To the trans kids out there, facing a fifth of your youth spent under the current political regime, I want to tell you something.
In my city, there’s a place online, with thousands of people, where anyone can share resources and look for help. There is a catch though: You have to be “queer.”
“Queer” is a weird word. It’s one that the LGBTQIA community has adopted, and it means something like LGBTQIA, but also everything in between too. It means, “I don’t fit into the idea of what’s supposed to be ‘normal’ that our society has been holding onto my entire life.”
I don’t read as particularly queer. I’m married to a cis het man. I have kids and go to PTA meetings. But the truth is I’m queer AF.
This place online — for queer people to come together and help each other — it’s where I met many of my friends, my kids’ nanny, where I’ve gone to look for jobs and buy furniture and learn about new books and businesses. It’s where I’ve learned to be a part of my local queer community, shop at queer stores, buy queer-baked goods, campaign for queer candidates.
Those are the empathetic, kind, compassionate, strong people you want by your side, who you want to see succeed, and who you know will bring others with them when they make their way to the top.
I’ve met college professors, looking for resources for their gay students. Gender-queer polyamorous artists and poets who foster abused dogs and train them to be therapy animals for people living with PTSD. Formerly cis-het housewives learning to see themselves in new ways as they support their partners through gender transitions. People who fit no specific label, who are finding themselves in the lives that come after the pains and struggles of adolescence.
To you kids out there, feeling alone and confused and angry and hurt, you’re not wrong about what you feel. Childhood, as wonderful as it is and should be, is full of the deepest pains and deepest confusions. And being different, in any way, makes everything harder.
It can feel like nobody cares. When the people in charge target you, threaten you, dehumanize you, it can feel like they speak for the whole world.
But they don’t.
There is a huge and ever-growing community of people who care. Maybe right now you don’t know how to find them. Maybe right now they don’t know how to find you. But the truth is, they’re out there, and they’re looking for you.
They’re ready to help you find jobs, to help you find doctors, to help you pay for school and build a life.
They are full of advice about going stealth, about hormone therapy, about gender identity in general and the specifics of your life — because they have been there.
They want to talk to you about movies and TV shows, and representation and intersectionality, and cupcakes and puppies.
They want to help you furnish your first apartment and start a bank account and make sure you get home safe at night.
They’re already waiting with open arms to welcome you into their communities and their worlds. They’re already preparing to pull you up with them, regardless of what’s happening in Washington.
And no, they don’t always look queer AF. Sometimes, they look like anyone’s mom in a minivan, on her way to PTA, to make a stink about the school’s gender policies and make sure it’s a safe place for every kid.
If you are struggling, if it feels like everything is horrible and the world is cruel, I can’t tell you you’re wrong. What you’re feeling is real. Your pain is real. You are not imagining that the news is full of people who are saying horrible things. But I can tell you it is not the whole picture.
The truth is there are more queer people in your world than you can see. The truth is, whether or not they identify as queer, there are even more who identify as allies, who support you in your quest to live an authentic life, to be safe, and to be loved for who you are.
Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give up on us. We are here. We love you. And we are fighting for you every day.