Troubling Times

May 1, 2022
   Damn, things seem really frustrating, disheartening, confusing, and downright scary these days. On the international news front, we’re witnessing terrible, heart-wrenching examples of death, suffering, and carnage being wrought by Vladimir Putin’s vicious, bloody, unwarranted invasion of Ukraine.  On the domestic side here in the United States, bitter divisions in politics and society have gotten so bad that it often seems virtually impossible to get anything done. Despite it being the 21st century, we’re seeing far too much intolerance, prejudice, ignorance, and hate throughout the nation, and what’s even more disturbing is how many social conservatives are pushing for policies that actually worsen these problems.
   Think about it. In numerous states, there are social conservatives trying to pass laws that knowingly hurt the LGBTQ (Queer) Community, a community that was already suffering. A 2021 survey conducted by the Trevor Project of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth (ages 13 to 24) found that 42% had seriously considered suicide during the previous 12 months. That number rose to 52% for Transgender youth. Only one in three indicated that they lived in an LGBTQ affirming home. Yet despite evidence such as this, numerous Republicans are working hard to pass laws that would clearly hurt Queer kids instead of helping them. And what’s worse is that these laws will almost certainly increase LGBTQ suicide rates.
   There’s also been a move by many conservative Republicans to make a big deal about critical race theory and wanting to ban it from being discussed in schools. Well for one thing, it’s clear most of these individuals don’t even know (or don’t care) what critical race theory actually is because it’s a theory that is dealt with at the post graduate education level and not K through 12. But it seems that many Republicans are using the attack on this term to go after general discussions about race relations in American history classes. This effort by conservatives is extremely dangerous because in order to learn from past mistakes, people need to look at American history honestly (warts and all), and that clearly has to include race relations. There’s a lot of truth to the old adage: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The brutal reality is that racism and other forms of prejudice (like that which is aimed at the LGBTQ Community) are still widely prevalent today, and as a result, it’s that much more important to include honest, frank discussions about such issues in school.
   So the thing is: we need to speak up and educate others about what is going on and what we can do to try to make things better. People should stand up for open-mindedness, tolerance, and be honest about America’s history and current situation, not stick their heads in sand ignoring the problems. We should all strive to make things better.

