LGBT

All posts tagged LGBT

Ben Summerskill resigns from Stonewall UK, what is the future of LGB and T lobbying and education?

Published January 24, 2014 by Katy J Went

Stonewall diversity champions?After 11 years in the post, Ben Summerskill has stepped down from Stonewall, the UK LGB lobbying and rights group. I say LGB rather than LGBT as over the years it has been infamous in promoting the understanding of gay or LGB rights, as opposed to the whole gamut of LGBT+, not that many bisexual friends felt represented either. There is no doubt that it has done tremendous work, although it was criticised for being slow to support equal marriage.

Ruth Hunt takes over as Active Chief Executive and has promised to speak to trans voices, but also reiterated that Stonewall had “always spoken to trans groups – I have hosted round tables at Stonewall with trans groups, and there are a lot of conversations to be had with a lot of people who have strong opinions”, in an interview with Pink News.  She went on to say that, “The more conversations we have the better, but I wouldn’t predict the outcome of any of those discussions.” – So no change there then.

Stonewall with the T

Just as there now 2 fewer stripes in the rainbow flag, so too are 2 groups, T&I, excluded from Stonewall’s diversity championing

Transgender activist groups have long been debating whether to give up on Stonewall and go it alone. Many have used the slogan “don’t forget the T in S onewall”.  From one such group‘s About section: “Stonewall UK excludes T from the equality index and other leadership training for UK employers.This is a discussion group to help them understand that they need to be fully LGBT inclusive”.

Of course trans groups and activists are difficult to work with, we are angry and we are diverse – I mean we can’t even agree among ourselves! But that’s diversity for you.

Being a member of the trans community and fighting for understanding and representation of trans, intersex and queer, identities and issues, at various tables, committees and forums, I find that Stonewall has lived up to its name, but not its founders. The original Stonewall Inn riots of 1969 saw a subsequently selective history transmitted. One in which the many African-American transvestites and transwomen were ignored from the original explosion in LGB activism, both for their colour and their gender identity. Stonewall became an edited history of white gay male privilege.

Michael Cashman, MEP and former Eastender’s actor – famous for the first gay kiss on British television, is very supportive of trans rights and spoke at a TGEU conference in Berlin that I attended in 2008. Cashman was also one of the founders of Stonewall UK in 1989. Cashman criticised Stonewall in 2010 for its slow and grudging response to equal marriage.

It should be pointed out that Stonewall Scotland is trans inclusive and campaigns for and with transgender groups, from its website: “Stonewall Scotland works for equality and justice for transgender people, as well as lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”

In England and Wales, at least, it seems it would be better to walk our own path and clamour “foul” loudly when Stonewall speak on LGBT or gets LGBT equality funding but only serves LGB ends. I have been fighting for 2 years to get the local police to stop lumping homophobic and transphobic hate crimes into the same statistic when all the other protected diversity characteristics get their own independent stats. I’ve also experienced opposition from LGB activists for trying to get intersex inclusion added to our campaigning and representation, not from the public sector – they were only too happy to follow the European Community’s lead in becoming LGBTI supportive. All this seems reminiscent of LGBT rights history. Anyone who has watched “Milk”, the film about the assassinated first gay in political public office in the US, Harvey Milk, will know what I am talking about. It seems the gay rights movement was reluctant to have lesbian “assistance” and to become LG rights. Even more so were both unwilling to add “fence-sitters”, aka bisexuals, to their campaigns. Finally, they did not want the weird tail to wag the now established, respected and assimilated dog, and let transsexuals be part of their political voice. I’ve been told that to add intersex representation would “confuse issues”.

In 2008 and again in 2010 Stonewall nominated transphobic journalists for journalist of the year awards for promoting equality! One of those same journalists was cited in a 2007 report by Stonewall Scotland for transphobia.

Stonewall has made educational videos raising gay awareness and confidence to come out, and targeting homophobia – but getting it wrong on transgender. One video had a mother hearing her son’s coming out and proclaiming “at least you are not trans”, another gets transgender differences, mixed up, and again, certainly, seen as worse than being gay. There is palpable relief when someone is told “there’s as many ways to be a girl as there are girls”, helping a tomboy realise she need not be trans. The school’s training video also inappropriately explains and uses the word “tranny” for transgender.

