Amazing Resource for People Who Are Transgender or Gender Expansive and Their Loved Ones

OTLO-Cover-ImageI recently had the honor of working with PFLAG on their new publication titled Our Trans Loved Ones. It’s an amazing resource for parents, families and friends of people who are transgender and gender expansive.

Our Trans Loved Ones is free and includes a wealth of information, first-person stories, expert input and more.

Download it, love it and share it.

‪#‎OurTransLovedOnes

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How I Told My Son His Friends Are Transgender

Photo Creds: Bestie Best Kelly

Photo Creds: Bestie Best Kelly

I still remember the day when I sat in my 7-year-old son’s bedroom and told him that his 9-year-old friend Samuel was no longer a boy, but was now a girl named Sophia.

My son, C.J., didn’t say much at first. Which is how most people react when they hear news that they weren’t expecting.

Months later, I sat in the same spot and told him that his 8-year-old friend Riley was no longer a boy, but was now a girl named Anna…..

Read the rest of my post over at Yahoo! Parenting.

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“How To Drive Your Mom Crazy,” By C.J.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms and female primary caregiver adults out there!!  Just in time for the holiday, C.J. has written instructions for how to drive your mom crazy. xoxo, Lori

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My Sons’ Reaction To Bruce Jenner

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Photo Creds: ABC News

Matt and I decided to watch the Bruce Jenner’s 20/20 interview with our sons. And, we’re so glad we did because it was really great, respectful and educational. We didn’t make a big announcement; we just turned on the television while they were in the room, like we often do.

C.J. sat on the floor playing Lego Elves; Chase was in our over-sized chair playing his Nintendo 3DS. Born into a generation of multitaskers, they were each doing their own thing while listening to our thing.

“Is he transgender?” they both asked as the show got underway.

“We don’t know. Maybe he’ll tell us now,” I said.

As Matt and I watched, the boys gave half of their attention to Bruce and half to themselves.

During the interview, ABC showed a Saturday Night Live clip poking fun at Bruce’s gender expression.

“Awww, that wasn’t nice!” Chase said, not looking up from his game.

When Bruce’s sister was interviewed, she said she cried after Bruce first told her about his gender struggle. She said she didn’t understand at first.

“Well you should understand it! It’s your brother! It’s your family!” C.J. yelled at the TV.

“Sometimes people don’t understand, even family members and friends,” Matt explained.

Diane Sawyer and Bruce both said that Bruce will emerge as “Her” – expressing more or entirely as female — when the time feels right.

“I can’t wait to see her!” C.J. exclaimed giddily.

“Yeah, why is he not a girl yet?” C.J. asked impatiently.

“Because he’s taking his time,” Matt says.

When the interview was almost over, C.J. looked up from his LEGOS and said very seriously…

“I’m going to be a boy my whole life.”

“Okay,” Matt and I said in unison.

“But, you know if doesn’t matter to us if you are a boy or a girl. That we love you no matter what,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” he mumbled.

Our unconditional, nonjudgmental, totally supportive love bores C.J. now. But, at least he knows it’s there for him.

When the interview was over we paused the TV.

“What are your final thoughts on that?” I asked both of the boys.

“I wish he didn’t have to wait to transition until he’s so old,” Chase said.

“I want a snack,” C.J. said.

And, with that, out teaching moment came to an end.

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C.J. Is Banana Man

IMG_4467I’m lucky to have two kids who love each other, mostly get along, play well together and sometimes hold hands when no one is looking.

Lately, their favorite way to pass time is to jump on our trampoline together. Even though C.J. would prefer to take turns performing mini choreographed gymnastics routines for each other, Chase more often than not convinces him to play “superheroes.” I’m not sure what all the game entails, but I do know that they each pick a superhero to portray. Chase is always Captain America and, because he is unfamiliar with mainstream superheroes, C.J. has made up his own.

C.J. is Banana Man.

Me: What are Banana Man’s superpowers?

C.J.: I can shoot bubblegums out of my mouth. And if I touch stuff my sticker power is activated and whatever I touch gets covered with stickers. And I can turn things rainbow colored. And I can have a Super Jump.