The United States And Guns

   The United States of America has a serious gun problem. One way or another, most people know this, although some are in denial and don’t want to believe it or admit it. But it’s true.
   Too many people are dying every single day tragically and needlessly because of gun violence.
   When the Constitution was created in the 18th century, it was a different time. There were no smartphones, communication was slow, the standing army was tiny, and many people lived in small rural communities or farms that were isolated and far away from help if something occurred. If you lived on a small farm in the 1700s, you couldn’t jump in the car and go to the grocery store. Small farmers frequently had to be much more self-reliant growing a significant amount of their own food and sometimes hunting for meat. Also if a criminal came to the farm, they couldn’t call 911. In many ways, they were on their own because it could take hours or longer to alert the authorities and get help. Something else to consider is that the muskets of the 18th century were much slower to reload and much less accurate than weapons today. Someone with significant practice could get off maybe three shots in a minute, give or take. In real world circumstances, it was likely often less than three a minute. And finally, the United States of the 18th century and early 19th centuries relied heavily on militias for defense because the standing army was tiny.
   In other words, the Second Amendment was written in another time when the circumstances were vastly different than today.
  It’s now the 21st century, and the United States has a large standing military, the National Guard, extensive police and law enforcement agencies, rapid communication, vehicles, planes, trains, grocery stores, and much deadlier guns. It’s definitely a different time.
   Let’s start by comparing assault rifles to muskets. A muzzleloading musket from the 18th century would take around 20 seconds to reload and fire if you were experienced, whereas a semi-automatic assault rifle can fire essentially as fast as your finger can squeeze on top of having high capacity clips. Realistically, someone could fire 60 rounds or more in a minute with a much higher degree of accuracy than the old muzzleloading muskets. The people who wrote the Second Amendment likely had no idea that assault rifles would ever exist or be in the hands of civilians.
   Now, let’s compare gun violence in the United States to that of other countries which have stricter gun control laws. First, death by firearms in 2017 per 100,000 people. According to the statistical site, Our World In Data, the United States rate was 4.63. The United Kingdom’s rate was 0.06, whereas Australia’s was 0.18. Germany’s was 0.1, and Japan’s was 0.03. Think about the vast difference between these countries and the United States.
   Now let’s look at the rate of death by interpersonal violence using any method in 2017 per 100,000 people. In the United States, the rate was 6.1. The UK’s was 0.5, and Australia’s was 1.4. Germany’s rate was 0.8 and Japan’s was 0.6. As you can see, the rates are multiple times lower than that of the United States.
   Take a look at these numbers. Look at the vast difference between United States and these other countries. The UK, Germany, Japan, and Australia have crime like the United States does. Their crime rates overall may be a little less than the United States in some cases, but not that much less.
   So let’s be honest about what’s going on. The major factor that explains the significant difference in murder rates is guns. The other countries listed here have much stricter gun control laws than the United States does. That’s the big difference. And if you compare these rates between the United States and other countries such as Belgium, France, and others, you will find similar results.
   It’s clear as day that the United States has a major gun problem and must enact stricter gun control laws. Gun violence in this country is just plain way out of control, and too many innocent people including children are dying every single day because of it.
   I’m not saying make all guns illegal. But there are practical, common sense gun control laws that would make a difference, especially in the long term. Ideas include banning assault style rifles from private ownership. No civilian needs an assault rifle. Assault rifles were created to kill human beings in times of war. That’s what they were designed for. Not for hunting animals or sport shooting. Restricting the size of clips is another practical idea that could save lives. Again, no one needs clips that hold 30 rounds of ammunition or more. Mandatory training and licensing would be a great idea. In order to drive a vehicle, you have to take a test and get a license, so why not do something similar for guns. Also, more extensive background checks would save a lot of lives as would tighter laws on proper storage of guns and ammunition when not in use. Too many kids die in tragic accidents when they grab their parents’ loaded gun that was sitting below the bed.
   By instituting laws like this nationwide, many lives would be saved, and law-abiding citizens who want to have a gun for hunting or similar would still be able to do so. As a matter of fact, many gun owners support gun control laws like this.
   So it’s definitely time to act. People need to stop automatically opposing gun control legislation ideas. Too many Americans are needlessly dying every single day. It’s time to enact better gun control laws.
   Future innocent lives are literally at stake.

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/homicide-rates-from-firearms

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/homicide-rate

https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=United+Kingdom

People Should Be Responsible And Adaptable In Living In A World With COVID.

March 23, 2022
   Oh no, another piece about COVID lol! Well, sorry, but yes it is.
   I know everyone wants this damn pandemic to end. I get that. I feel it. But the thing is, COVID is not going to disappear as much as we wish it would. The hard, cold reality is that we have to learn to live with it. But in living with it, that does not mean totally ignoring it as if it wasn’t there. On the other hand, we shouldn’t live in desperate fear of it either. Instead, we need to be vigilant and flexible in terms of living our lives in a world with COVID in it.
   Now, you may be wondering what I mean by that. Well, let me explain. The COVID virus mutates which is why we keep seeing new variants sprout up. This is what viruses do which allows them to survive. Immunity (or immune resistance would be a more accurate term I think) can come from vaccines, previous infection, or both. We also know that with time, immune resistance to COVID decreases, which is why keeping up to date with boosters is so important.  Another issue that comes into play is that as more mutations occur, the risk of new variants becoming more resistant to people’s immunity increases because of the new mutated variants potentially being so different from earlier versions that people’s immune systems don’t respond nearly as well (and in a worst case scenario, not at all). So, when you consider all this and the fact that some people still haven’t gotten vaccinated and how many more have not received boosters, it’s easy to see why COVID cases go up and down.
   Now and in the future, people need to stay aware about what the status of COVID is in their communities and countries, and they should keep up to date in getting their boosters. In all likelihood, new boosters based on newer variants will become available, and it will be important for people to get those shots when they are able (like getting yearly flu vaccines). Also, people need to be prepared to make adjustments depending on what COVID is doing in terms of case numbers and severity. While we all would like to see COVID case numbers stay low, that may not always be the case. In all likelihood, there will be times when case numbers rise (and sometimes it could be to significant levels). As a result, when those levels are high enough to be of concern, people will need to make some adjustments to help bring those levels back down. This could include things like people who had not been wearing masks in indoor public places starting to do so again. Another example could be needing to make adjustments to indoor gatherings (like shifting them outside, decreasing crowd size, and perhaps asking attendees to take at home rapid COVID tests before coming). I’m not saying people will have to take severe precautions all the time. It will depend on what COVID is doing (whether case numbers and severity are low or high).
   While we all need to live our lives, we should be smart about it and do so in a responsible way being prepared to make adjustments if necessary. By being vigilant and flexible, we can keep ourselves and other people safer and healthier which in turn will allow everyone to live better lives.