In 2012 Paddy Power ran a transphobic advertising campaign including a “spot the tranny” competition on Ladies Day, subsequently banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. This year, Stonewall teamed up with Paddy Power to supply rainbow laces to football teams (largely unsuccessfully) to combat homophobia in the sport. Redemption is all well and good, but when Stonewall’s media manager appeared to endorse the use of transphobic stunts as furthering the issues of homophobia, all was well and good? Apparently, the piece in the Guardian was edited after Stonewall submitted it, but it represents yet another own goal in their dealings with the trans community.

Perhaps, then it is time to realise that LGB and T/I need to go it alone – politically, at least, to reinforce the idea that sexuality and sex/gender are two different things. Although I personally believe there are huge areas of overlap, in identity, sexuality, hormones and gender.

Advertisements

The Independent on Sunday’s LGBT Pink List 2013

Published October 13, 2013 by Katy J Went

Published since 2000 The Independent on Sunday‘s Pink List always causes a stir. Straights may wonder why it even exists, homophobes see it as a Hall of Shame and celebrities may get recognition over hardworking campaigners and activists. That is set to change as the paper, or at least this year’s judges (actress and singer Heather Peace, long time trans activist Christine Burns, Kim Watson of GTDiva & Meta magazines, and Ben Summerskill of Stonewall) have decided contenders need to be more than LGBT, famous and/or influential – they need to actually “make a difference”.

With 15+ trans entrants compared to 2010’s none and 2011-12’s half-dozen it is topped by the young charismatic upcoming media-savvy trans journalist and activist Paris Lees. Other trans personalities and activists include: model Jackie Green, Trans Media Watch‘s Jennie Kermode and Helen Belcher, politicians Sarah Brown and Tara Hewitt, journalists Jane Fae and Juliet Jacques, poet and activist Roz Kaveney, lecturer and former primary teacher Natacha Kennedy, Big Brother‘s Luke Anderson, My Transsexual Summer‘s Lewis Hancox and Raphael Fox – now filmmakers themselves, and Gendered Intelligence‘s Jay Stewart.

Singer and co-founder of Queer Youth Network CN Lester appears at #41 and is probably the only notable queer and non-binary activist.

Clare Balding is #2 for the second year running having been #4 and a judge previously.

Peter Tatchell, notably forgotten in 2011, is raised to joint #2 after an apologetic re-entry at #3 last year, having featured at #7 and #34 in previous years. It feels like a pop-pickers Top 40 with movers and losers, who’s in fashion and who is not.

It is as if LGBT political correctness was trying to cover all bases and make apologies for previous omissions of all trans people, most lesbians, non-whites and one vocal and veteran campaigner. It would be no surprise if a suitable black bisexual was not shoehorned into #4. Oh wait, let’s google/wiki Nicola Adams … yes she’s bi, having come out last year.

2012 was an Olympic year in several senses, with among other sporting stars, Puerto-Rican Orlando Cruz, another boxer, also coming out. Four out of the first five Pink List places were taken up by sports celebrities. It also opened the list up to gender, disability and colour in ways not hitherto seen.

2013 has been the year of equal marriage, but also “the year when trans people finally began to glimpse the sort of respect and equality that gay people can, at last, expect”, writes the paper, “We hope the list reflects that.”

The aim, according to the Sindie – Sunday Independent – “To entertain and celebrate, infuriate and amuse. Above all, to kick-start a debate around the breakfast and lunch-table.” Well it has certainly done that – celebrate and infuriate in equal measure.

Back in 2010 national treasure Stephen Fry complained about the separately compiled Rogues’ Gallery section which pilloried Pineapple Dance Studio’s Louie Spence for his camp “gay stereotype” whose “fame would soon be up”. Fry described Spence as “An authentic, strong, charming and lovable person, every bit as ‘courageous’ as the others on the list, certainly more courageous than me, Louie deserves respect and support, not insult and derision. Do they want people like him not to count, do they see him as being guilty of a choice in his manner and his demeanour, just as homophobes everywhere accuse all gay people of choosing their sexuality and preferences?” Fry renounced his entry at #3 and gave it to Spence.

2010’s list was criticised for lacking obvious and open trans or bi persons and grassroots activists.

A gay HuffPost blogger tore into 2012’s list describing it as “meaningless” and if “a victory for equality, it’s certainly a hollow one.”

