Hey there, Bruce Jenner. I heard you just moved into a gorgeous hilltop home in Malibu. I was wondering if you would reconsider and move to Louisiana where I live. Ours is a unique land of crawfish and meat pies, piney woods and bayous, Carnival season and year-round festivals.
You have courageously come out — as a Republican, a conservative, and a Christian. Now that you are openly claiming your real political self, why stay in California where conservatives are in the minority? Leave that Blue State with its liberal Democratic governor and human-rights-for-all agenda. Come to my Southern Red State — Louisiana — where you could live in a world ordered and ruled by folks who share your values: Republican, conservative, and Christian.
“Is [being a Republican] a bad thing?” you asked. See for yourself. Move to Louisiana and have your own Red State experience. You could fully immerse yourself in the discrimination and restrictions that conservative Christian-identified Republicans have legislated for anyone who is LGBT in Louisiana.
As openly transgender in Louisiana, you
are SOL would have no legal recourse if you are denied:
- an apartment lease or house sale
- employment or continued employment
- entrance to your gender-identified restroom
- a drivers license or birth certificate with a gender marker different than your gender assigned at birth
- health insurance
- health care
You could not get a license to marry in Louisiana, or adopt children, or put your name on any child’s birth certificate.
On second thought, a better, safer, more secure life is yours in California, in that beautiful hill-top home, near your family and friends. There, you are legally protected to live true to yourself as a transgender conservative Christian Republican. There, you can fully participate in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” by enjoying all of the above rights that LGBT people in conservative Republican Louisiana do not have.
That’s the definition of privilege.
Your privilege is not the house, or the fame or the fortune.
Your privilege is found in the many legal rights and benefits granted to you in California, when those same rights and benefits are not legally granted to LGBT persons in Louisiana.
A benefit from privilege is “feeling relatively comfortable and . . . [coming] to expect that [you] should not have to give that up, while of course others are forced to live with discomfort, fear, isolation, etc, all of the time, just as a baseline of being alive.”
And so you ask: “Is [being Republican] a bad thing?”
A different question back to you: “Is that who you really are?”
You are the person whose personal mission statement is: “To provide understanding and tolerance toward people.”
You “believe in the Constitution” whose mission statement (preamble) includes these phrases: “We the people . . . more perfect union . . . justice . . . general welfare . . . blessings of liberty . . .” with no state-line disparities between Californians and Louisianians.
You identify as Christian; me, too! Our most important commandment about one another is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Claiming us as your neighbor, you could decide to use your famous voice to preach “liberty and justice” for Louisiana — and Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas . . . it’s a long list. You could use the power of your vote to grant to others those basic rights that have already been won politically for you in California. You might even influence current GOP candidates to flip their anti-human rights positions.
You have been generous in sharing your story of epiphanies and courageous steps. You call us all to be more honest, more self-aware, more open, and even to claim the irreconcilable paradoxes we each harbor.
You are the very embodiment of a work in progress, a “new creation!” You are getting a new name, a new look, new learning, new approaches to living and loving as your more authentic self.
Please come to Louisiana sometime! We would love to meet you and show you this unique slice of the U.S.A. Just don’t stay long enough to become a victim of the injustices against “you people” that have been codified into law by our Republican conservative Christian-identified lawmakers.
“Is that bad?” you ask. Yes, my neighbor in Christ, it can be deadly.
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[Photo credit: sanja gjenero from rgbstock.com]