My son starts middle school next week and seems absolutely fine with it. I, however, have been in a simmering state of anxiety for the last several months as I anticipate everything that could possibly go wrong. I’m sure every parent of every first-time middle schooler feels the same, but this situation is slightly different: my son is transgender.
It’s an awkward tension I find myself in daily -- feeling a responsibility to step up for my son while also feeling a responsibility as an ally to step back so that queer voices can be heard. I regularly hear words of encouragement and gratitude from LGBTQ people (and their parents) to keep going, but I also hear valid criticism from other queer people to sit down, and I struggle to know what is the right answer in each situation since both sides seem to be right.
We hope you didn’t read the religion column that the Denton Record-Chronicle published last week, where a minister forgot the calling of love. He thinks using your pronouns is “too PC,” so he’s not going to try. Like bullies often do, he tries to pass off his cruelty as humor. We hope the adults in your life don’t laugh alongside him because you are not something to be made fun of.
Listen in on my conversation with Dressed for the Protest as we sit at my kitchen table and talk about everything from the Texas Legislature, the politics of fear, Scarlett Johanssen and the exploitation of trans stories in Hollywood, Leaning In, and of course, transgender rights and the hope I have for my son's future.
The Trump memo on trans erasure was shocking. But don't be paralyzed with fear. Here's a list of 10 things everyone can do to make the world a little better for trans kids like my son. #WontBeErased
It’s time for Denton — and indeed our nation — to stand up for the rights of everyone, including the LGBTQ community and trans kids like my son, Max. We’ve done it before for other minority groups, and we can do it again. Anything less, quite frankly, is un-American.
If Max can’t even get an inhaler refill at the same doctor he’s been seeing for years, how easy will it be for him to get access to affirming care as he gets older?
This Pride Month, and every month, I am proud of the LGBTQ Americans who live boldly every day -- whose very existence is its own form of protest. And yet, Max and his peers don’t have political agendas -- they’re just kids, worried about the same things that your kids are worried about: whether or not they’ll get to watch one more cartoon before bed, how much money the tooth fairy is going to bring them, and if the cat is going to be okay after eating that weird bug. Somehow, though, that very act of living out loud AND being simultaneously incredibly relatable and adorable is exactly the thing that is changing the world for the better.
It was a great campaign: one that I was truly proud of. I got 560 votes -- one more than the total number of all the votes cast in the entire district when this seat was up for election last time. So before I left the house to go to my election watch party, I cried. Ugly tears. Big, fat, angry, pissed off tears of frustration and rage. I knew I was going to lose...
They thought they could pick on trans kids like my son, they thought that no one would notice if trans people just disappeared, but they underestimated this mamabear, and they underestimated the power of the people. Because TOGETHER WE RISE.
In a world that wants to tell trans kids that they're different, you have an opportunity to tell them that they're special. Here are 5 ways you can be a better ally:
Max, as my son is now known, has never really had to “come out” to the people in his life. He did, however, start using male pronouns and introducing himself as a boy by the time he was 6 years old, but honest to goodness he doesn’t even remember a word of the conversation we had together. Being true to himself is all he’s ever known in this family.
I had hoped that Speaker Straus would have taken the time during the very busy special session this summer to read my open letter that I wrote to him in the Texas Tribune. I tweeted him, I emailed him, and I stopped by his office in Austin to make sure he got the message. But he's a busy guy, so I wasn't holding my breath. Looks like he heard us, though, because this (not-a-standard-form) letter came in the mail today:
In no particular order, and certainly far from complete, here’s a list of a half-dozen things that parents of trans kids are thinking about when the school year starts, and how teachers, parents of cisgender kids, and friends can be allies. I’m sure we’d all rather be thinking about cool monkey bar tricks on the playground instead — but there’s a lot of work to do, first.
This story doesn’t begin with a bathroom break. This story begins at the age of two, when my child told me that he was a boy. To be honest, two-year-olds like to pretend that they’re lots of things, so I chalked it up to playing another round of make believe. Little did I know what the future would hold for my family.
I would like to believe that my representative cares about Max. But after seeing his name on that bathroom bill, my hunch is that he cares more about getting re-elected than he does about doing the right thing.
My grandfather was a Marine in the Korean War, and always said he didn't care who was in that foxhole next to him, as long as they were wearing the right uniform.
Like most parents, there are plenty of days when I ask myself whether I’m a good mom. This was not one of them.
For 140 days, we defeated MULTIPLE attempts by the Texas Legislature as they tried again and again to pass anti-transgender legislation. The regular session is over, but the special "session of oppression" begins on July 18, 2017. The stakes are high for kids like Max, but with your help, we can win again. Here's how… Continue reading For Max
When Max’s peers line up for the bathroom next fall, Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott want my son to be separated from his class, to do a shameful march down the hall and to use a different facility. They want to demonstrate to his classmates that being different isn’t okay and that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat those differences with disdain and ridicule. That sounds like an awful lot like what bullies do.