Yet the fabulous LGBT educator, Elly Barnes (#1, 2011), said, “Being awarded the No 1 spot on last year’s Pink List was a massive shock and overwhelming on every level. It not only gave me the confidence I needed to take the Educate and Celebrate initiative forward nationally; it was also the wake-up call to move to be a full-time LGBT advocate. I will be for ever thankful to all who voted and to the judges.”

To make room for younger activists, our campaigning forebears have been moved to a National Treasures List:

April Ashley MBE Model; Russell T Davies OBE TV producer and screenwriter; Lauren Harries Media personality; Phyllida Lloyd CBE Theatre director; Matthew Parris Journalist; Alice Purnell OBE Trans campaigner; Stephen Whittle OBE Professor of equalities law; Sir Cameron Mackintosh Theatre producer; Paul O’Grady MBE Actor, presenter; Neil Tennant Musician; David Hockney OM, CH Artist; Andrew Pierce Journalist; Jeanette Winterson OBE Writer; Boy George Musician and DJ; Eileen Gallagher OBE Television producer; Sir Elton John Musician; Philip Hensher Writer; Julian Clary Comedian and writer; Alice Arnold Broadcaster; Alan Bennett Playwright; Alan Hollinghurst Novelist; Stephen Fry Actor and writer; Sir Ian McKellen CH, CBE Actor; Jonathan Harvey Playwright; Paul Burston Author and journalist; Fiona Shaw CBE Actress and director; Simon Callow CBE Actor; Rupert Everett Actor; Sir Nicholas Hytner Theatre director; Val McDermid Novelist; Brian Sewell Art critic; John Barrowman Actor; Sandi Toksvig Actor and presenter; Graham Norton Comedian and presenter; Colm Tóibín Novelist; Linda Bellos OBE Activist; David Lan Playwright and film-maker; Dr Christian Jessen TV presenter and doctor; Michael Grandage CBE Theatre director and producer; Jackie Kay MBE Poet and novelist.

The shift to younger LGBT role models may inspire the next generation of activists and more people to “come out” – last weekend was National Coming Out Day in the US & UK. May next year’s list evolve to include more Queer, Pan, Intersex and Non-Binary voices. It is easy to find criticism with the list, the very notion of LGBT league tables is abhorrent, but some mention is better than none, and all publicity can be seen as good publicity. It will certainly continue to arouse “debate”, and long may it do so.

Rainbow search on Google for gay marriage, Pride and some LGBT terms

Published June 27, 2013 by Katy J Went
Google’s search engine is celebrating LGBT Pride month again, the sixth year it has done so. The feature has been available all Pride month (the anniversary of June 1969’s Stonewall Riots) but people are only noticing it now after searching for “gay marriage” post the US Supreme Court Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8 rulings yesterday.
2013-look Google rainbow search box
The search box turns rainbow edged in a kind of Star Wars credits 3-d perspective way when certain LGBT keywords like ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, ‘transsexual’, ‘transgender’, ‘homosexuality’, ‘queer’, ‘Stonewall’ are entered. If you type in ‘LGBT’ or ‘LGBTQ’ it works too, but not ‘LGBTI’ or ‘LGBTIQ’, nor ‘trans’ and ‘intersex’, so barring the trans keywords above it is very gay-centric. Drag queens are included but crossdressers and transvestites excluded. Gay or same-sex marriage trigger the search graphic change as does “marriage equality” but not “equal marriage” or “transgender marriage”.
2012-look Google rainbow search box
Mercifully for Christian creationists or anti-gay activists searching for “Noah’ ark” will also not turn your search world into a rainbow! Equally disappointed will be Judy Garland, Wizard of Oz “Somewhere over the rainbow” fans!
2011-look Google rainbow search box
It also works specifically for New York, London and Toronto Pride searches, but not Norwich Pride, though Google says it will activate the feature 7-10 days before major Prides, though Norwich’s 5th Pride this year may not qualify.
2010-look Google rainbow search bar
Google has previously stood against California’s anti-gay marriage act (Prop 8) and has contributed to the “It Gets Better” campaign for LGBT youth. Their San Francisco employees, baked a cake for the striking down of DOMA this month.
2009-look Google rainbow search bar
Some have called, however, for a full goodle, a Google doodle, rather than this hidden “easter egg” feature, on the basis that Google may be protecting themselves from homophobic and/or religious backlashes since the feature only appears for certain LGBT keyword searches.
2008 Google rainbow search ribbon
Back in 2011, a gay magazine hit back at critics saying Google “should be commended for doing anything at all. Google has led the tech industry in supporting our community, and the latest addition to its arsenal of inclusion is a welcome boost in the right direction” a spokesman for Instinct magazine told CNN.

