This week was difficult.
This week was difficult. The internet offered me very little I could work with, unless anyone wants to watch a five-minute video of what the inside of a dishwasher looks like when it’s switched on? Not the most riveting thing to talk about for 500 words, and yet surprisingly phallic. Or maybe that’s the English student in me talking.
Ultimately this week’s column was starting to look bleak. I felt that hour by hour we were one step closer to an entire column about keyboard cats, because like it or not, those things have commandeered the internet.
And then I discovered this video about a little boy named Ryland and his parents, and the incredible story that they’ve got to share.
What Ryland’s mum and dad did was spot on, not just because they accepted their son unquestioningly but also because in a world in which trans people are far more likely to experience discrimination, harassment and abuse, these parents did not just accept their son, they’d proclaimed that fact from the rooftops.
They have set a perfect example, not just for other parents, but also for those who harbour an ignorant attitude towards trans people, that needs to change.
The sad fact about this video however, is the heart-breaking statistic that in the USA, 41 per cent of transgender people have attempted suicide due to a lack of social acceptance. And whilst it is easy to point fingers and convince ourselves that it surely can’t be like that here… the sad fact is that a 2007 UK survey of 872 transgender people found that 34 per cent had considered suicide.
A statistic that is considerably higher than that of the rest of the population. Statistics like these speak for themselves; that any one group of people can be subject to such abuse and mistreatment, that suicidal thoughts and attempts are so frequent simply cannot be ignored. Any society that does not act to right these multitudinous wrongs, should be ashamed of itself.
Interestingly, the comments have been disabled on this video, prompting a stark and heart-breaking revelation that this simply should not be the case. As much as I understand that the Whittington family wish to avoid abuse where possible, this itself is the problem.
Does this not speak volumes about the kind of world we live in that they felt that they had to disable the commenting section in order to avoid such abuse? Nobody should have to fear the words of others so much that they look to avoid it altogether, this is an obvious injustice.
This video is, in itself, clearly a beautiful and lovely thing. It is positive and encouraging to see the right attitude and actions being displayed, and as a result, parents who have raised a beaming, brave and happy son.
Yet we cannot forget that this video is important because it raises a much bigger issue, that not every trans person receives this same kind of acceptance and that this is a very big and serious issue.
What do you think of this week’s viral video? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Ivva / Flickr