A Message from BEC

“Are we the kind of family that kicks people out for being different?”

That was the question my then 13-year-old daughter asked me as she was struggling to understand who she was. That question would put us on a journey that would take my sad, anxious, depressed, and isolated daughter on a journey of transition that led to her become my funny, spunky, talented son, Robin. Once he was able to be his authentic self he blossomed. No, the journey was not an easy one, least of all for Robin who had to navigate a world where there are little to no representations of trans youth or adults. It is a lonely terrifying journey for trans kids, who are scared to be who they are because of the consequences many suffer.

Every year, during Pride Month I reflect on that journey that our family went through. I am eternally grateful for those LGBTQ individuals who went before us. Those fearless individuals who fought for rights that should have been theirs all along. I will never have the words to thank them for their sacrifices. They made it safer for my son to be his authentic self.

This month, my son graduated high school. He will soon launch into this world and pick up where those brave individuals left off. But I am always worried. Worried that he will not be accepted. Worried that someone will hurt him. Worried that the world we live in will never be able to do one simple thing…treat him the way they want to be treated.

When we keep people from being their authentic self; we all lose.

It takes a lot of courage for someone – especially a young person to share with us their authentic self. We they do, we must listen. Otherwise, we lose the positive impact they could bring to our world. My wish for as this Pride month comes to a close and the rest of the months of the year is that we learn to accept and celebrate differences. Let’s start celebrating the best of who we are and what we see in others. Let’s work together to bring out the best in one another – especially our youth. If we want a better world, we must find a way to accept each other and our children, for who we are. It is the only way.