Some might also argue that Google’s data snooping, tax avoidance etc does not make it the most ethical or equal-minded of companies, just one of the most fun. Try typing in “google gravity” and then hit “I’m Feeling Lucky” – wait a few seconds and…! Now go to www.mrdoob.com/projects/chromeexperiments/google-space/ … floaty, eh?

Twilight, Fifty Shades, Male and Female in Bible, Law, Science and Society

Published May 29, 2013 by Katy J Went
The happiest place to be, Australia, has declared “23 genders” deserving of recognition and protection. Yet the UN Commission on the Status of Women and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court continue to assert just 2 “traditional” genders and reject the Yogyakarta Principles.

“Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. Persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities shall enjoy legal capacity in all aspects of life. Each person’s self-defined sexual orientation and gender identity is integral to their personality and is one of the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity and freedom. No one shall be forced to undergo medical procedures, including sex reassignment surgery, sterilisation or hormonal therapy, as a requirement for legal recognition of their gender identity. No status, such as marriage or parenthood, may be invoked as such to prevent the legal recognition of a person’s gender identity. No one shall be subjected to pressure to conceal, suppress or deny their sexual orientation or gender identity.” (Principle 3, Yogyakarta Principles) 

Numerous groups and individuals have defended the gender binary on the alleged absolute grounds of biology, tradition or religion (e.g. The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property – an organisation of lay Catholic Americans). On gender and sexuality, at least, Catholics, charismatics, evangelicals and biblical fundamentalists, not to mention Muslims, as strange bedfellows are ironically united. But are these grounds so easily or well defined? Biology offers plenty of scope for multiple and hermaphroditic genders; Native American tradition and other cultures allowed for 3-6 genders or more, such as: male, female, feminine man, masculine woman, gender-fluid and two-spirited.

As for religion, well God in Isaiah 56:4-5 affirms third gender folk as a distinct group apart yet especially loved and named from sons and daughters (male and female).

“For thus saith the Lord to the eunuchs/circumcised, Those who keep my Sabbaths, and decide for that in which I take pleasure, and take fast hold of my covenant; I give to them in my house and within my walls a memorial (yadh) and a name (shem) good/better than sons and daughters: I give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.”

Nice wordplay on eunuchs/cut off! The eunuchs cannot parent children and thus prolong their name nor are they regarded as sons or daughters, being inbetween, but instead of healing, as God offers to the blind, deaf, lame, lepers God gives them a name, nature and status, as shem can mean, as “good” as that of sons or daughters, creating a third category on an equal footing, called “better” to make the point. They are also given a “hand”, not a helping one, perhaps, but yadh can euphemistically mean phallus power or strength, portion or perhaps inheritance. After all, the bad verse division hides verse 3’s ending “Nor let the eunuch say, ‘Here I am, a dry tree.'”, a phrase indicative of barrenness.

Similarly, Jesus when referring to eunuchs cites three possible origins including “born this way”, “made” or “lifestyle choice” (Matt 19:12). Contemporary first century Jewish rabbis recognised at least 4 genders in the time of Jesus accepting hermaphrodite tumtums and infertile intersex and/or barren women. The Jewish Midrash Rabbah Genesis 8.1 speaks of Adam being created androgyne, bi-gendered, hermaphrodite and then being “cut in two” much like Plato in his Symposion (190 B) when he speaks of three generations: the masculine, the feminine, and the androgynous, and of the latter being split at Creation.

The Bible in Genesis 1 does not say that we are created “male *or* female” but “male *and* female”, “in the image of God”. This makes God male and female, but s/he/they are one entity – in three “persons” if you are Christian rather than Jewish or Muslim. Although “persons” is a problematic later Greek development than earlier Christian thought of God in three modes or manifestations: Father, Son and Spirit. Whilst the Spirit-Creator is mostly seen as female and the Father-Creator as male, nonetheless they are described metaphorically as a mother with nursing breasts as well as other female analogies (Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 42:14, 49:15, 66:13; Hosea 11:3-4; Psalm 123:2-3, 131:2; Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34, 15:8-10), leaving only Jesus as the XY male – but can we be sure of even that? If Jesus was the incarnation of God, then he too could be male and female, a fully intersexed Messiah), so that Jesus can truly stand for everyman, as in every man and woman, fully human.

