Raising my voice here to speak directly to the children, teens, adults, and elders in Texas and beyond, who are no doubt being traumatized by the daily news cycle of anti-trans bills, as well as Abbotts latest stunt. I am writing to you as both a professional with decades of experience in gender affirmative psychotherapy, as well as the friend, colleague, and chosen family of gender gifted people for whom I have the greatest regard. It has been the honor of my lifetime to make this a central focus of my work and activism.I see you. I see your radical, radical beauty. We see your capacity to hold the contradictions, the tensions, and the brilliance of gender in the kaleidoscope of your being.
As your ally, I want you to know this. You are radically beautiful.
By beautiful, I do not mean conventional or culturally sanctioned beauty. I mean, the beauty of wholeness, deep integral wholeness. Whatever way you may be embodied, whatever your circumstance, wherever you find yourself on the journey of becoming yourself, you are radically beautiful, radically whole.
You may not have asked for this path, or asked to be here in this time. But you are here, with your gifts, and we are here standing with you and we see you.
School teachers, parents, aunts and uncles, I’m talking to you now. These children, these young people, elders, who are gender defiant and gender expansive. They are some of our greatest treasures. I ask that you hold them, extend them kindness, and hold their hand through these times. Spend time with them, get to know who they are inside, beyond gender, beyond the ways that they might blow your mind about gender. You will be blessed.
To my dear queer kin, all of you, in Texas, Ukraine, Russia, and beyond. I am here to tell you, that you are not alone. We see you. We stand with you.
You come from an ancestral line of Trans-cestors that are standing with you and holding you up. Ancestors, who exploded the gender binary, like you. They stood as sentinel and radical bones of community, as leaders, warriors, art makers, as aunties, uncles, fire makers, and healers. This has always been the gift of the Trans-cestors. They are standing with you now. You stand on the shoulders of your ancient queer trans-cestral line and you, sweet soul, are their dreams realized.
People might malign or misunderstand your beauty. People might project their greater fears upon you. They may project a heroic narrative that is only half of the truth. Do not accept these projections. They are not you. They are not yours.
Trust that you are here for a purpose: to bring your gifts. And all that transpires now, and all that came before you, is working to bring these forth.
You will come through this, because you have access to deep and abundant internal resources that you have only begun to tap. I’m speaking here about your internal and eternal resources, those that lie within your deep, deep self. Whatever you need to do to protect yourself, to care for yourself, to practice compassion for yourself; will be a sacred act.
I’ve worked with hundreds of gender diverse clients and their families in my 22 years of specializing in affirmative psychotherapy. Among my friends, colleagues, and chosen family, I walk with many gender gifted souls, who nourish my life. My heart is filled with the memories of witnessing the transformational nature of the birthing process for a gender diverse child, teen, parent. Over and over again, I hear parents marvel at their child’s becoming, and their blossoming into their fullness. The journey is not a guarantee of ease, or devoid of mental health difficulties. But these issues are infinitely easier to cope with, when the vice of the gender binary, and the trauma of dysphoria is lifted with gender affirming medical care, coming out, and being witnessed by one’s loved ones and community, in an integral and congruent manner.
For CIS Folks
For the cis folks, cis and non-trans, non-queer, family, friends, neighbors and community, we truly have no understanding of the deep and profound ways that becoming oneself, as a gender gifted person is. In North America, dominated by white supremacy and a binary conception of gender lacks the language, or the conceptual understanding of gender as spectrum. Unlike many other cultures with a gender expansive understanding around the world , where there is an understanding of this diversity, America, rooted in the norms of white supremacy and Protestant theology, is just catching up. Therefore, when loved ones, friends, and family come out to us, we are part of a process that is necessary for a trans or nonbinary person to emerge, to be witnessed, and seen.
We are like the pacing loved, in the labor and delivery room, who can only hold the birthing person’s hand, whisper love into their ears, and midwife their journey of birthing. Like the non-birthing parent, we know our lives are about to change, and we often resist the discomfort and unknowable nature of such a process. It can be messy, painful, long. It can be brief, and beautiful. However it goes, our role is to stand by, bring water and prayers, and offer our presence, our care, without our impositions. This becoming process is as natural as birth. And while you may not be on the table, your lives will be blessed by this birthing.
If you are on the fence now about supporting a gender diverse person in your reach, its time to get educated, and get off the fence. I say that with the greatest compassion and urgency. I promise, that once you open your heart to the reality of gender diversity and the fallacy of a binary and essentialist system of understanding gender, your eyes will be opened, your heart will break open, and you will go from seeing the world in black and white, to technicolor.
And if you don’t, if you can’t get off the fence, or stand with our most vulnerable; at least get out of the way. At the very least, do no harm.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Trans and Gender Expansive Community
Dear ones, know that there if you cannot see people around you who see you, accept you and honor your gifts, there are many communities who do. Communities that Celebrate Queerness in its wholeness can be found at the School of Lost Borders, Brave Trails, and Gender Odyssey, just to name a few. Many of them have sliding scale options, scholarships, and online access.
Parents, Educators, Healthcare providers, can access a wealth of knowledge on gender diversity and providing affirmative care for our youth.
Family Acceptance Project offers key information from our research on how families can help support their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) children. These family education booklets have been designated as “Best Practice” resources for suicide prevention for LGBTQ people by the Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention.
Please note** I am not able to take on new clients at this time. For resources in your area, reach out to your local LGBTQIA+ Community Center for a referral.