TGForum readers in the American Republic rightly value and celebrate our national independence. Having begun as thirteen sparsely developed colonies that were planted by England beginning in 1607 — more than a century after Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World, and over 50 years after the first university in North America was chartered in Spanish Mexico by the Holy Roman Emperor — we have since grown into a populous, advanced, boisterous, sovereign union of fifty states.
The United States of America was the first territory in the Western Hemisphere to break free from colonial rule, and subsequently establish and maintain constitutional government. No mean feat — our Canadian neighbors remained under direct British rule until 1867, hosting a British naval garrison in Halifax, Nova Scotia until 1906. Even in continental Europe, many historic nations can only trace their current independence back to the 20th Century. (Ireland, Poland and Ukraine are merely three such examples.)
The historical record shows that independence is not a permanent feature of the human or political landscape. The former Polish kingdom was completely partitioned by its neighbors in 1795, and did not re-emerge as a sovereign state until 1920. After the moral, political, physical and military collapse of the Third Reich, the German nation lost its unity and independence in 1945; these were not definitively recovered until 1990. And we all learned in 2020 that liberty can be very fragile. We can take nothing for granted while we live in this world. True liberty and independence are things to be cherished.
In addition to political independence, there are also individual variables to consider. We gradually ascend to personal independence as we grow into adulthood. We can hope to live peacefully and productively among our fellow neighbors, secure in our homes and property. If we exercise self-discipline and avoid poor decisions, we can be free from legal and moral entanglements, or from financial debt.
At the same time, there are false forms of independence that can be quite dangerous. For example, declaring independence from gravity is a bad idea unless you have an airplane (and perhaps even a parachute). Trying to obtain independence from reason and common sense is never advisable; if one’s mind is too open, then one’s brain just might fall out. Consider also the lamentable state of our medical and pharmaceutical professions, which — with a few noteworthy exceptions — sadly renounced their independence for three years, and permitted Dr. Politician, MD and Dr. Bureaucrat, MD to tell them how to do their jobs. (Yes, that happened; yes, we noticed.)
Independence always requires acknowledging the existence of free will, and facing the consequences of our actions. Declaring independence in 1776 guaranteed only that the American colonies would be subject to extreme political and military measures from the powerful British Empire, along with other domestic and international challenges to navigate successfully before obtaining peace and public recognition in 1783. Subsequent internal and external challenges continue to this day.
While national independence may be somewhat easy to quantify, personal independence can be more difficult to categorize. However, one thing it certainly does not mean is everyone living by and for herself, in literal and figurative bubbles, with only technological devices for company and communication, and associating only those who think and act exactly like we do. (That would be more like “social” “distancing”, in every way.)
So now that we once again remember what it means to be human, and realize that we were made for community, how can TGForum readers celebrate our independence this year and going forward? There are in fact many options open to us, wherever we may live and whatever our personal circumstances.
One thing worth doing is declaring one’s independence from worry. I personally discovered in 2020 —under some of the most adverse public circumstances imaginable — that I could be comfortable in public as I am, anywhere that I might wish to go, and be treated with respect and courtesy. (I even went on a pleasant blind date during that period, with a very gentlemanly military veteran.) In spring 2021, I dropped the mask literally and figuratively; I have never looked back. I’m also no longer self-conscious about being the tall girl at six feet in heels!
In the process, I also declared independence from solitude. I began living full-time during that same period, and was quite willing to socialize openly and freely wherever the public health policies of Dr. Governor, MD in Harrisburg did not interfere. I have lived and worked non-remotely since summer 2021. Along the way, I believe that I recovered full social skills — and perhaps even gained some additional ones — much faster than the average homebound individual who until recently remained “remote” in more ways than one. (Glad to have you all with us again!)
Personal misunderstanding is another factor from which I now seem to enjoy independence. When I finally took the steps to come out to the people I knew personally and professionally, I could almost see the light bulbs going off. It was as if they thought, “So that’s what was going on there!” None of my relationships have suffered for it. I enjoy watching my female neighbors and colleagues light up and chat with me when they see me. It is obvious that they enjoy my company and feel completely comfortable with me around. They know that no bizarre or inappropriate subject matter will come up in conversation. And I can openly compliment their appearance, while receiving helpful feedback!
Perhaps most importantly, I am now independent from being invisible. I am pretty sure that everyone who has the occasion to interact with me publicly is aware that I am not the average girl, so to speak. But no one is awkward with me. There may be some people that don’t think well of me for some reason or other, but they keep it to themselves. That’s perfectly fine with me; you can’t please everyone.
And honestly, we all saw some truly dependent behavior not long ago. Remember those individuals and “professionals” in 2021 and 2022 that would ostentatiously look away from you — or even deny you service altogether — if you dared to simply approach them in public with an uncovered face? That sort of blue state conduct may have permanently immunized me from worrying about what others think. I would always look such people right in the eyes (that is, where their eyes should have been) and quietly smile at them as we passed one another. I am completely unconcerned about my upcoming annual summer visits to red states, where ladylike behavior is appreciated and reciprocated, and I am always treated very well.
This Fourth of July, celebrate our nation’s legacy of liberty in some meaningful and visible way. In addition to cookouts, fireworks and a longer weekend, think of how you might declare your independence, make it stick, and win the respect of those around you. It may be difficult at first, but the results will be worth it!
Category: Transgender Opinion