Her photo went viral because her sign’s message is perfect
After President Trump announced a rollback of Obama-era protections for transgender kids that would better allow them to use the bathroom at school that corresponds with their gender identity, yet another wave of protests broke out. One little girl decided to use her voice at a rally supporting transgender students, and a photo of her amazing sign went viral.
Rebekah is 10 years old. Her mother, Jamie Bruesehoff, tells The Huffington Post that her daughter has been living as her authentic self since she was eight. The child was suffering from anxiety and depression when Bruesehoff says they figured out how to help her. “We had a 7-year-old child in crisis. With the help of some excellent professionals and a lot of learning, we all came to realize she wasn’t a boy. She was a girl.”
The viral photo from the rally Rebekah attended with her mother shows the girl holding a sign that says, “I’m the scary transgender person the media warned you about.” Bruesehoff shared it on her Facebook page, I am totally *that* mom.
Bruesehoff shared the photo with the caption, “Forgive me, guys. I have to be a gushing mom for a moment. This 10-year-old girl stood up yesterday at a microphone in the street and told 200+ people why we need to stand up for not only trans rights but all rights. THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BRAVE AND KIND!”
The mom goes on to acknowledge her daughter’s privilege with all the support she has. “We know how good she has it. We know the difference a supportive family and a supportive school make. And we know that rescinding the guidelines on supporting trans students disproportionately affects the most vulnerable.”
Bruesehoff explains that her family will keep fighting for those more vulnerable kids along with her own. “Black trans youth. Latinx trans youth. Immigrant trans youth. Muslim trans youth. Economically disadvantaged trans youth. Youth who live at the intersection of these identities and more, youth who are marginalized two and three times over just because of who they are, where they live, what they believe, or where they come from. This is why we will keep fighting.”
Scary Mommy had a chance to speak with Bruesehoff and she tells the story of how the sign her daughter held in the photo came to be. “She thought the sign was funny, because she’s not scary at all. It seems to have hit a nerve! People have so many misconceptions about transgender people, young and old. Transgender people are not a threat. In fact, they are the vulnerable ones. They need protection from discrimination, bullying and hate. Transgender rights are absolutely human rights.”
She’s absolutely right that transgender kids are the vulnerable ones. Aside from bullying and hatred, transgender individuals face a disproportionately large chance of being a victim of violence. Imagine forcing a person who’s very clearly a woman to use a men’s bathroom? Or a man who’s clearly a man to use a women’s bathroom? The chances they will end up a victim are far greater than the (basically non-existent) chance that a transgender individual will attack someone else. Rebekah’s sign points to that total absurdity.
As far as more rallies, Bruesehoff says there aren’t necessarily plans to attend more of them any time soon, but that her family is still committed to fighting for the rights of transgender students. “We know that knowing people’s stories can be a bridge to connection, empathy, and acceptance. So we will keep sharing our story and advocating for the rights of all transgender people.”
Helping other kids like her is the focus, but Bruesehoff says when all’s said and done, it’s benefitting Rebekah in a whole other way. “There’s also power in my daughter being at a rally surrounded by people fighting for her rights and the rights of so many like here. That’s really encouraging and affirming for her.”