Last week I was among many other people who saw the viral video of a trans teen’s mom giving her her first prescription of hormone therapy. The mother does not explicitly say in the video what she has given her daughter after asking, “Do you know what it is?” as the girl reads the box she pulls out of a black bag. But the first site I saw the video shared by on social media, Hello Giggles, staff writer Natalie Southwick said that, “Erica Maison filmed a short video of her surprising her transgender daughter Corey with her first dose of hormone therapy… 14-year-old Corey had been waiting for more than two years to start hormone therapy.” Stories like this and the emotional videos tied with them warm many of our hearts—especially those of us who live in more progressive areas, like Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, this kind of parental acceptance is not the norm and I believe, in some cases, many LGBTQ+ minors will receive backlash from society’s move towards equality.
The Internet has been helping significantly in the past several years in relaying positive stories revolving around LGBTQ+ persons. I remember taking a course at Eastern my freshman year where we viewed the 1995 film “The Celluloid Closet.” Already twenty years old, the film touched on places all throughout entertainment’s history that alluded to and discussed LGBTQ+ peoples and issues. While progressive for its time—and an overall fantastic documentary—how many people actually had access to those kinds of stories? In today’s culture, the knob of acceptance and embracement of LGBTQ+ peoples as a part of normative society has been turned way up.
In my own life, I have felt my own opinions and beliefs as an ally checked by people I know and come in contact with. And I am only an ally, identifying as a straight cis-gender woman, but how might relationships with these people change if I identified as anything else? Or what if I were to have a child who didn’t “conform” to certain moral standards and I shamelessly treated that child as Corey’s mother treated her? What kind of backlash might I receive?
Whatever that might look like, I’d be ready for it. However, I believe it to be imperative that as LGBTQ+ things become more and more normalized, we cannot forget about the kids who are growing up in a more accepting era but may not have a safe home life. I can see them being told not to “follow the ways of the world” and being neglected and outcast for something their families believe is a choice they have made and not a part of their biological make up.
While I do not wish to begin religious debate, I would like to mention that though Christians are typically the protestors against things like the SCOTUS decision last June, not all people of faith—and not just the Christian faith—are as black and white as they have been in the past, just as most people don’t fall to one extreme or another. As society shifts, even the capital “C” Church is shifting some too. However, I do believe that recent historical events have pushed—and will continue pushing—some people to extreme ends of the debate. While many are in support for people like Corey, and some may lie somewhere in the middle—not completely accepting but not unloving and hateful towards their LGBTQ+ friends and family members—those who have let themselves get pushed to a bitter extreme may yet treat their children, brothers and sisters the way LGBTQ+ people have been horribly treated all throughout history. But in this day in age, we can do something about it.
Keep your eyes open. Being near Ann Arbor, we may assume a friend or acquaintance’s home life or circle of friends are supportive, but this may not be the case. For many the glass is half full but for many others it may get worse before it gets better. A strong support system as well as outside organizations and facilities may still be the difference between a life well lived and a tragic life lost.
(Resources to consider: RIOT Youth in Ann Arbor, QueerZone in Ypsilanti.)