Dear Cishet Parents of Cishet Kids: (BTW: If you don’t know what cishet means, thanks for being curious: Cishet means you are both cisgender and heterosexual, aka: identify as the gender you were assigned at birth, and attracted to people of the opposite gender.)
If you’ve been supportive, yet silent in your support of trans kids and families, it’s officially time to upgrade your game from ally to accomplice.
Legislators are playing a political game that is putting the lives of your friends, neighbors, and classmates at risk. Greg Abbott has given free reign to Family and Protective Services in Texas to investigate all trans children and prosecute their parents as child abusers.
Teachers, doctors, and caregivers now have free reign to report any trans student (even though they are technically under no legal obligation to since Abbot’s letter is non-binding.) That student could be interviewed or put into “protective custody” while they’re being investigated. PARENTAL CONSENT IS NOT REQUIRED – Parents may not even be notified of the interview.
The only reaction to this situation is under-reaction at this point. We all need to be doing something. And don’t assume that if you don’t live in Texas that you’re safe. This is just a dress rehearsal for what’s to come if we don’t stop this now.
To start with:
1. Call your friends with trans kids. Check on them. Love on them. This is as scary as it gets as a parent. Imagine for one moment someone being able to take your kids away simply because you see them and love them for who they are.
2. Speak up. Many parents of trans kids do not feel safe putting a spotlight on their child or their family. You have the emotional distance to be a megaphone for their voices. Let them hear and see you supporting their kids. This doesn’t have to be in a formal setting. Speak up a wine nights. Speak up at the pick up line at school. The more others see you speaking up, the more comfortable they will be to do the same.
3. Show up. Parents of trans kids can’t be the only ones showing up at the capitol & school board meetings to defend their kids. Aside from not always being safe physically, or emotionally, they are busy parents, just like you. Allies need to be “relief pitchers” to show up in physical spaces to provide trans kids and their families space to heal from the ugliness and have the luxury of doing the same family things you want to do with your kids.
4. Be a safe space. Sure, rainbow tshirts and Facebook flag backgrounds can often be virtue signaling, but they can also help indicate you’re a safe space. Want to be more clear that you’re a safe space? Tell people. Let parents of trans kids know that you’re a safe carpool partner, home base if there’s an encounter at a bus stop, phone to call if they need an emergency pick up, or just someone to listen.
5. Support comprehensive, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex ed. Kids don’t grow up to be Greg Abbott when they’ve learned to treat classmates with dignity and respect.
6. And of course, get political! This means calling your representatives. Don’t know who represents you? Here you go! https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home This also means VOTE – and not just for presidents – The school board votes you cast may be the most important decisions you ever make for your kids.
7. Stay informed. If you’re in Texas, join us at Informed Parents of Austin