Spotlight: TransParent – Empowering Children to Live Authentically

There are a number of bills across the country that will, if passed, restrict the rights of transgender people. These restrictions include republican state lawmakers’ attempt to ban medical professionals – and in some cases parents – from prescribing youths puberty-blocking medicines and other treatments. These restrictions to medical care will impact trans youth by denying them access to what could very well be life-saving treatment. While lawmakers continue to convolute the often-controversial conversations about medical care and restroom access, parents struggle to find ways to support their transgender and gender diverse kids.

Advocating for trans kids is challenging on any given day. But familial support is vital to overcoming health needs and social barriers like bullying, discrimination, and violence. But when parents don’t have all the answers where can they turn for support?

The resources available to transgender youths and their families continue to grow as the number of those seeking resources expands.

When Brian and Kim Hutton faced uncertainties of their own as they began exploring gender identity questions with their child, they realized that there were likely other parents and families with the same struggles they were facing. They met the Copeland family who were raising a teenager with like challenges. Kim , currently the National Staff Director, urged Laurie to join her in forming a group to help other families with similar experiences.

Kim Hutton, National Staff Director at St. Charles Pride Festival Photo Credit TransParent

They formed TransParent. They held monthly meetings and maintained a simple website where families could share experiences, medical and therapeutic resources, and videos and printed materials. And the group began to grow.

After a move from their first rental space at the St. Louis Ethical Society, Kim worked to secure a community partnership with St. Louis Children’s Hospital and moved their meetings into the hospital facility. This gave TransParent the credibility they needed for continued growth.

They went from a single-page website to a professional interface that allowed them to better present resources for pediatricians, endocrinologists, therapists and surgeons as well as transgender friendly schools, news stories and events.

They launched the Gender Independent Kids Club in 2014 for children aged 5 to 12 also in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital complex. Recently they made room to support more kids by raising the age limit to 17.

TransParent is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Currently with 15 chapters in across the United States in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, New York, Delaware, Virginia, Florida, and Washington DC; they continue to grow.

TransParent at St. Louis PrideFest Photo Credit TransParent

By participating in local Pride festivals, partnering for events with other trans centric advocacy groups, attending conferences and forums to increase visibility, fundraising locally and nationally to strengthen their resources; TransParent works continually to better prepare themselves to advocate for all trans kids and their families.

Their mission is to normalize this naturally-occurring human experience and to empower children to live authentically.

To read more about TransParent, learn about volunteer opportunities, or to inquire about starting a chapter in your city, visit their website.

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Explore: Transgender Children & Youth | Human Rights Campaign

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Terry Willits

Trans Speak's Editor-in-Chief is an international mixed media artist, writer, LGBTQ advocate, coffee snob, dog dad, and FTM transgender - but not necessarily in that order, who practices what he posts. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; he now does the writing thing from St. Louis, Missouri. You should check out his work - it's recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend stuff.

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