I’m a military spouse and the mom of a transgender 15-year-old daughter. I spend a lot of my days now afraid, especially now that we are facing another attack on the civil rights protections of transgender people. The New York Times recently reported that the Trump-Pence administration may be taking action to define transgender people “out of existence.” While my husband is deployed, we are back home trying to stay proactive as the protections of my child keep growing dimmer.
All that trans people are asking for is to be treated just like anyone else. They want to go to school, attend school clubs, play sports, and not be shunned or hurt. They need to be able to access jobs, medical care, and housing just like the rest of us. The reported changes by this administration would harm my child and limit her ability to get help when she’s discriminated against in many of these areas.
My daughter has faced severe challenges. She has been attacked at school. She was given a severe concussion when she was outed at school. Her school district has an inclusive policy in place, but no guidelines for how to implement the policy. Her access to a public education is on a case by case basis, and up to the administration at the school she attends. Her ability to play sports was up to a 5 principal vote based on her appeal to be treated like all other students in access to school programming.
Being a military family, we have no real say so as to where we live. We can put places on a list and then the service chooses where our service member is needed most. We did get one of the best areas for LGBTQ people here in Northern Virginia. We thought, if anywhere in the world, this is the place that would keep our family safe and protected against hate. That didn’t happen for us though.
Military families must work hard in all places and not take for granted the climate where they live. Being in a progressive area doesn’t feel like it when you experience hate. Love starts at home. Love spreads by speaking at school board meetings and letting kids know they are loved, and by calling your representatives.
As a military spouse and mom of a trans girl, I’m fighting for a world where we can not only thrive in the military community, but in society as a whole. All we want while serving our country is to be able to exist in a welcoming community, make friends, and participate just like all other families.
Amanda Brewer is a program manager for MilPride — an AMPA program for military families with LGBTQ kids. Find out more at www.MilitaryPartners.org/MilPride