Inclusion

Several years ago, I wrote a very personal article about my family and what we learned about gender identity. It’s an important perspective and life story that people have told me helped them. We learned that the most important thing to us was that we support my child unconditionally and that every decision we made was guided by that principle.

My daughter designed these “wrainbow hearts” and we made many stickers and magnets…and a few pins:

The stickers create a visible sign of support in our community especially for young LGBTQ people. We had a difficult experience in middle school and finding even a few others who are “like you” can make all the difference in getting through adolescence.

We met other families; many parents concerned with navigating unfamiliar territory to support their kids. We encountered skepticism and concern about “community backlash” when we wanted to form a gay-straight alliance in school. But we have found, as many parents did, that sticking to those fundamental values of acceptance and love will guide you through.

When there was statewide “pushback” over transgender rights, we could not stand on the sidelines; we organized a local coalition of community and faith-based groups to educate and put together this forum on transgender equality at Temple Beth David in 2018:

Over the months and years that followed, we found that many people share the same experiences of fear, isolation, and confusion…but then, acceptance by a community that cares about the inherent worth and dignity of individuals. There is no need to be alone, and there is a responsibility for our community to evolve and welcome all people.

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