Fighting for my child’s life … every day!

transgender allyI am continually left speechless by the situations I encounter on a regular basis. As a parent, I will never understand or identify with other parents who are able to turn away from their own children.

Doesn’t being a parent mean that you will love, support and nurture from conception until? Isn’t the very definition of parent synonymous with advocacy and guidance?

More than 20 years ago I gave birth to my first child at 29 weeks. Weighing in at a mere pound and a half, my sweet, precious angel was a fighter. From his first breath to his last, he fought to be here. I, as his mother, fought for his life; as his advocate, I fought every minute of every day. He needed me. How else would he get the medical intervention that he needed if I didn’t speak up?

There is section of Jewish teachings, called “Pirkei Avot.” This is loosely translated as “ethics of the fathers.” One of the best known questions posed by Rabbinical leader Hillel, is, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I?” The last sentence should logically read who am I? But as Professor Louis Kaplan taught: “If you are only for yourself, you cease to be a real human being, and you become no longer a who, but a what.”

This is very powerful. As human beings, we should always be looking out for others. As parents, we have an obligation to look out for our children. What are we, if we cannot practice this basic tenet?

Regardless of what you believe, whether you are motivated by faith, guided by some spiritual beliefs or unsure of where religious teachings fit within your life, what sets us apart as humans is the ability to feel compassion and empathy.

What kind of parent turns away from their child? What kind of parent doesn’t fight with every fiber of their being to protect their child? What kind of parent closes the door on the most privileged relationship afforded by god?

I am angry. I am sad. I am shocked. I just don’t get it.

Why are transgender children left with no one to tuck them in? Why are they homeless looking for a roof over their head? Why are they killing themselves? Last week, three separate news stories reported the suicides of transgender teenagers. BABIES.

If you are reading this, please think about how you can be an ally to a transgender teen.

The trans* kids in your community need us. They need to know that people out there love them and accept them for who they are. They need to feel validated as people, as human beings. Isn’t that what we all need?

I am fighting for my son every minute of every day because I cannot imagine not loving him enough to want to be his advocate. So, I do what I do for all the Hunters out there.

Won’t you join me?

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How to be an ally to someone who is transgender

If you are reading this, chances are you know someone who is transgender. Maybe you are a friend of mine. Perhaps you suspect your child is gender non-conforming. Are you trying to understand one of your students? Did a family member just come out? If you are reading this, it is likely that you’ve come here with an open mind.

transgender allyAs with any situation that we don’t fully understand, sometimes we are afraid to ask questions. We don’t want to offend or use the wrong terminology. We want to show that we care. We want to demonstrate acceptance. We want to talk the talk and walk the walk.

So, I asked my transgender son where he thought there was an information gap regarding understanding the “trans” community. He gave me some pointers to share when talking with, about or on behalf of a transgender individual.

Hunter’s Advice

If you have a friend who has entrusted you with the extremely personal secret of being a trans person, do yourself and your friend a favor; go on the internet and research what you don’t understand. This shows that you’re not just pushing the secret aside; knowing the basics can make it so much easier for the friend trying to explain themselves to you.

Use correct pronouns. He, she, they, them, and xe are some that are widely used. If you aren’t sure of their preference, ASK!! It may sound weird saying in your head “so what pronouns do you prefer?” but it isn’t weird. No one will be offended.

Refrain from using derogatory terms like tranny, he/she, she-male, “a trans”, it, fake, etc. The phrase “a transgender” is incorrect grammar. Transgender individuals are people. The word transgender is an adjective not a noun.

Another important factor is the person’s name–the transgender individual’s chosen name is their name no matter what it says on their birth certificate.


It took us awhile to transition to using male pronouns and changing names. We took our cues from Hunter. When he asked, we complied. Some want to change names as soon as they come out. For Hunter, it was a slower process. For that, I am grateful. The months that passed gave us a transition period. We were able to get used to changes in little bits and pieces.

Remember, to quote a famous poet, “a rose by any other name smells as sweet.” Just because your child wants to be called by a different name or dress differently doesn’t mean he is a different person. If your friend identifies as a gender other than the one she was assigned at birth, she is just expressing a desire to live authentically. She is the same person.

Please share and encourage others to be an ally to the transgender community. Plenty of teens and young adults are supported. However, many are not. They could use a friend, an ally.

This post is in honor of Leelah Alcorn’s memory.

If you are a transgender individual and need an ally, you can click here for a list of Ally Moms.

I stumbled across this video about being an ally. It’s a really well done YouTube video and worth a couple of minutes to watch.