On my twitter feed on Friday, @RichardOsman posted that all sorts of people had been posting nasty comments about a Pointless contestant called Stephanie.
I was watching Pointless at the time, and saw Stephanie, who was, it appeared, a trans-gender person. She had, apparently (I didn't see any of the tweets) been slagged off a little on twitter. Richard was, quite rightly, appalled by this, as was I when I realised that this had been an issue.
Now I must make an admission here. When I saw Stephanie, it was clear that she was a trans-gender person. What is more, that made me slightly uncomfortable, for a moment. It took a moment for me to adjust. But that is my issue, not hers. I have not spent much time in the company of people whose sexual definition differs from the traditional. But that does not mean I felt anger or aggression to her.
The idea that people would be unpleasant to Stephanie is quite shocking. She was being who she is, and this is supposed to be a civilized 2014, where we accept that peoples defined sexuality and choices are not something that we condemn, something that we poke fun at. We are supposed to know that sexuality is not something that we "chose", but something that is part of us, and that our physical expression of may not reflect our selves. It is supposed to be a time when we accept that peoples definitions of who they are is not a simple binary choice.
I am not even going to comment on the complexities that the church has with these issues - a church that cannot yet cope with women, never mind homosexuals, transsexuals are not even within the current understanding. So there is no real help there.
The bible - and Christianity - is about loving people, caring for people, whether you agree with them or not. It is about being with people, and helping them to grow and be themselves, as children of God. So that is where I try to be, and what I try to do. There are people who I find this easier with and people I find this harder with - largely based on early interactions, and probably whether they can laugh at themselves or not.
So I think it is worth making a point here: Stephanie was showing incredible bravery in appearing. It is sad that this is considered brave in 2014, but it is. She is being who she is, and that takes a lot of courage (not because she is trans-gender, but because being the person you are usually takes a lot of courage). And it is about time we accepted people as they are, because otherwise we are encouraging a lie. And if you cannot accept someone else's gender choices, then I am not prepared to accept your stupid, intolerant attitude.
Stephanie is now on Twitter, so if you want to follow her, she is at @stephaniecutey.