Recently a colleague connected me via email with a family (staying near my city for a few weeks) who wanted to find a gender diverse play group so their child could meet other kids who felt similarly. I was crushed to inform the folks that an open group doesn’t exist here (to my knowledge) like it does in Portland (thanks to TransActive) or in Berkley (thanks to Gender Spectrum). It doesn’t formally exist… but it should.
For years I’ve attended meetings and forums and guest speaker event and coffee chats and every group and conference under the sun to organize a consistent and accessible play group for gender diverse kids that is appropriately open to the public near where I live. No dice.
Well established LGBT organizations won’t even talk with me about it. When I offer my help in the effort to connect gender diverse kids and their families you’d think by the looks on their faces that I’m asking for a private plane to a free chalet in France with three bags of unmarked bills. Not responsive. To say the least.
Years ago I actually started a play group for gender diverse kids without any clear indication of where it was headed, and what I found was that the Universe connected me and my child with some of the most loving individuals I will ever know in this lifetime. They’ve saved my life, challenged me to think and question my own belief systems in a healthy and productive way, and opened my eyes to the beautiful spectrum of life. And not just the gender spectrum. We’re talking the whole gamut of life. These are true blue friends, a support system that I cherish, and now it’s more like seeing family than just friends. You can see why the kids want to keep our little group private.
Would we all have met if our kids weren’t in similar places at similar times? I don’t know. But its safe to say that had I never known these parents and kids, I would have lost out on the complexity of gender diversity, and the beauty. You heard me say it, beauty. Not that seeing therapists and doctors is a glamorous endeavor, or that watching your child struggle is all “worth it”, but it is, in my opinion, divinely right. Take that for what it is.
Our kids and families have significant challenges, but so do other families. Maybe we are more loving now that we know how hard life can be? Maybe our kids have more compassion for others because of their journey? I can’t fit everything into a nice, neat, little box, I’m done with that endeavor, but I know that this journey opened my eyes to truth and love and community in a way that was never possible before.
Am I seeing the glass half full? You bet. And for all the things I still long to achieve… another book, a local play group, a way for schools to embrace gender diversity (the list goes on), I still have so much to be grateful for.
Thank you for reading these words. Thank you for following our lives, and for sending us your love and good wishes. (We are stronger because of your good energy!) Thank you to the thousands of people who email me the stories of their lives. Your courage has been the beacon guiding my next step along this (sometimes dark) path. Your wisdom has talked me off the ledge more times than I could count. And your sheer devotion to the truth continues to be a gift that heals me day after day. If you ever knew how much it all means to me.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.