Opinions Are Like… Bellybuttons*

Everybody has one. (*This is the family-friendly version of this saying.)

And that’s fine. It’s fine to have an opinion; it’s okay to express an opinion; it’s okay to disagree.

I’ve written about this before, kinda. And if I don’t like your opinion, it’s okay for me to say so, or change the channel, or, let’s see, end my subscription to your newspaper. It’s okay for me to unfollow you on Facebook.

We all have freedoms. As long as nobody’s threatening to throw you in jail, it’s not a First Amendment issue.

If you don’t understand something, that doesn’t make it wrong or a mental illness.

I haven’t the first clue what it’s like to be embodied as black, or gay, or male. I don’t know what transgendered people struggle with, and it would be beyond presumptuous for me to judge them for it.

I have been excruciatingly self-conscious in my body, especially as a teenager. Did you ever read Judy Blume, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret? Yeah, I considered incorporating a part of that book into my nightly routine just in case it worked. But ultimately, I have come to terms with how flat-chested I am. I had boyfriends; I’m married; I’ve breast-fed babies. I am living proof that when it comes to boobs, size doesn’t matter.

But being transgendered is not feeling self conscious about an aspect of one’s body. I don’t pretend to understand it. But I’m also not going to mock it or call names.

My task, as a human and (especially as far as I’m concerned) as a Christian is to greet people with love and respect and tolerance in my heart.

Caitlyn Jenner in not a problem for conservatives. She’s not a problem for anyone. If you have a problem with people different than you, you need to pack that up in a box. Because it’s not about you. They aren’t coming for your body with a scalpel or a pair of shoes you don’t want to wear. No one’s going to make you marry someone of the same sex. For that matter, no one is going to make you practice a religion you don’t want to, or agree to an opinion you don’t hold. Ain’t America grand?

Also: You may have a problem with a whole hell of a lot of people. Because people are different.

Oh, and anyone who thinks transgendered people a) are doing it for attention or b) want you thinking about their genitals: knock that off. People don’t try to live authentically so that they have a spotlight placed on them. People don’t wake up one day and choose to be marginalized to the point of unemployment, homelessness, or violence.

No one does that.

The human experience is wide and varied, and I choose to embrace that. I am choosing to raise loving and tolerant human beings who will treat everyone with respect and dignity.

You can have your opinion, and you can express it. And I can walk away, and I can tell my children why we don’t think like that.

And that’s what I’m gonna do.

Purple orchid
Because flowers are pretty! And generally, not assholes.

4 thoughts on “Opinions Are Like… Bellybuttons*

  1. I actually know somebody without a bellybutton. It was removed as a young child because of an abdominal surgery. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could remove offensive people’s opinions and bigotry surgically?

    • Honestly, I don’t know if I’d like to see offensive opinions cut out or cut off.

      I am, in general, all for diversity of opinions. We have the ability now to filter out those we don’t like; we have ways of not listening. I don’t value the ugly opinions, but I don’t know that I want them “surgically removed.”

      The world is changing, and I truly am starting to believe that hate and bigotry are the minority opinions. Sooner or later, the white son of a racist is going to be born into a majority brown world and recognize that his parents’ world view is too narrow to be perpetuated. I think we react to the hateful voices now because they are loud, amplified by social media, and by the fact that the people who hold those views feel the need to scream them out of fear of being drowned out and turned away from.

      Maybe I’m being idealistic; maybe I’m being naive. Some days, I do wish those I consider stupid or hateful would shut their mouths. But most days, I think the tide of love and tolerance will, ultimately, win out over hate.

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