Where Things Stand

Two years ago, I came out to my fiancee as transgender, which ended that relationship. A month later, I would come out to my brother and parents. Here is where things stand.

 

Dear Senator,

 

Hey made it to Quartz mt.. I want to talk to u soon.. I am in class until 6. Then A mtg. Then dinner.. so if u are available this evening I would like to talk to u..

 

Have a good time at Quartz Mountain. I’m not really available tonight, getting ready for a Paint Night tomorrow.

 

Ok.. have fun painting.. I didn’t know I had upset you again. I will delete my Facebook account as soon as I can figure out how to save my pictures..

 

Why would you delete your Facebook account? That makes no sense. If you stand by your posts, why delete it?

 

Because u get very upset and I don’t want to continually upset u.. life is short

 

I get very upset? There are so many other things that make me upset than your Facebook posts. I am still not even sure what blog post you are referring to.

 

While I have no idea if this message will reach you or make a difference, but I could not live with myself if I did not express my concern. The Trump administration continues to nominate radical and dangerous individuals to high government positions, and with a heavy heart, this also includes my father, Frank M. Coffman for the position United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

 

I am way more bothered by my father’s new job than anything I have ever seen on your Facebook wall. But, I do want to add this. Your post about Puerto Rico and CNN being fake news scares me. It really does. It is naive and discredits the media. And just so you know, my coworker lost family members in the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico. The island is devastated and will take years to recover.

 

I am very sorry. For your feelings and your friend who lost their family members

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/conversations-with-people-who-hate-me/id1257821731?mt=2&i=1000390479804

Deleting your Facebook page is ridiculous. If you feel a need to apologize, listen to this podcast instead. There are nine episodes, and listening to them would mean more to me than an apology ever would.

 

Ok.. do I download something

 

Did the link not show up for you?

 

I see it. I will have to get head phones

 

Almost two years ago, I came out to my parents as transgender, and needless to say, it went poorly. I am writing to you because a person in the position of U.S. Marshal must be objective and non-biased  in regards to following the law. Based on everything I know about my father, he is committed to his prejudices over his respect for the law. For instance, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know he views the Black Lives Matter movement as criminal. Yet, it is his disdain for the LGBTQ+ community that frightens me the most. He refuses to accept family members as LGBTQ+ and has explicitly told me that I am under the influence of demons and corrupted by society because I am transgender.

 

Why are u bothered by your dads new job as a us marshal in Oklahoma

 

Because the Trump administration is threatening the very foundation of this country’s democracy and my father wants to work for that administration. Also, as radical and extreme as the Trump administration is and out of everyone in Oklahoma, the Trump administration sees my father as a kindred spirit for this role.

 

Whoever the president is has to appoint the Marshall.. you know your dad is not a kindred spirit.. he was more a bush kindred spirit.. I think he quit being a secret service agent because he didn’t want to be involved so closely with trump..

 

I have no idea why he quit the USSS. And while I used to think he aligned his views with moderate Republicans, I know the media he consumes and the views he holds. Just his views on social justice movements and LGBTQ+ individuals certainly does not make me feel safer or confident that he will objectively use his authority to protect all Americans.

 

I disagree.. if something happened your dad would not see gender or race or anything to help and protect.. u seem very angry and filled with rage!

 

Where is this coming from? And, of course I am angry, but filled with rage is a bit extreme. And, unfortunately, knowing things my father believes, I have to disagree with you about him.

 

To talk to u .. u don’t seem angry.. your blogs and text are extremely angry and raging!! U have been hurt by your dad and u r very sensitive to him at every level.. it is OK for people to have different beliefs and opinions!! It is EVERYONES right to feel and think differently.. and then of course someone thinks they are right and someone else is wrong! But to try and force that anyone believes exactly to believe/agree with everything u do is impossible

 

At this time, he and I barely speak, and his support of radical conservatism only drives us farther and farther apart. It is heartbreaking to write this to you, but if I do not speak out, who will? I ask you to oppose his nomination and to continue to speak out against other current and future Trump nominees that threaten democracy and the freedoms of this country.

 

You are completely right that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. Here is a key difference though. Some of those key differences could cost me my job, my healthcare, a place to live, my students’ families, and lives. Not all thoughts and opinions are right or just, even though you are entitled to them.

 

Yes every opinion and every thought can cost someone something.. costing a life is the most important loss.. the things your dad said to u was horrible and he was falling apart.. and the things I say to u are not to hurt u..but past all of that u can’t make anyone feel what u feel

 

Is he still falling apart? Are you? Regardless, the things I say and write may not change how anyone thinks or feels, but I have to try. Because, if I don’t, who will? And, how much damage will be done in the meantime if I stay silent?

