Utah Moms Voice Support for Their Trans Children

A panel of 5 moms shared their stories of supporting their transgender and intersex children at the 3rd annual TransAction Gender Conference hosted by the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City this Saturday. The five Utah moms gave voice to their own journeys of accepting their children for who they are and becoming champions for their kids with their families, schools, religious groups, and medical officials.  Local coverage included a piece written by Brian Maffly titled Utah Moms Stand Strong for their Transgender Kids in the Salt Lake City Tribune, Utah’s highest circulated newspaper with over 110,000 readers, which amplified these stories and created a greater opportunity to build support for families like theirs.

“Many think of gender in black and white terms, but there is a great deal of unacknowledged diversity," said Dayne Law, the Pride Center’s transgender program director. The conference supports those who don’t fit in strict male and female categories, as well as their loved ones and the professionals who help them, according to the Tribune.

One mom, Danielle, championed her daughter’s decision to start the first grade going by her chosen pronouns and the name Sammi by educating the school’s officials. Speaking of the difference between attending first grade as a girl, Danielle says, “She’s safe and has made lots of friends. She’s happier, plays more and is more outgoing. She dances a lot now.” A mom whose son is intersex shared her story of standing up to her family and medical professionals by refusing to allow them to surgically ‘correct’ her son.

Another mom, Neca, who has a  17-year-old transgender son named Grayson, spoke of his childhood saying, “He was thrilled when people mistook him for a boy, because he was a boy inside.” After her son officially came out as a boy, Neca took the initiative to speak to her son’s school officials before a new school year began explaining, “I wanted to make sure they knew it. They have a legal obligation to educate your child and make sure they are safe.”

Family acceptance played a big role in what these moms shared. When Neca told her younger son about Grayson being his brother, she shared, “He jumped in enthusiastically, suggesting boy names, all terrible, like Grack and Gross.” Speaking of her parents, Neca goes on to say, “Their love and support has made this so much easier. They understand this has been a challenging situation for Grayson. They know he is trying to do the right thing.”

Danielle, Sammi’s mom, said that even though some of her family objects to her support of Sammi, “The majority of my family members have been awesome, and I’m thankful for that.”

We cannot underestimate the power of the love and support of moms like these. Sharing stories of acceptance, family, and support are part of what moves people to understand the importance of family for transgender and intersex youth.  GLAAD applauds these moms for sharing their stories to change hearts and minds everywhere and the Salt Lake City Tribune for further amplifying these stories of love and support for all youth during Transgender Awareness Month.

This blog was co-authored by Christopher Santorella, Media Field Strategy Intern