One of the obvious and at times, somewhat unfortunate realities of life—particularly the life of younger folks, though it happens to older ones as well—is bullying.
I believe I have said it before, but I want to make sure to do so now. Bullying will never go away. That’s not to say we should ignore it; rather, we should teach people to deal with it in better ways.
Sometimes, that looks like “living with it” for a time, sometimes like walking away, but almost never does it look like “fighting back.” Don’t get me wrong, there are extreme cases, where the person doing the bullying will very likely inflict harm (most particularly, physical harm) on the person being bullied and nobody else will be around to see—much less stop—what is happening. In such instances, I would argue that confrontation of one sort or another may become the only answer.
As a rule though, most of the time, folks being bullied will find in time, that the person doing the bullying becomes irrelevant; they cease to be a problem by virtue of ongoing life changes on the part of one or the other person, or both people.
One other important point. Bullies are usually people who are “broken” in some wise. That’s not, per se, an excuse as much as a reason for who they have become. And sometimes, the only thing that will “fix” the person they find themselves to be, is time and separation from that which helped them to choose a bad path. In effect, you could say that I’m as much arguing for clemency for the bully as for the bullied.
Obviously, that does not mean the bully should be allowed to act badly on an ongoing, unchallenged basis. This is particularly true when they’re likely to cause physical harm to the person being bullied.
Some argument can be made for mental, psychological, spiritual and emotional harm as well, but the reality is, as mentors, our initial aim ought to be to make our charges as impervious to such “attacks” as possible. Put another way, where I’m not saying such attacks are in any wise “okay,” parents, guardians and the like should make it their business to make them as impracticable as possible.
This article though, is intended to discuss another issue. That conundrum is that of “changing feet.” At this point you may be asking, “What on earth are you talking about?” Let me attempt to clarify.
I think we can all come to an agreement regarding a basic definition for bullying. Bullying would be the attempt by one person to force another person to physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually acquiesce to the “demands of” the bully. Sometimes, it may be something as “simple” as asserting dominance; at others, it may be more complicated. An example of “more complicated” would be my trying to force others to believe as I do on a particular issue. That would be as opposed to discussing the issue with them, and causing them to have a change of mind or heart, by presenting arguments that make what I say valid to their way of thinking or feeling.
I need to pause for just a second to posit an idea. The idea can be stated pretty simply, “We will not agree on all things at all times.”
I have said it before and will do so again, even if one assumes “universal truth” (I do, by the way) there are still three “outcomes” in our disagreement:
- Party A is correct and party B is incorrect.
- Party B is correct and party A is incorrect.
- Both parties are incorrect.
It is possible to state a fourth outcome, but it’s never truly correct. The fourth outcome would be, “Both parties are correct.” The problem with this outcome is, I’m not talking about things like quibbling terms here. I’m speaking here, about genuine disagreement. That is to say, differing in terms, having misunderstandings in things like scope and so forth are not the intent.
Even considering the afore-stated though, it must be reasonable to assume that folks will have differences of opinion and belief. Equally important, except where those differences are harmful (and typically, I mean physically harmful, and in a fairly immediate way), it should be considered entirely acceptable for those differences to exist. One final thought on that. Again, unless it is immediately harmful (and again, I maintain in a physical way), one ought to be able to act on one’s beliefs in order to maintain internal integrity, and be within conscience.
As with most articles, I had a particular impetus for writing this one. In this case, it happens to be beliefs concerning “gender identity.”
It has been argued by a very small minority in the population that they “don’t identify” as the gender they were “assigned at birth.” I could easily argue the concept of “gender assignment” for the majority of humans—and even more easily argue the spurious idea that doctors “regularly” perform surgeries or enact “therapies” on “gender ambiguous” children at or near birth (and most particularly, without the advice and consent of the parents of the child)—but that’s not the point of this article.
The purpose of this article, is to discuss the idea that such folks have been and are being bullied.
To begin with, I should say that the majority of folks (and I would argue that this is even true for children) don’t know such people are among them, and that even those who do, likely don’t care that they are among them. The most significant “exception to this rule” would be when such folks insist on using facilities designed to “support” the opposite sex (physically) to themselves. And even then, since in most cases, that would be “public” restrooms, assuming they used stalls (which seems as though it should pretty generically be the case, since men in ladies’ rooms would not have urinals to use), though it might be a bit unsettling, I don’t see it generically to be an issue.
Rather, the issue would be when people abused the right to use such facilities in order to “prey on” folks of the opposite sex in some fashion (particularly children). And no, nobody is arguing the majority of “transgender” folks are doing that, just that it’s possible for criminal people and people with mental illnesses of various sorts, to abuse that “right”.
I have pretty much “run out of space.” As such, allow me to make the most significant point, and the one I intended to make with this article. That would be that, it is unreasonable to argue the rectitude of requiring people who—for a variety of reasons—do not accept and count reasonable, the idea of “gender identity” as expressed by “transgender” folks and their “advocates.”
Requiring them to consider those ideas reasonable, is just as much bullying, as people expecting transgender and similar folks to accept the beliefs of those who do not agree with “expressed societal norms” to agree with them. It may even be more unreasonable, considering that a vast majority of folks express “gender identity” that matches their “physical sex.” This is particularly true when people are jailed or otherwise penalized by law for refusing to do so.
One more thing to say. I am obviously not arguing that “transgender” folks should be bullied in any sense. That having been said, I am questioning the idea that they are bullied when folks do things like, use pronouns that are not the ones “transgender” folks “prefer.”
I’m also saying that transgender folks ought to expect to be treated like everyone else, and should pretty much count it as likely exceptional for anyone to treat them otherwise. That’s not a function of bullying either. Rather, it’s a function of there being standards in place—standards it appears some “transgender” people are trying to cause to cease to exist.
Okay, time to call it a day. Much more could be said on this, but I haven’t the “space” to do so here. May your time be good, and thanks—as always—for reading.