Petition update

Mom Tells Us What It's Like Having An 8-Year Old Trans Child in New York

Empire State Pride Agenda

Feb 4, 2015 — We first met 8-year-old Q and his mom Francisca last year. They both traveled from Brooklyn to Albany last April for our annual lobby day, Equality & Justice Day, and even at his young age Q was already looking for ways to be involved – checking out workshops, making connections with other transgender youth, and even passing out feedback forms at the Transgender People of Color Caucus!

Not only did Francisca pen a powerful letter in support of her trans son Q and the fight for transgender equal rights, but Q himself wrote a letter - and then recorded it "reporting live from Brooklyn." Check out Francisca's letter and the video of Q reading his letter below and spread the word for more people to sign our petition calling on Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and the New York State Legislature to pass two life-saving bills this session - GENDA, to provide basic civil rights protections to transgender New Yorkers, and the bill to protect LGBT youth from conversion efforts!

FROM FRANCISCA:

I am a Latina immigrant single mother of two boys, eight and five years old. They are half African American, half Colombian, and they are both so beautiful. My older son, Q, is a transgender boy. Don’t get me wrong; it’s very scary to think how the world could react against this little human being, just because of his identity. I am brown, I am an immigrant, and I am a community organizer, so I think about racism and oppression and how they affect my family and my community almost every minute of my life. To look at my little boy and imagine his gender identity adding another layer of oppression to my child’s life is torture.

Two years ago, when Q was just six years old, he started to get really frustrated about himself, his body, his clothes. He complained about not liking himself. He would compare himself to all his classmates and find himself wanting. This was to the point of total paralysis every morning getting ready to go to school. He had always been a happy, cheerful, smiling child, but his happiness started to fade. I don’t want to over simplify it, but a little experiment made everything clear. My friend lent me a couple of boy’s pants and t-shirts in Q’s size, and just like that, his happiness started to come back. Little by little he stated more and more clearly how he knew he was a boy; first to me, then to his father, then to school and to the world. He was only a little child; he had no fear of oppression or discrimination – he only knew that he was different from how everyone was treating him, and wanted us to listen to who he really was. With the recognition that he was truly a boy, he was fully human and happy.

I remember I had a gathering in the park with some people from work one summer day. Nobody knew him as a girl so he asked me to introduce him as Marco. He had just come up with that name, his dad had just cut his hear short and he was happily wearing boys clothes. That was the first time nobody doubted him and he didn’t have to explain himself. I understood this was not an experiment; this was life happening in front of me. My child was transgender – I want to say happily and beautifully transgender.

I used to debate over my decision to support him. If I didn’t support him to be himself, he wouldn’t have so much trouble finding a bathroom in school; he wouldn’t have to remind people every day about his gender; he would have a past for himself instead of an imaginary sister he points to when we look at family pictures. I know that as far as the outside world will treat him, it would probably be safer for him to stick to the “norm” and try to forget about being a boy. Trans people have trouble finding jobs, finding homes, because employers don’t want to hire them, landlords don’t want to rent to them. Trans people can’t access the same health care as non-trans people. Trans people are questioned in every government agency, every hospital. Trans people can even get killed in the streets, just for being who they are… I know…. As I’m writing this my eyes get watery and I’m shaking.

But tell me, what is more powerful and liberating than being fully yourself? I know that in the end, the most dangerous thing I could do would be to try and erase his identity by trying to make Q be something he is not. When challenges come, we will deal with them knowing that we are as strong and safe as we could be just by being real and honest to ourselves. My child is an amazing creature. At eight years old, he knows people need time to understand that we are all different; he respects people’s pace and trusts their processes. We as a society should value much more the perspective and experiences of Q and others like him; a perspective that is so much more rounded and complete than the so-called “norm”.
I don’t want to change him. I’m ready to change the world.

TRADUCCIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO:

Soy una inmigrante Latina y madre soltera de 2 hijos de 8 y 5 años. Mis hijos son mitad afroamericanos y mitad Colombianos y ambos son hermosos. Mi hijo mayor, Q, es niño transgénero. No se equivoquen con mi tono, me asusta mucho el pensar en cómo este mundo puede reaccionar en contra de este pequeño ser humano, solo por su identidad. Yo soy una mujer de color, soy inmigrante y soy organizadora comunitaria, ósea que pienso sobre los efectos del racismo y la opresión en mi familia y mi comunidad cada minuto de mi vida. Mirar a mi chiquito y pensar que su identidad de género va a sumar otra capa de opresión a su vida, me tortura.

Hace 2 años, cuando Q sólo tenía 6, empezó a sentirse frustrado de sí mismo, de su cuerpo y de su ropa. Se quejaba de que no le gustaba ser como era. Se comparaba con sus compañeros de clase, se sentía imperfecto y añoraba ser como ellos. Esta situación nos llevó a un punto de total parálisis en las mañanas al alistarnos para salir a la escuela. El siempre había sido un niño alegre, sonriente, feliz, pero su felicidad comenzó a desvanecer. No quisiera simplificarlo demasiado, pero un pequeño experimento aclaró todo. Mi muy buena amiga me prestó un par de pantalones y camisetas de su hijo que le servían a Q y tan sencillo como eso, su felicidad volvió a nacer. Poco a poco comenzó a decir con más claridad que estaba seguro que el era un niño, primero a mi, luego a su papá y finalmente en la escuela y al mundo entero. Era un chiquitín, no tenía ni idea ni miedo a la opresión o a la discriminación – él sólo sabía que era diferente a como los demás lo habían tratado hasta ahora y quería que pusiéramos atención a quien él era en realidad. Con el reconocimiento de que era un niño de verdad, Q se sintió completamente humano y feliz.

Me acuerdo que fuimos a una fiesta de mi trabajo en un parque algún día ese verano. Nadie lo conocía como niña así que me pidió que lo presentara como Marco. Se acababa de inventar ese nombre, su papá acababa de cortarle el pelo y estaba muy contento con su ropa de niño. Esta fue la primera vez que nadie tuvo dudas sobre él y no le tocó dar explicaciones sobre sí mismo. Ahí fue cuando entendí que esto no era un experimento, era la vida pasando en frente de mis ojos. Mi hijo es transgénero- Quiero decir felizmente y hermosamente transgénero.

Antes me preguntaba sí mi decisión de apoyarlo era acertada. Si no lo apoyara, de pronto no tendría tantos problema encontrando un baño en la escuela; no tendría que recordar a la gente mil veces al día sobre su género; tal vez tendría un pasado propio, en vez de una hermana imaginaria a la que señala cada vez que vemos fotos de familia. Yo entiendo que para la manera en la que el mundo de afuera lo puede tratar, probablemente sería mas seguro para él atenerse a la “norma” y olvidar que es un niño. Las personas trans enfrentan obstáculos buscando trabajos, buscando donde vivir, porque los empleadores no los quieren contratar y los caseros no les quieren rentar. La personas trans no tienen el mismo acceso a servicios de salud que los no-trans. Las personas trans son cuestionadas en todas las agencias del gobierno, en cada hospital. Las personas trans incluso son asesinadas en las calles solo por ser lo que son… YO SE!… Mientras que escribo esto mis ojos se llenan de lágrimas y no puedo dejar de temblar.

Pero que alguien me diga, qué es más poderoso y liberador que ser uno mismo? Yo sé que al final lo más peligroso que puedo hacer es tratar de borrar su identidad y hacer de Q alguien que él NO es. Cuando se presente cada reto, nos haremos cargo a su tiempo y sabremos que somos tan fuertes y estamos tan a salvo como podemos por el simple hecho de que somos reales y honestos con nosotros mismos. Mi hijo es una criatura maravillosa. A los 8 años sabe que la gente necesita tiempo para entender que todos somos diferentes; respeta el ritmo de cada persona y confía en sus procesos. Nosotros, como sociedad, deberíamos dar mucho más valor a la perspectiva y las experiencias de Q y otros como él; una perspectiva que es mucho mas redondeada y completa que la de la tan llamada “norma”.

Yo no quiero cambiarlo a él. Estoy lista para cambiar el mundo.


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