I hoped that ALICE would soften hearts and open minds. But in the beginning, there’s a lot of preaching to the choir and you start to wonder if the only people who will ever read your book are the ones who already agree with you.
Then yesterday, I met an old friend for a walk through the gallery downstairs. We hadn’t seen each other since she read ALICE a couple of months ago and it was one of the first things she brought up.
I’ve gotten more accepting since I read your book, she said, and these friends of mine, posting things on Facebook about transgender people in bathrooms, I want to ask them “what if that was your child?”
She apologized for not having said this outright to her friends, but we both know it’s not a battle to be won by trying to shout over one another on Facebook.
It is won person by person; my retired lady friend reading a book she’d never have picked up if she didn’t know the author, then passing it on to her sister who never met a transgender person but would come to know a few through ALICE, and the sister loans it to another woman who sometimes clicks like on a post about protecting women in bathrooms because who wouldn’t want to protect women? but maybe she reads the book and realizes that protecting women means protecting trans women too …
Yes, we need the fierce advocates standing on the capitol steps, but we also need the gentle nudging around the edges, expanding the circle of acceptance and understanding, changing hearts and minds – one at a time.