“When I first came out as transgender, I was surprised to find that many people in my life wanted to support me. I received a lot of encouraging words, often from the folks I least expected.
It meant the world to me to be surrounded by people who just wanted me to be myself and be happy! In a society that can often be so hostile towards transgender people, having loved ones in our corner can make all the difference.
But I quickly realized that there’s a distinction between stating your support and actually respecting my identity. A lot of people talked the talk – but that didn’t always translate when it came to actions.”
Learning the ins-and-outs of parenting a transgender child is made easier by the recent outpouring of stories, suggestions, and advice from families all over the world who are making the journey with their loved ones. This article gives us a beautiful glimpse into the lives of one family.
“……Then one day “Kendra” told them that “she” was gay. Not many months after that, “she” asked to be called “Kasey” which would eventually become Ashur. From there it progressed to cutting. It became so bad that they took “her” to the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.
While there, they suggested that Ken and his family sweep Ashur’s room for anything unusual.
What they found was a suicide note.
This is the moment they learned that their son was Transgender.
They confronted Ashur and learned that he had indeed already attempted his plan weeks ago and it had failed. The note made clear that if Ashur couldn’t be who he felt inside, there was no point in living.
Take heed of that. When a person is making it known that they wish to take their own life, they are asking for help. When they say nothing, they’ve given up hope.”
“In 2012, when she headed the organization’s Colorado council, a 7-year-old transgender girl in Denver was denied entry to a troop. Although the council had never specifically said that it accepted transgender girls, the national organization had always made inclusivity the foundation of its mission. So after checking with the council’s attorney, Ferland issued a public statement welcoming transgender girls and explaining that the council was working to find a troop for the girl who’d been rejected. “Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, ‘I want my child to participate,’” Ferland says. “And I don’t question whether or not they’re a girl.”
“For LGBT kids who remain homeless, the stakes are clearly life and death. They are seven times more likely than their straight counterparts to be the victims of a crime, often a violent one. Studies have shown they are more than three times more likely to engage in survival sex – for which shelter is the payment more often than cash. They are more likely to lack access to medical care, more likely to attempt suicide, more likely to use hard drugs and more likely to be arrested for survival crimes. According to the Equity Project, leaving home because of family rejection is the single greatest predictor of involvement with the juvenile-justice system for LGBT youth. And for so many of these outcomes, the clock starts ticking the moment a kid hits the streets. “We know we have 24 to 48 hours to get to them before they do anything illegal – whether it’s selling drugs, stealing or prostitution,” says Westbrook. “It’s a survival thing. In America, we lose six queer kids a day to the street. That’s every four hours a queer kid dies, whether it be from freezing to death or getting the shit beat out of them or a drug overdose. This is our next real plague.”
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has published “Schools In Transition,” a guide to creating and maintaining safe and supportive environments for transgender children in schools.
The guide is part of their larger “Welcoming Schools” campaign, and is supplemented by a comprehensive website with activities, discussion points, talking points, lesson plans, professional development, workshops and public events, guides for working with families, blogs, local resources, and so much more.
“We could not be more proud of this partnership with other leaders dedicated to creating safe, supportive schools for transgender students,” said Ellen Kahn, Director of HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth and Families Program. “This groundbreaking publication will provide in-depth and practical guidance for school administrators, counselors, teachers, and parents––all of whom are key to ensuring that transgender children can learn and thrive at school.”
Meredith Talusan offers her take on Jennicet Gutiérrez’s interruption of President Obama’s speech for Pride month. She offers a scathing critique of the administration’s deliberate dismissal of critical, life-threatening issues that trans folks experience in America.
“As I watched Jennicet Gutiérrez open her mouth to interrupt President Obama’s Pride Month reception address Wednesday night – because, she said, as an undocumented trans woman she couldn’t celebrate while LGBT detainees are being abused in US detention centers – I thought, That could have been me.”
When I opened my Facebook today, one of my close friends had posted this on my wall:
“Wake up, it’s Christmas!”
