I hope you don’t think I’m complaining. I’m not. I’m just a little bit frustrated. I guess I just don’t want to be seen as just your token trans friend. I want to be seen as your friend. That doesn’t mean you can’t share exciting transgender news with me. It means that maybe before you send me the link to the story, you should check my Facebook wall or my Twitter feed to see if someone else has shared it with me first. At one point people were posting the link practically on top of one another and/or tagging me on videos on their own walls, so I have multiple links on my wall, all going to the same video, one after another.
I’m more than happy to talk to you about issues pertinent to the transgender community. I’m more than happy to help educate you on what being transgender means. I’m willing to be there if you are having your own gender issues. I’m your friend, and not just your token trans friend. I’m a person, just like you. Please consider this the next time you want to share a popular link about someone in a minority group with your friend, not just me, any friend, who happens to also be in that minority group. I guarantee, after a while, they will be frustrated, too.
[tags]minority, token, friend, LGBT, trans, transgender, Ryland, story, family[/tags]