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That Time A Girl Asked Her Parents About the Gender of A Trans Waitress

That Time A Girl Asked Her Parents About the Gender of A Trans Waitress


One week after a waitress posted her encounter with a customer on Facebook, her story has made headlines worldwide and helped children and parents better understand what it means to be transgender.


One day last week at a restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a customer approached a waitress while she was tending to the water station. The man, who had just entered the restaurant with his wife and child, told Hnilicka that his daughter wondered whether Hnilicka was a boy or a girl.

Hnilicka is a transgender woman, and she wrote about her September 20 interaction on her Facebook page.

What the father of the inquisitive girl did next has warmed the hearts of many on the Internet, as her tale has gone viral and the national media has picked up her story: Cosmopolitan,ABC News and Bustle are just some of the many, many reports online about this endearing moment.

Hnilicka wrote that she intentionally made her post public so that it can be shown widely to parents, and it has already been shared thousands of times online. More than 10,000 Facebook users have "liked" her post.

The customer, who Hnilicka described as a "tall burly dad" in her Facebook post, invited Hnilicka to come to his wife and daughter's table at the restaurant, rather than speak for her, and asked her to explain her gender identity to his daughter herself.

"I nervously said yes and walked to their table," Hnilicka recalled in her Facebook post:

"Hi, I like your hair ribbon," I said. "I heard you asked if I was a boy or girl. I think the important thing to remember is that everyone can be anything they want to be in this world. And it's also important to try to be the best selves we can be for our family and friends. And even to strangers. So to answer your question, I was told that I was a boy when I was little and now I live my adult life as a girl. It sounds complicated but it's actually pretty simple. Do you have any questions for me?" She looked at me smiling and simply said, "Nope!"

Hnilicka explained on Facebook that when she left the table she felt good about the open, inclusive manner in which the parents engaged with their daughter about a challenging topic. Hnilicka felt that the father empowered her by letting her explain her gender experience in her own way to the child.

While Hnilicka noted that using the words "boy and girl" may not be the best approach in explaining an adult's experience of gender identity to other adults in situations where more complex discussion is warranted, she applauded the parents and their daughter and celebrated "mom and dads out there making space for transfolks/gnc [gender non-conforming] people like me."

She added in another post, "I also want to say that I think while the language I used was appropriate for conversations with children, intersecting sets of identities are beautifully complicated and the way society treats marginalized people(women, lgbt/gnc/intersex people, people of color, people living with disabilities) is complex."

"Giving people the power to voice their truths in this complicated world is beautiful and healing," wrote Hnilicka.

Check out Hnilicka's public Facebook post below.

Liv Hnilicka's September 20 Facebook post

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Cleis Abeni

Cleis (pronounced like "dice") is a former correspondent for The Advocate.
Cleis (pronounced like "dice") is a former correspondent for The Advocate.