We often think of adults as the trailblazers until our children surprise us. I learned from the director of one of the transgender support groups that the next generation took action. One of the leaders was my son. A daddy’s pride swelled.
It all started when the program director of the parent teen group I mentioned in my last blog about the beauty of transformation sent me an email. It read:
A youth from our group asked for your son’s email address. Your son had mentioned that there was an online group and “Billy” (name changed for this story) would like to join. Is he willing to have me share his email with “Billy”?”
My son was at his mom’s house that day. I logged onto Skype and shared the message with him. Then we had a conversation:
Son: Oh, yeah, for sure. I’ve wanted to talk to “Billy” for a while but I never knew quite how to approach him.
Me: What is this online group? Is it part of the program?
Son: Nah. Me and one of the other kids just started it on our own.
Me: You did? Why?
Son: A lot of us talk online in between the meetings. We don’t live close to each other. We wanted to make something with structure so we could have threads with useful information. So we made the group.
Me: What do you talk about?
Son: It’s mostly social. Just getting to know each other. But we also talk about important stuff.
Me: Like what?
Son: School stuff and how to deal wth it. Family problems. Transitioning. Reactions to meds. There’s more. We haven’t been doing it long.. We made what we wanted without adults telling us what to think.
Me: I’m so proud of you!
After we logged off I called my fiance’ to tell her what happened. The nationally recognized program manager of a gender clinic reached out to me on behalf of another transgender teenager for a resource co created by my son. My 16 year old son started a budding online resource for transgender youth.
What they started is in it’s infancy. Their membership is small right now and the user base consists of transgender teens they personally know. Before broadening the online group, they want to ensure they have it better structured and formed.
Though I have no use for religion anymore, there were a few things I am proud of when I was a minister. One of those things was starting communities that helped others and empowering the people who were affected by the issue run the operation we facilitated. For teens this was realized as a self help group, a GSA, and a homework help peer tutoring program. He grew up seeing me do these things. But I cannot take the credit.
My son and his friends did the heavy lifting. They made and are making careful decisions. Maybe I was an inspiration, but he did the work. I was in my late 30’s when I started organizing on this level. He is a teenager. Seeing my son take this kind of action not only inspires me, but it reminds me of an important truth.
Misguided politicians can try to pass bad laws restricting the civil rights of my son and his peers. School districts will try to enact bad policies that make my son and his peers less safe. Churches will preach and teach deadly messages from pulpits. These institutions will try to hinder the lives of people based on their poor understanding of ancient books written by goat herders trying to understand their deity through their limited social lens. They can try, but my son and his friends are gathering together and taking action. They are already leaders facing off against the government, the school systems, and the church.
When I see things like this happen I know that it is the young transgender community that will win their equality. They will fight successfully for their dignity. The church, government, and school do not stand a chance in this fight. Love is on our side.
Love is what drives my son to create a group like this. Reason is what drives them to intelligently structure this group they started. Wisdom is what they use in managing the group’s growth. I am a proud father. I have a son driven by love, reason, and wisdom.