As The Parent Of A Trans Child, This Is What I Need From My Friends and Family

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You tell me to be strong and keep fighting. You tell me I’m a great parent to my child, and I need to speak up and speak out. You tell me that I have your support and your love and that you’ll fight for me and my son until the bitter end.

But it feels like I’m standing alone on the shore and watching the tidal wave approach.

I’m scared — for my children, for myself, for people whom I love and care about. I’m scared, and I don’t know how to find my voice. I don’t know how to be brave enough and visible enough.

I don’t know how to affect the change that needs to happen without putting my son directly in the line of fire.

Your child isn’t trans. Your child isn’t being barred from bathrooms in public schools. Your child isn’t being called a monster, or a freak of nature, or a sinful creature who should burn in hell.

When they repeal the Affordable Care Act, it won’t be your child who will be refused services because he’s trans. It won’t be your costs that skyrocket for medically necessary interventions like blockers or hormone replacement therapy. It won’t be your child who cries, silently and inconsolably, at the thought of “turning into a woman.”

Since they’ve stripped the Obama-era guidance that protects trans kids under Title IX in public schools, it won’t be your child left standing in the hallway, while his peers use the bathrooms that they are safe and comfortable in. It won’t be your child who has to hold it all day or risk outing himself by using the wrong bathroom or a segregated bathroom. It won’t be your child who will be subject to that kind of discrimination and harassment, the kind that leads, inevitably, to physical and emotional harm, both internally and externally.

You tell me to be strong, that it’s okay to be afraid. You’ve got my back.

But you can’t stop them from taking my child away, for claiming I forced him to be a boy or that I’m sexually abusing him by “letting” him change his gender. You won’t be there when they come knocking at my door. You won’t be in charge of where they send my son to live.

You tell me to keep speaking out and sharing my story. You are on our side.

But I need more from you.

I need you to be our voice, our advocate, our activist. I need you, who has nothing to lose, to call your representatives in Congress and politicians, to demand that all trans people, young and old, be treated as citizens, as human beings. I need you to call your districts and your schools and demand that they adopt inclusive policies for trans students that gives them free and unrestricted access to bathrooms that align with the gender they identify as.

Now. Before it’s too late.

I need you, who won’t be a target, to speak to your neighbors, friends, and family about trans issues. Don’t just share posts on Facebook. Go knock on their doors. Sit down over coffee and hear what they have to say. It’s usually something that stems from ignorance and fear, and you, my dear friend, can change that.

Now. Before it’s too late.

I need you, whose child won’t be torn from your arms, to speak up, to attend rallies, to march, to protest. I need you to share your story. To tell the world why protecting my trans son matters to you. Why protecting all trans youth matters to all of us.

Now. If it isn’t already too late.

Because your child isn’t trans. Mine is. And I’m so very afraid.