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Hello Good Citizen,
I’m grateful for your attention as this message is near and dear to me.
As a mindful living coach and a mom to an amazing transgender daughter, I’m reaching out to rally on behalf of our vibrant yet vulnerable trans community. They’re under attack and need allies, now more than ever.
Standing up for them and the gifts they bring into our world not only protects their authenticity and well-being, it benefits the flourishing of all of humanity, including you and me. In fact, it might just be the thing that saves us.
Why Authenticity Matters
When Zoe came out to us in 2015, she was a sophomore in high school. I remember telling her she was the bravest person I knew. Her reply was, “It’s not about being brave, mom, it’s about being able to live with myself.”
As parents, we soon learned that at the core of our daughter’s experience was tremendous dysphoria over her gender and a fundamental desire to live life authentically. Trans individuals, like Zoe, strive to live in alignment with what they know deep down to be their true selves.
Embracing a gender identity outside of the social norm is a radical act of self-compassion. And still, it can be very painful, especially if friends and family fail to honor this deeply personal self-discovery.
When we deny people the opportunity to be who they truly are, we undermine their mental health, personal growth, and overall well-being. Inadvertently, we also encourage a society that values conformity over authenticity, stifling the creativity and diversity that enriches our human experience.
As a coach, I see this dynamic unfolding with clients yearning to get untangled from a lifetime of limiting beliefs about who they can and can't be. If we're lucky, we get to know ourselves deeply and tap into what makes us truly happy. But all too often, many people end up living out someone else's expectations of who they should be.
So much so that, according to palliative caregiver and author Bonnie Ware, the number one regret of the dying is:
I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
When we celebrate trans individuals and support their authenticity, it's a powerful reminder that everyone deserves the freedom to show up for life and express themselves truthfully.
The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.
- Avery Jackson, LBGTQIA+ youth advocate
Acceptance Leads to Well-Being
Since this journey unfolded 8 years ago, my husband Bill and I have done our best to safeguard our daughter's well-being.
To this day, the research consistently shows that lack of acceptance and support for transgender youth leads to significantly higher risk for suicide, self-injury, substance abuse, anxiety and depression.
It’s heartbreaking to know that 45% of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered attempting suicide, according to The Trevor Project's 2022 survey of LGBTQ youth.
This hits close to the heart. On March 12, 2023, Zoe’s dear friend, Eden Knight, took her own life after being forced to detransition. Here is an excerpt from her goodbye message:
To my friends, to the people I chose to be my family, to my girlfriend, to everyone who has shown me kindness in this life, I sincerely thank you. You made an unbearable existence bearable at times.
I am deeply sorry I have disappointed you all, I wish things were different, I wish this message was a message about how I won, how I escaped and built a successful life. How I managed to get FFS, SRS, and beat my dysphoria. I wish I was speaking to you about how proud I am of myself to have done the impossible. But that’s not my reality.
I wanted to be a leader for people like me, but that wasn’t written to happen. I hope that the world gets better for us. I hope our people get old. I hope we get to see our kids grow up to fight for us. I hope for trans rights world wide.
I hope the world gets better, too. For Eden, for all of us.
When we’re caught up in traditional, close-minded attitudes around gender, we become victims of societal rules and expectations that dictate how we can or can’t behave based on one single factor: our assigned sex at birth.
Ongoing scientific research has shed light on a more comprehensive understanding of gender, recognizing it as distinct from our biological sex. This includes acknowledging transgender identities and intersex individuals. However, despite these advancements, deeply ingrained societal norms can hold us back, causing us to overlook the realities of gender diversity.
When we fail to challenge these outdated beliefs, we become complicit or remain silent in the face of oppression. This perpetuates a hostile environment that isolates, demoralizes, and traumatizes transgender individuals.
My wife and I decided that we would much rather have a happy, healthy daughter than a dead son.
The good news is that there’s an honorable solution: unconditional love. In fact, family support is the most significant factor that improves the mental health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary people, according to research by Gender Spectrum.
What’s more, with a community of allies recognizing and respecting trans identities and advocating for their rights, we create safer spaces where trans people can feel a sense of true belonging - and their families can get the support they need, too. With more acceptance, they can live in peace and harmony, free to find love, create families, and live fulfilling lives of their own.
Flourishing of Mankind
If you’re like me, you’re cautiously optimistic about the future of humanity. Flourishing might seem like a stretch, but I see hope in each new generation that's more racially and ethnically diverse than the one before.
In my Gen Z kids and their friends, I see an unwavering dedication to justice, equality, and inclusivity. As allies, our role is to assist them in forging a world where unity thrives in the face of diversity, and where the beauty of our differences is embraced and celebrated.
This aligns with Yasmin Anwar’s observations in her 2009 press release for UC Berkeley News. She references a wealth of studies where social scientists accumulate compelling evidence that we’re evolving to be more compassionate and collaborative in our pursuit of surviving and thriving.
The most remarkable shift is from the the old notion of "survival of the fittest" to a new belief in the “survival of the kindest".
Human beings have survived as a species because we have evolved the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate. As Darwin long ago surmised, sympathy is our strongest instinct.
- Dacher Keltner, founding director of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center
This inspiring insight reminds us that compassion and cooperation lie at the core of being an ally. It also reinforces our individual roles in fostering a more inclusive and empathetic world, where we actively support and uplift one another.
When we care deeply for trans people, we build a society where everyone is invited to contribute, unlocking the full potential of humanity and the beauty of the collective.
. . . we have a culture, we have a history, we have a reason to be here. We have a purpose. We’re entitled to be loved, and seek happiness, and share that with the people that we care about.
Allies For The Greater Good
As allies, standing up for trans people champions the authenticity, well-being, and flourishing of all of us.
Showing up with compassion and cooperation bridges divides and paves the way for a society where each of us, regardless of our gender identity, is free to live authentically and help shape a brighter and more inclusive tomorrow.
If you’re feeling inspired - and I hope you are - you can find so much good stuff on these wonderful websites: The Trevor Project, Trans Equality, Glaad, The Gender Spectrum, and The Human Rights Campaign.
Thank you for being here,