Post submitted by Melissa Vivanco, HRC Houston Community Engagement co-chair and Board of Governors
Last week, Erika R. and Kimberly S. visited with HRC members and supporters in Houston to share their personal stories about raising transgender children. Mini Timmaraju, Women’s Vote Director at Hillary for America, also came to meet Erika and Kimberly.
Erika and Kimberly shared two very different stories. As a pastor, religion played an important role in Kimberly’s story. Her church was involved in her child’s diagnosis and recommended the dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Kimberly went on to describe the day when she realized her four-year-old was talking about wanting to die and how this could not continue.
Erika realized something was different about her child at an early age and let her child wear what they wanted growing up. At the age of 11, her child sent an email from the other room about being transgender. Even though Erika was ready to support her child from the beginning, it did not mean her path was any easier.
As Texas residents, Kimberly and Erika are both dealing with school boards and local officials who are not supportive of their transgender children. That’s why this election is so important to both of them. They both believe that the only way to get assistance in dealing with Texas laws is through federal legislation, which is why both of these brave mothers are united in support of Hillary Clinton. In fact, this is the first time Kimberly will vote for a Democrat in her lifetime.
Reflecting on how impactful this meeting was for me, I believe the path forward in opening hearts and minds is for other mothers of the movement to find the courage like these amazing mothers did. We need more parents to speak out and share their stories.
Over the past several years, HRC has seen dramatic gains in transgender visibility and acceptance. Despite this increase, we have seen a slew of hateful anti-transgender legislation and an epidemic of violence against transgender women of color.
Parental support is a key component in the fight for full equality for transgender and gender-expansive youth. When parents and families support and affirm transgender children, they help create a safer and more accepting world for them. Check out HRC’s Moms for Transgender Equality and Dads for Transgender Equality video series to learn more.
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