We Should Send Planes To The Ukrainian Air Force That They Can Use Themselves

March 14, 2022
   We are all seeing the vicious, brutal, unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine on TV. The pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people is heartbreaking and infuriating to watch while their determination to resist and fight back is truly inspiring. There’s no question that Vladimir Putin and numerous members of the Russian military are war criminals as innocent Ukrainian civilians are clearly being targeted. Nations of the world need to support Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid while imposing severe financial sanctions against Russia for as long as it takes to help Ukraine prevail.
   The issues of a potential NATO no-fly zone over Ukraine or sending fighter planes to the Ukrainian Air Force are being discussed right now. I agree that NATO should not try to implement a no-fly zone because it would almost certainly lead to a much wider war with multiple nuclear powers involved. In order to enforce a no-fly zone, NATO would almost certainly have to shoot down Russian planes and likely also have to engage ground based Russian anti-aircraft systems. That would be a shooting war between NATO and Russia. In other words: WW3. So the risk is too great for a NATO no-fly zone.
   But I do think we should supply Ukraine with fighter planes that they would use themselves. I would recommend that Ukrainian pilots be the ones to fly the aircraft across the border into Ukraine with the provision that once in Ukraine, the planes stay there no matter what. It would also be preferable for the planes to try to avoid combat until they have landed inside Ukraine, refueled and armed there. At that point, they could take back off to then engage Russian forces. While Russia would not like this, I think it’s highly unlikely they would do anything militarily against NATO because of it. We are already supplying Ukraine with other military equipment such as anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, and considering the crimes against humanity that Russia is inflicting upon the Ukrainian people, I think we should include military aircraft in those supplies.
   As much of the world as possible needs to stand up against Vladimir Putin and his brutal tyranny. While we need to be smart about it (so as to avoid a wider, more devastating war), the time is now to support Ukraine and stand up for democracy.

Current Events Reveal How Much We Need To Shift To Renewable, Clean Energy Sources

March 7, 2022
   The rise in petroleum prices that we are seeing these days reinforces the need for the United States and other countries to speed up the shift to renewable, clean energy. Supply chain issues, the COVID Pandemic, and now Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine are all playing roles in the current rise of gas prices (and inflation) which we’re seeing around the world.
   Humanity started to increasingly rely on the use of fossil fuels in the 19th century with the use of coal to warm homes, power factories, and run railroads and steamships. With the invention of the combustion engine, fossil fuel use really exploded in the 20th century as more and more people relied on automobiles powered by petroleum products. Coal firing plants to supply energy to cities grew in size and number as did manufacturing facilities. The result of all this was a precipitous rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. According to NASA, during the last Ice Age, CO2 levels were around 185 ppm (parts per million)and rose to about 280 ppm by 1850. In January of 2022, it was up to 418. This dramatic increase since 1850 is clearly due to human activity (particularly from the use of fossil fuels). We know from exhaustive research that rising atmospheric CO2 levels causes average temperatures to go up as well, which in turn has created the Climate Change Crisis that the planet is experiencing today.
   In order to combat Human Caused Climate Change, we need to lower atmospheric CO2 levels, and the best way to do that is to decrease the use of fossil fuels while increasing the use of renewable, clean energy sources. Another added benefit will be less reliance on having to import petroleum from other parts of the world because as we are currently seeing how regional and world events can lead to rising petroleum prices that we have to pay due to our reliance on fossil fuels.
   With everything that is going on (including the likelihood of banning Russian petroleum exports),  in the short term, other parts of the world will need to increase oil production in order to prevent gas prices from getting too exorbitantly high. But in the long run, we need to speed up the process of shifting away from fossil fuels and towards the use of renewable, clean energy because it will be better for the planet and also will likely allow the United States and other countries to become less reliant on the necessity to import such significant amounts of their energy needs.