The Hebrew word for “and” has a wide range of meaning, it also has the word “either/or” but does not use that here. The same word “and” is used of the animals to be taken aboard the Ark, “male and female” separate breeding pairs. Yet some animals can breed without being in a pair, some can have up to 7 gender variations within a species. Are these animals making a “deviant lifestyle” choice or were they not only born that way, but created that way and part of the “male and female” God envisaged?

It is not about distinction, separation and categorisation but creative variety. Day and night, light and dark are not polarised binaries, but a fifty shades of greyscale, with dawn, daybreak, diluculum, sunrise, morning, coffeetime, midday, teatime, dusk, crepuscule, evening, twilight and everything in between. Gender is similar.

Nobody seriously disputes anymore the ethics of slavery, the Christian equality mantra of Galatians 3:28 stating that “there is neither slave nor free…”, but it continues “…neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. So why are we debating gay, trans, women bishops etc still? Just as God is male and female and yet still one, so are we both individually and as humanity. We are male and female and every shade in between, however gender is counted: 2 genders, 3 genders, 23 genders and none.

Simplistic literalist black and white, male and female theology creates summary judgements of human conditions outside of the binary, neat Sunday school scenarios. Real life is complex, beautiful and individual, and Jesus’ radical solution: Love transcends all these complexities.

The Australian HR Commission report suggested that “people are protected from discrimination without reference to:

  • a binary construct of gender which only protects individuals who identify and present consistently as either male or female
  • a binary construct of sex characteristics which fails to protect intersex individuals
Away with binary and biblical constructs, I say, let gender and Genesis be organic!

Holocaust Memorial Day, lessons for today

Published January 27, 2013 by Katy J Went

Today (27th January) is Holocaust Memorial Day, remembering not only the Jewish holocaust but others besides. The Holocaust (from the Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustoshólos, “whole” and kaustós, “burnt” also known as the Shoah (Hebrew: השואה, HaShoah, “catastrophe”). Within the attempted genocide (wiping out of a whole genus/people group) of the Jews, there were attempts to exterminate other ‘imperfects’ such as the Romany, people with disabilities, communists, and gays.

After a decade of turning a liberal blind eye to LGBTIQ expression (particularly in Berlin) the advent of the Nazis changed Germany. In 1933 research into sexology (homosexuality & transsexuality) was ended after the looting of the Sexological Institute by the Nazis. Founded in 1919, the Institute had been set up by the outspoken gay and Jewish activist Magnus Hirschfield, a world-renowned expert in the emerging discipline of sexology. During its existence, thousands of patients were seen and ‘treated’, often for free. The Institute also achieved a global reputation for its pioneering work on the understanding of transsexuality and call for LGBTIQ equality. In 1935 Germany strengthened the anti-homosexual law by which gays were knows as 175ers after paragraph 175 of the German law under which homosexuality had been condemned since 1871. Tens of thousands were sent to mental asylums or concentration camps and/or tortured for their sexuality; hundreds were castrated under court order or coercion. In the camps gay prisoners’ were made to wear pink triangles to identify them, often marking them out for additional persecution. Lesbian groups and associations were closed down but the women were not imprisoned as they were still considered capable of Aryan ‘breeding’, though nobody wanted the gay men to ‘breed’, up to a million were thought to exist lacking the German archetype “masculinity” and who were instead considered “degenerate” and “parasites”.

http://hmd.org.uk/genocides/dates-to-remember/looting-of-the-institute-of-sexology

Other groups singled out for elimination were the physically disabled and/or those with mental health issues, up to 200,000 of the latter are estimated to have been murdered both in and outside of hospitals and institutions. Known as the T4 program (named after Tiergartenstraße 4, the address of the HQ of the General Foundation for Welfare and Institutional Care) and running from 1939-1941 they forcible sterilized another 300,000 with the consent and participation of the psychiatric profession.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust#Non_Jewish 

The Nazi ideology of cleansing their gene pool of ‘inferior’ peoples and persecuting society’s ‘weaker’ elements was made possible by their propaganda machine and an innate distrust of difference already present within the general population. This “fostered public acceptance of state-sponsored intolerance and brutality”. A lesson for today in countries affected by the now 6 year long credit crunch and austerity crisis as governments, commentators and groups, look for scapegoats to blame, persecute and save spending on. Now is the time to protect not persecute the most vulnerable members of society. The measure of a society can be seen in how it treats its least member, not how well the majority are doing.

