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International Day of Families

Top right, Jan Moore logo. Bottom right, two hands holding a brown piece of paper with the word family printed. Left, a couple gazing lovingly while embracing.

May 15th is International Day of Families. So it got me thinking. What is a family? Webster defines family in several different ways, but the one that I relate to the most is “a group of related things.” The very first definition states that a family is a parent and child. I could not disagree with that more. But that is a post for another day, so let’s just focus on thinking of a family as a group of related things.

We are lucky in my house. Our immediate family is loving, accepting, and safe. Perfect? No. But we do try to make sure that each member feels like they can be their authentic self. That is not the case in all families. And I am not 100% sure, but my bet is that one of the number one ways to make a person feel “seen” is to accept them as they are. And this starts in the home.

I was recently at a conference, and I spoke at length with a woman who is involved in the foster care system. She shared with me that in her world, 1:3 of foster kids identify as lgbtqia2s+. She and I discussed the repeated trauma inflicted by children placed in homes that are not affirming and the child having to be placed again and again and again.

The stark reality is that not all people belong to a loving, safe, and accepting family. And that is why we need to widen our lens when we answer the question, what is a family? To kick off this important topic, I thought it might be nice to highlight some books that focus on MY definition of family. Let’s highlight stories that shed light on the different kinds of families and their value to society.

Books that Answer the Question, What is a Family

Hopefully, these books will inspire you as you ponder the question, what is a family? Do you have any titles to add to the list? Please share with us in the comments.

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Transgender People in the United States Seeking Asylum

I went to the screening of Las Abogadas film at Filmfest DC. What does this have in common with transgender people in the United States seeking asylum? Read on to find out.

This crucial independent film has won various awards as it travels across the United States and beyond. In the movie, three immigration lawyers are documented on the front lines of migrant camps across the Mexican border. Footage of caravans of refugees from Central America travel with nothing but a backpack, many pushing strollers or carrying babies. In short, the film is essential, the stories are devastating, and the problem is real.

Transgender People in the United States Seeking Asylum

I was stunned by the words printed on the screen, “refugee status or asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted because of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” Please reread that passage and let that sink in. There was the actual definition of refugee and asylum from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. I grabbed the arm of my companion and took a deep breath. Transgender people in the United States are forced to seek asylum in their own country. They are refugees.

Governments Seeking to Erase Segments of Society

The courageous documentary shared interviews and footage of people accused of being separatists because they refused to march in parades or participate in activities that support governments seeking to erase segments of society. It provided footage of people leaving their homes to protect their children. The film traced the lives of people in danger because they do not agree with the government in their country or are fleeing violence. Some people were running to seek medical attention or reunification with family. All of the refugees were seeking liberty and freedom. They left behind everything they knew, their families, community, and belongings, to flee from oppressive governments and violence.

Civil Liberties and Freedom Under Attack

I met three families in Denver for the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive in April; this is just the tip of the iceberg. Two fled Texas, and one is leaving Montana to escape legislation that strips their civil liberties. In addition, our dear friends are fleeing Florida in June; they, too, seek freedom, liberty, and the right to raise their children in safety and peace.

For the many families I have encountered who have moved or are planning to move, I hope it is their last. However, I grapple with the gravity of the 2024 elections knowing that even in our safe state, a federal ban on transgender healthcare, sports participation, bathroom usage, ability to self-identify, and access to diverse literature is on the line. Let me repeat it: this country’s fundamental values of civil liberties and freedom are under attack. The desperate refugees outside of the United States have no idea that the ideals upon which our country was founded are being decimated one piece of legislation at a time.

You Don’t Have to Look Outside the US for Refugees

In the quiet moments in my brain, I strategize to ensure we stay one step ahead. My husband and I discuss what we could be forced to do to protect her. I have heard mumblings in parent groups that Canada is making a move to grant refugee status to transgender people and families. Yet, I also recognize the enormous privilege of having those choices; so many are left to find a path forward while living with bathroom bans, the inability to access lifesaving healthcare, and classroom banned from acknowledging their existence.

Friends, you don’t have to look outside the United States to see that families are being ripped apart and civil liberties stripped away. To track bills nationwide, visit the Trans Legislation Tracker or sign up for Issue Voter to follow legislation in your area.