The US And Allies May Need To Ban Russian Petroleum Exports

March 6, 2022
   The world is finally recognizing how viciously brutal Vladimir Putin is with Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine. Things will not be the same, and we all will need to adapt to this new world.
   Nations around the globe must stand as united as possible against Russia, supplying Ukraine with military and financial aid while also isolating and punishing Russia both diplomatically and financially. The sanctions that have been implemented are important and will hurt the Russian economy significantly. The value of the ruble has already dropped precipitously which is certainly a step in the right direction. The current sanctions are stronger than any Russia has ever faced in modern times, but we need to realize that the international community may also need to ban Russia’s petroleum exports as well.
   In 2019, Russia’s top two exports were Crude Petroleum at 123 billion dollars and Refined Petroleum at 66.2 billion dollars. Current sanctions haven’t hit this area very hard thus far because of the world’s thirst for petroleum. The United States obtains about 5% of it’s petroleum products from Russia while for European countries, it’s much higher (about 50% for Germany). This is why nations have been hesitant about banning Russian petroleum exports. The world is already battling inflation, and there is legitimate concern about how much that could worsen if Russian petroleum gets prohibited. But we may need to implement such bans in order to really put the financial squeeze on Putin and his government seeing how horrendously brutal the Russian invasion has become and due to the fact that if we don’t stop Putin in Ukraine, there is a very real chance he will continue similar moves in other countries such as Georgia, Moldova, and perhaps even Finland.
   It’s time for the international community to stand up to Vladimir Putin and keep him in check. In order to accomplish this, we will all likely have to make some sacrifices. For most of the world it will mean higher gas prices and probably worsened inflation for a time. But that is a small price to pay when you consider what the Ukrainian people are suffering through right now and the need to prevent others from having to experience the same fate.

As Tempting As It Is, A No-Fly Zone Isn’t Going To Happen

March 5, 2022
   We’re all watching Russia’s vicious, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in horror and disgust. The images we’re seeing on the news every day are heart-wrenching and devastating. So many innocent lives being torn apart, destroyed, and lost needlessly and tragically because of one person: Vladimir Putin.
   I’m not a religious person and rarely refer to someone as evil, but Putin is a truly horrible, evil human being. He has brutally and viciously attacked Ukraine despite the fact that Ukraine has never been any real threat to Russia. Vladimir Putin is a cold-blooded, cruel authoritarian autocrat who despises true democracy. He thinks the dissolution of the former Soviet Union was a terrible event and that Ukraine does not deserve to be independent from Russia. Think about how utterly twisted a philosophy that is, yet this is how Putin seems to think. He has had political opponents imprisoned and murdered and has established authoritarian type control over Russian media. This is a guy who is doing everything he can to have as much power and control as he can get away with. He despises the fact that Ukraine has become a democracy that over the last few years has grown closer to the rest of Europe and more distant from Russia. Frankly, he can’t seem to stand the fact that Ukraine is independent from Russia in any form or fashion. It’s clear that in the long run, he wants to establish as much control over former Soviet republics as he can get away with.
   And now we are all witnessing the consequences of Putin’s twisted, authoritarian philosophy and quest for more power which has resulted in his viciously brutal attack upon Ukraine. We are seeing news footage every day of innocent Ukrainians’ suffering and senseless deaths. This in turn has led to a number of people clamoring for the United States and the rest of NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine (like was done in the Balkans) in an attempt to ease the senseless slaughter. As tempting is this idea may be, there’s a very good reason why it’s not going to happen.
   When NATO imposed a no-fly zone in the Balkans, the situation was totally different. It was being done against a force that had almost no air power and very limited air defense systems. More importantly, there was virtually no chance that the conflict would spread into a wider war. The current situation is nothing like that. Russia is a major military power with a very large nuclear arsenal whose military doctrine includes the idea of first strike use of nuclear weapons, particularly tactical nukes. If the United States and the rest of NATO started to impose a no-fly zone, in all likelihood, NATO planes would have to shoot down Russian planes. This would likely lead to Russia trying to shoot down NATO planes with anti-aircraft missiles and jet fighters. Then NATO would probably begin trying to take out Russian anti-aircraft missile sites on the ground in addition to Russian planes in the air. In other words, trying to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would very likely lead to war between NATO and Russia. If that happened, there is a very real chance that it would expand into a much wider war, World World War III. In such a war, four nuclear powers would be involved with the United States, Great Britain, and France being those on one side and Russia on the other. The risk of such a war ending in an exchange of nuclear weapons is just too dangerous.
   This is why NATO is not going to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The international community must unite and work together as much as possible to isolate and punish Vladimir Putin for his bloody invasion of Ukraine. We need as many countries as possible to impose severe sanctions upon Russia in order to make Putin and his Oligarch supporters suffer financially. Nations also need to provide as much military and humanitarian aid as possible to the Ukrainian people and military to help Ukraine fight back against Russia’s brutality.
   The invasion of Ukraine is clearly heartbreaking, vicious, brutal, and outright criminal, but as we respond to Russia’s horrendous actions, we must do so with clear heads because while we need to isolate and punish Russia, a wider war that could go nuclear would be even more devastating.

