Friday, April 06, 2018

When There Is Hate In The Family

A friend Deja wrote in her column in the Rainbow Times when a family member doesn’t want anything to do with you. It can be a sticky situation,  she wrote.
Trans Talk: Keeping the Lines Open With Those Who Disagree With You Can Be Trying

I have been observing various trans friends on Facebook and how they deal with those who have differing viewpoints from their own. Some answer politely with their response, often backed up by facts, some fire back with anger, fear, and frankly, hate, while others just let it go with no response. All three responses, or non-response, do have their merits.

I realize that some subjects, such as religion and politics, can evoke strong emotions, so I can’t say that I am surprised that would drive someone to anger, fear, and hate. These situations may lead to someone blocking another person. Now, I can’t possibly know every situation and why the blocking was done, but it does break my heart a little when a friend blocks someone and then posts that they just booted someone off their Facebook wall and are proud of doing so. Others may comment that the blocking was merited, but I look at the whole situation and it still makes me feel a little sad.
Now, I am not saying to stop paying attention to differing viewpoints. As a matter of fact, I think we should always note differing viewpoints. To let the differing viewpoints upset us and lead us to anger, fear, and hate, though, I’m not so sure is such a good idea. This behavior can solidify a partisanship and cement a hard divide between people with different viewpoints and a wall may come up. Maybe that’s what some folks want and, in some cases, that’s the way it probably should be, but in any case, it does close the communication line.
For me I have no problems when we disagree on politics, you want smaller government, I want a safety net for those who through no fault of their own cannot make ends meet. Fine.

You want less regulations, I want to protect the environment and the work place. Fine.

We can agree to disagree, but…

You want to dehumanize me and deny my existence… click, I will unfriend you.

You are a racist… click, I will unfriend you.

But what do you do if they are a member of your family?

I have seen a number of trans people who were disowned by their family only to have them get back together again; Deja writes,
Sometimes, I may reach someone on a post, and they suddenly begin to understand what I must go through in my life as a trans person. Sometimes I can reach some of these folks and they just might begin to understand me better and realize that my gender is truly female and that I have obstacles that I must face every day. If I block someone, then they won’t see my stories and I might miss an opportunity to bring them to better understand me and trans people in general.
Last week I was on a panel for a book reading at Barnes and Noble where the mother at first had a hard time accepting her trans son but over time she saw that she was wrong and now is his biggest supporter.

I have a trans friend who was disowned by the family but now the person has reached out and has opened a dialog between a brother, it is a rocky start, but it is a start.

It can be particularly hard if the estrangement is based in religion, there might be no solution but my advice is the same, keep the line of communication open, and let them make the cut not you. You might be able to keep in touch through another family member as an intermediary, I know of serval cases where that has worked, they kept in touch through a common friend.

Take the moral high ground.

So my advice is the same as Deja’s keep the lines of communication open, don’t burn your bridges. That racist brother may see the error of his ways. It might take a long time for the wounds to heal but it is worth the effort to try.

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