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What Does It Mean To Have A Good Life?

This week I am reposting my piece from June 2021, What Does It Mean To Have A Good Life? Last week Texas Governor and Attorney General declared that “certain procedures done on minors such as castration, fabrication of a “penis” using tissue from other body parts, fabrication of a “vagina” involving the removal of male sex organs, prescription of puberty-suppressors and infertility-inducers, and the like are all “abuse” under section 261.001 of the Texas Family Code.” Those who are investigating us for “child abuse” cast a wide net and they use scary terms, sensationalize medical procedures, and seek to vilify parents and doctors. While the decree is not law, it emboldens those who seek to harm our children and families by spreading disinformation and vilification of our community.

In my recent piece, Conformity, I discuss those who are cloaked under the guise of “saving the children.” It is a scary time when one person can legally impose their values over another. Particularly when it comes to medical decision-making. Those who seek to separate our children from us would have you believe that I am performing surgery on my 11-year-old. Bringing her to doctors who will cut away flesh and that my child will regret the decisions of her parents. None of this is true.

The team of a child, parent, and physician may choose puberty blockers or later, hormones as evidence-based care as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Endocrine & Pediatric Endocrine Society, Endocrine Nurse Society to name a few. The medical decision to seek gender reassignment surgery is between a physician and patient and is not performed on young children.

My proposal: if the government can dictate my access to healthcare then yours should be as well. I propose we reconsider the appropriateness of erectile dysfunction medication for seniors. If I follow their logic, that’s the way your life was intended and you should learn to live with it, right? After all, all drugs have side effects, all opinions are not facts and we, the proud parents of transgender children, are not going away.

June 2021…

I remember taking a philosophy class as a freshman at the University of Maryland. We would read, debate, and write about the following question: “What does it mean to have a good life?” Sit with this question for a moment and consider your frame of reference for a good life. Think about how your good life might not be the same as that of another person’s. That’s ok, right? Of course, it is. We all have this one beautiful life to live after all. 

No matter what your “good life” looks like, I believe one thing remains the same. We want acceptance for who we are. Be that Catholic, Jewish, Asian, African American, Transgender, Gay, Female or pink elephant. I’m serious. Affirming a person as they see themselves does not detract from your good life. Because again, we all have just one shot at this. So imagine how tragic it would feel if someone told you that you do not have the right to be who you are.

Your identity and how you present to the world are of enormous importance to you. If you are constantly bombarded with the message that your identity (insert whatever category you put yourself in) is incorrect or worse, wrong. That you are not valid. Imagine the long-term stress, anxiety, and depression that would bring. 

Perhaps your categories are societal norms. You have never been part of a marginalized or oppressed category. I can relate. Because until 5 years and many months ago I was not either. Now, here I am. So, for me, the question about what it means to have a good life means something a little different now. Now it means that I will fight until my last breath to be a voice. And as you all might agree a loud one. All are welcome.

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The Weight of the Words

The weight of words. As I begin this post, I want to remind my readers that I use my platform to promote acceptance and love for everyone. Every single person. All Are Welcome is not for cuteness or lip service. I live and breathe the sentiment behind my writing. It is my passion to shed light on the injustice bestowed upon people from all walks of life, particularly those who are silenced or pushed to the side. With that disclaimer, let me begin. 

I was recently part of a small group that met monthly to discuss diversity and more specifically, bias and prejudice. This topic is very personal to me, so if a group is assembling to educate and learn, consider me there. We were led by a knowledgeable guide who offered insight, education, and a perspective that I appreciated. Some of the material struck a chord deep within. I wept more times than I care to admit. 

At each of our meetings, I listen and learn about the lies used as weapons and stated as facts to manipulate, oppress, and harm our African American communities. I identify so much with the language of racism, anti-racism, and assimilation. Above all, I finally have words for something I have not been able to describe in my own community. 

I was so passionate about the connection between what is happening to the African American community and what I see in other marginalized communities that I gently press to extend the conversation to include everyone. Neurodiverse kids, dyslexia, LGBTQ, selective mutism. I try to draw connections because as a mother of a transgender daughter, I know too well how all of this feels. This oppression and manipulation is widespread to MANY communities! I attempt to speak many times but to no avail. 

I watch in horror as a group assembled specifically to promote diversity and equity among ALL people is silencing me. People who, based on their willingness to participate in this type of group, should be listening and validating what I am saying pushed me aside.

Today, on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, I am shouting from the rooftops. Today is our day. We will be seen. We will be heard.

The statistics for my marginalized community are absolutely staggering. According to The Trevor Project, 27% of transgender students report feeling unsafe going to school and 31% report being victims of sexual violence in the past 12 months alone. I invite you to visit the site and read for yourself. 

This does not take away from the horrific atrocities that have been intentionally, disgustingly, and repeatedly inflicted on the African American community. However, why do we fixate on who is higher or lower on the ladder? To be clear, I am not suggesting that the trans community is worse off than black America. What I am simply saying is that I am here and I want room. I’m not asking for all of the room or most of the room. I just want a little room. 

The facilitator of the diversity group started our session with the phrase “the weight of the words.” She was of course speaking about bias and prejudice. But that simple phrase taught me another lesson too. If asking gently over and over to share my voice doesn’t work (and it didn’t), I will have to step in and make my voice heard. The world will feel the weight of my words. Of our words. Because I AM HERE. My child is important too. And so is every single person in her marginalized cohort. Shout it with me friends. We are here! And there is nothing you can do to stop us from being heard. All are welcome.