It is unbearably hard to write that phrase, but it is, quite simply, what we, as a society, do regularly. We use coercive and guilt-inducing techniques to force people who already feel ostracized to fit into our definition of appropriate conduct within our culture. We misunderstand behaviors and intentions by personalizing them (becoming offended) and then insisting that we know what is best for the other person based on our own lives, cultural biases, and misconceptions.
It is our discomfort, frustration, judgments, and our belief that we know best, as well as the statements, "this is how it has always been done," "we can't coddle them," or "I am just doing my job," that guide our responses. In following the rules and ticking off all the appropriate boxes - we induce additional trauma loads to those already carrying around the burdens and distress of cognitive, emotional, and physical disability, as well as childhood trauma, not to mention the cultural stress involved with exploring sexual, or gender identity and expression.
Those who live with the effects of trauma can have an overwhelming, heart stopping (or racing) anxiety attack after being exposed to what we may judge as the tiniest of provocations. It happens everywhere - at home, in schools, medical environments, and housing offices, in stores, at the dog park, or even walking down the street.
As with everything else - those panicked reactions may be lessened or avoided by taking the time to get to really know the other person - their unique beauty, genius, and valuable gifts. Empathy and compassion are the missing links to almost every misunderstanding. Make the connection - listen - express an interest in their lives - find common ground - and in doing so, you will discover another person who contributes layers of dimension and wealth to your life.
It is clear that by allowing judgment-based biases, frustration, and fear to guide our interactions, instead of understanding, we continue to traumatize the already traumatized. Which, in the end, harms us all.
Weekly Creative Meditation
The Gender Closet is set up and ready for visitors from the community. The DRC Gender Closet has clothing sorted by size and type (eg. adult pants - medium) for anyone to access. It is here for anyone who needs clothing that conforms to their gender identity and expression. Anyone from the community (especially local teens and tweens) is welcome to come to the Center M & Th from 2:30 - 3:15 to peruse the items available and take what they would like. Spread the news.
We are taking donations on a limited basis including - children's clothing, skirts & dresses, & under clothing of all types (including chest binders). Please contact us before donating anything and please launder the items first.
Our Sensory Safe Space is also finished. It is here for any of our kids who need a cozy spot to decompress for a moment or two before jumping back into the non-stop action that is DRC.
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