I was up early this morning and off to the clinic for more blood work (don’t ask, long story). While there, a black woman in a hijab walk into the clinic. While her English was very good, it was apparent she was an immigrant, and that it was her first time at the clinic and not familiar with the “routine”/check in process etc. A lovely elderly woman beside here assisted her so that she could check in etc and get registered. Perfect, I thought. That’s exactly what should happen. A lovely start to my day!

While this was going on, an elderly “gentleman” (and I use the term loosely as you will see), sitting next to me, looked up, saw her, swore under his breath and shook his head. Luckily, no one else heard him except me. And lucky for him. Because I was fully prepared to figuratively whack him upside the head. However, I quickly decided that it would be quite disruptive and probably make the woman feel uncomfortable. At least she didn’t hear his initial reaction, so why draw attention to her now? Right or wrong, judgement call on my part.

It was a perfect example of two completely different reactions to a situation. One of acceptance and one of, well, bigotry and stupidity to put it politely. I found myself quite upset and offended at this “mild” but totally inappropriate reaction.  Okay fine, it was early in the morning, pretty much still dark out, and we were all there to get jabbed with a needle. So sure, being a bit grumpy is pretty much the norm. But still. He’s an idiot.

Which really isn’t very tolerant and accepting by me is it? But how can one be accepting of such behaviour even if it is just “who he is”? He is free to think what he thinks and I will support and defend that. But not when it comes to verbalizing it, especially to the detriment of others. While in his own head, he is only doing danger to himself and missing out on meeting some really awesome people. But the minute it oozes out of his head via his pie hole, then it’s in the public domain and impacts everyone around him. And this time it was me.

Being part of a minority is no fun. And that is my world now. But relatively speaking, I have it pretty good. And complaining or bitching about it doesn’t help. Speaking out, fighting for the rights of others, that is what helps. But which fight? There are so many battles out there to fight, how to pick? While I’m am an activist in the trans community (albeit it a very minor one), we need to be looking after each other. And I don’t mean just in our communities, but across all minority groups. we need to speak up for each other.

So my battles may be varied and across many groups, making it appear that there is madness to my methods, but I pick the battles that I think I can win, that impact my little corner of the world. That is not to say that I don’t lend my voice to those issues that are playing out on the major stages of the country and the world. I do, and fully support those who have a louder and more articulate voice than I. But my daily battles are in my work place, my community, the schools, service groups, etc, all the groups that I speak to on behalf of the trans community. That’s how I pick ’em. Like or not, that is just my rationalization. So I chose not to take on the fight this morning. I live to fight another day.

But I am still breathing fire on my own battle fronts so don’t mess with this mama dragon. You’ve been warned.

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2 thoughts on “Picking battles…

  1. Good call, Erin. My personal criteria always involves whether I feel the offender can learn. Otherwise, it’s all pointless. The fact that he’s had a lifetime to “think” and actualize, yet hasn’t…. speaks volumes. As a famous comedian one so eloquently stated, “you can’t fix stupid. Jess

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  2. Thanks Jess. Yes, you raise a really good point. We only have some much energy, using it up on someone who is so shut off who doesn’t want to learn, change and grow is a waste of time. I will remember that.

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