Jazz is an 11 year old (trans) girl who started speaking publicly about being trans when she was 6 (on 20/20 with Barbara Walters), created a trans kids network, and who recently got the US Soccer Federation to change their rules so that all children, no matter their gender identity or expression, can now play soccer. It took her 2 years to get them to change the policy.
I can’t think of anyone better to honor the legacy of Dr. King today. This is the stuff social justice is made of. Now watch how stunningly well spoken she is, too.
We recently went to the 15th anniversary celebration of the local GLBT Partnership here in Appleton. It’s an amazing thing, really: a small group of people decided to create a safe space for LGBTQ teenagers here in the Fox Valley in 1997 because there were no existing support groups or safe gathering places for them.
They still struggle for funding, so if you want to help out queer youth who actually need the help – and are living in a place that isn’t very queer friendly – this is a great way to do it. You have to go to this PayPal account – under SKenevan’s name – and in the memo line indicate that it’s for the GLBT Partnership. Honestly: this group is tiny and very, very necessary. (Feel free to tell them I sent you if you do donate!)
One of the group’s founding members, Shannon Kenevan, who was honored at the celebration, wrote this piece about the group:
The Fox Valley GLBT Partnership is turning 15 years old this fall. For those of you under age 30, you probably don’t remember a time in your life that the Partnership did not exist. It’s always been there to offer weekly support and leadership development to youth ages 14-18 who identify as LGBTQ, as well awareness and educational programs for the rest of our community. Those over age 30 may remember back to their teenage years when there were no groups like the Partnership. Continue reading “GLBT Partnership: Appleton, WI”
California’s Assembly voted Thursday to approve a bill that would prevent people from practicing “ex gay” therapy on minors.
About damn time. & Way to go, California.
Here’s a story from Tulsa about a young trans woman – the first out trans woman we know of who graduated high school transitioned – but I have my misgivings about stories about young trans people. I think it’s hard to judge what it might mean to be this out. I have no doubt Katie is courageous and will give a lot of young trans kids a lot of hope, but I can’t help but be concerned, too.
We had a better idea than most what it might be like to be this out, but even we underestimated how huge it has been.
Still, I’m glad she has such amazing, accepting parents, & have no doubt she will do amazing things.
What a cool video: an “It Gets Better” with the parents of trans kids. They’re part of the T-NET part of PFLAG, which focuses on those with trans children.
I wish I could communicate how amazing it is to see things like this happen, to see its prominence even on PFLAG’s website. When I first started working on trans advocacy – long before these kids in the video were born – you really had to hunt to find information on anything trans, but especially so on any family-related issues.
& While there is still a dearth of information on parents who are trans themselves, we have come a long way, baby.
This is the kind of progress that is long overdue.
Switching gender roles and occasionally pretending to be the opposite sex is common in young children. But these kids are different. They feel certain they were born with the wrong bodies.
Some are labeled with “gender identity disorder,” a psychiatric diagnosis. But Spack is among doctors who think that’s a misnomer. Emerging research suggests they may have brain differences more similar to the opposite sex.
Spack said by some estimates, 1 in 10,000 children have the condition.
These children sometimes resort to self-mutilation to try to change their anatomy; the other two journal reports note that some face verbal and physical abuse and are prone to stress, depression and suicide attempts. Spack said those problems typically disappear in kids who’ve had treatment and are allowed to live as the opposite sex.
The couple who chose to keep their child’s sex a secret so that s/he might be raised free of gendered expectations and stereotypes, have now revealed their child Sasha was declared male at birth.
The reason, of course, is that Sasha is starting school.
Miss Laxton, a web designer from Sawston, Cambridgeshire, admitted that keeping her child’s gender under wraps for so long had not been easy. At her mother and baby group, she said she was regarded as ‘that loony woman who doesn’t know whether her baby is a boy or a girl’. ‘I could never persuade anyone in the group to come round for coffee,’ she said. ‘They just thought I was mental.’
At school, Sasha sometimes wears a ruched-sleeved and scalloped-collared shirt from the girl’s uniform list. But he has yet to encounter any teasing or bullying. ‘Nobody’s ever mentioned it and I would hope that if they actually said something to Sasha, he’d be confident enough to make a good response,’ his mother said.
I think they sound entirely sane and reasonable, and I applaud their efforts to raise their child without the restrictions gender places on all of us.
Alas, another children’s book about a trans child, this one called Be Who You Are, about a young girl who is born male-bodied.
The only thing that bugs me about this is the idea of using the term “gender non-conforming” for a child like this. On the surface of it, sure. But it’s exactly the gender typical femininity of such kids that often convinces people they are trans in the first place; if she were more of a tomboy, her trans status wouldn’t be as obvious to people, right?
The author of When Kathy is Keith, in a phone interview with straight.com out of Vancouver, says:
“A lot of times, parents with straight kids, they think like, ‘You know what? That would never happen to my kid so why would my kid need to learn something like this?’ And I think the key is your kid doesn’t need to be LGBT. As long as your kid is perceived with any trait associated with LGBT, they can be bullied. They can be made fun of. Your kids can be a victim of any of that.”
He adds that parents of transgender children go through a difficult emotional process of their own.
“Parents, they have to go through different stages themselves,” he explains. “In the beginning, they tend to deny it. They hope their kids will grow out of it. They are having a tough time. They have to grieve over losing a son or a daughter and welcoming a new gender of a child. And I think that’s a process. It’s not easy for any parent to accept that because no parent has a kid and then think that this kid may be a transgender kid…. It’s tough… [when you have] a dream for your kid and all of a sudden that dream vanishes, and you have to recreate a dream for your kid[’s] future, and at the same time, knowing that society is not so tolerant out there. And I think that is very tough [for] a lot of parents to accept that.”
He advises parents who have transgender children to talk as much as possible with other people about these issues.
“I really think that [they should] talk to people about it, talk to other parents about it. And don’t just talk to one person. I would talk to multiple people. Talk to the school principal, talk to the counsellors, talk to the professional psychologists or social workers…even family doctor[s], so they can know there are people like this out there, they are not alone, and they can get help.”
Good advice all around.
From GLAAD, via Bilerico:
This month GLAAD is working with organizations including GLSEN, GSA Network, PFLAG and The Trevor Project as part of National Bullying spiritday.jpgPrevention Month to inspire Americans to wear purple on Spirit Day. The Bilerico Project will be joining the campaign by changing our logo purple for the campaign. Wearing purple on this day symbolizes support for LGBT people and against bullying of LGBT teens.
& GLAAD lists the tons of participants:
Conan O’Brien will join CNBC’s Jim Cramer and Simon Hobbs, Dr. Drew of CNN, E!’s Marc Malkin, Thomas Roberts of MSNBC and hosts of CBS’ The Talk by wearing purple on-air. Seventeen magazine will turn its Twitter avatar purple for the day.
MTV will be turning the on-air logo purple along with its Facebook, Twitter, MTV.com and MTV Act logos. Online and on-air logos for MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV James and RateMyProfessors.com will also turn purple. MTV 44 and ½, the jumbotron in Times Square, will also light purple for Spirit Day. Continue reading “Wear Purple on 10/20”