Explaining the Male Coach Gender Paradox.
This is so important and beautifully written.
Charlotte, your final sentence is so on-the-nose. It’s all about respect. Choosing those who are worthy of their respect makes guys like these feel powerful. Being “forced” to respect literally everyone weakens their power. I believe it’s also about a lack of compassion and lack of empathy. When you spend your life at the top of the hierarchal societal structure, empathy needs to be explicitly taught. (At least, that’s my theory. And while it’s probably an over-simplification, there is a case to be made.) We who aren’t at the top develop empathy based on our life experience. Showing someone respect is the literal least one can do in interactions with other people.
I am acquainted with only one trans person and am having to develop a comfort level in our interactions, getting used to who he is, not my recollection of who he presented as in the past. But that’s my issue, not his. Basic human respect is just the lowest imaginable bar for how we treat one another and gender expression certainly does not change that.
Your theory about why cisgender women seem to empathize with trans women more than cis men do sounds about right to me. I’m quite a bit older than you and can still remember high school teachers who would “motivate” us students with phrases like, “Don’t be the weak sister!” After suffering a knee injury that limited my participation in PE, I was daily ridiculed by my (male) PE teacher as being dainty and babyish. Cis women are more likely to get it because we get treated similarly.
The lack of compassion, respect, and empathy shown by this Virginia educator is outrageous. As an educator myself, I find his behavior deeply troubling. I wonder how many of his students have felt uncomfortable, disrespected, or downright unsafe in his classes. His apparent attitude of, “I’ll do what I want even if my actions hurt my students” is indefensible. And his cloaking his deeds under religion is hypocrisy at its finest. “You can’t force me to respect others’ basic human rights, because Jesus!” Please.
As always, Charlotte, thanks for the thought-provoking piece and for the opportunity to comment.
Reading this reminded me of the flip side of this behavior. I (a cisgender woman) served in the US Army. Went through jump school, became a paratrooper, served in a unit of 300 men and 10 women. I pushed myself to excel. With every accomplishment my male co-workers would congratulate me by saying "Damn! Very cool. You're one of the guys." Sometimes, depending on whether or not I felt up to the argument that would follow, I would reply "no, I'm not a guy. I'm a strong, assertive, capable woman" and every time I said that they would argue and insist that women can't be assertive without being an agressive bitch and no one likes those. As long as they could label me as "one of the guys", my strength, capablity and accomplishments were accepted as not threatening.
This is such a great piece. "They weren’t just the first people to call me a girl. They were the only people to call me a girl or woman before I came out." Wow.
Charlotte you are really crystalizing what makes you, you. Very happy for you, #KeepGoing 👏🏻💪🏻❤️
Right on Charlotte. Great piece. Thank you
Ohhhh. This was amazing insight and I really appreciate you writing it. This is similar to an article you wrote for the huff post when I first met your writing. People need to hear / read this perspective. Your insight is important and you share it so well. Thank you, Charlotte.
Love and hugs from this elder cis woman.
I remember as a young girl (cisgender) hearing so many of these remarks and being thoroughly confused. My army Dad refused to conform to or allow us to believe that girls (he had three) were less capable than anyone else. Once more you’ve got me thinking about how much still needs to change and what I can do, even if in a small way to manifest that change.