HRC Foundation – the educational arm of LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign – has produced a new video in which the dads of transgender kids talk movingly about learning that their child is transgender, how they reacted to the news, and their support for their children.
The video follows a similar one that HRC made last year featuring the moms of transgender children.
Fathers featured come from across the US, including Keith Thomas of North Carolina – a state that made headlines for passing a much-criticized bill (HB2) that prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms in fitting with their gender identity.
Thomas talks about the moment his son told him he wanted to transition – and how shocked he initially felt: ‘One night, driving back from some place, [he] asked if he could get a binder. I said, “What do you want a binder for?”
‘“Well, ‘cause I want to transition.”
‘“Transition? What do you mean?”
‘”Well, you know: become a boy.”
‘That’s when I felt the needle scratch off the record in my mind.’
Another, Joe Ghartey of New York, says that dads can often be overlooked when it comes to talking about trans children.
‘I don’t think the father’s perspective is seen often because we’re often the second person to know. It doesn’t mean we don’t play a huge role in how that child is raised.’
Another, Wayne Maines of Maine, becomes emotional talking his family’s journey, and says, ‘This is a family transition, and that’s what it needs to be.’
All the dads speak with concern about the challenges that trans children and teenagers face, including the heightened risk of suicide.
In a statement to accompany the video, Jay Brown, HRC’s Communications Director, said, ‘Supportive parents can make all the difference in the lives and wellbeing of transgender children.
‘As a transgender man blessed with loving parents, including an amazing father, I know first-hand the comfort and courage these fathers bring to their children. 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.’
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