 

No he is ok.. being a Marshall removes him further from trump. I am ok.. I just don’t like feeling like we r fighting . I accept and love who u r. I want u to love me and accept who I am..

 

While that is not entirely accurate about his new job, I would prefer us not to disagree. However, I will not stay silent. I love you both, but that doesn’t mean I will just accept your views and opinions just because you are family.

 

Accept isn’t the right word.. from my text.. u don’t have to accept my beliefs maybe accept the right to be different from each other.. have u thot much about meditating for inner peace

 

I certainly accept your right to be different. I don’t have to be okay with it. Just like you don’t have to accept me for who I am. And meditating? I’d rather be a bit more proactive for inner peace, like getting involved, contacting legislators, etc.

 

Just sometime for peace and to relax a bit

 

What brings me peace is knowing that I have done something in the face of what is happening.

 

Thank you for your time,

Nicholas Bailey

 

Ok what do u do to relax

 

Paint nights. Movies. Spend time with friends.

 

Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out

http://www.gayly.com/child-trump-nominee-speaks-out

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An Addendum for My Grandparents

Today is Valentine’s Day, and a few hours ago we got off the phone, conversing for the first time since Christmas. I miss you all. I truly do. I held off on sending this to you, not because I am ashamed of who I am, but because I do not wish to lose respect for you all. My entire life, I have always watched the two of you do the right thing. Your decisions and actions seemed just and moral. I hope that this time, you will make the right decision, too.

I am going to be fine. Really. But, I am going to fight for equality and my right to exist. I know what you read will be hard to digest. It took me years to finally accept who I am, and if I had not had the courage to face myself, I would not still be here to send you this letter. If you cannot accept me, I will truly miss knowing who I thought you were, but I will be okay. And, I will always love the two of you. Never forget that. You taught me courage. You taught me strength. You taught me to do what is right.

That is what I am doing right now. I have courage. I have strength, and I am doing what is right.

I am sending you all one of my favorite gifts you ever gave me. It is a quote from Steve Jobs’s commencement speech. Because, well, if you cannot accept me for who I am, you could use this quote more than I can.

We can talk about what you’ve read here. Or not. I don’t need to. I know who I am, and no one will change that. Instead, perhaps, if you cannot accept me for who I am, you’ll keep the plaque. If you can, maybe, you’ll send it back. That will be enough to know where you stand.

I am mailing this to my father to give to you. Honestly, with how things have gone between the two of us, I have no idea if you will get the chance to read this.

But, I have hope.

There is always hope.

Father

You have just received a package from me. You’ve opened it up, discovered its contents, and are now reading this letter.

I have no idea what is going through your mind right now, but let me guide you to understand what is before you.

First, you have a letter for my grandparents, your parents. It is the same letter that I sent you, linked to my blog, which you responded to without reading fully. In addition to the text you had an opportunity to read, there is an addendum for them.

Second, I sent back a gift they once gave me for Christmas. It goes with the letter, and when they read the addendum, they’ll have a choice. And how they respond, I will know where they stand, just as I know where you stand.

Third is a gift. I picked it up for you at the local comic con, and I thought it would look good in your media room, next to your posters of your favorite films. I was going to save it for your birthday, but honestly, with how things have gone, I don’t want it around anymore.

You have a choice with all three of these items. You can give the first two to your parents or not. You can be there as they read what I have written or not. You can keep the gift or not.

The choice is up to you.

Even though our relationship is in a place of never going back to the way things were, I do still love you. You are my parent, and I will always care for you. But, I cannot stand by and hide in the shadows. There is too much at stake. I wish you happiness and peace. I hope that your conscience is clear. I hope when you look back on how things have gone, you are proud and pleased with the outcome.

I love you. I continue to miss the person I hoped you were. But, I will forever be as true to myself as I can. I know who I am. And, no one can change that.

The choice of what to do next is up to you.

What will you choose?

To Whom It May Concern

 Up to this point, I have written three letters that have changed everything in my life. Three letters that forever changed my life to a point where there was no going back. Three letters that forever defined me as a person. This is the third. 

The first was written when I was dying. I was on the verge of giving up. I had hidden a part of me for so long that I just wanted to cease to exist. It hurt to live. It hurt to breathe. Yet, from a blind mix of fear and courage, the letter saw life, and it ended a relationship with someone I loved most in the world. But, instead of dying, I lived. 

The second was written because I wanted to live. I felt renewed. I felt hope. I decided to confront my fears of their reactions and be true to myself. I had just come from rock bottom, and I felt alive with truth in who I was. Just like the first, the second letter changed everything. It was met with anger and disappointment and disgust and fear and hate and hurt. But, instead of letting others continue to control my life, I stayed true to who I was. I lived. 

