Last week The Iowa Standard published an open letter I wrote to the students involved with the baseball and softball teams at Des Moines Roosevelt who felt compelled to kneel during the National Anthem.
The article was well read. It made its rounds on social media. And, as usual, I received some feedback.
I won’t use the person’s name, but I had a Facebook conversation with someone who didn’t agree with my opinion. I wanted to share this conversation, while protecting the other person’s identity. It is important to see and to know what the other side really believes, and how they defend those beliefs.
It started with an innocent question:
THEM: I just wanted to understand your reasoning a little more about why it upsets you so much that you feel the need to make a ‘open letter’ about it?
ME (what I actually wrote): What do you want to know about exactly?
THEM: How do you go to a school that is so diverse, open-minded and accepts everyone and then end up with the opinions you have?
ME: Do you mean how did I go to Roosevelt and end up with my opinions?
MY MIND (what I thought, but did not say): If a school is truly open-minded, and everyone who goes there is expected to appreciate “diversity” and be “open-minded” and “accepting” — why is my “diverse” opinion not “accepted” by this “open-minded” person? Is everyone who graduates from Roosevelt expected to embrace liberal ideas and values? That doesn’t seem diverse, open-minded or accepting.
THEM: Based on some of your Facebook posts and things you said in the open letter it seems to me that you are transphobic and a little bit racist.
ME: What are your specific examples that I have a fear of transgender people and that ‘I’m a little bit racist?’ I’d argue that you’re either racist or you’re not.
THEM: (Quoting from my article) “First the first trans bathroom in Des Moines Public Schools. Now this…” with the news report on the baseball team kneeling. Are you not OK with people who are trans?
ME: Yes. What about that sentence says that I am fearful of transgender people? I suppose it would depend on how you define ‘OK.’ I don’t believe anyone is ‘living their best life’ by being transgender, no.
THEM: You are making it seem like being trans is bad just like kneeling is I guess.
ME: It wasn’t too long ago when gender dysphoria was considered a mental disorder.
THEM: You don’t think anyone is living their best life by being transgender?
THEM: That is ridiculous.
ME: When I was a junior in high school, I even wrote a column that said if I were old enough to vote, I’d vote for Al Gore. And one of the three reasons was because he supported abortion rights. So, I’ve changed a bit since I went to Roosevelt. Though I don’t think even when I was a young, naive liberal-minded student, I wouldn’t have supported kneeling during our national anthem.
THEM: Well the fact that you went to Roosevelt and think being transgender is not OK honestly just blows my mind. Also just being a human being and not thinking that’s OK blows my mind. I honestly don’t think you fully understand why the teams are kneeling and what the teams have talked about before kneeling. With that being said, I don’t think it’s fair for you to come out with some open letter about it with no additional background information about the teams from this year to past years.
ME: As for gender dysphoria, we are created male or female by God. We can’t change our gender. (Yet they believe it is Republicans who have a ‘war on science.) A 40-year old man who thinks he is a woman should not be using the bathroom stall next to a 6-year old little girl.
MY MIND: Yeah, it’s hard to believe, I made it out of Roosevelt without being completely indoctrinated to the point where I thought like almost everyone else who also graduated from Roosevelt. Yet you folks will think I’m the one who was “brain-washed.”
ME: Do you think a biological male should be allowed to play softball:
THEM: Yes I do.
ME: So, what if an actual girl is cut from the team in order to allow the boy to play softball? Does that seem right or OK to you?
THEM: If the girl doesn’t make the cut, she doesn’t make the cut.
ME: So you are saying that a boy should be allowed to play a girls sport. And if the girls doesn’t make the cut, she doesn’t deserve to be on the girls team because a boy is better than her? What makes someone a boy?
THEM: You are so illiterate. What makes a boy is whatever that boy wants. Just because someone has a penis or a vagina does not identify their gender.
ME: So, you’re saying a girl might have a penis? And a boy might have a vagina?
THEM: Imagine growing up in a body you don’t want to be in. Would that make you happy?
ME: Did you pass biology?
THEM: Yeah, I did with honors. I’m saying just because someone has a vagina doesn’t mean they have to be a girl. They can be whatever they want.
Now, answer my question. Imagine growing up in a body you don’t want to be in. Would that make you happy?
ME: If I were born a male, I’d be a male. If I were born a female, I’d be a female. My ‘feelings’ don’t dictate reality.
THEM: That’s not what I’m asking. If you were inside a body you didn’t want to be in, would you be happy?
ME: For example, if you ‘felt’ like your softball team played well, but they scored fewer runs than your opponent, you’d still be the losing team — regardless of your feelings and your happiness. I think people have all sorts of issues with their bodies, right? Some are sad because they’re short. Some are sad because they’re too skinny. Some are said because they’re too fat. But their feelings do not change their realities.
THEM: It’s really funny how you can’t answer a simple question.
ME: You’re asking the wrong question. Actually, you’re asking an irrelevant question. Your happiness has nothing to do with whether you have a penis or a vagina. Many people who have gone through gender change surgeries have reversed it and express regret. If someone is poor, and it makes them unhappy, are they allowed to rob a bank?
THEM: Just because your reality is so close-minded doesn’t mean that’s everyone else’s.
ME: It isn’t close-minded. It’s called sanity. Many in America used to have it. In fact, for generations, in every civilization, gender dysphoria has been considered a mental disorder.
THEM: Hmm let’s see how it is close-minded. Can’t accept transpeople. Can’t accept why teams are kneeling. Can’t accept that systematic racism is a thing.
ME: How do you define “accept?” By the way, you’re welcome to submit a response and I’ll gladly publish it — to my open letter.
THEM: By the way, you’re welcome to open your eyes and realize it’s 2020 and people will be who they want to be.
ME: I will tell you this… Transgenderism is wrong. It is unhealthy. There’s a reason for the incredibly high suicide rate among homosexuals and transgender people. Kneeling for the anthem disrespects the flag and our country and our military. I know it is 2020. But basic ideas like if you have a penis, you’re a boy, and if you have a vagina, you’re a girl, have been around for thousands of years and gone unchallenged up until now.
Do you think a biological male should be able to get pregnant? No matter how hard he tries, he will never be pregnant. Why? Because he was born with a penis and is a male. Be careful about living life based on feelings. Feelings, you will learn, are fickle. They change routinely. Nature’s laws really don’t change. For instance, 2+2 will always equal 4, regardless how that might make someone ‘feel.’
THEM: I will tell you this. As a friend to a couple of transgender friends. The suicide rate is so high because of people like you. Kneeling for the flag is to recognize the systematic racism. For the black community who needs our support right now and to let them, who have been called racist names before, that I am with them.
ME: The suicide rate is high because, just like Romans says, “God gives them over to a depraved mind.”
THEM: You want to bring god into this?
ME: Well, you’ve decided to ignore basic science. Do you believe a biological male can get pregnant and deliver a baby? Do you know anyone who used to be a salve or anyone who used to be a slave owner? By the way, I put God in everything I do.
THEM: So someone who is born male (with the male reproductive system) can’t get pregnant but a male who was born female (female reproductive system) can. It is unlikely to happen because testosterone (male hormone) makes you sterile.
ME: If they have a female reproductive system, how are they male? If there are girls in the locker room who aren’t comfortable with a biological boy being in there, what is your message to them?
THEM: Like I said, it’s unlikely to happen but I think you are mixing up sex and gender identity.
ME: No. Biological boy. Sex and gender are the same thing. Again, two words that have been used interchangeably for years — no, for generations. Can two dudes make a baby? And when I say dudes, I mean biological males — two people each with their own penis.
END OF CONVERSATION