One of the things that I have been angry about in my Black community is the disturbing pattern of a cadre of Black parents when their child reveals to them they are trans, negatively react by throwing them out of their homes.
It is a problem so pervasive that 13% of homeless transgender kids in the US are African-American, and that needs to stop. I was cognizant of in it the late 70’s when I was a teen debating whether to tell my own parents about my desire to transition.
It’s a pattern I prayerfully hope is finally changing thanks to Black parents of trans kids who believe the best way to deal with a transgender child is envelop them in love and raise them, not kick them out on the street.
Research shows that trans kids having supportive parents can have a profound positive effect on trans kids,and it stands to reason that if they are happier in childhood, they will grow up to become happier well adjusted adults.
I have been pleased to see in the last few years more Black trans parents at events and conventions in which parents of trans kids gather.
I have much love and respect for DeShanna Neal, who is raising an amazing trans feminine teen daughter in Trinity, who is telling her storyin this ESSENCE article. I was also pleased to see J.R. Ford, one of the trans dads who is speaking out about raising a trans child in this video.
I was thrilled to discover during the recent Gender Infinity Conference I attended that more Black parents are supporting their trans kids and not throwing them on the streets and starting to step up to leadership roles.
I was introduced during Gender Infinity to Gail Levein Barnett, who sits on the Houston PFLAG board and has a trans daughter.
I also met during the conference Jodie Patterson, who is raising her trans son Penel and talked about it during her keynote speech.
I also met other Black parents of trans kids at Gender Infinity and others during this year who have told me they not only love and support them, it’s past time for the transphobic ignorance aimed at them and trans people of all ages in our Black community to immediately end.
I agree with them on that point. Black America, it’s past time for you to stop listening to anti-trans talking points that came from white fundamentalists, being regurgitated by your ministers cooning it up for conservacash and conservative media attention and other ignorant know-nothings.
And yes, in a world in which right wing politicians are ramping up anti-trans hatred for their own political gain, it’s even more imperative that we see more Black parents of trans kids and their allies on the front lines defending our trans youth from legislative and rhetorical attack.
It is past time for Black America to unconditionally love their trans children, not revile them. It’s also imperative that we Black trans adults shower our trans kids with love and support our Mama and Papa Bears raising those kids. As the possibility models for those trans kids, if we don’t love and support our trans kids or the parents raising those trans children, who will?
I am willing to help my people accomplish that mission by working with the parents of trans kids to point out they exist, do what I can to support them, and relentlessly point out the humanity of our trans children is not up for debate or discussion.
If you believe that the children are our future, as the classic lyrics of the song ‘The Greatest Love Of All’ states, and claim you love our children, then by extension, Black trans kids are included.