For a while now, a couple of friends have told me I needed to blog. “You’ll sell more books,” they say.
Today, selling more books doesn’t seem particularly important, but I do have something I feel compelled to talk about.
I am going out this evening. Usually that is something I look forward to, but tonight is different. I will stick with the tried and true name “John Doe” for now. John was a friend of a friend. John was a smart, caring, and decent fellow. For over a year John has also struggled with his decision about whether to become Jane.
John’s family was less than enthusiastic, but it was also clear they would support him no matter what his decision was. He talked to his supervisor at work and later a person in human resources. I won’t point fingers because I don’t know the details, but word quickly spread to the people John worked with. Pictures began to show up on the bulletin boards and the walls of his cube.
I guess some of us are vain. We put on our wig and makeup and our sexy outfits (or maybe we don’t even bother with the outfits beyond the unmentionables) and take pictures. Then we post them hoping someone will tell us how cute we are or how they would love to take us on a date. So far as I know, John wasn’t like that. The pictures that were supposed to be of him were of unrecognizable people in humiliating or degrading poses. To be fair, there are pictures of me that I would rather not spread around, but to have vile and nasty pictures that aren’t even you spread while someone says they are you had to have been unimaginably painful.
There was other bullying and harassment at work. In early September, John was working late and alone one evening. He pulled his car into the warehouse area of his company’s office, closed the overhead door while leaving the car running, and set down to go to sleep.
If fate had been a bit kinder, maybe John would have had another chance. Or maybe those of us who care are being vain again by thinking our words might have made up for the deep scars John must have already borne by that point. There was a CO alarm in the warehouse and it went off. The alarm company telephoned the owner. The owner assumed it was a false alarm. An hour later, the alarm was still showing and the alarm company called the owner again. The building alarm had not been set and nobody answered the office phone. This time she drove to the offices and found John.
John’s life was over before that. His body was kept alive for a while, but eventually was allowed to follow his soul when he was taken off life support. Now we pretend that the edge is off the pain and try to celebrate his life instead of morn his loss.
John was a friend of a friend. He was someone I met a few times at holiday parties. A few months ago we had met for lunch because he wanted to talk to me about my experiences. But even though we weren’t close, that doesn’t make this evening any easier.
In the end, whether you are my brother or my sister, I hope you have found peace. And for any others who are hurting, reach out for help and support. You don’t have to walk this journey on your own.
Hugs and Love…