I blogged yesterday about the videos Just Kidding News posted regarding a South Carolina teenager who was told he couldn’t wear makeup for his driver’s licence photo.
This is Jeremy’s letter:
To Just Kidding News
I liked your YouTube channel but you are really closed minded when it comes to equal rights. It says in your video that you think it’s hilarious. Okay, you are so hilarious. You say men don’t wear makeup, okay, women don’t lift weights and they wear dresses but I did not see the women wearing dresses on your show, did you? No, and at least one lifts weights so is it fair for her to wear and do all she wants but he cannot? And it says man on his licence, not woman, and what? Are they going to pull down his pants and check if he crashes his car into the lake? No, you can tell he was male in the photo. If he wears make up all the time then let him like we do for women. But at the end of the day people will hear what people want to hear.
This is my letter:
To the Just Kidding News team,
I look into your eyes and see ignorance and a complete inability to understand the effect your words have on others. Instead of listening to your viewers, you decried them as being too stupid to comprehend what you were saying; that you were saying black while they were seeing green. I don’t think you realize the reality of the situation.
Do you have any idea how much prejudice and hatred kids like Chase Culpepper and my son face on a daily basis? Do you really think Chase is putting on makeup and women’s clothing for shits and giggles? Do you realize how strong he must be to walk out of his front door every day knowing the reaction he is going to get? The national average for attempted suicide is 7%. The average for LGB youth is 33%. The average for trans youth is 47%. And to give you an idea of how much I worry about this, I already had these numbers memorized!
My child, Jeremy, is also gender non-conforming. He hasn’t sorted out his gender yet, although considering how much indecision and thought it’s taking there’s a huge chance he’ll end up identifying as trans. Right now the most my son’s done is grow his hair long and dye it purple. That’s enough to get men screaming insults and slurs at him from car windows. He’s scared to go any further, terrified that would be enough to get those men to stop their cars and come after him. I don’t have any words to reassure him. I want my son to be remembered for a long and fabulous life, not by a lit candle on November 20th.
The thing is, you’re seeing Chase’s makeup and clothing as if it were a Halloween costume, something silly to pull on and take off for a lark, instead of being an expression of himself, a need to be himself. You saw him as nothing more than a joke. And yes, I am aware that you are a humour and satire site but you could have just as easily been on his side instead of against him. Just as easily criticizing the DMV for singling Chase out and demanding he conform to narrow gender stereotypes.
We all have the power to use our words and make a difference. Are you willing to use yours?