The kindness of strangers
I was on my feet for about 16 hours today which was rough, but among some highlights with chosen family and co-workers I had an interesting interaction with a stranger. When I was out in the city, a middle aged, conservatively dressed, straight appearing man approached me quickly and said, “Were you on the news this week?” With a glance around to check my safety I smiled and said, “Yes, I was.” Two days before the local news interviewed me about Caitlyn Jenner. I congratulated Ms. Jenner and spent the rest of the time discussing the violence and poverty in the lives of average trans people, namely youth and trans people of color. I stated that we need the same joyful acceptance and visibility that the public gives celebrities. Among many in my lgbtq community, my interview was seen as “too negative,” befitting of the stereotype the community places on me as radical activist. I wasn’t sure what this man’s reaction would be. He gave me a long look and said, “I want to affirm you. I don’t know what to say… I don’t know the first thing about this… but thank you for what you do.” He held his hand to his chest as his blue eyes filled with deep emotion, “I believe we are all God’s children. I’m older, you know, I’ve seen a lot. People should be accepted for who they are. Your passion really struck me and I want to tell you… I don’t have the words… but what you said is important. I affirm you. Thank you.”
I’m glad for the days you surprise me, Cincinnati. Thanks for that. Let’s keep working hard.