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Imposter Syndrome Parenting

upper left man holding mustache on stick with dark glasses. Lower right, sunflower next to a laptop computer with the word imposter on a yellow sticky note.

What is imposter syndrome and how does it affect parenting? And most importantly, why do I feel like a fraud as the parent of a transgender child? Imposter syndrome parenting isn’t anything new and it is not isolated to parenting either.

Harvard Business Review defines imposter syndrome as, “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.” In the context of their article, they a specifically talking about women in the workplace. In my life, I feel like I don’t deserve to be in the room when sharing my lived experience. I fear that people won’t like me, and will accuse me of being performative or of saying the wrong thing. It is hard. So, how do we overcome this imposter syndrome parenting? Let’s dig deeper.

Until nearly eight years ago, I did not know anyone identifying as trans, non-binary, or gender diverse. I was a fish out of water for the first time. We all have awkward moments in our lives. Whether it’s being the new person at school, starting a new job, or going to a party where we only know one person. Each time we walk into a new situation and are vulnerable to the group, we open ourselves to being rejected. When you are a cisgender, heterosexual person and you embark on being the parent of a trans child, you are about to understand exactly how difficult it is to assimilate in inclusive spaces.

In his book, Pedagogy of The Oppressed, Paulo Freire describes the relationship between oppressors and the oppressed. I received a book from a friend following a particularly difficult conversation with a group of lgbtq+ community members. Having read this book several times, I believe it offers insight into the precarious position parent advocates of transgender children face. Our laser-focused drive for change, desire for safety, and thirst for understanding make people react. And this can really cause imposter syndrome parenting. Make us question ourselves and our place in this space.

To clarify, many spaces I have entered have been welcoming. I have been grateful for those who have offered me grace and kindly corrected my mistakes. Acknowledging the fact that I am struggling as the parent of a transgender child, does not detract from the struggle of transgender people. Being transgender, non-binary or gender-diverse is hard in 2023.

It is also hard being the parent of a transgender little person and desperately grasping for understanding and change. As a parent who wants to learn from the transgender community, it is hard to walk into conversations with open ears and heart and feel rejection. To be clear, these aren’t my white woman tears. It is just my reality, of my imposter syndrome as the parent of a transgender child.

So friends, have you experienced imposter syndrome parenting? What about in other spaces in your life? If so, let this be an encouragement to us all. Everyone feels this way sometimes and it is NORMAL. And if we are confident in our space, let us be the first to look around the room and find the people who might not be.

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Transphobic Commenters at School Board Meetings

top left, person in blue shirt and tie at a microphone. bottom right trans rights are human rights sign

There has been such an uptick of transphobic commenters at school board meetings.  Meetings in my county have been filled with anti-transgender public commenters. I mean filled. Like people getting in line hours before the meetings to be one of the ten commenters on the list, what they are saying is horrifying. It is time to push back.

During the midterm election cycle, participation at our board meetings was at a fever pitch. Though the standing-room-only rooms have dwindled, I was still horrified when two of the five people providing public comment presented anti-trans agendas. To be clear, one of the women used words like “disgusting,” “wrong,” and “grooming” when referring to a piece of legislation that will create inclusive health education in our schools. She explained that this was her first time speaking publicly; it was like watching a scene from the 1960s.

As I sat quietly at home, watching the recording of the meeting, I felt enough was enough. We must start pushing back. What does that look like?

Write A Letter to Your School Board

Disclosure is a topic that is not taken lightly in our community. To clarify, we must protect our children and their anonymity. I suggest that you write a letter and choose a pseudonym. I have had school administrators push back because they “don’t take anonymous comments.” This is the time to push back politely; if my child’s safety and my family weren’t on the line, I would shout from the rooftops. The fact of the matter is that our children are under attack, so we are taking steps to protect them from being targeted and bullied.

Sample letter to board of education regarding transphobic public comment

Source Data for Letter

US Department of Education:

UCLA Williams Institute:

Pew Research Center:

Share the letter with your fellow proud parents. Let’s make them hear our voices. To sum, we must fight back against anti-transgender commenters at school board meetings.

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Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Parents of Transgender Kids

What will you do today in honor of Random Acts of Kindness Day? Random acts of Kindness Day is an opportunity to elevate our community and regain power for our transgender children. Here are some random acts of kindness ideas for parents of transgender kids.

Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Parents of Transgender Kids

  1. Write a thank you card to a teacher, neighbor, or pastor who has actively supported your child’s journey. Many people support us on our journey. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion teacher at my child’s school regularly connects with me about relevant topics. My fellow parents support me when I stand firm against parents who push their views contrary to my kid’s best interest. A small acknowledgment note for this support goes a long way.
  2. Bring a gift card to a librarian. Literally, this can be for a cup of coffee or gas. Our libraries are under attack. Locally we have parents who are “reviewing” all school library books and attempting to ban them. Our librarians consistently impress me. They stand firm that all people should be represented in libraries.
  3. If your child is in counseling, this is a great opportunity to show appreciation to their counselor. For example, ask your child to draw a picture or write a note telling them how they appreciate them.
  4. Affirming healthcare providers are in short supply. Whether they be your endocrinologist, orthodontist, or pediatrician, we must reinforce what they do right. If you would like a free Narwhal Magic Kindness window cling to give, please visit here and enter code KINDNESS for one free cling.
  5. Remember the kindness rocks people paint and leave in random places around town? Get some rocks and paint and spread some trans love around town. You never know who will see your rock and have a better day for it.

These are just a few random acts of kindness ideas for parents of transgender kids. Above all, kindness begins at home. Consequently, by setting the example, we instill a sense of value, good, and empathy in our children. Our news streams are filled with anti-trans legislation and hateful articles. Today is an amazing opportunity to take back our power and show kindness to those who work to build up our kids.

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Transgender-Owned Businesses for Your Holiday Shopping

With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to offer five options for transgender-owned businesses for your holiday shopping. 

  • Other Is A Myth clothing: founded by my good friend Cyrus, Other Is A Myth is a staple in my wardrobe. The clothes are soft and well-made. By ordering from Other Is A Myth, you are taking steps toward one of my favorite phrases, “Ally Is A Verb.” 
  • LeesPridePals on Etsy: These adorable, hand-made bees come in various affirming color combinations. In purchasing these crafty bees, you are directly supporting our fantastic community. 
  • Music can be therapeutic. Consider giving the gift of affirming music written and performed byJulie Be. I have had the great honor of seeing Julie perform live and watching my daughter laugh and dance to her music. Julie’s lyrics and incredible musical talent are a gift that keeps giving. 
  • How about a bit of bling? Dragun Beauty by Nikita Dragun does not disappoint. My favorite is her TRANSformation Face Powder! Unfortunately, her products can be hard to get because they sell out fast. I’ll be on the lookout for Black Friday deals for this one.
  • Bye Genderis a community-based organization whose mission is to help trans individuals access the funding they need to survive. I love their logo as much as their mission.  

Consider transgender-owned businesses for your holiday shopping this year. If you know of a transgender-owned business that we should highlight, please drop their website in the comments. Happy shopping! 

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An Educator’s Role in Affirming Transgender Children

Educators play a key role in affirming transgender youth

An educator’s role in affirming transgender children is priceless.

A national survey by GLSEN has found that 75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school.

The survey concludes that those who persevere have significantly lower GPAs.

These students are more likely to miss school out of concern for their safety,

They are less likely to continue furthering their education after high school. 

So, what do these statements mean for educators? 

Educators have a unique and prominent role in the lives of these children. For some, teachers are the only safe adults in their lives because their parents and siblings are non-affirming. Additionally, teachers are the first adults to see bullying and hostile treatment from other students. And as a result, they are the first people who can respond in a way that makes a transgender child feel validated and safe. Below are 5 simples ways to affirm transgender children in your classroom.

  1. Use preferred pronouns and names. This is a simple, yet impactful way to validate these children for who they are. When in doubt, have courageous conversations with the child about which pronouns they prefer.
  2. Acknowledge and react to mistreatment from other children. In short, it is no secret that mental health is a serious concern in the transgender community. One cause of depression and suicidal thoughts in transgender children is bullying. Do everything you can to prevent it. 
  3. Focus on the whole child. Ultimately, transgender children are so much more than a pronoun. Find out what gives them joy. Talk with them about books, hobbies, or other activities they enjoy. Praise them for the beautiful person they are. 
  4. Educate your colleagues. Sometimes, people’s bias is unintended and comes from a place of misunderstanding or the consumption of disinformation. Do what you can to educate your peers. For example, share resources and information that supports the affirmation of transgender children.
  5. Think of creative ways to divide your classroom activities. Even after she transitioned, my daughter was instructed to line up in the boys’ line in gym class. Her reaction was embarrassment and hurt feelings. The gym teacher publicly shamed my daughter in front of her peers. Despite a 504 instructing the teacher to come up with creative ways to divide the class, it persisted. Ideas can be anything from your favorite color or guess the number. Have fun with it. Dividing into the binary is so 2000.
  6. Don’t overthink everything. To conclude, transgender children want to be loved and accepted just like every other child in the class. Sticking to this basic principle will yield dividends in terms of a trusting, reciprocal, healthy relationship with your student. 

