Civilities Chat: PFLAG’s Jody Huckaby on coming out for young people today -
SP: What’s the biggest trend you’re seeing when we’re talking about coming out?
The biggest trend that PFLAG is seeing though through our 350+ chapters across the country is more parents coming to PFLAG because their young child is trans, or is displaying or exhibiting behaviors that are considered gender non-conforming.
In fact, this is largest growth factor across our entire chapter network from our very urban areas like NYC, DC, LA and our more rural communities like Ames, and Omaha and Tampa.
And more adult people who are transgender are finding PFLAG as a place to build community and to build family.
SP: How is coming out different for a trans person than a gay or lesbian one?
Coming out as trans might feel like it was for us 25+ years ago. Very foreign and very scary, with few reference points as role models.
I even hear this within the LGBQ community that they have few if any personal contact with people who are trans.
I was just at the White House recently and saw Laverne Cox, who is a great role model for many people who are trans. Every time I see her, I thank her for putting herself out there as a role model for younger people.
SP: Speaking of people being younger to come out, what’s your advice on whether they should use social media services like Facebook, Twitter, etc.?
Coming out through social media undoubtedly feels “safer” to a young person who is finally able to express who s/he really is. But there are so many dangers in doing so that we advise young people to think through the potential consequences of sharing themselves in such a public way.
Social media is a great way to communicate, and we can use it to share very personal aspects of our lives. I have lots of nieces and nephews and I live far from them but I get to read about and see photos of their expanding families. Still, we advise much caution in coming out through social media given the reality of cyber bullying.
Today, people are coming out as LGBTQ at a much younger age. The context for their coming is very different, thanks to the many good changes that have been occurring.
However, the sad reality is that for every positive story we hear through PFLAG of a child’s coming to their family, we also hear the stories of rejection, the stories of bullying at school.
Young people are still running away from home, or worse, kicked out of their homes by their families, because they are trying to live honestly and authentically as LGBTQ.
So yes, it’s definitely easier than it was for you and for me, but there is still so much more work to be done to truly create a world where young people can be all that they are, and be loved and accepted and celebrated for who they are.
(Source: Washington Post)
Trans* + Partners Survey -
This is your chance to actively shape the direction queer research is going. I am an undergraduate psychology student working on a summer grant project and I see this research as having a positive impact on trans(*) communities in terms of creating a better place for queer research in academia. The survey should take around 20-30 minutes and your opinions are crucial!
If you are over 18, involved in a relationship, identify as transgender or have a partner who does, click through to access the survey.
Please only take survey once to preserve integrity of results.
Questions? Email Sarah Bussen at email@example.com
Over 18? Trans? In a relationship? Or cis but dating someone who is trans? Take this survey!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -
Maybe vocalizing what you feel is difficult, and it’s easier to write or type it out. Or maybe you are Dear or Hard of Hearing, and phone hotlines are not accessible to you. Whatever the case may be, here is a link to an online Lifeline Chat. There is always help and support.
We are so glad you are all here. Please stay here with us.
Please use them if you need to, SHWM. There is no shame in asking for help.
Please stay here with us.
Judge strikes down Kentucky's gay marriage ban - Associated Press - POLITICO.com -
Happy Pride 2014!
lovemyself09 said: So about 3 months ago i came out to my parents and they were really disappointed. They took me to a psychologist and honestly i was getting tired of them pointing at me and sayibg many homophobic things that i just told them that i wasn't really gay (lesbian) that all i wanted was their attention. I know i'm gay. i've always been and i'll always be. i came out to a friend who is also gay. But i just want my parents to accept me the way i am, i'm living a lie. i wanna be who i am. help!
That isn’t uncommon. I be a lot of people reading this are saying “I did the SAME thing!” Your parents think there is a way to make you straight- perhaps shaming you, or denying it, or dragging you to close-minded, homophobic counselors.
Do you have a long time before you’ll be independent from them? You may want to wait until you’re out of their house to come out again. Or, have a heart-to-heart and explain that you tried to not be gay in order to make them happy but it just doesn’t work like that. Explain that they can “not allow” you to be gay but you simply ARE and it isn’t going to change. They could keep you from being happy until you are away from home (and come to terms with parental rejection), or they could accept and celebrate you as the real person you are.
As usual, I recommend PFLAG.org for support material for them and for you. You can download pamphlets on different queer-related topics. Ideally, you could get them to a PFLAG meeting but until the, print some of their things and see if they will read them
Obama to Expand Safeguards for Transgender Workers - ABC News -
If this action is redundant- so be it. We should state it clearly- leaving no doubt or room for argument- Discrimination against transgender people will not be tolerated in this country. It is past time to give this respect and protection to ALL people.
