It’s a rhetorical question (I don’t even like coffee) but sadly, there are people who wouldn’t. There are people who wouldn’t want to be in the same room with me, and yes there are people who wouldn’t want to belong to the same church as me.
Do I have some kind of “death in mere moments” airborne disease that if “I cough – you die” while wearing a biohazard sign? Am I a terrorist wearing a vest made up of high explosive with my finger pressing a button and if I let go everything and everyone around me is blown to smithereens? Do I look and dress like a drug addict or homeless person on some skid row street – wearing nothing but dirty rags and smell of urine and alcohol?
I have a college degree, I own my own business, I was the full-time caregiver for my adopted grandpa for many years until he passed away in my home, when clients of mine recently lost their son I went to their home to hug and love on the family, I’m the mom of two adorable little Bichon Frise dogs (Mikey and Millie) who spent their first three years in a puppy mill and needed to be adopted – whatever is it that makes people want to flee me like I have the plague? Oh, that’s right – I was born a boy. The pesky fact that my “being” (for lack of a better term) was a girl, I much later had surgery, am now a woman (please don’t start parsing words and debating the definition of “woman” – you know what I mean) just seems to take people to places that is difficult to fully comprehend. If I had a history of sexually abusing children, I would have to understand why you wouldn’t want your kids around me. If I had a mental history in which it is rumored that I’m prone to sudden acts of extreme violence toward anyone near me, I might even understand why you would want to keep your distance.
But when you find out “see over there – she used to be a man” or “he used to be a woman”, does “oh, how interesting I’d love to talk to her and learn more about that” come to mind for you? Is it just “oh, that’s interesting”? Is it “ooh, thanks for telling (warning) me”? What has changed about that person across the room in those 10 seconds? Well, NOTHING! That person is the same person that walked into the room and will be the same person walking out of the room. You may have even talked to them briefly before “finding out their secret” and thought to yourself “I like them, they’re a really nice person.” Guess what? They’re STILL a really nice person – THEY DIDN’T CHANGE! (yes, I know I’m shouting, I apologize.)
The only thing that has changed is your perception of that person based solely on whatever comes up in your own imagination. And what feeds your imagination? Is it what you see on television or on the Internet? Is it in the news – how the government is pushing an agenda to appease those that think only government is the solution to life’s problems?
May I share with you who you might NOT see? Who you don’t see is a person that has felt torn apart inside from an early age, perhaps living in fear that what they feel might be discovered – afraid of what might happen to them in a “what you see is supposed to be what you get” world. What you don’t know is there is a 50/50 chance the person you’re looking at either tried or seriously considered killing themselves because they were expected to be someone they are not, and could no longer be. You may be looking at someone who was kicked out of their home by their parents, disowned by their family and might as well be dead to them.
Who you may be looking at is someone who wants to be a part of a church family so bad it hurts but is finding it hard to feel welcomed, and has in fact been told in the past to leave by those who once said “hello, come on in.” Who you ARE looking at is someone who needs the saving grace of Jesus. Just like you and just like me. They may not look like your kind of Christian, they may not talk like your kind of Christian. But here’s the deal, you’re not going to find it anywhere in your Bible to hang out only with people like you. You’re especially not going to find it anywhere in your Bible to stay away from people different than you.
Having a cup of coffee with someone who is transgender won’t subject you to any Jedi mind tricks. Sharing a meal with someone who is transgender won’t leave you with the overwhelming desire to burn your entire wardrobe and start wearing your spouse’s clothes. Look, I understand when you learn something about someone and how it can change your perception of them. I compare it to being in a large room with lots of nice people milling around, talking, laughing and someone comes up to me and says “see that man in the suit over there? He’s a politician.” Well, there you go. Without even having met the person I’ve already figured out that I probably don’t like him, that he’s sleazy and has no problem telling you a flat out lie to your face. No matter how big the smile or how firm the handshake – I’m not buying it. Is it fair? No. Are my assumptions correct? Probably not but I watch the news and have a general distaste for politicians based on what I see. What I may not know about this person is that he is a devoted family man, is a devout Christian, donates not just his money but his time to help those less fortunate and dislikes politicians as much as I do.
So after you’ve had your knee-jerk reaction to someone, anyone and your foot is back on the floor, consider getting to know them a little better before deciding you want to live on another planet. You might be surprised to find out that they are a LOT like you! And if you’re thinking “well, I don’t know anyone who is transgender”, don’t bet your life on it.