The state of the world right now makes it hard to have hope. Hard to feel a sense of security. Parents of transgender children are following the news closely, and what we’re seeing is not reassuring. Escalating violence against the LGBTQIA community. Federal-level equal rights protections for our kids are being rescinded. Hate groups are gaining traction, disguising themselves under innocuous sounding phrases like “Transgender Trend,” “Family Research Council,” and “American College of Pediatrics” (designed to be easily confused with the entirely legitimate American Academy of Pediatricians).
In times that try your soul, it’s more important than ever to give notice to those threads of community and love that connect us with the caring world around us. The negatives can resound loudly on our news feeds and in our thoughts. But the threads, those threads tie us together and those threads are strong. I’ve challenged myself to create a list of ways we’ve felt loved by our community in recent days.
- Love is unconditional. Thank you to the four generations of family who have accepted and loved Rose without hesitation. She has a strong foundation of love and acceptance to build her life on.
- Love is reaching out. Thank you to the friends who have felt compelled to reach out through Facebook and e-mail to ask how we’re doing, even when they live halfway around the world and we haven’t seen each other in years.
- Love is paying attention. Thank you to the school social worker who makes a point of telling us how awesome our kid is every time she sees us. She saves up stories of kind, creative, and silly things Rose does, because she knows Rose won’t tell us.
- Love is unifying. Thank you to the local organizations that have grown up out of the need for community in the past year. Groups of people walking together, marching together, and breaking bread together, celebrating our differences and diversity without fear.
- Love is acceptance. Thank you to the acquaintances who remembered being told we had a little boy, and who years later roll with the fact that we actually have a daughter without blinking. Even in the middle of aisle 3 at the grocery store while juggling a toddler and a full cart.
- Love is giving. Thank you to the network of local and online parents who spend hours of their lives welcoming and mentoring parents in need of support and welcoming and supporting children whose parents couldn’t find their way to unconditional love.
- Love is a message. Thank you to the doctor’s office staff who thought to put up rainbow and transgender pride stickers on their intake window in silent support. That message says, “You’re safe here,” and it is such a welcoming sight.
- Love is a safe harbor. Thank you to the guidance counselors who create safe spaces in schools for our kids, who connect our kids with student and staff allies so they know that someone in school has their back.
- Love is innocent. Thank you to that best friend who responded to Rose’s coming out with, “Cool. Wanna play?”
- Love is supportive. Thank you to a wonderful group of fellow writers. We are a diverse bunch, and yet I have never felt unsafe in talking about Rose with any of you. You have offered words of support, words of wisdom, practical advice, and most excellent hugs.
Our lives are filled with vibrant threads that weave us together in ways that make us stronger as a whole. This is what love does. Love doesn’t divide. It doesn’t punish, or subjugate, or convert. To love is to honor our differences and respect our growth. To love is to connect with each other in the myriad of ways our lives intersect.
Happy Valentine’s Day!