The text in full:
The White House is preparing an executive order offering transgender federal workers formal protection from discrimination at work, President Barack Obama announced Monday.
At least two other measures already prevent the federal government from firing people for being transgender, so Obama’s announcement is largely symbolic. Still, advocates hailed the move as a powerful act of recognition for transgender Americans by the first American president to even utter the word “transgender” in a speech.
"The majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies to protect their employees because it’s the right thing to do and because many say it helps to retain and attract the best talent. And I agree. So if Congress won’t act, I will," Obama told a supportive crowd in the East Room of the White House during a reception marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.
Obama in 2009 signed a presidential memorandum saying the federal government shouldn’t discriminate against workers for reasons unrelated to their job performance. While it didn’t refer to transgender people specifically, the memo was perceived as offering blanket protection to workers whose gender identity doesn’t correspond with their gender at birth.
And in a major ruling last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal law enforcement agency, said that the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that bars discrimination based on gender also applies to gender identity.
The White House declined to provide any details about the executive order that Obama has directed his staff to prepare for his signature. But LGBT rights groups said the order will likely mirror one that President Bill Clinton signed in 1998 that barred the federal government from firing workers for being gay and lesbian. Activists said they expected Obama’s executive order would include language specifically referring to gender identity, enshrining those protections in a more formal manner.
The move comes just weeks after Obama announced plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against millions of employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Obama had resisted signing that order in hopes Congress would pass a broader non-discrimination measure that would apply to nearly all employers, but changed course amid signs that lawmakers will not take it up in an election year.
In the White House reception, Obama thanked activists for supporting and guiding his administration on same-sex issues and equality policies. He cited influential figures in his own life, including an old college professor, who he said helped shape how he thinks about many of these issues. He also repeated his call for Congress to act to ban discrimination for all workers based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
"We’ve got a lot to be proud of, but obviously we can’t grow complacent," Obama said. "We’ve got to defend the progress that we’ve made."
Anonymous said: I told my mother about a year ago that I was gay and she still does not accept it. I told her about my girlfriend and she told me to get rid of her so I cannot have any communication with my girlfriend anymore. I can't see nor talk to her and she's the one I truly love. What do I do.
"Get rid of her"? How very harsh! See some of my other answers on this subject. Parents plan out their kids’ lives and that includes them being straight-cis people. Get her support: PFLAG, keep the lines of communication open, don’t sneak around because getting caught could be pretty awful. Family counseling would probably be useful. Your mom needs to realize that she can’t make you straight by keeping you away from your girlfriend. You may want to mention that you are a lesbian now and will be in 5 years, 10 years, etc. So keeping you away from your gf will just make you miserable between now and when you find your NEXT gf. She can wait till you graduate from HS and leave home, but it won’t make you straight. She should know that it COULD, however, make you depressed, drop out of school, engage in high-risk behavior, and generally feel abandoned by the woman you need most in your life (her). Ask her, given your sexual orientation, what she expects from you.
Anonymous said: I am probably not the most typical person to ask you questions but im Elliot(FTM) and my parents are very un-accepting of the fact i like girls to the point I'm afraid to tell them that I am Transgender and prefer a different name and male pronouns. What should I do? My parents are not religious either so I don't understand why they are so against me being happy with who I am.
Actually, you ARE. Many parents begin to plan their kids’ lives before they are even born. They continue to develop their hopes and dreams as their kids grow up. Eventually, they start doing that with their grandkids. The grandkids they also assumed they would get and that would live nearby.
Our children don’t owe us anything. They didn’t ask to be born. You chose to have them. The real goal is to raise kids to be who they truly are. If you love and nurture them, they will become authentic loving adults. THAT is your reward. That is the REALITY.
Few parents have a baby identified as a boy or girl and keep an open mind about their eventual gender identity. Most parents are FLOORED by the news that they have a transgender kid.
The GOOD news is that there are more and MORE parents realizing the joy in having a transgender kid. Many of us (parents who chat on the support group TransYouthFamilyAllies) express our appreciation that our wonderful beloved kids wouldn’t be who they are if they weren’t trans*. We love them as they are, and they are trans*. We wouldn’t change them. We all wish the rest of the world felt as we do and it breaks our hearts when our kids are hurt by a transphobic and generally anti-queer society. We would do anything to spare them that pain.
Your question of what to do about YOUR parents? For one, you don’t know how they will react to your being trans*. They may be in denial — hoping that you will knock it off and be the straight-cis daughter they think they’ve raised.
Get resources from TYFA, PFLAG, and other places that could help them and also give you ideas of how to approach them.
Stay true to yourself. Be yourself. Be PROUD.