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Transgender

Dads of Trans Kids Make Us Proud in New Video

A black man holds his young child with curly hair.

"This is a family transition," says Wayne Maines in the new video from the Human Rights Campaign. "And that's what it needs to be." 

MariBrighe

While the Republican National Convention is busy demonizing LGBT people in Cleveland, the Human Rights Campaign is trying to change the conversation.

The latest volley in that effort hit the web Wednesday, when the nation's largest LGBT advocacy group released a new educational video featuring the fathers of four transgender children -- including Wayne Maines, whose daughter Nicole won a landmark legal victory in 2014 after a years-long battle to have her Maine school district recognize her as the girl she is.

In the video, dads of a diverse group of trans youth discuss their experiences in raising and supporting their children, and get candid about the unique challenges presented by parenting a transgender child.

"We are concerned about her safety as she gets older," acknowledges J.R. Ford, who is raising a young daughter in Washington, D.C. "The only way to try to mitigate that is to continue to educate people, schools, administration, about, what are the issues when you are excluding a certain group of people."

The men also share the fears they each have as their children grow up in a harshly anti-transgender climate, and the hurt that their families have endured from the backlash against transgender inclusion.

"Anytime there's vitriol and bile that blows back from parts of society, or in the media, or in print or whatever, or even just peers, that takes a toll," says Keith Thompson, who lives in Winterville, North Carolina with his transgender son, Skye.

"Supportive parents can make all the difference in the lives and wellbeing of transgender children," said HRC communication director Jay Brown in a press release announcing the PSA. "In a world that so often hurls insults and condones bullying, these dads exemplify love of family and a steadfast commitment to the health and safety of the children they cherish."

Research has shown that having supportive parents has a profound effect on the emotional well-being of trans children, with one study showing supportive parents reduce the rates of depression and anxiety in trans youth to nearly the national average. On the flip-side, other research has shown that parental rejection can triple the risk of suicide in trans people.

The video is a follow up to one HRC released last year that featured the mothers of transgender children. That first video was viewed more than 7.5 million times, according to HRC.

Watch the moving video below.

MariBrighe
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Mari Brighe

Mari is the transgender issues correspondent for The Advocate. She is an accomplished writer, educator, and scientist. Her essays on queer and trans topics have appeared in nearly a dozen other publications. She hails from Michigan, where she is graduate student in Diversity and Social Justice in Higher Education and LGBTQ Studies.
Mari is the transgender issues correspondent for The Advocate. She is an accomplished writer, educator, and scientist. Her essays on queer and trans topics have appeared in nearly a dozen other publications. She hails from Michigan, where she is graduate student in Diversity and Social Justice in Higher Education and LGBTQ Studies.