Me: What’s a Super Jump?

C.J.: I jump really high and when I land on the ground people fall like they can’t walk in high heels.

Me: What outfit does Banana Man wear?

C.J.: It changes every day. But sometimes I only wear underwear while fighting bad guys because I can’t handle the pressure of picking out an outfit every day.

Me: And who are these bad guys you fight?

C.J.: Chase when he’s Captain America, that’s why it’s okay if I’m only in my underwear, because he’s seen me in my underwear before.

Me: What does Banana Man like to eat?

C.J.: Cookies with milk and bananas and donuts and pickles.

Me: What does Banana Man hate to eat?

C.J.: Chicken and French fries and tires.

Me: Well, that makes sense.

C.J.: Maybe I’ll pick out one outfit that Banana Man mostly wears so I don’t have to feel pressured picking out a new outfit every day. Can you hold on a minute?

Me: Sure.

And, then he returned as Banana Man…

Banana Man!

Banana Man!

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Her Name Was Taylor

Photo Cred: Yahoo! Parenting via xxtayloralesanaxx/Instagram)

Photo Cred: Yahoo! Parenting via xxtayloralesanaxx/Instagram

My heart is sad today for 16-year-old Taylor Alesana of Fallbrook, California. Taylor, a transgender high school student, committed suicide after being bullied and harassed at school.

“When you’re a kid, parents always tell you sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you,” Taylor said. “To me that’s not true. Words hurt, and words turn up to threats and threats turn up to physical violence.”

Popular for her YouTube make-up tutorials, Taylor encouraged other transgender teens to protect themselves by reporting bullying to school administrators and law enforcement.  She had followed her own advice and was also seeking support at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center.

The sadness in my heart shares space with anger. Taylor lived just one hour from my home; so, as a fellow Californian, I can tell you that the California Department of Education did nothing to help Taylor.

California’s safe school laws are comprehensive and advanced in comparison to other states. California leads the nation in establishing laws to protect perceived and confirmed LGBTQ kids and, then, the state fails these kids miserably by not enforcing the laws.

The California Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity was created to investigate complaints of bullying and discrimination throughout California and enforce the state’s excellent safe school laws and education codes.

BUT, the California Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity has not investigated a single claim of discrimination filed by or on behalf of students across the state. The office’s failure to enforce anti-bullying laws has resulted in dangerous, system-wide ignorance and unaccountability in California’s schools. The Education Office of Equal Opportunity doesn’t even log or track appeals.

The on-going systemic failure is detailed in the scathing 2013 California State Auditor’s Office’s report summarized here: https://www.bsa.ca.gov/reports/summary/2012-108

Read more about The California Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity’s failures in a blog post I wrote following the suicide of 12-year-old Californian Ronin Shimizu in December.

If you want to do something to help LGBTQ kids and their families in California, please email and/or phone State Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s office and let him know that ignoring the situation at California Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity is dangerous and must stop. Please join me in demanding that California Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity be restructured, appropriately resourced and that it become computerized now…before we lose one more young person. Torlakson can be reached at 916-319-0800
and EHughes@cde.ca.gov.

If you or a young LGBTQ person you know is thinking about suicide, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. For adults over the age of 24, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Op-Ed: Thank You, Angelina Jolie, For Celebrating Our Kids Who Are ‘Different’

I wrote a blog post for this week, but instead of being published here, it’s published as an Op-Ed on Entertainment Tonight’s website. Check out the links below to have a read. 

Photo Creds: etonline.com

Photo Creds: etonline.com

Op-Ed: Thank You, Angelina Jolie, For Celebrating Our Kids Who Are ‘Different’

“Different is good,” Angelina Jolie said Saturday night at the Kids’ Choice Awards. “Don’t fit in… don’t ever try to be less than what you are, and when someone tries to tell you that you are different, smile and hold your head up high and be proud.”

As the mother of a child who is different, I can’t get enough of Angelina Jolie. Every time she publicly and proudly says or shows that it’s okay to be different, I am grateful….Click here to read the full piece.

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