As Political Climate Changes,
So Does True Colors
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”–Harvey Fierstein
We are living in an environment where uncivil discourse is the norm; where LGBTQ rights are in jeopardy across the county. So-called adults spend much of their time making many people, “other”. Refugees, undocumented immigrants, Muslims, people with disabilities, unarmed Black men and women, and people who are transgender.
- Did you know that more than 10% of all the bullying complaints that the CT State Department of Education gets are not youth on youth, but adult on youth – grown-ups bullying kids.
- Did you know that 25 Transgender women of Color have been murdered in the US since January?
- Is it a coincidence, do you think, that among the many mean spirited and hostile acts from the current administration, many specifically target LGB and especially Transgender youth and adults?
Much of the rhetoric isn’t new – but it has been generations since so many people felt this empowered to act on their biases publically.
Words fly, kids die and Trump tweets on.
It is time for actual grownups to say, enough is enough. Stop it. Just stop it. It is time for us to act like grown-ups. And it is past time for every grown person to speak up.
When you hear mean, intervene. No matter who says it. Biases are passed from generation to generation. Every time we hear something and we don’t say something – we have said something. We have said what just happened is okay with us. It is not okay.
A lot of us grew up with the adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me…” it was wrong then and it is wrong now. Words do matter.
As adults, we have an obligation to model respect for differences (on both sides of the aisle). We have an obligation to model civil discourse. We have an obligation to interrupt intolerance every time it rears its ugly words and its even uglier actions.
Here’s how you can help:
- Hear something? Say something. Say, “Ouch!” Or “I disagree”, or “I feel differently about that”. Or “please don’t use that language around me or my children”. Or “stop it. Just stop it.”
- Volunteer your time with an organization that shares your values
- Make a donation to support the work
Words fly and kids die. It is long past time for every one of us to take responsibility for that.
Here’s something else you might not know. Conference registration, Queer Academy and Mentoring program grants don’t cover nearly all of the costs of the programs. There are many people who might not have been able to participate without the support of people like you.
- In the mentoring program: Young, white, Christian, genderqueer mentoring program kid living in a space where she feels like she doesn’t belong. She got matched with a straight Jewish mom of two young queer adults. How different could they be? Their first meeting happened just before Passover. The kid had never heard of Passover. Her questions led to the discovery of a joint love of cooking and food. Now they are planning to cook delicious Passover food together in the True Colors kitchen at their next outing. And suddenly, she belongs.
- At the conference from a youth: “I had never been to something like this before and I felt incredibly welcome and accepted. I felt as though I had a voice. The amount of love everywhere was amazing and I can’t wait to go next year.”
- At the conference from a mom: “My child (teen/ young adult) is just coming out as trans. He has no teen support group right now. After the first day of the conference, he said “I never know there were so many people out there just like me.” This conference was an epiphany for him, and will hopefully give him the courage to lead an authentic life. We are looking forward to attending again next year!!!! Thank you for an emotional and truly moving experience.”
These are only a few of the stories from the more than 12,000 lives True Colors touched last year. Support like yours makes experiences like theirs, possible. We couldn’t do what we do – without YOU!
Warmly, and with much gratitude,
Robin P. McHaelen, MSW