Almost every week we discover a heart-warming story of parents who, becoming aware that their young child does not feel like they are the gender assigned at birth, seek to help their son or daughter live as the gender they know in their hearts and bodies is right. They go to amazing lengths to not constrain them to the outdated gender binary. We know this is a difficult, yet life-affirming decision for the child and the family. Not only do the parents begin learning what is needed for the child to align with their true gender, but also how to deal with a world that may disagree with their decision.
For every one child who is helped along their transition, hundreds, if not thousands struggle to understand their feelings, some are punished by uninformed parents or guardians and many find themselves cast out and living on the streets. On the street, many are forced into a life of crime or the horrors of the sex trade just to survive. Approximately 40% of all Trans youth attempt suicide. The statistics for Trans kids on the street is higher. Far too many become victims of murder and extreme violence. All of this because their true gender does not align with what was assigned to them at birth.
Add the number of homeless Trans* youth to the very large number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth who have been forced or choose to live on the streets and the numbers grow into the tens of thousands. Far too many, just because they, like us, are different. This is an atrocity.
Trans kids are OUR kids
Even though these young people may not be related to us, we must think and act as if they are our kids. Who better could there be to help our youth and their parents then us who lived through our own youthful torment, struggled with our gender questions and becoming comfortable and open with who we are. We can be resources to answer questions from the kids and their parents and/or guardians. We can provide insight only we have. We can offer companionship, not only to boys and girls, but also to the parents. The young people, parents, guardians, grand parents, anyone seeking answers or companionship need us.
Parents are struggling also
A few years ago, I was having lunch at the Southern Comfort Conference. A lady approached our table and asked to join us. She was the mother of a young person who was struggling with their gender identity and she sought out anyone who would speak to her. She was desperately looking for information. She had spoken with mental health providers trained is handling gender issues, talked to medical doctors and, by finding us, she wanted real world advice and answers. All she wanted to do was be able to provide support, advice and answers to her child. If there is one child looking for answers and help, there surely are adults looking for guidance and answers.
Most of us may not be mental health professionals or trained gender medicine providers. We do have one thing that, intangible as it may be, is experience. We live with this, learn from this, grown because of it and became happy, contented and real world experts. Let’s share what, who and how we become us.
Category: Body & Soul