Every year thousands of little green trees are chopped down, wrapped in twine and stacked under white tents on the side of the road. "Christmas Trees for Sale!" The signs read, or in most cases these days, "Xmas Trees!"
But these various types of pines and spruces have caused quite a divide amongst both conservatives and liberals alike in recent years. Here's what I mean. When I attended private school I knew a handful of people who just never had Christmas trees. "The Christmas tree stems from a pagan tradition," they'd say, "and has nothing to do with the true meaning of the holiday." The Christmas tree was just too secular for them. However, if you went down the road to the public school where my mom taught you'd hear just the opposite. Christmas trees were forbidden in classrooms because they have "strong religious undertones" and violate something we lawyers refer to as "the Lemon Test". (Google it or fun sometime). Christmas trees were just too Christian for them.
So, in a nutshell, what we have is the Christmas tree being too Christian for some secularists, and too secular for some Christians. What a joke, right? I mean, it's a damn tree, people.
The interesting thing is, I have more in common with these stupid trees than I ever knew was possible.
For those loyal readers who don't already know, I am a lesbian. (Hopefully not much of a surprise since I started a business called, "Gender Traitor", but I digress.) When I tell people this small fact about myself, I am met with sweeping generalizations and assumptions. People immediately assume I am a liberal, pro-choice, HRC activist who wants to see Donald Trump impeached. However, when I tell people I am a Christian I am met with the same number of assumptions, only this time it's that I am a conservative, gun toting, rebel flag waiving, closed minded biggot who wants to see Roe v. Wade repealed. And perhaps what is most interesting to watch is peoples faces when they learn that I am some alien combination of both of those things- a Christian AND a lesbian.
The sad part is, because I fit into both of these categories, I don't feel welcome by those who fit in either of these categories. The Christians accept me as long as I come to church regularly (which I do), and don't mention my "private life". (Because, you know, privacy totally exists . . . from God.) The gay community accepts me as long as I don't say I need to leave Stonewall early Saturday night because I have church the next morning.
In essence, I am a Christmas tree. Too this for some and too that for others. And just like those few trees who get left tied up under the tents on Christmas day because no one wanted to buy them, it can leave one feeling incredibly isolated and alone.
I think that we spend so much time in this country trying to put people into little preconceived boxes. Liberal or conservative. Gay or straight. Religious or non religious. What I've slowly come to learn, however, is that most people fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum- Not entirely one or the other. Unfortunately, it is easier for humans to be understood when we are placed into these little boxes and files away. No one wants to take the time to learn the individual behind the beliefs, they simply want to hear the headlines so they can categorize each other and move on accordingly.
I find this sad truth to be one of the greatest disservice's we as a society can impose on ourselves. The judgment that we pass every single day on people we never take the time to know, on relationships we never take the time to form, on principles we never take the time to learn about, are robbing us of something that could be truly great- compassion and understanding.
Someone I am close with asked me once what Gender Traitor meant to me and I summed it up in one word: acceptance.
The goal of Gender Traitor is to be a safe place where all feel safe and accepted and where it truly doesn't matter which side of the political, sexual, or religious spectrum you fall on.
So, if you're like me and fall somewhere in between the labels, stereotypes, and ideals, just know you're not alone. You have an entire community out there waiting to hear from you. And by the way, Christmas trees are kinda bad ass.