Saturday, January 3, 2015

Leelah, and all the others who struggle

Happy New Year!

I'm so sorry I don't update regularly! I have been off school for a couple weeks, so I have no good excuse, but I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

Yesterday, I no longer could keep silent about Leelah, or for that matter, the many people who take their lives. I have many friends on Facebook that do not agree with me, so I chose, as a parent, and advocate, to share my story with them, in a very small version. I felt it needed to be said, and I also felt the parents needed to not be judged. They are parents who are in a situation that is so much bigger than themselves, and they will have their own judgment of themselves to deal with, and trust me, that is far more harsh than what others can dole out to them, so think about that when you have these conversations with people.

My FB post:
I have been silent about this tragedy, and the more I thought about it today, as I was charting my paperwork, the more I decided I couldn't be silent about this. This is someone's child. Although the parents of this child did not understand nor take the more appropriate steps that I now know are the appropriate ones, I cannot judge them for what they did or did not do, because I did the same thing. I was fortunate that my child did not leave this earth over my ignorance, and I am fortunate that I did reach out to others (namely, a transwoman I befriended) who helped me understand what I could not seem to hear. However, I will never make that mistake again. I will forever be indebted to our circle of friends and family (church and blood) who stood by Owen by accepting and even advocating when we did not know how to advocate in this realm. That being said, when you do not accept someone for ANYTHING that is not considered a "norm" you are chinking away at self-worth. When a person is not accepted as their true self, it is very hard to live in a place where there is not acceptance. This can come from gender identity, sexual identity, race, size, SO MANY THINGS. These problems are not new, they are just out, and they are your friends, your kids' friends, and probably a few family members. I was not surprised by Owen's news, but I was also not educated (and really, I do feel it was more out of denial than anything). Please, if you know someone who is hurting, help them find acceptance, even if you don't understand or accept yourself. Thank you for listening. I also think a great site for people who have faith issues around this can look at resources at the Marin Foundation out of Illinois. They have been great at researching and have put together many great resources for families of faith to get support from other families.

Much love to you all!

Gretchen

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