Dear Trans Kids in Arkansas

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

You don’t know me, but as the parent of a trans kid I adore, I can’t help but feel like I (kind of) know you.

And, I’m sorry. I am achingly, angrily sorry.

I’m sorry this nation has failed you so spectacularly. I’m sorry for every day you wake up to hear people debate your right to exist, your right to access gender-affirming health care, your right to basic decency and the recognition of your humanity.

I’m sorry you have to listen to people who intentionally misinterpret science, publish misleading articles and books, knowingly frame your very human experience as pathological, speak with any sense of authority about who you are as a person.

I’m sorry you have to answer these same people, sit before those you understand as more powerful (in the moment) and offer up the deepest, most essential parts of yourself in exchange for a chance at being acknowledged as human.

I’m sorry for every second you’ve sat with any doubt or wonder that you belong here, with me, with us, with everyone and everything, as necessary to this earthly community as air and trees and birds that sail on the wind.

I’m sorry for the nights you’ve laid awake thinking that maybe you’d be better off somewhere else, not here. I’m sorry for every single millisecond you might have stood before a mirror and thought a burden was staring back at you.

I’m sorry for every wandering eye you’ve caught staring, and for every ounce of anxiety or fear you’ve felt stepping into a bathroom or onto a playing field. I’m sorry for the questions and the way perfect strangers feel entitled to interrupt your autonomy at every turn.

I’m sorry for all the time you’ve lost and the innocence you’ve had stolen by the brutish bearers of moral outrage who bully and babble about honesty without recognizing you are honesty embodied. I’m sorry for all the ways in which you’ve been disregarded and disrespected, all the times you’ve been dismissed as less than and not enough one moment and too much and too abundant another.

I’m sorry everyone doesn’t see you as I do: Beautiful and worthy, the universe’s true north.

But.

I promise you I won’t give up.

I promise you that even though I do not live in your state, I will fight for you as I would and do my own child.

I promise you I see you and value you. I am not arrogant enough to believe I can fully understand your experience, but I’ve borne witness to my own trans kid’s journey and will speak my truth as a parent loudly and unapologetically.

I promise you I will carry every burden I can and pluck from your shoulders all the weight of the world you allow me.

I promise you I know better. I promise you I see the lies and purposeful hate directed at you and recognize the roots of ignorance and fear when I see them. I promise you I will not stop until I’ve plowed them under, turned them to dust and sent them flying into the wild empty yonder where they belong.

I promise you that every day I wake it’s with a commitment to you, a commitment to helping you build the world you deserve, the world that deserves you.

I promise you are central to my understanding of this world. Without you, I would be lost. Without you, I would not know who I am after mining my own deep truths, a clearer, more honest version of my personhood unearthed by your example.

I promise you are loved.

I promise you are seen.

I promise you there are countless others with me who will do everything they can to keep you safe and affirmed.

I promise you I won’t stop until everyone in this world sees you as I do: Beautiful and worthy, the universe’s true north.