Scary Times For American Democracy

Jan 6, 2022
   1 year ago, an angry mob stormed the United States Capitol Building in an effort to stop Congress from performing it’s Constitutional duty of certifying the 2020 election. This was the first time such a terrible event has occurred in the United States history. And what is even more disturbing is how so many people, many of whom are Republicans, are trying to downplay the seriousness of the assault.
   Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: the 2020 presidential election was free and fair. Every single state, including those run by Republicans, certified the election because they found no evidence of widespread fraud. There were Republican, Democrat, and Independent observers in all the ballot counting rooms in all the states during the counting process. There were also international observers from multiple countries monitoring the election. And again, no evidence of widespread fraud was found. There have been numerous recounts and investigations into the election. For example, in Georgia, the official overseeing the election in that state was a Republican. After the Trump campaign made its claims of fraud, Georgia instituted serious investigations which included the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as well as the FBI, and no evidence of widespread fraud was found. The Trump campaign lost over 60 court cases where it was trying to push its claims of fraud, and many of the judges who ruled against Trump were conservatives themselves. The reason they ruled against Trump is because the Trump campaign had no legitimate evidence that would hold up in a court of law.
   Yet despite all this, Trump and many of his associates and followers continue to spread lies about the election claiming widespread fraud which in fact did not exist. There is strong evidence that it was these false claims that instigated the mob of Trump followers to riot and attack the US Capitol Building. And it is beyond disturbing and frankly dangerous the way Trump and many others continue to spread false claims of fraud when no widespread fraud actually occurred. It is undermining American democracy, and that is no exaggeration. Many people are losing faith in the electoral process due to these false claims still being spread. A growing number of Americans are saying they think violence against the government is acceptable. There are also Republicans in numerous states trying to pass laws that would make voting more difficult for millions of Americans, and they seem to be doing this in large part because of the false claims being spread by Trump and their willingness to bow to Trump’s demands. It is also deeply disturbing how many Republicans in Congress are trying to downplay the seriousness of the January 6th events these days. Some are even trying to rewrite what happened.
   This is why it is so vitally important to learn about the details, causes, and ramifications of the Jan 6th Capitol Building attack. We especially need to understand the causes since those are still simmering and festering in society today. Democracy is an amazing thing, but it is also a fragile thing. History has proven this many times.
   So we need to stay vigilant. We must stand for truth (whatever it may be) and democracy.