 

11 year old trans girl Sadie reminds the President Obama what ‘full’ inclusion and equality for ‘all’ mean

Published January 24, 2013 by Katy J Went

Words of wisdom and a personal plea from an 11 year old trans girl to the US President. 

‎”Sadie was so proud of President Obama for including the gay community in his inaugural address on Monday; however, she felt like the trans community wasn’t included,” Sage, Sadie’s mother, told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. “That inspired her to write her own ‘speech.'” www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/transgender-girl-obama-speech_n_2533298.html

President Obama made history during his Inauguration Speech on 21 January 2013 when he said everyone should have equal rights under the law:

“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls [the influential women’s-rights Convention, probably the first to be organized by women in the West], and Selma [1965 Black rights marches on the Alabama capitol], and Stonewall [1969 LGBT uprising]…”

The US President continued:

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/21/obama-inauguration-speech-stonewall-gays_n_2520962.html

This the first time that a US president has addressed gay rights during an inauguration speech, but the trans community hoped that he would have gone further and been even more inclusive after mentioning women, Afro-Americans, gays and lesbians and the Stonewall uprising. Trans were a significant if not majority presence at Stonewall. The 1969 homophobic and transphobic NYPD police raid on a bar featured a large proportion of trans people including Afro-American trans and drag queens, and yet both trans and non-Caucasians have been somewhat airbrushed out of this part of LGBT history, not only by politicians but by the gay community and LGB historians. 

It’s a great start and Obama is the best President yet in that department (Clinton was pro-LGBT too), however, some trans have been waiting 44 years for recognition of their leading involvement in Stonewall (it was after all, in part, the NYC ordinance prohibiting wearing more than 3 items of women’s clothing that gave the dubious basis in US law for the raid on the Stonewall Inn – ie it was transphobic & dragphobic repression). 

 

 

It is a shame that many LGB/T organisations such as Stonewall England & Wales (Scotland is more inclusive) forget that you can’t spell S’onewall without a ‘t’. Neglecting trans rights on the basis that it would ‘drag’ the process because we are less politically acceptable could be classed as short-term practical expediency, but 44 years? Take the UK Equal Marriage campaign, no mention of trans, who have to divorce to transition, just of gays and straights. No mention of intersex at all. 

 

Now an 11 year old kid reminds us was true inclusion means. Sadie’s speech in full:  

“The world would be a better place if everyone had the right to be themselves, including people who have a creative gender identity and expression. Transgender people are not allowed the freedom to do things everyone else does, like go to the doctor, go to school, get a job, and even make friends.

 

Transgender kids like me are not allowed to go to most schools because the teachers think we are different from everyone else. The schools get afraid of how they will talk with the other kids’ parents, and transgender kids are kept secret or told not to come there anymore. Kids are told not to be friends with transgender kids, which makes us very lonely and sad.

When they grow up, transgender adults have a hard time getting a job because the boss thinks the customers will be scared away. Doctors are afraid of treating transgender patients because they don’t know how to take care of them, and some doctors don’t really want to help them. Transgender patients like me travel to other states to see a good doctor.
 
It would be a better world if everyone knew that transgender people have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. We like to make friends and want to go to school. Transgender people want to get good jobs and go to doctors like they are exactly the same. It really isn’t that hard to like transgender people because we are like everyone else.”

 

Sadie transitioned from male to female in kindergarten, was then home schooled until recently and is now in public school fifth grade. Her mother is supportive and actively encouraged her to write the ‘essay’ to help her express herself. With affirmation at home, she has remained confident despite open discrimination and according to her mother, Sage:

“isn’t shy or ashamed of who she is,” who adds, “I’m always ‘on’ when we go out because I never know when she’ll strike up a conversation with the person in front of her in line at Trader Joe’s. When she chats with people, she introduces herself as, ‘Hi, I’m Sadie, my favorite color is pink, I’m vegan, and I’m transgender. Who are you?'”

Discrimination does not exist in the womb, being transgender does. It is great when young people teach adults a lesson in history, identity and hope.