For more incredible suggestions subscribe to one of my favorite newsletters targeted towards educators. Time To Thrive is an annual conference held by the Human Rights Campaign. Their monthly newsletter is a bright spot in my day. In your classroom, make sure all are welcome.

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Pride Is More Than Corporate Parades & Floats

It has been five Pride’s since my daughter shared her truth with us. Pride means a lot to my daughter. She understands it to be a special time for people to come together to celebrate their differences. To relish in our individuality and support others like her. 

During her first Pride, she wore her very first dress. It was a long, cotton, teal, maxi dress with rainbow animals printed on the fabric. Her hair, still so short and soft, was pulled back on one side with a mesh bow with brightly colored pom pom balls inside.

It was just the two of us testing the water, as her news was very new. We had not yet shared outside of our bubble and she was not ready to socially transition.

We spent the day roaming around Washington, DC, weaving in and out of streets and parks. Skirting the outside of the parade as I was a neophyte and not sure about the appropriateness for children. We walked, shopped, played Pokemon Go and dined at Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse. We stayed in an Air B&B and went to the National Zoo the next morning.

As she has grown so have our Pride calendars. We come together for community with our fellow area parents of transgender kids and have pool parties, picnics, and games. We wave flags, have been back to Capital Pride twice more and then the pandemic hit.

My daughter is sad that we will miss the big Pride event this year. 

Nearly three months ago she started asking again, what is the plan? Although our Pride will not be coming together in large crowds, we most definitely have plans for a private gathering with our close friends. We have ordered our Pride lawn art from the Human Rights Campaign and already have signs and flags adorning our yard. 

No matter if Pride is a corporate-sponsored event, a local community gathering, or a small group of parents dedicated to affirming and uplifting their beautiful children. For the marginalized LGBTQIA+ umbrella, Pride should be about time. The time we set aside to come together with intention. The time we show up for our kids, friends, siblings, parents, and grandparents. Pride doesn’t have to mean floats and closed streets. It needs to be an intentional act to make those who feel “less than” and “other”, valued and special. 

So baby girl, get your flag out, your best Pride outfit and let’s go! I can’t wait!!

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“Let’s conjure up, from the depth of our souls:

The truest, most beautiful lives we can imagine.

The truest, most beautiful families we can fathom.

The truest, most beautiful world we can hope for.”

~Glennon Doyle, Untamed, 2020

I feel lost. Succumbing to the undertow and being swept out to sea. The overt oppression, police violence, unkindness, greed, and yes, the virus. The damn virus. I have stepped away from my passion, my calling, because I am under siege by the virus. Finding the path through the storm, foraging forward, and putting on a brave face as a provider in a health system that people are undermining for political gain. 

When I read the above quote by Glennon Doyle, it called to me. In reality, her book should call to all of us to rise above the social constructs and niceties that chain us down. To imagine in terms of love and light, not mired down in the despair of the known, but to reach down into our soul to find the path forward. The beauty in what can be, rather than what is. For a million reasons, I have been buried in what is. From this point forward, I am taking back my power. I am making the conscious choice to walk into the vision of what our world, our nation, my community can be. 

Ironically, much of the recent rhetoric is focused on dismantling social constructs that are chaining down those who are marginalized. Those benefiting from such ideals, beliefs, and institutions are reluctant to relinquish their privilege even if they are granted such privilege by stepping on the backs of those in their wake. So, when I imagine and work towards my truest, most beautiful….I find myself struggling with what is.  What is, quite frankly, is really scary, sad, and hard for the trans community. 

My truest, most beautiful life and family does not include neighbors discussing whether my daughter can compete in sports against their kids. They are not discussing whether my child should have access to hormones. We don’t have to leave the public school system because of, discrimination, and lack of services for her learning difference.

