Last year my one of my children told me they identified as nonbinary. I’m that kind of a father.
They also said “Rosalind” felt like “too girly” a name. So at school this year they went by the nickname “Lynn.” In the meantime, because they still haven’t picked a new permanent name, I have a free pass using “Rosalind” at home. (They said old people can only handle so much change.)
When I was looking at baby names long ago, “Rosalind” seemed like a name that said “strong woman” – with shout outs to Shakespeare and Auntie Mame. But I remember how uncomfortable my child felt sitting in the audience at As You Like It five years ago when everyone kept referring to the main character with their name. Of course, Rosalind cross dresses for most of the play....
I have seen anti-trans headlines many times before.
As Co-Chair of the Federation of statewide LGBT advocacy organizations during the 1990s, I was among the voices loudly insisting on full inclusion for trans voices and trans issues in our advocacy. There will aways be whispered (and often shouted) temptations to leave some folks behind. Instead, I’m proud to have been part of welcoming communities and organizations for the last thirty years.
Trans journalist Evan Urquhart recently published a chilling essay in Slate under the headline “Many Queers Can’t Bring Themselves to Face the Emotion They’re Really Feeling Right Now. We Must.” According to Urquhart, “the word for what we’re feeling right now is ‘despair’:
I first had the idea to write a piece about despair more than a year ago. Let me leave you with the knowledge that none of this was unexpected. For many in the queer community, we’ve moved well past the point of fearing something might happen, and on to figuring out how we’re going live through this. Our despair is grounded in grim acceptance and practicality. We are learning that life goes on after you accept the fact that no help is coming, and you’ve been left alone to defy or defend or escape, or just bear witness.
It is 2023, and I weep to see children used as punching bags by evil politicians and the Republican Party. But I refuse to despair.