This note of thanks from a transgender teen will have you in tears
Transgender and gender non-conforming teenagers can face a variety of challenges at home, at school, and in the world at large. A recent survey finds that 75% of transgender youth feel “unsafe.” Which is exactly why inclusion — in every form, big and small — is so damn important. A viral post circulating on Reddit and Twitter shows just how big of an impact even seemingly small acts of support can have.
Reddit user HappyNazgul shared a note left on their doorstep — a “thank you” from a teenager in the neighborhood. It’s heartfelt, sad, and sweet all at the same time.
The note reads in full:
Thank you for having a trans flag waving in your yard. I am a 15-year-old trans boy living in an unsupportive household, but every time I see your flag, I feel better. I appreciate your existence and pride.
P.S. My handwriting is so bad! I’m sorry.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, family rejection in LGBTQ youth can lead to engaging in behaviors that put their health at risk, it can trigger depression and other mental health problems, and in serious cases — can result in homelessness or suicide.
The original Reddit post quickly spread on Twitter too, with many people collectively sharing why acts like this are so incredibly valuable.
“Family acceptance predicts greater self-esteem, social support, and general health status for LGBTQ youth,” child welfare expert Caitlin Ryan tells HRC. “It also protects against depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation and behaviors.”
It’s vital to the lives of transgender youth to have a “safe” place. If that’s not at home, all the more reason it could be a neighbor’s home or a community center.
A recent study shows that more U.S. teens are identifying as transgender. The study looked at students in ninth and 11th grade estimates nearly three percent of teens are transgender or gender nonconforming — meaning they don’t always self-identify as the sex they were assigned at birth. While diverse gender identities have existed forever, perhaps the current numbers indicate more teenagers feel comfortable self-identifying the way they wish to.
Statistics don’t lie. Offering transgender teens — and any youth in the LGBTQ community — a strong sense of support can mean the difference between life and death. No act of support is too big or small.