Moreover, in my truly beautiful world, authors with the power of the literary pen and leaders of countries do not use their power to legislate, discriminate, marginalize, and oppress in the name of their racist agenda. The naysayers use words like socialism, communism, and liberal. Which are all, ironically, social constructs that people use to manipulate. To pigeon-hole the believers into a winner-takes-all, us and them syndrome. That somehow by allowing in the beauty and light will somehow diminish theirs. When in fact, the synergy of positivity, inclusivity, and togetherness will bring prosperity for us all. 

It is through connection, affirmation, and respecting our individual uniqueness that we appreciate the complexity of our human experience. In summary, without each piece of the puzzle, the whole is solitary and void of the abundant richness of our humanity. 

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3 Things My Trans Daughter Taught Me Through a Game of Capture the Flag

After a full day of work, I come home to pick up my older two children to take them to soccer practice. My daughter is patiently waiting for me by the door. Typically, this is not a good sign. “Mommy,” she said, “we need to talk. School was not good. I’m coming to ride in the car with you.”

As we drive in silence, she takes out her computer and starts putting her words to paper. When we arrive at soccer practice, she tells me that it is too hard to talk and that she needs me to read her book. I am thankful because her school recently gave her access to book writing software and it is a great tool to help her get her feelings on paper. She is just like her mother in that regard.

In her story, she describes PE class that day. The children engage in playing capture the flag when suddenly there are whispers and commentary. Someone has directed that they should “go easy on the girls” and my daughter becomes visibly upset. In the story, her best friend is off to the side participating in the chatter. This is the moment where I hold my breath. Authentic friendships are really important in life, aren’t they?

Lesson Number One: Children are so powerful.

My daughter is incredibly astute when it comes to gender stereotyping and sexist remarks. In her 10 years on this planet, she has grown into a force fighting sexism and gender roles and stereotypes. Yes, you read that correctly. She is merely 10 years old. 

Lesson number two: We need to STOP categorizing people by gender.

My daughter recognizes that when we’re taking it easy on the girls or playing like a boy, we do not leave room for people who identify outside of the binary. She has friends who identify as non-binary and she embraces their truth just as she does her own. My daughter is not alone. In their study of gender stereotypes in socially-transitioned transgender children, Olson and Enright found that “transgender children and siblings of transgender children show less gender stereotyping and greater tolerance of gender nonconformity than other children.”

Lesson number three: Although she is brave, my daughter feels these microaggressions deeply, and so do her peers.

My daughter is extremely upset about what happened. She laments about how hard it is to be transgender. People innocently throw gender stereotypes in her face all of the time. She explains to me that these kids do not understand how hard her life is. She is constantly reminded of her “otherness” when people impose rules, regulations, laws, and norms on her and her trans and non-binary friends. Even when these rules are simply enforced in a capture the flag game. In their presentation titled Transgender Youth: Needs, Risks, Outcomes and the Role of the System, Dr. Johanna Olson discusses the impact of systems, sexism, and heteronormative behavior on transgender people and the harms and adverse outcomes such societal structures inflict.

Friends, it amazes me what a simple capture the flag game has taught me. What it can teach a group of 10-year-olds. In short, my daughter gives me hope for the future. As I witness her and her friends navigate the ins and outs of something as simple as capture the flag, I realize that her school friends are always listening and watching. Above all, they love her and want the best for her. Though her path is not easy she will-Be The Change.

Love is possible. Change is possible. Now go grab that flag like the badass human being that you are.

Note: Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and open my email messages. The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

The date of May 17th is specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

On this day, I remember the 23 known transgender people who have been murdered in 2021 already. According to Everytown for Gun Safety 72% of recorded trans murders have happened with guns and 78% of those murdered were black. With 44 known murders, the year 2020 is the deadliest on record for transgender. The year 2021 poises itself to break that record. My reader, by becoming educated and articulate about what it means to be transgender or non-binary, you are making a difference. When you come back each week to read my quick blog post reflecting on my life, on my privileged life, your veil is lifted. The plight of transgender women, particularly those of color, cannot be underestimated.

Today, I am asking you to donate $5.00 to The Human Rights Campaign. HRC has been at the forefront of combatting the caustic legislation that is further marginalizing our transgender children, sisters, brothers, aunties, and uncles. Above all, we thank you for your support.