Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Form of Child Abuse: Parents Support Toddler "Coming Out" as Transgender

Slippery slope alert in the heartland: A Missouri couple are being applauded by PROMO, the GLBT advocacy group in Missouri, for supporting their very young child "coming out" as transgender -- starting at the age of two-and-a-half! This is unreal. Also involved are the Safe Schools Coalition of Missouri and "Growing American Youth" of Missouri.

PROMO is "Missouri's statewide organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education." They sent this out a few days ago in recognition of National Coming Out Day:

I was lucky enough to talk to a mom from St. Charles who comes out every day as a mother of a transgender child. The first time I heard her story as she came out to me as an openly transgender family, I was choked up over the phone because I was so proud knowing there are families like hers who step up, come out, and stand strong together every day. I wanted to share her family's story with you to celebrate all of the differences and similarities in each of our coming out stories. I hope this mom's story inspires you to come out for yourself and to come out for those around you.

We are the parents of a seven-year-old transgender son. He came out to us when he was just two years and eight months old. As young as our child was, he has always made it clear that he wanted people to "know" who he was and seldom missed an opportunity to let a family member or close friend know that he was actually a boy -- not a girl. As he grew, so did his insistence that he was a boy. I so admired his strength and courage.

As his parents, and once we understood that "he knows who he is," we came to the conclusion early that forcing him to live as something he is not would be heartless and cruel. God does not make mistakes. And God gave us this beautiful and courageous child who I grow prouder of every single day.

Our son expressed a deep desire that we begin letting everyone know that he was actually a boy. So earlier this year, we sat down with immediate family members to let them know we would be allowing our child to transition. We sent a heartfelt letter to extended family members. We told close friends. We told his dentist and pediatrician. We told co-workers. We told neighbors. We told our pastor and church leaders. We told the staff at our son's summer camp. We changed schools, and at our son's insistence, we told the administrators we wanted to come into the school as an openly transgender family. The school sent a letter to the homes of all first grade students explaining what it means to be transgender.

We have had an incredible outpouring a love from many, and we have suffered the worst pain imaginable -- watching our child be rejected. But we follow our child's lead and march forward. He says, "It's always better to tell the truth, Mom. Just tell the truth."

Our hope is that by coming out, we will touch lives with our story in a way that brings meaning and understanding. Our prayer will continue to be that our son can find his place in this world -- openly and without ever feeling he needs to hide.

We thank God every single day for sending us this precious and special child. We feel blessed and grateful to have him in our lives.

Our best,

Brian and Kim

Today, on National Coming Out Day, I challenge you to "come out" to 5 new people -- people with whom you have never talked about it. Some of you might say, "Well, everyone knows." I say, "Come out to a stranger, and tell them why it's important that they know."

On Saturday, November 20th, the Safe Schools Coalition of Missouri is hosting the 2010 Youth Empowerment Summit at the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Missouri. I encourage youth and adults to come and learn how to change lives from being bullied to being an empowered leader and standing up to bullying in schools and communities.

If you cannot attend the summit in November but still want to help and be a part of changing and empowering a young person's life here in Missouri, for just $25, one young person's travel, food, and summit cost will be taken care of. 

Thank you for all that you do to change the lives of our young people.

In solidarity,
Morgan Keenan