“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
– Sun-tzu (and Don Vito Corleone)
I am on a few enemy email lists, just to know what they are saying. Today I received an email from the ACLU, asking for my support in their fight against North Carolina’s recently passed law to keep the school restrooms gender specific.
Below is their message. Don’t feel obliged to wade through it.
My name is Gretchen Peters. I’m a Grammy-nominated songwriter and singer, a proud Nashvillian, and most importantly a mom. My son is transgender. And the “bathroom bill” that Tennessee lawmakers are trying to pass will harm my family.
You may have heard of these “bathroom bills” – efforts by lawmakers to exploit fear and ignorance about transgender people to bully and harass vulnerable transgender students across the country. North Carolina just passed the country’s first one. They say that all people must use restrooms that correspond with their gender assigned at birth and not the gender with which they live and identify. Last month, South Dakota’s governor just vetoed one of these anti-transgender bills, thanks to the tireless work of community activists in the state and around the country.
We can do this in Tennessee. If we raise our voices together, we can make sure Tennessee’s lawmakers do the right thing and kill this bill.
My son is the bravest person I know. At age 3, the child I had been raising as a girl declared himself a boy. In my ignorance, I didn’t understand. In an unfriendly world, he internalized the message that he was “born wrong.” Eventually both his certainty about his identity and the agony of suppressing it for over 20 years were so great that he mustered up the courage to do something I couldn’t imagine myself doing – he came out as transgender.
I have empathy for parents who are fearful about issues related to gender. But I have greater empathy for the kids themselves. They face something more terrifying than most of us will ever have to face – often all alone.
Make sure the many courageous transgender children of Tennessee don’t stand alone in this fight. Add your name to say that transgender students deserve our love and respect – not punishment for being who they are.
As a parent, I am horrified by the vitriol swirling around this bill in my state. The opposition is actively threatening parents like me who support transgender children, accusing us of not caring about children’s welfare. The hypocrisy here is staggering – these people are the ones trying to make a law that explicitly targets students for discrimination.
When we institutionalize this kind of discrimination, we force transgender kids deeper into the closet and shut them off from the support they so desperately need. We impart to them the message that they are “born wrong” – and that is the very last thing that parents should want for our children.
Raise your voice to tell Tennessee’s lawmakers that if they care about our children’s welfare, they must not pass this terrible anti-transgender legislation.
Thank you for all that you do,
Gretchen Peters for the ACLU Action team
Dear ACLU Action Team,
Not my circus. Not my monkeys.