I cannot imagine what it must be like to grow up in a world surrounded by people telling you that, because of who you are, you aren’t allowed to have what they have. Because you don’t fit their definition of normal, because they think that you are weird, because you’re a perfectly lovely person, and maybe they even love you, but they have decided that the person you are at your very core isn’t good enough to deserve the same rights and privileges that they never even thought twice about having.
I can’t imagine growing up in a world where people snicker behind your back or look at you sideways because you went into the ladies’ room instead of the men’s, where people call you a pervert (but never to your face), where by being so audacious as to simply walk down the street you draw the ire and disgust of people who profess to love everyone.
I can’t imagine what that is like because I look like a woman; because I dress feminine (usually) and wear make-up (occasionally); because the person I fell in love with happens to have male genitalia. It doesn’t matter that I would have fallen in love with him and decided to spend the rest of my life with him even if he’d happened to have been a woman; what matters to society is that I fit into what they perceive as a “normal,” straight female, so no one ever thinks twice about my life choices.
I did not grow up in that world, but my sister did. I grew up watching her struggle to figure out who she was and how she fit into the world at large. I watched her grow into an amazing, strong woman; I watched her make mistakes and I watched her get unfair retribution for those mistakes simply because her very existence made people uncomfortable. I watched her pick herself back up, dust herself off, give those who judge her a giant middle finger and keep on living her life as she knew she was meant to live it.
Because I watched her do all of these things, as I grew up I found in myself the strength and the courage to be the person I am, and to hell with whether people like it. I discovered I had a voice to tell people who the person is that they think they know, and if it turned out they didn’t like that person so much then I found I had the strength to cut them out of my life.
In my sister I have had someone who has always supported me no matter what, to whom I could talk about absolutely anything in the world and know that she would not judge me. I’ve had someone who is ready to go to bat for me at the drop of a hat and who has gotten fighting, spitting, red-in-the-face, punch-holes-in-the-wall mad when people hurt me. She is a person who loves deeply and fiercely, which is an admirable trait to have hung on to after all those years of people hurting her and not thinking twice about it, sometimes not even knowing that they did. She will drop everything for someone whom she truly loves, and would give them the last penny she had if she knew it would make them happy.
Because of what I’ve seen her go through, it makes me doubly happy that society’s tides seem to be turning; that in over half the country it is finally legal for her to have the same happiness that has been afforded to those who fall in love with the opposite gender. It still isn’t legal in our home state, but it is in some of the neighboring ones, and today in one of those neighboring states she is going to stand with the woman she loves and achieve something that she’s been told her entire life she couldn’t have and didn’t deserve.
And if you can (figuratively speaking) stand up and look me in the eye and tell me that my sister, who is one of the most amazing people I’ve had the privilege to know, doesn’t deserve that happiness because the person she loves is a woman, you can quite frankly go fornicate with yourself, remove yourself from any association of mine, and go find a creative hole in which to shove a tree limb.
To my sister: I love you and your lady both, woman. Congratulations :).