Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Brighter Future

Jeff & Hillary Whittington have a six year old son. Their son, Ryland Whittington, is enjoying a happy childhood. One of the reasons why Ryland Whittington is enjoying a happy childhood is because his parents decided to listen to him when he gave them a critical message.

Isn't this what ultimately matters? Doesn't Ryland deserve a happy and fruitful childhood? Must he endure the kind of pain, hardship, suffering, and sometimes even abuse that defined the childhoods of so many of us who had to hide in the closet when we were young?

Even after growing up, far too many transgender Americans still experience immense hardship. They're at risk of being shut out of the locker room, questioned over their actual identity, denied shelter, thrown out of the classroom, beaten on a train, and even murdered. This isn't rhetoric. This is reality.

Perhaps all of this is a joke to Rush Limbaugh, but not to the trans* community. Perhaps he and some others want to keep "debating language". But for the rest of us, this isn't a debate. This isn't "rhetoric". This is real life.

Why should we force anyone to suffer? Why must we subject certain people to wrongful discrimination simply because of who they are? Why should anyone have to hide one's true self?

Zoe and Ofelia have had to tackle these questions because this is their life. Zoe is a 7th grader who attends a Los Angeles County public school, and Ofelia is her mother. Zoe had been struggling because she felt no one else truly understood her. But when her mom provided her with love & support, and when the State of California took action to ensure safe schools for all, Zoe had the space she needed to flourish.

Now this is what we call family values. And if Cresent Hardy (or anyone else, for that matter) still has questions about "segregation laws", perhaps he should speak with Zoe & Ofelia and the Whittingtons. We're sure they can educate him on value of true acceptance and the meaning of equality.

And really, we can all learn something from them. After all, don't we want to give more kids the chance to enjoy a happy childhood? Shouldn't we give all our kids a brighter future?

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