This Is A Dangerous Time For American Democracy

Jan 3, 2022
   It’s really frustrating and disheartening that people are still arguing about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. And when you think about it, it’s downright scary.
   Here are the facts: there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Let me say that again: there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Donald Trump legitimately lost, and Joe Biden legitimately won. That is the truth. How do I know that is the truth? Well, consider the following.
   Every single state (including those controlled by Republicans) certified the election. There were Republican, Democrat, and Independent observers in all the ballot counting rooms in all the states. On top of this, there were international observers from multiple countries monitoring the election. Now consider that Trump and his people lost over 60 court cases where they were trying to challenge the election results with their false claims of fraud, and many of the judges who ruled against Trump were Republicans themselves. The reason they ruled against Trump is because Trump and his people had no evidence to back up their false claims of widespread fraud. When you consider all of this, it is clear that the election was free and fair and that there was no widespread fraud.
   Yet Trump, his allies, and many of his devout followers continue promoting their false claims of fraud with regards to the election. And what is further concerning is how polls are showing that the majority of Republicans feel that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump despite the fact they don’t have legitimate evidence to back up these claims. Many Republicans are saying they currently don’t trust the election process in the United States.
   This state of affairs is truly frightening and extremely dangerous because it is undermining our democracy and could lead to authoritarianism especially when one considers the authoritarian style power Trump is currently wielding over the Republican Party and how millions of Republicans continue to devotedly follow him no matter what (even when is lying outrageously to them). Trump is spreading his false claims about the election over and over with the idea that if he says them enough, people will believe him even though the claims are totally untrue. And it’s scary that millions and millions of Americans are believing these lies. Trump is essentially demanding that all Republicans, especially those in elected positions, bow to his will and demands. There are some Republicans in elected positions who secretly disagree with Trump, even strongly disagree with him, but are so afraid of him that they go along with his demands even when those demands are wrong.
   The events of January 6th, 2021 were horrifying and unprecedented in American history. Of course Congress needed to investigate what happened to try and prevent it from ever occurring again, yet the majority of Republicans in Congress voted against a bipartisan 9/11 style commission to look into the events that occurred. I think secretly, numerous Republicans wanted such a commission, but they voted against it because Trump demanded they do so. And many were likely also afraid that the legitimate results of such a commission would be at the very least embarrassing and possibly hurt them politically in the future.
   When you look at what is going on these days, especially with regards to Trump’s lies and hold over the Republican Party, one can see how our democracy is in serious danger. There are retired military leaders who are genuinely concerned that in 2024 we may see violence worse than the January 6th riot (or insurrection) and that there is a chance that members of the US military might join in. Such a possibility is beyond horrifying because that is what leads to authoritarianism and full-blown dictatorship. The cold hard truth is that in many ways, a significant portion of the Republican Party is now going in the direction of authoritarianism and away from true democracy.
   Whatever political persuasion you may be, we all need to be vigilant and speak up for truth and democracy. We need to be smart about what we say and how we say it and make sure that we can back up our positions with evidence. We need to stand against the lies and authoritarian trends that Trump and his allies are pushing.
   Democracy is a wonderful thing, but as history has shown, it can be easily lost. So let’s stand up for democracy and be sure that it lives on for many years into the future.

People Need To Open Their Minds About Transgender, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Non-binary Individuals

   I’m going to be up front about the fact that I am queer with a fluid sexuality (bisexual+) and a fluid gender (genderfluid). As such, I unfortunately have first-hand experience about how so many cisgendered people often have a serious lack of understanding with regards to genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary, and transgender (GfNT) individuals. This in turn leads to intolerance and prejudice.
   Maybe I should start with explaining who we are. A transgender person is an individual who identifies as the opposite gender than the person was physically born with. For example: a transgender woman was born physically male but identifies as a woman. Transitioning is the process of trying to get her physical body to match how she identifies. A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They don’t relate with the traditional male/female binary. A genderfluid individual is someone whose gender identity is fluid. A mixture of male, female, and in between. How much they feel one way as compared to the others can fluctuate one minute to the next. Thus, the fluid aspect of the term. Genderqueer refers to individuals who don’t subscribe (either fully or in part) to the traditional gender binary. Clearly, there is overlap and interconnection with some of these terms, and many GfNT people will use more than one to describe themselves.
   Often, people fear, ridicule, and make fun of things that they don’t understand or are uncomfortable with. This is especially common among cisgendered individuals with regards to GfNT people. But when a person makes fun of and ridicules a community that is hurting and suffering, it worsens the pain and intolerance that community is already being forced to endure.  It reinforces and exacerbates the lack of understanding and prejudice that is so pervasive in this society.
   Consider this: many GfNT people are afraid to use public restrooms because of the risk of verbal and even physical abuse. Using public restrooms is something cisgendered people take for granted. Dating is another area that GfNT individuals such as myself often find brutally difficult because most cisgendered people won’t even consider dating us, even if they were interested before realizing our gender identity. The result of all this is that too many GfNT people feel very isolated and alone. Studies have shown that the transgender community suffers higher rates of depression and suicide than the cisgendered community. This is obviously connected to intolerance, prejudice, lack of understanding, isolation, and loneliness.
   For things to get better, people need to educate themselves and open their minds. Put themselves in other people’s shoes so to speak. Imagine being afraid of the simple act of using a public restroom. Think about how hard it would be going through life feeling isolated and alone because you are trying to be true to who you are. If more members of the cisgender community would do this, perhaps there would be fewer ridiculing and making hurtful jokes about the GfNT community.