It made me laugh, and a little teary, because really it did feel like that – that exquisite breath of hope and desire hovering over the day. My darling queer nephew woke us up this morning, poking his head in to whisper “Did you hear!?” We grabbed our phones to see, excited….I had visions of tiptoeing down the hall, hoping to catch a glimpse of Queer Saint Nick, and as we peeked around the corner of our virtual living room, we found this:
I’m not gonna lie, there’ve been a lot of tears. I’ve been obsessed with scrolling through my feed today, seeing all the pictures and posts, all the kisses and rings and declarations of love. It’s a heady thing, to have a feed literally filled with nothing but sunshine. It’s a big deal.
I’ve vacillated mightily today. I’ve cried tears of joy and rage. I’ve imagined a thousand weddings and mentally designed two thousand rhinestoned gowns, all while cursing the proprietary and historically oppressive institution. I’ve been excited, then furious with myself for being excited about something so freaking stupid.
It’s stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
The government denied civil contracts based on assigned sex, and then after decades of sweat, tears, blood, and lives, the government finally decided that maybe sex is not a legitimate reason to grant or deny the associated benefits of that contract. I’m furious that it took so much and so long to get something accomplished that’s not even close to the biggest issue in my community. What kind of idiot am I to jump up and down for this? You don’t get cookies for doing what you’re supposed to do.
And how can I cry tears of joy when there’s so much suffering? How can I throw sunshine to Obama after he shut down Jennicet Gutiérrez’s cry for help earlier this week? How can I be excited about the increasingly widespread acceptance of trans representation in pop culture, when there’s little activity in areas that actually impact the lived experiences of trans folks themselves?
How can I not be excited? How can I not feel a little victorious, a little hopeful? How can I not cry when I think about Chloe’s little niece, who’ll be present at her (other) aunt’s now-legally-sanctioned wedding next Friday, never knowing a world where that wouldn’t be a thing? (I admit, I also cried when I imagine that baby showing her grandkids pictures in 60 years…”your aunts got married a week after the laws changed!”)
It’s a foothold, though. I think it can mean more than just marriage. Having SCOTUS-sanctioned legal protection in one area will make it easier to get it in other areas. Marriage equality can be another tool in the toolbox, but we can’t be fooled into thinking that marriage was the battle. It wasn’t. If we could spend the amount of money, time, energy, and meme-making on these other issues as we did on marriage equality, maybe we could make some progress that would feel more meaningful for the people in our community who are suffering.
So I guess I’m gonna accept that this day and this issue will always bring mixed feelings. It’s paradoxical, but not untrue, to be excited and angry. I can be jubilant, and still heartbroken. So I guess I cry, and let the tears mean what they mean.
So now that it’s done, here’s a new To-Do list (it’s actually the same to-do list, but now we’re less distracted):
Remember when Obama won, and there were a ton of asshats who went around proclaiming racism dead in America? This is the same thing. Don’t be fooled into believing marriage equality means heterosexism is dead in America. It’s not.
Gay pride parades are not always the most inclusive events, often focusing primarily on the most privileged members of the community. As part of an attempt to highlight within-community oppression, activists in Boston disrupted the parade for eleven minutes.
“The sit-in served to refocus attention on those most marginalized in the LGBTQ community, honor the lives of trans women of color, and raise awareness to the lack of representation and resources available to LGBTQ people of Color in Boston. The sit-in intentionally lasted for 11 minutes to symbolize the 11 lives of transgender individuals who have been beaten down, slaughtered, and brutally murdered in the United States this year. Every two days, somewhere in the world, a trans woman of color will be murdered! Today, we act to disrupt pride for eleven minutes to honor and bring awareness to the lives of each trans person murdered this year.”
Hailey Reissman has gathered seven different TED/TEDx talks to highlight the difference in every Trans person’s individual, lived experience.
“Alice Miller was born in a body that didn’t feel like hers. Every day, Yee Won Chong has to debate whether to use the men’s restroom or the women’s. Geena Rocero found success as a fashion model — but kept her birth gender a secret for nearly a decade, fearing what others would think.
All these people have transitioned into their true gender. And all of them made the decision to share their stories in a TED or TEDx talk. What these seven stories show: There is no one “right” way to live a life. And no one should have to spend a life hiding who they are.
Below, seven talks on living life expressing your true gender:”