It had never occurred to me to ever not accept someone as they wanted to be accepted.
At least, assuming that it wasn’t something like they wanted to be accepted for sticking their little Johnson in my face, LOL!
But I grew up around a variety of people, and I was taught that people deserve to be seen as they are, not as I might want them to be.
That’s not to say I haven’t made my mistakes and indulged in teenage cruelties and made offhand casual remarks that stung people around me.
I learned from them, and I continue learning as I grow.
But I never once thought it difficult to refer to someone as the gender they asked me to.
Why would it?
I’ve never had a problem calling someone “Mrs.,” after they got married. Or moving from a childhood nickname to adult naming preferences. Or moving back and forth between scene names and wallet names with my friends.
Why would gender be any different?
It’s not like it matters to me what words people use for themselves. Or what’s in their pants. Or what they were born with, and got surgically altered.
It’s about whether they make me laugh, share my values, can carry their own in a conversation, are kind to others (or at least entertainingly cutting), and more.
It also didn’t occur to me for the longest time to fight for those who went against the grain.
It didn’t occur to me to look for those micro aggressions or sniggers and shut them down. Because well, people will be people, and if they are dumbasses, who I am to shut them down?
Except I now know who I am.
I am someone who stands up for others when hatred and fear are directed at them, because they are human and valid, and deserve to live their lives without harassment and violence.
So, I do speak up.
And I lift up people so that they may shine, so that they may be visible, and show the world how amazing and wonderful they are, just being themselves, and so that they may provide visibility and hope to others.
Happy International Transgender Day of Visibility.