April 6th, 2015. I had put all my proverbial eggs into one basket. I came out as transgender in a tweet that I wish I had worded differently to be more effective but the fact is that it happened. No taking it back. It was out there in the universe now. This past year has been far and away the most difficult year of my life. I graduated college, I got promoted, I bought a house, and I gave every random person in the world access to my deepest and biggest insecurity - the fact that I am transgender.
As recently as yesterday I had started feeling much better about extending my womanhood to the world, which is an enormous deal to me because it has been a long road. Unfortunately today, out of nowhere, Curt Schilling decided to share his thoughts on transgender people. Well, according to him they weren't HIS thoughts, they were just the thoughts of someone else who he agreed with enough to post a horrific picture on his Facebook while mocking someone who is presenting as a female.
Actually, according to Curt Schilling, he has nothing against transgender people at all and he never posted anything about transgender people (except he did, there are screen shots to prove this), and it is the fault of liberals because liberals are making things up and looking to be offended.
After reading an article on this I decided to send a tweet about what Schilling had said. He responded by calling me a clown, telling me to find something else to be offended by, and then suggesting I check my sources.
Lets address these things one by one. First of all, I certainly hope I don't look like a clown. I never went to clown college and I am sure that is a really hard job. Secondly, anyone who reads my writing or follows me on Twitter (Mr. Schilling doesn't, although he totally should) is well aware of the fact that nothing offends me. It just doesn't happen. I don't take things or people seriously enough to be offended. Actually, the fact that Schilling linked a breitbart.com article on his timeline was pretty offensive. Lastly, I am beyond flattered that Mr. Schilling thinks I am well connected enough to have sources.
Ok, now that we got the fun part out of the way, let me share with you why what Schilling is doing is really damaging to a lot of people, me included.
After I tweeted the picture and tagged Schilling in the tweet, several people who support Schilling and his perspective chose to jump into my timeline and begin to have conversations with me. This isn't something that really affects me, but its almost as if they feel that because they share the same opinions as Schilling, they feel they have the right to attack someone who believes differently than they do.
By Schilling putting that picture into the social media universe, he welcomed people to belittle and berate perfect strangers (what a great show that was). Most of these people were nothing more than annoying, but I cant help but wonder what their actions or reactions would be if this was a discussion that had happened in real life instead of behind the safety of their keyboard.
I am quite sure the people who chose to jump to Schilling's defense would not open their mouths to defend someone they barely have any affiliation with if this confrontation were to take place in a coffee shop or a grocery store or the like. Additionally, I am not a small woman. I am 6-foot-2 and I look every bit of it. I have decided this is a benefit because I don't get harassed too much and I really think its more to do with the fact that people would be beyond embarrassed if their buddies saw them get their ass kicked by "that faggot over there wearing a dress and a wig."
The issue is these guys (imagine that, all of them were white males and I am assuming they were straight) felt like they were entitled to tell me where I can and cant pee while I am in public. I had one guy call me a fraud for some reason suggesting that I would have a problem with a transgender person being in the bathroom next to my daughter.
This is the biggest issue transgender people face - these people who have preconceived notions about what we do, why we do it, and what our intentions are. This guy called me a fraud without knowing I am transgender and then, after he went to bat for Schilling even though he doesn't follow me (which means he had to search Schillings mentions to specifically pick a fight), he decided to tell me that I was searching for attention.
The thing is, it's quite the opposite. I want no attention for this. I want to be able to go into a bathroom without being worried about whether someone is going to be offended that I am in there. I assure you, there is not a public bathroom in this country that I want to spend any more time in than is absolutely necessary. I want to blend in and go about my business without any issues because I chose to wear a dress and sandals instead of cargo shorts, a Tommy Bahama shirt, and socks with my Birkenstocks (that's how I imagine Schilling dresses while he's at home practicing reciting witty quips to tell his buddies at the lodge later that evening). I just want to be able to pee, shop, get gas, or make copies at a Kinko's without being concerned about my personal safety.
Like I said above, I am not a small woman so I am not overly concerned but is this something I should have to be concerned about in any way at all? Would Schilling really be happier if I walked into the mens room in a sundress and heels and stood next to him at the urinal? There is no scenario where any of this convoluted logic and these evil thoughts make any sense to me, but that's probably just because I am trans, right? I spent 33 years as a white male in America. I know exactly what white male privilege is...I know precisely what I walked away from in order to be happy with myself every morning when I get out of the shower and when I catch my reflection in the mirror.
I chose to join one of the most persecuted groups of individuals in modern day society. I chose to allow certain men to think that I "wasn't man enough to make it in this society so I chose to become a woman instead." I chose to allow certain men to think they are smarter or better than me based solely on the way I dress. I chose to allow certain men to think they are going to lead a crusade against me and my LGBT brothers and sisters because they were raised with some distorted view of wrong and right and they think it is ok to put people down in order to make themselves feel better.
Here's the thing. I am thrilled with who I am as a person. I look in the mirror and smile constantly. I catch my reflection in my windows as I walk up to my car and I pull my shoulders back because I am finally proud of who I am and what I have accomplished.
Mr. Schilling has accomplished a lot of things in his life. He has a wife and children, he won three World Series Championships, and he has one of the most historic wins in playoff history with the bloody sock game. He also has had conflicts with far too many people and groups of people. Curt can't handle not being in the spotlight. He thinks that just because he hit the "delete" button on a social media post that it doesn't exist. The problem is Schilling does a lot of damage before he hits delete. He gets thrusted back into the lime light, good for him, but he negatively impacts the lives of countless people because some begin to question their self worth and others, his supporters and like minded individuals, assume it is ok to attack those same people who are already bummed out because someone they rooted for in the 2004 World Series made it abundantly clear that he doesn't support them in any way near the way he was supported.
Curt Schilling is the worst type of bigot. He isn't Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or even that racist, homophoic grandpa that your best friend has - they all lay claim to the outlandish statements they make. Schilling wont take credit for anything that creates a controversy even though it is all self inflicted.
I wonder how ESPN is going to handle this situation being that they employ several transgender people and considering they just had the transgender flag flying at their headquarters in support of the transgender community.
I know I am just a nobody who Curt Schilling thinks is a clown who is easily offended and has sources that need to be checked a little better (because he didn't to what he did but he deleted what he did so it didn't look like he did it but we know he did it because there are screen shots of him doing it).
But someone at ESPN has to read this article. Someone at ESPN needs to take a stand and let us know that they won't stand for hate and bigotry just because it comes from the mouth of someone they seem to be so concerned with losing as an analyst. Someone at ESPN needs to make this right and handle this swiftly and efficiently to instill some level of faith in the work that they are doing.
If that someone who reads this and acts in a manner that restores faith and confidence in ESPN happens to be ESPN President, John Skipper, then know this John, there are plenty of people who can do the job Schilling does at the same level or better, and they aren't hateful, awful, terrible people. They are members of the LGBT community. They are transgender people who currently receive paychecks from ESPN already. They are people who want to move this country forward and share the gift and love of sports with everyone regardless of whether they wear a dress or cargo shorts, male or female.