Stigma, Schmigma.

The day started with some chatter on the radio about a contestant on a TV reality show being "outed" as transgender. In fact, it was the top headline.

I completely understand the implications of this, and certainly don't condone airing out others' personal business in such a public way.

But, as usual, my mind went to thinking about how I would act/react if I was personally involved in this kind of scenario.

And here's what it comes down to: You're transgender? Cool. Pass the beer nuts. (resume business as usual)

A few years back, there was a viral internet story about a man finding a note from his Dad. It went something like this:

"Nate,

I overheard your phone conversation with Mike last night about your plans to come out to me. The only thing I need you to plan is to bring home OJ and bread after class. We are out, like you now.

I've known you were gay since you were six. I've loved you since you were born.

- Dad

p.s. - Your mom and I think you and Mike make a cute couple"

Bravo! I think I would get along really well with that Dad. Except I'm more of an apple juice/bagel guy.

I really hope I live long enough to see these stigmas (stigmae? I'll have to Google that one) continue to wilt away. If I can contribute anything, it's this:

You are welcome here. If you need a "safe place", here it is. Make yourself at home.

I have things of my own that people stigmatize. I'm on meds to help manage anxiety. I probably need more help with depression a few times a year. I'm scared of bats. I'm kind of a loner.

The thing is, I don't think any of that is how I'm defined by people. (Actually, I don't really think people put that much thought into me on a day-to-day basis).

I'm probably "hockey guy" or "photography guy" or "slightly overweight Dad guy" or "dude in the next cubicle who never, ever looks like he's working guy" (Oops).

Especially in this day and age, I -- who can only speak for myself -- just want people to know, I'm not seeing you for your hijab or blackness or transgenderedness (transgenderism? I'll have to Google that one too). I really don't care beyond it could make for some great conversation.

Just be you. Let's play hockey or take pictures or share notes on where to find the best deals on 38-waist Dockers (hint: Kohl's). Let's just share some refuge from all of this superfluous garbage that's out there.

Let's just...be. You are welcome here.

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