Families of transgender youth share how they’re building safe and affirming homes for their children across the U.S. amidst such barriers.
It started with a pair of cowgirl boots, pink and blue with floral embroidery. Grandpa B. offered to take his grandchild Marty shopping for boots. At the store, which sells Texas-style western wear, 5-year-old Marty checked out the offerings and decided that the coolest by far was that special pair from the girls’ section. Assigned male at birth, Marty (a pseudonym) had already been experimenting with mixing “boy” and “girl” clothes, a point of tension between the generations in the family. Grandpa B. wasn’t about to buy girly pink boots for the kid he considered his grandson. He said no.
From there, tension grew steadily between Grandpa B. and Marty’s only living parent, whom we’ll call Leslie and who identifies as agender. The family lives in small-town central Texas, and although many of their neighbors identify as conservative, Leslie reports that most have gracefully accepted Marty’s choice of pronouns. One neighbor had assumed Marty used male pronouns but asked Leslie after seeing Marty in a dress. Leslie explained that Marty prefers “they/them.”
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