Dear Trans Kids: Read This Whenever You Forget How Absolutely Amazing You Are

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Dear Trans Kids,

First, let me start off by saying that I’m so proud of you. And a bit jealous of your self-knowledge at such a young age. The courage and bravery you have and will continue to develop just from being born you is off the charts. It takes both of those things to walk around in your skin everyday. I know it’s hard – I know you might not see the light at the end of the tunnel or don’t know how this is all going to work out. Maybe you haven’t even told anyone yet. But don’t forget, you told yourself – and that’s HUGE. It scared the hell of out me when I told myself and I was in my late 30’s. It was an “ummm come again” moment. Like “what did you just say to yourself?”

I hope for you that you have people in your life that are supportive. Being Trans is difficult enough – doing it alone at a young age would be near impossible. That is another reason why you’re so amazing. People can’t just do this because it’s actually a matter of life and death. This isn’t something that a person chooses because it’s cool; it’s who you are. You’re not weird, you’re not wrong, you’re not a shame – you ARE extraordinary and beautiful.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to go to middle/high school everyday in some parts of this country. There are people out there right now actively working to make it harder than ever for you to be yourself, to get the life-saving healthcare and support that you need, to participate in sports. These attacks are a reflection of them and their fears, ignorance and bias, not you. And we will never stop fighting for you.

You are being authentic, strong and brave. Remember to be smart, be safe and be you as much as you can and as much as you feel comfortable. If your parents are supportive, ask them to speak up on your behalf. If your parents aren’t supportive, this can be tricky, but this is your life and community is important. Does your school have a club or is there a teacher you look up to? You need support and you need people who will remind you that you are loved, that you matter and that your life has value. I’m here – and I mean that. Email me, tweet at me, write me on here – I will answer, I promise.

You’re not weird, you’re not wrong, you’re not a shame – you ARE extraordinary and beautiful.

I’m so proud of your honesty and determination to be who you are. That is a gift that I hope you keep with you throughout the rest of your life. When you know something is right or there is something that you want, don’t stop until you get it.

This will be the fight of your life, LITERALLY. A couple good things about that: 1. You aren’t alone; we are a beautiful collection of amazing people who have incredible talent. Connect with the community – social media is a great place to get started. 2. There are people out here speaking up and speaking out. Calling representatives, being active on social media and demanding that your rights are protected. I will never stop – we will never stop.

I just wanted to tell you that I’m sorry about what’s happening across the country right now. I’m sorry about how disappointed and scared you must be feeling right now. Try hard not to let that take you over – you are going to be ok. You can and will make it. Take advantage of resources that are out there. Here’s a few:

  • The Trevor Project – this site is geared 100% towards LGBTQIA+ youth!! Check it out.
  • GLAAD – I LOVE GLAAD!!! They have so many great resources for both you and family members and other allies. Resources for healthcare, counseling. It’s a great site.
  • OutSports – always telling great stories of people coming out in the LGBTQIA+ sports community.
  • The Reconstructed Man Podcast – hosted by my friend Daniel and I. We share our Trans journeys and other tips, tools and resources.

Please remember that being Trans is beautiful. You are special, unique and strong in ways that people outside of our community could never understand. Be kind to yourself. This is a marathon and not a sprint – be patient and try to enjoy the ride. You are becoming you and there is no one else on this earth who can do you as well as you can.

Layne

For the purposes of clarity, when I say kids, I’m talking to anyone under the age of 18. I still think that 18-24ish year olds are kids but they’ve got some other options and avenues that traditional aged youth don’t. I like to include that group in some of this especially when considering college athletes who fall within that age range.

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