Danny and their parents, seen in a video in the TRUTH series.
The Transgender Law Center has launched a heartwarming new campaign: TRUTH is a national storytelling campaign in which trans and gender nonconforming youth talk about their lives and discuss their identity with their parents. The project includes a video series as well as a guidebook for media reporting on trans youth and a platform for trans youth to share their own life stories. The videos are diverse in location (from Los Angeles to Minnesota to Alabama), races, family structures, as well as gender identities and presentations. One thing the videos do have in common, though, is highlighting the fantastic support systems each young person has in place.
The discussion around trans issues usually falls into one of two: On one end, we read about the bravery and success of Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox. On the other, we hear about horror stories of trans women of color being murdered, LGBTQ homelessness, and how dangerously inaccessible the healthcare system is to trans folks. These conversations are hugely important—ones that I think, honestly, we should be having even more of—but what I love about the TRUTH Campaign is that they give young people a platform to share their positive experiences and love with others.
Each video is short—just under than three minutes—but concise in their messages of learning and acceptance. Zoey, a 13-year-old trans girl living in Los Angeles, and her mom talk about the School Success and Opportunity Act in California, something her mom is especially grateful for. “It’s a wonderful thing that I know that Zoey will be safe going to the restroom,” she says, “And she won’t be stopped and questioned why she’s there.” Other stories, however, allude to systemic discrimination against trans people, especially in the South. Crystal, a 16-year-old trans girl from Kentucky, and her parents talk about having to drive hours to access medical care, as well as the loneliness that comes from being trans in the South and not knowing anyone with a similar experience.
So often we hear about parents who don’t accept their trans kids. Parents say “they just don’t understand,” or that there’s a generational gap, or that they had never heard the word “transgender” until it came out of their child’s mouth. That may be true, but the parents shown in this series all processed their kids’ identities and came out proudly supporting them. They learned. They tried. This campaign shows that you do not have to have a PhD in gender studies or be a teenager on Tumblr to understand trans identities. These stories are proof that acceptance is a reality for many trans kids.
Watch Danny’s story below, and the rest of the series here: