The Big Ideas of 2013
BY Michelle Garcia
December 18 2013 1:47 AM ET
Transgender Children Introducing People to the Trans Rights Movement
There has not been a year when transgender minors have been more prevalent. As more parents have become better educated about what it means to be transgender, many of them have provided a comfortable atmosphere for their children to express themselves with the gender they feel is natural. As Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, points out, the first advocates for transgender children are often their parents, who are now more prone than ever to encourage them to live openly and comfortably.
So whether it's Jeydon Loredo, who successfully fought for his right to wear a tuxedo in his high school yearbook, or grade-schooler Coy Mathis, who had to fight just for the right to use the girls' bathroom (and won), these kids are all backed up by parents, siblings, and other family members who support them.
And as those children's stories make headlines in news outlets around the world, more people see how being transgender is innate. It's something that a child can see in themselves as young as 4 or 5, and maybe even younger. These children become living, breathing illustrations of the struggle to understand one's identity while also offering real examples of how transgender people are discriminated against for things as trivial as where they use the bathroom. This, of course, also puts transgender children and teenagers in a vulnerable position, like that of the unnamed 16-year old Jane Doe in Colorado, who is being attacked by adults and other students for using the girls' bathroom in her high school.
"I think our kids are being attacked more because our kids are stepping out more," Keisling says. "But I think that has caused non-youth to really realize that [anti-LGBT activists] are not above hurting children."