On Monday, June 2, 2014, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer bloggers, their family members, and allies from across the U.S. and around the world will celebrate the ninth annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day. The event, developed and run by the award-winning LGBTQ-parenting site Mombian, and sponsored by Family Equality Council, aims to raise awareness of LGBTQ families, their diverse natures, and how current prejudices and laws have a negative impact on their lives and children.
My 3 year old son looked up to me with enormous brown eyes and told me that there had been a mistake. I knew all too well what he was about to say next. "Mommy, why was I born with a boy body, when I'm really a girl? When is the good fairy going to change my body into a girl body? Somebody made a mistake."
Dozens of conversations similar to this had been occurring since he could find the words to tell me. Yet, the signs where there even before that. This child never acted like the boy he was deemed to be. As soon "he" could crawl, he gravitated towards anything considered "girl-ish"--dolls, sparkly toys, and especially mermaids.
Our journey had begun. When it became clear that our son was really our daughter and was “labelled” transgender, our family made a vow that this child, who we now call Jazz, would be loved unconditionally. By age 5, our sweet Jazz was our son no longer, and our lives were turned upside once again when our family appeared on 20/20 with Barbara Walters. At the time, we had no idea that we were opening the door to a world that was considered taboo. The media had never featured a 6-year-old transgender child, and what was once hidden behind closed doors came blasting at millions of viewers across the world.
Our advocacy had begun, our mission was clear… we needed to help other families like ours. Thus, we started the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation, with the ultimate goal of putting smiles on the faces of kids that are having a rough time.
During the years following our 20/20 appearance, it was obvious that Jazz was born attached to her little soapbox. She has evolved into an incredible speaker. She knows how to pull at heart springs, educate minds, and stand up for what she believes in. She speaks across the country, always with me by her side. Jazz’s older sister, older twin brothers, and my husband are very supportive and we gear our projects towards the family. It’s important for others to know that the roots of support for trans youth stem from the family. Jazz will tell you that she’s probably wouldn’t be alive it if weren’t for the love and support she receives at home.
This has been difficult. The public thinks they know you when they see a slice of your life in the media, but it’s only a fraction of what happens on a daily basis. Jazz has her rough days; the discrimination is rampant. Many tears are shed but Jazz is the most courageous child I’ve ever known. You can knock her down and she gets right back up. She recently told me that when she reads hateful comments on the internet, it only fuels her to want to advocate more. “I want to show the world that they can’t get to me. I’m going to fight harder to help other kids until the world is a better place for trans youth,” she tells me with a grin on her face, a dimple in her chin, and a twinkle in her eye.