Hi Tim, thanks so much for reading and for your very kind response! Your words have warmed my heart. I, too, am thankful for social media, for the awesome amount of good it has done bringing otherwise isolated communities of people together, despite all the negativity that gets attributed to social media. I think the benefits outweigh the risks, generally.
One thing I didn’t mention in this piece is that I work within the special ed department (cross categorical resource, specifically) of a public elementary school, so I’m really familiar with individualized education plans and the like. I will say that most teachers are great. But unfortunately there’s always a small handful who, for whatever reason, are really awful people who shouldn’t be in education. It seems all three of my kids have had one of those at least once in their lifetimes, and my trans kid has gotten a disproportionate number of them.
Don’t call yourselves “pests” for holding your child’s school team accountable. Where I work, the SpEd dept. expects to be “held accountable,” so we don’t have any major issues of that sort. I would rarely call any parents “pests” or “burdens” or anything like that, because I like to believe all parents are doing the best they can — many of them under tremendous pressures and stressors. IMO, labels like “pests” are reserved for people like the one parent who came into our office and literally had a temper tantrum on the front office floor — legs kicking, fists pounding on the carpet. The police almost had to be called.
How wonderful it is to hear that you’ve started a local meetup group for trans & nonbinary allies!! That is AMAZING. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate hearing that, and how needed it is. I’ve met so many wonderful people who have felt led to do something similar, some to even run for office. I suppose if we want to change things, we have to take them into our own hands.
I run a group of my own as well. In 2016 my husband & I started it through our local LGBT Center (along with a secret Facebook group to connect more people who are not local). We meet every month and serve as a playgroup for trans, enby, and GNC kids ages 12 and under, and discussion group for parents. Our LGBT Center is fairly small, so a packed house for our group would be around 30 people — which we’ve had in the past, but more typically, we have anywhere from 2–6 families attend.
Once we only had one Mom and her trans son attend. It was their first time, and turns out it was perfect that no one else was there besides her and my family; she was not “out” nor was her young son, so she already felt like she was taking a huge risk to show up at all. She really needed 1:1 discussion without feeling overwhelmed, so it ended up being perfect. I only mention this because you said you “only have 14 members” so far, but that’s a great amount, especially for being more new.
As the former program manager at my center once told me, “As a non-profit, it’s important that our programs are always meeting an established community need. If only one person shows up, that counts, because that means there was a need for that one person.”
I’ve always remembered that.
Best of luck with your program, and thanks so much for connecting with me on social media, too! Always happy to meet & follow like-minded folks, especially in this polarizing social & political climate.