The Greater Good in Action and the Hopelab team up with new tools!
Did you know that…
…keeping a daily journal of three good things that happen; writing about something that inspired you; a journal of self-care and compassion and self meditation are some of the practices that can lead to increased resilience and joy?
The Hopelab and the Greater Good Science Center of Berkeley have teamed up to bring you some concrete tools. Check them out!
A busy period of growing the Camp, creating a teen program and finishing up the semester as a professor. And I have been learning about how to be an ally and parent to a transgender daughter. A lot of work has been done on checking in on myself, my family and my community.
So much tragedy this year. So much joy as well.
How do we reconcile both?
We seek justice for the intersection of gender, sexuality, class, race, ability, and those experiencing temporary homeless and deserving communities.
And we focus locally.
So here we begin in the Bay Area where we think there is plenty, and there is, but there is still so much more possible. And we begin with this camp and creating safe spaces.
I know there has been a lot of reaction to Bruce Jenner’s interview with Dianne Sawyer and the visibility of the uniqueness and individuality of all gender non binary stories. My own family also lent our voice and became visible, because we believe it is important to stand in alliance. Let’s us honor the courage and bravery it takes for one to embark on their gender journey.
I came across the following quotes on “Resilience” from Rick Hanson’s Wise Brain Bulletin and thought it fitting to remind us all that yes, there is struggle for our community as we learn to be allies to our gender non binary youth, but there also can be joy, triumph and resilience, too. Be brave, be bold, and let’s also hope that all youth can thrive as we further the work on the gender revolution that is taking place in the Bay Area right now.
Mastering the art of resilience does much more than restore you to who you once thought you were. Rather, you emerge from the experience transformed into a truer expression of who you were really meant to be.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear. It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only is such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
M. Scott Peck
It’s been a heartbreaking time since the suicide of Leelah Alcorn on December 27, 2014 . The transgender and gender expansive community has been so saddened precisely because 2014, as other’s have pointed out, seemed to be a watershed year for transgender people.
Signing the change.org “Leelah’s Law” to ban conversion therapy is one way to help your community. Being an ally to gender expansive youth is another. Supporting gender expansive youth, of course, is ultimately the mission of Bay Area Rainbow Day Camp.
In response to Leelah Acorn’s Suicide, Bay Area Rainbow Day Camp’s Advisory Board Member Jennifer Finney Boylan’s responds with “How To Save Your Life” in New York Time’s Opinion Pages on 6 January 2015.
Dominic Holden of BuzzFeed writes on 9 January 2015 “Advice For America From Parents Who Support Their Transgender Kids.”
Caitly Ryan of San Francisco State University’s Family Acceptance Project discusses why you don’t have to choose between your faith and your LGBT child in the Washington Post article on January 7, 2015.
A group of mom’s created a text based system for transgender and gender expansive youth to reach out called “Ally Moms.” Yours truly is on it. If you are a mom who wants to be a part of the group, email me, and I’ll put you in contact with the founder of the group. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Parents realize we don’t get to choose our children, just as children realize they didn’t ask to be born. Gender is also not a choice, because our children are following their core identity. Let us support the lives of our children we have with integrity, kindness and compassion. If you can, be present with your children and be flexible and open to learning about who they are. For before you know it, they will be out in the world, and let us hope that they know just how perfect they are just as they are.
PFLAG has just published this amazing guide to being a trans ally*. As a cisgender parent to a transgender child, it has been incredibly helpful as I navigate this new terrain.
I make mistakes all the time as I talk to my partner, my children, my family, the schools and my community. I am working on my own self, as I mourn the loss of my son, my expectations and my internal biases in order to celebrate the arrival of my daughter and the new expectations of raising a transgender daughter in the 21st century in the Bay Area despite the liberal bearings and legal protections. We still face bullying and discrimination every day. I need to stay strong. My family needs to stay strong.
So we need to be educated on how to be an ally for each other for our child. This is about Parenting 101. This is about being an ally.
If recent events in America have taught us anything,it is the awesome words of Martin Luther King, Jr. that keep reverberating in my soul, “We will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” So, let us stand up and protect our children but also all children. We first begin at home and then we begin protecting all children, transgender or not. We need to accept all children who walk this Earth with loving kindness.
I’ve been thinking about how to explain gender identity and expression to different audiences: children, teens, fellow parents, and grandparents. It requires different communication skills, vocabulary and vulnerability levels.
I’ve written about communicating with grandparents for Gender Spectrum (https://www.genderspectrum.org/blog/glitters-pink/), and I felt comfortable writing about the conflicts involved about being a good daughter, daughter-in-law and parent. I knew the familial bonds were strong and that no matter how vulnerable I made myself, I would be met with loving kindness from my family.
Recently, my own daughter has been a target from a girl at her school about being transgender. I haven’t found the strength necessary for direct parent to parent communication and the vulnerability for heart to heart discussion required for this type of work about the parent’s transphobia and how this is being passed on to their child. In part, my past interactions with this particular parent has been met with many mis-steps and mis-communications. I realize that it is less about vocabulary then about what happens when one side of a pair is open and the other hostile? How do we educate when the other cannot listen? How do I teach my child to be resilient when I feel so weak? I am struggling with how to model being strong when I feel so unsure as to how to approach a parent in my community about their transphobia. Do I educate? Is it the school’s role?
I know I can’t rage like a wild, protective mama bear. So, I back down. Being a member of a parent community versus an activists to educate a community is a much more complex role. Theoretically, these will be the peer group of my daughter’s and my family’s community for the next while. We need harmony, compassion, and understanding. Yet, somehow, it hurts. For the most part, the community has been amazing and so has the school. Yet, one student and one family’s transphobia had led to several incidents, left my daughter crying for weeks, and perhaps will become a barrier to her ability to emotionally and academically thrive at this school.
I didn’t face a large PTA of transphobia like Lori Duron did of “Raising My Rainbow” (http://raisingmyrainbow.com/2014/11/14/to-the-pta-moms-at-my-sons-school/). Yet one voice of transphobia (or any mistreatment) shoots arrows of poison into your child’s heart that they carry with them for the rest of their life. Any parent who has soothed their child’s soul knows this. I am searching for wisdom on how to teach a closed heart.
When the other can listen and when the heart of another is open, this presentation is an amazing visual lesson on gender identity and expression. Until then, I will wait for an opening. Hopeful. Optimistic.