I just spent the past 20 minutes crying over Leelah Alcorn. It’s not the first time I’ve cried over her story and I doubt it will be the last. I’m gearing up to talk to a large group of people and some of the subject matter will be the barriers to medical care for transgender individuals. I read Leelah’s story because it reminds me (in little daggers to my heart) why I put myself out there and why I share our story. I worry so much for my daughter and for those like her.
The Florida House (and now the Florida Senate) has proposed a bill that would deny my daughter the right to use the woman’s bathroom. The basis of the bill is to protect the safety of women in bathrooms who might be in a stall next to a man intent on harming them. But, if the bill passes, then who will protect my 9 year-old daughter when she enters the men’s room? If the bill passes, it would trickle down into schools. We no longer live in Florida, but we have many transgender friends who remain.
I worry about my daughter for so many reasons. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that 72% of LGBT homicides in 2013 were against transgender women. Attempted suicide rate in the transgender community is approximately 41%, while in youth up to age 20 it could be closer to 50%. Those are statistics that no parent should have to worry about.
So, I’m going to continue to advocate and teach. I’m going to do my best to educate the health professionals whom I work with about transgender issues. I’m going to talk to schools, write this blog, and continue to share our story. My daughter is precious. She loves big. And immediately. If you know her, she loves you. I don’t want her beaten down by a society that isn’t ready for her. I want her to have sleepovers, and school dances, and dates. I want to worry for my daughter like I will worry for my son. Like others get to to worry for their kids. That the date won’t call, that the dance will suck, that the sleepover made them so tired the next day that they puked. I don’t want to have the worries that she’ll be forced to use the men’s room (over my dead body) or that her date will harm her, or that the pressure of being different will push her into suicide.
I never thought that this would be our path. I never thought these would be the issues to keep me up at night. But, I love the people I’ve met through this experience. I can’t say I wouldn’t change things if I could. If I could wave a magic wand and make my daughter a biologic female then you bet your life I would. But, instead, I’ll advocate and teach. I’ll educate, I’ll talk, I’ll blog.
This mom isn’t going anywhere.
Image found at Equality Ohio.