Today NCTE got to focus on inclusion and acceptance of transgender people and that was a wonderful thing. We do a lot of meaningful work that involves listening to and telling stories about the discrimination and violence our community faces but it’s important to also celebrate what is right in our lives.
Today, I went with a group of children and parents to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Different people that went with NCTE went in in different shifts (there were five total time slots), but the group I was in included a family with a trans child and members of my family who have always accepted me.
It was great to hear about a child picking out a very special outfit for this occasion, one congruent with a child’s sense of self and gender. Talking with the child’s mom, she said you would have thought they had gone shopping in Paradise. We all need those moments when the world seems absolutely perfect.
When I came out to my brother and sister-in-law more than a dozen years ago, long before they had kids, one of their first comments was that I was going to be a great uncle to their kids. I think I helped make good on that today by taking the kids to the White House.
The kids participated in the Egg Roll, wielding their wooden spoons very effectively, including tossing one egg over the fence. We saw Spongebob and Clifford the Big Red Dog and, of course, the Easter Bunny. We found the jungle gym that has recently been installed for the new, young residents of the White House and listened to Bob Marley in the distance.
Of course families aren’t perfect and with the kids today came the usual challenges of standing in lines, being hungry, dealing with siblings stepping on each other’s shoes. But there was also the beauty of families that accept transgender people in their midst exactly as we are. Family is, after all, not about who you can leave out but about who you can come home to with all of the exciting and tear-filled moments of school and life and the world out here.
The Obama Administration extended invitations to all kinds of children, recognizing that the America we live in has families that are very diverse. NCTE was proud to help bring transgender children and trans-affirming families to the White House on this special day.