You be you.

Every once in a while, my daughter will talk to me about something she doesn’t agree with that her peers do or something she sees that she doesn’t like, and she worries about friends and connections to people, like any normal teenager. She tries dying her hair once in a while. She wears different styles of clothing, trying each out to see what works for her. Is she the kind of person who wears make-up? Is she the kind of person who has short, dark hair, or long, multi-colored hair? She’ll figure it out eventually. My only advice to her each time something like this comes up is simply, “You be you.”

What I mean is, and she knows this, be yourself. Don’t let others dictate what you look like, what you like, who you like, and so on. Sure, there are some social conventions that we insist she follow like wearing a helmet when she rides her bike because that’s just being safe or dressing up a little to go to the theater because that is showing respect to the people who worked hard to create the performance. Oh, and be clean, of course, but we haven’t had to worry about that one in a LONG time.

Why do I share this? Because, for some reason, a lot of people in this country and in our government are very concerned over who you are and how you should be. Trans people have been around for millenia. They have used bathrooms. They have served in the military. They have worked as any and every profession. But now, when we have come to a point where it is, at least, legally okay for them to be outwardly trans, there’s a rush to dictate where people can go to the bathroom and who can serve in the military.

Here’s a basic rule to live and govern by: DO NOT DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD NOT LIKE TO HAVE DONE UNTO YOU. The positive wording of this “golden” rule is the more well-known one, but this version actually pre-dates Jesus, if I remember correctly. It simply states that people should not do anything to anyone else that they would not like to have done to themselves. Jesus’ positive version about doing to others as you would have done to yourself tends to have a loophole — I would like someone to give me a million dollars, but I’m not giving someone else a million dollars. I don’t have a million dollars.

Simple, right? You don’t want someone to say to you that you can’t get married? Don’t tell someone else they can’t get married. You don’t want someone to tell you that you cannot serve and defend your country? Don’t tell anyone else they can’t. You don’t want someone to tell you that you have to go home in order to go to the bathroom because you’re not allowed to use a public one? You get the idea.

It’s that simple. You be you. I’ll be me. As long as my being me doesn’t hurt you being you and you being you doesn’t hurt my being me, what’s the problem?

Oh, and you religiously orthodox people out there who think that people being anything different from you is going to damn them to Hell unless you change them? Too bad. In the United States, under the First Amendment of the Constitution, we not only have the freedom to practice our religions, but also have the right to freedom FROM the religion of others. THAT IS SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. So, keep your religious “convictions” to yourself. You be you and keep your you off of me.

So, got it now? This shouldn’t be hard to do.


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