This evening, I was on an LGBT chat. There was a young man on there, a female to male transgender person. He asked me if I liked trans guys, and I answered honestly and told him I wouldn’t mind because it matters more about what is in his heart and head than the fact that he is transgender.
He told me he worried that he would be forever alone, because no one around him seemed to like transgender guys. I asked how old he was, expecting an angsty teen. The answer he gave me shocked me.
He was 12. Just 12 years old, and already worried about lacking a partner. I quickly told him that yes, there were girls out there who would accept him and love him for who he is, but he should be focusing on his friends and his schoolwork because 12 is too young to be worried sick over one’s love life.
I am saddened by this in many ways. Society has already scared this poor child into thinking that just because he is different, he won’t ever find anyone to share his life with him. That is horrifying in itself, with devastating consequences for any LGBT people, along with any people with disabilities or minorities.
The next thought that I had was that society is persuading our young people- our children, really- into behaving like irresponsible adults from TV. These actors don’t have negative repercussions for their actions, and younger relationships are glorified, causing children to start becoming interested in sex and love much younger than they normally would. I doubt this young man I was speaking to had even gone through puberty yet. There is no way that someone so young can maintain a healthy relationship at that age- I know I wasn’t mature enough for it at 12, and every single other 12 year I know isn’t ready for a relationship like that. Why do they ‘date’ so young, then? This is society’s negative influence on our youth. More and more students are experimenting with sex in high school or even earlier, middle school. Top that off with the crappy sex ed the US has (mostly abstinence based), you get spreading of STI’s and an explosion of teen pregnancy. Some of these young people who are having babies are barely out of their own childhood.
Society is doing these kids wrong. Society does nearly all minorities wrong, and now the younger generations? They are confused enough with hormones and understanding social etiquette and finding themselves- but you have to throw this into the mix? No wonder we have LGBT people who turn to suicide. No wonder we have teen mothers galore. No wonder our police think it’s okay to shoot unarmed citizens due to their skin color.
Something has to change. Something has to break soon, and it won’t be us. It starts with me reassuring a scared young boy, and reassuring another scared child, and educating children on tolerance, sex education, and compassion for fellow human beings. Others will follow my lead, and we will change the world into a place that is kinder and more inclusive.
But for now, I’ll reassure this child. I’ll tell him he will be loved, and he is already. I’ll tell him to better himself and be patient. I’ll tell him that he is valued for who he is. And by doing that, we win this battle and push antiquated notions back a step. Those who have not listened before will open their hearts just a little.
And I swear I will get in. I will make everyone understand the importance of loving each other. I will work tirelessly until I am no longer afraid and outraged for children- my children and yours. And I understand both sides.
I understand the underdog. The different one. I was that child at one point, and I wish someone had picked me up and told me that someone valued me. I am still the different one, but now I have a chip on my shoulder that refuses to let this happen again.
I may not be able to save them all, but if I can save just one, if I can make this one child feel good about himself and look forward to a bright future, my second chance at life won’t ever have been in vain.