When we heard the story of Avery, a transgender girl living in Kansas City who will be featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine, and how her family was receiving threatening letters and phone calls because of her gender identity, we decided we needed to do something.
In Texas we already know that transgender rights will be one of the topics up for discussion when the Texas Legislature meets starting in January of 2017. The Lieutenant Governor has spent much of the past year attacking transgender Texans with outright lies and has made passing a restrictive restroom access bill one of his top priorities in 2017.
Already, transgender Texans are speaking up. And, like Avery, many of those people are children.
When we read about the negative backlash that Avery and her family were encountering after they shared her story, we recognized that the families of transgender kids here in Texas would likely be facing the same type of challenges as we head into 2017. So we decided to try to balance the scales a little.
We organized 'Transforming Love' an event that encouraged community members to come together and write cards and notes of support to 11 Texas transgender kids and their families. We also encouraged people to write notes to Avery and her family as well.
We recognize that putting yourself or your family into any spotlight is stressful enough, but when children are involved it opens up a whole slew of concerns that can be complicated and more complex.
Our goal was to send these families some positive words to help propel them into the new year.
The stories that these transgender children are telling, the stories that their families are telling, can be so inspirational to people who sometimes feel extremely isolated and alone.
Being a role model is not always easy, and often times it goes without even a simple thank you. We wanted to make sure that these children, and their families, got the thanks they deserve.
We had dozens of people show up to our event and left with more than 120 cards ready to be shipped to these deserving families.
Sometimes just hearing the words, "You are not alone" can be amazingly powerful.