Support and gratitude have been pouring in for California congressman Mike Honda after he sent a poignant tweet Wednesday in affirmation of his granddaughter:
"As the proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild, I hope she can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied," the Bay-Area Democrat tweeted.
The message was accompanied by a picture of a happy Honda with his arm wrapped around the smiling young girl.
As the proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild, I hope she can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied. pic.twitter.com/NDIfOdW9sk
— Rep. Mike Honda (@RepMikeHonda) February 18, 2015
Retweeted by thousands and making local headlines, Rep. Honda's words have seemingly struck a chord with trans advocates and their allies, who have highlighted the importance of politicians publicly supporting trans communities, and taking a stand against the bullying of trans youth.
"It's suprising just to hear a congressperson tweet something like that," Adriana Covarrubias, a volunteer with San Jose's LGBT Community Center, explained to the San Jose Mercury News. "But that's the beginning of something new, especially for transgender people, who have been going through a lot of discrimination with their gender identity."
Many of Rep. Honda's constituents and fans on Twitter have responded with excitement. "We could use a dozen more reps like you!! By 'dozen,' I mean 'all,'" writes one; "I'm even more proud to have voted for you!!" says another.
Honda, who represents California's Silicon Valley, has previously expressed concern for these issues as the founder and chairman of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus and a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus. He is the second member of Congress to open up about having a transgender relative. Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was also the first Congressional Republican to cosponsor a bill that would have repealed the Defense of Marriage Act, has been an outspoken advocate for trans equality, discussing the fact that she has a transgender son as early as 2011.