You Know What’s Cool? Broadswords.

And you know what else is cool?  Well, more accurately, you know what I actually want to talk about?  Chaz Bono and Dancing with the Stars (this dazzling rhetorical switch-up brought to you by Mr. G).  Also, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is officially repealed!

I’ve noticed a lot of trans bloggers have a, “Hey, look, Chaz Bono” blog post.  I have not written one of those yet, mostly because I don’t have anything original to say about him.  I didn’t know who he was until I came out to some family friends who said, “Transgender?  Like Cher’s kid?”  I haven’t finished watching the movie.  I haven’t read a lot about him or his particular journey.

But some things bear repeating.  In this case, I’m going to repeat not only many trans people, but also myself when I say: thank you, Chaz.  Thank you for being out.  Thank you for being one more positive example to show the world trans people are just people trying to live their lives.  Thank you for putting up with all of the gawkers, all of the comments, all of the groundless hate and anger and fear.

Matt Kailey posted his interview with Mr. Bono about his role on Dancing with the Stars.  Mr. Kailey asks Mr. Bono what he would say to trans people who have to deal with such aggressive, vitriolic hate “on a lesser scale in their private lives.”

Mr. Bono replies, “I think it would be much harder to have to go through it in a smaller way, honestly.  For me, it’s kind of easy.  I’ve been an activist in the community…so at this point, I have a fairly thick skin.  But I’m really grateful that in my life and my world, I don’t have to deal with any of that. I think it would be a lot harder to have to go to a job every day where you’re facing discrimination from your coworkers or your boss than it is to have idiots on the Internet saying crap about you.”

Mr. Bono, I so admire your courage, your perseverance and your positive attitude in the face of constant scrutiny and the contempt that some people hold for trans people.  Not only do you work as an activist, not only are you living out, acting as a sort of lightning rod for the hatred born of misunderstanding and fear, but you choose – at least as far as I can tell – to do so without the bitterness and cynicism that can so easily grip someone who has to face this every day.

Your one act of coming out has made my life exponentially easier.  There are people in my family who would never have heard the word “transgender” if not for you.  My own mother took huge strides in accepting my transition apparently because of you.  Every trans person who chooses to live out takes a huge step for the rest of us by showing the world that being trans is not such a big deal.

So thank you, Chaz Bono, for your selfless act of courage.  I only hope that one day I will be brave enough to permanently join the ranks.  I’ve never watched Dancing with the Stars, but if I can figure out how to vote, I will surely vote for you.  I hope you win!

Speaking of bravely coming out, the DADT repeal went into effect yesterday.  I read an article about Lt. Josh Seefried, who risked his career to spearhead secret social networking – which apparently developed into OutServe – and advocate for the repeal of DADT.  There are many touching stories out there about men coming out to their fathers for the first time or soldiers finally tying the knot.  A lot of beautiful prose about the newfound option for LGBT service members to stop hiding from their compatriots.  The battle for equality is far from over, but this is an incredible step in the right direction.

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