An Open Letter To Curt Schilling
I don’t know much about you, to be honest. The bulk of my in depth knowledge of baseball extends to one summer in my early teens when my parents and my brother and I had a ticket package to see Cleveland play at what was then Jacob’s Field. It was actually a good year for them, they went to the world series which is rare as hell for Cleveland. I remember that summer fondly as one of the best of my childhood.
I actually had a pretty good childhood as far as any external factors are concerned. We were comfortable financially, my parents never split up, and we did a lot of cool things like those baseball games. Internally, things were different. See, Curt, the thing is that I’m transgender and I became pretty aware of that when I was very young, even before I knew there was any terminology to vocalize that. I struggled so much with the physical aspects of my body versus what my brain told me to be true. I wasn’t a sad child, but it was very hard to be happy, and that’s why I cherish memories like that summer at the Jake as being real solid moments from that part of my life that I can hold on to. Even though I’m not much of a sports fan now, I always enjoy baseball games when I go because I remember that year.
Until this week, my only knowledge of you was the Bloody Sock game in 2004. As that casual at best baseball fan, and as a supporter of an underdog team like Cleveland, it was really exciting to see the Red Sox finally clinch it. And it was cool to have that little detail like your sock to go into that story. That element of sports, the storytelling, has always appealed to me. I thought that was really cool.
So, imagine my surprise when your name popped up on my internet a bunch this week, and it was attached to the image and content that you had shared. Here was this guy that I’d only ever known before as associated with one of the greatest stories in modern sports, telling the world what disgust he had for people like me, what he pictured us as. It hurt.
I’ve been told that this isn’t new territory for you, that this is something you have a history of. But I’m not going to dig for that, I’m not interested in compiling a Big List of Why Curt Schilling is A Monster. I’m just interested right now in talking to you about this one thing, this one topic. See, I noticed something that you said in your interview with Breitbart today, when it was re-quoted in a tweet from Variety.
Curt Schilling Fires Back at ESPN Over Dismissal https://t.co/O2W67SOr3b— Variety (@Variety) April 22, 2016
That line, “The rules are different based completely and solely on your perspective and your beliefs…” Oh my gosh, Curt. Mr. Schilling, you just nailed down the heart of the queer experience in America today. I mean like, I actually want you to check to see if there’s blood in your sock again because damn.
Every single day of my life, I deal with having different rules placed upon me based solely on the differing perspectives and beliefs of other people. Not unlike yourself, I’ve been fired from jobs because of who I am. I have been physically assaulted in a subway station, and the police never even investigated it even though I had a video taped confession from my attacker. I had other women on the internet debating whether or not the fact that I fought back meant that I was or wasn’t a woman myself. If I enter into a relationship with another woman, there are complete strangers who feel like they have the right to comment directly to us about the nature of our relationship, about my sexuality or my partner’s.
And what should be relatively low on this list but has been forced higher due to a sudden and at first seemingly inexplicable spotlight that has been placed on it by lawmakers in various states around the country, and celebrities like you championing the cause, I now have to be very scared to use the bathroom in public. I’ve had to have friends come with me depending on where we are, and I’ve had to leave businesses even in liberal ass cities like Los Angeles or Portland and go use another establishment’s bathroom because I couldn’t use one safely where I was. Or I’ve had to hold it in, at risk to my health or sometimes at great pain, until I can get somewhere to safely go.
The same day you got fired, a friend of a friend on Facebook expressed this in a comment on one of her posts:
In case you ever wonder why I'm a bit of an advocate for gun control: (CW: Transphobic violence) pic.twitter.com/k7F79JxffN— Riley Silverman (@ryesilverman) April 20, 2016
Now, you say that you are not transphobic or homophobic. And I believe that you believe that. I think you are sincere when you say that you don’t hate people like me. But I have to ask you Curt, if you can understand why I might have a hard time believing that someone doesn’t hate me, that someone doesn’t think of me as less than or as subhuman compared to them, if they can so casually just insist that what I described above be what I deserve? That it’s my penance for the simple sin or just trying to live my life free of the mental blocks and barriers that I mentioned above?
See, the thing is Curt, I have no desire to demonize or hate you. Up until this week, you were someone I barely was aware of. That’s not a slam on your talents or your history with baseball or sportscasting, just that it is a world I am not really connected to. I don’t know if you’re a nice guy or not, the internet sure wants me to think otherwise, but I don’t care about that. What I do care about is not to paint you as some “narrow-minded, judgmental, unloving racist bigot who needs to die,” but as a fellow human being who might be able to take a step back and see that you’re not talking about faceless mobs of people, or imaginary predator monsters. You’re talking about real people. People like me:
A lot of my friends celebrated when you lost your job this week, and as much as I felt a pull to do that too, it doesn’t bring me any joy. Because there’s no learning now, there’s no conversation, not healing. You’ll run off and find another job at Fox Sports or some other more conservative outlet, and you’ll just be in that world, with your fans parroting thoughts. And while your firing lets ESPN show the world that they’re an inclusive company, and I applaud them for that aspect, it doesn’t make it any safer for me to pee.
I’m sorry you lost your job, Curt. I’m sorry you can’t call baseball any more, because it sounds like something you loved doing and we should all be so fortunate. I just wonder if you’re as sorry that I can’t go to the bathroom without wondering if today will be the day that I’ll get those 30 rounds to my head. And trust me when I say, I’d much rather live in a world where people just let you call baseball, and also just let me pee in peace.