Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
I’ve seen so many high school students struggle to understand themselves in the midst of a society that fears talking about sexuality and gender.
Part of being a teen is figuring yourself out- and that includes gender and sexuality. Yet still in schools and in families there can be a denial of those aspects of the human experience.
The truth is, everyone has a sexual orientation. Everyone has a gender identity.
As an English teacher, I ask my students to write from the heart, and what sometimes comes pouring out are the elements of their identity that they’re struggling to understand; they write about all the ways that they’re getting the message that they’re not right, or they don’t fit. What teens need, what EVERYONE needs is someone to listen deeply, so that we know that we’re not alone. So that we know that at least one person sees us, and hears us.
Today is a day for listening deeply. Today is a day for knowing that you’re not alone.
Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Stevie Gregg. I first met Stevie 10 years ago when Stevie was a female high school student at the high school where I was teaching. Now Stevie has transitioned to male and he’s earned both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Marketing, and he now has a career in Human Resources. On March 31, on Trans Day of Visibility, Stevie shared with his Facebook friends that he was female at birth. After seeing his post I asked if he would allow me to interview him, so he could share his story of resilience through his transition from female to male. Stevie is such a genuine, compassionate, and understanding person who reminds us once again that no matter what you’re going through, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
There are so many supports to help you on this journey. Here are just a few:
The Calgary Sexual Health Center has an AMAZING wealth of resources!
Under “SEXUAL HEALTH INFO” they offer comprehensive information on
- Sexuality and your body
- Sexual orientation
- Gender Identity
- Parent Information
PFLAG (United States)
If you are a family member, an ally, or LGBTQ, support is just a click away, whether it’s resources from PFLAG National or peer-to-peer support from our nationwide chapter network. https://www.pflag.org/
PFLAG Canada is a national charitable organization, founded by parents who wished to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their non-heterosexual children. http://pflagcanada.ca
Trans Lifeline is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. We run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of our community might have.
U.S. 877-565-8860 Canada 877-330-6366 http://www.translifeline.org/
It Gets Better – A campaign of videos from celebrities as well as every day youth and adults sharing their story on how life gets better, and not to give up hope during difficult times arise in dealing with your sexual orientation.
It Gets Better Canada. http://ok2bme.ca/videos/802
Reach out to school guidance councellors, therapists, and support groups in your area to find local support. YOU ARE NOT ALONE