The third letter, your letter, will again change everything. 

Will it, like the first, allow me to see the core of who you are and care for you all the more because of your acceptance and love and respect? 

Or, will, it like the second, allow me to see the core of who you are, my memories of and respect for you to dissolve to shades of memories surrounded by a tumultuous onslaught of disappointment? 

And, before we get to the heart of what I am saying, I must first tell you why. Why now? Why are you reading this letter now? 

I wrote this to you the weekend after the inauguration of the 45th president of the country I have called home. I wrote this then. And, at this moment, I have no idea when you are reading it because I am not making any changes to it between now and then. But, I need you to know when it was written to fully understand the full extent of what I am saying. 

You are reading this now because something has happened. I honestly don’t know what. Maybe, it is as simple as my inability to take the outright lies and divisive rhetoric spewed forth by the 45th president. My fear is that you are reading this because we are on the cusp, the brink, a slight shifting of the wind will send us to a point of no return as a country. 

If history had provided a different path with a different 45th president before us, I doubt that I would have had the courage to send you this letter. Without this letter, things could have drifted as they have been. Yet, that was not the path that has been provided to us. 

And, now, to this. 

I need to know. 

Are you with me? 

Or, will you follow the path of the second letter? 

Because the reality of what is going on is this. Depending on if you voted or not, you may have gotten it wrong. Less than half of America got it wrong. There is something wrong with the 45th president. When facts and reality can be refuted by “alternative facts” with no basis in reality, something is wrong. I am not going to provide you with the evidence. I should not have to. If you are the person I hope you are, you know deep in your heart, that something is wrong. And, you are afraid. 

I understand. 

I am afraid, too. 

If you don’t believe that something is very wrong with the 45th president, put this letter down now. Honestly, put it down and go no further because the core of the letter comes next. You have only covered the why are you reading this now part.

A few Christmases ago, I received a gift of a plaque with a quote from Steve Jobs. It is on a bookshelf in my office. I look at it often. I think on one piece of the quote in particular. “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Every time I read the quote, I ask myself, do you believe those words?

Because my heart and intuition have led me here. 

To this moment. 

To these words. 

And, I need to know, are you with me? 

The first iteration of this letter went into the details of the how and why and had only one specifically small audience in mind, but those details don’t matter now. What does matter is what happens next. With this iteration, you still have options and a choice to make. And, a truth. 

There is always a truth. 

I am transgender. 

When you are ready, come back to this line and know that you have three options, if you know me. And if you don’t know me, consider these metaphorical options of character. Option 1, you ignore it. We continue as things are and slowly drift farther and farther apart as the weight of the truth makes it harder and harder for us to bear. Option 2, you fight against it. You condemn who I am. You seek reassurance by blaming mental illness, the devil, the demons, my corruption through societal means, and this either abruptly ends our relationship or settles to a slow drifting apart. And, Option 3, you accept and respect it. You see that I am who I have always been, just more myself. If I ask to go by a different name, you use it. If I ask to go by a different pronoun, you use it. We move forward, awkwardly at first but with new found hope and mutual respect. 

I am filled with moments when hope for the third option is almost nonexistent. I have seen and heard how family ostracizes individuals that fall outside their bell curve.

I have been told, time and again, that family is important. 

What about people? 

Are people important? 

Am I? 

I ask because I can no longer stay silent. 

The lives of every minority, woman, and child are at risk, but the ripple effect of what is happening will be far wider than just the future of this country. Without action, we fall. We fall as a country. We fall as a society. We fall as humankind. 

When I was at the point where I no longer wanted to live, I was afraid of dying. And, I continue to ask myself again and again, did I choose to live because I was afraid to die or because I was brave enough to live? 

Whether I chose life because of fear or bravery, I am no longer afraid of dying. What I am afraid of now is standing by. Standing by as bigotry, hate, and prejudice become the new normal. 

I have given you my truth because lives are on the line. 

I sincerely hope that you choose the third option. 

I hope you choose acceptance and respect. 

But, more than that, I hope you find courage. I hope you find courage to stand up for what is good and right and true. I hope you fight for this country. I hope you fight for human lives and rights. I hope that you can look back at your life and know that you were in the right. That when the pendulum swung too far, you pushed back. 

You have a myriad of choices before you. 

We all do. 

I chose to live. 

I chose to be true to myself. 

I am choosing to stand up for the what is right. To stand firm against a presidential decree of bigotry, hatred, and prejudice. 

If you have gotten this far, there is hope. 

Consider every single action that you take, every choice you make.  

Your choices stand before you. 

What will you choose?

Where will you stand? 

Are you with me? 

Because, even if you are not, I am just getting started. 

Holding Out for Hope, 

A Fellow Human Being