Family Is Not Always Blood-Melissa Ballard-Trans Families-Transgender Universe - Sharing our stories is how we parents want to show the trans community they are loved, but they can also be a trigger to those that have lost their families.

I attended Equality Texas’ Transgender Leadership Institute #TLi2 this weekend in Dallas with 47 other people, both trans and cis allies. It was truly a wonderful and eye opening experience. The assortment of people there was amazing; representatives from across the state of all ages, races, cultures, and backgrounds. We are all the future of the trans community.

“Although I have become active with many other groups outside of our parents’ group, I realized I was still very much inside a bubble.”

Since my child told us he was transgender, it has been a focus of mine to be visible and involved within the community. Although I have become active with many other groups outside of our parents’ group, I realized I was still very much inside a bubble. Listening to stories told by trans people of color, the struggles of trans youth being turned out by family and the general discrimination those within the community face daily made me realize I have more to do. I have such privilege being a white upper middle woman. Privilege that I used to not understand but want to make better use of, for the LGBT community.

Family Is Not Always Blood - Sharing our stories is how we parents want to show the trans community they are loved, but they can also be a trigger to those that have lost their families.

While sharing in mixed spaces, we do not always know how we might have affected someone, and may have unintentionally harmed them. My heart is breaking in ways I never imagined. I do not understand a parent who would ever turn away their child for any reason. Sharing stories of love and acceptance is how we parents want to show the trans community that they are loved. Never had I thought that this would be a trigger to those that have lost their families just for being their true self. I am crushed to think that trying to show unconditional love has ever hurt anyone.

“I try to make myself available to youths that do not have accepting parents and want them to feel welcome in my presence.”

While we may never be able to understand another person’s pain, we can seek ways to help them work through it if they are willing. I try to make myself available to youths that do not have accepting parents and want them to feel welcome in my presence. That is a space I can provide now, and my door is open for those in need. After a weekend spending time with some wonderful people, our group’s moms have now adopted many new kids (even some older than us!) and I feel honored to be considered a surrogate momma to them.

#transfamily #translife #transyouth

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Melissa Ballard is a native Texan with a wonderful husband, Ken, transgender teenaged son, Ashur, and a quirky daughter named Kennedy. When not struggling with multiple sclerosis or chasing her husband while cycling for Bike MS, she is advocating for trans kids and their rights. In early 2015 a group was formed as a social connection for local transgender kids and their families and soon after www.dfwtkf.com was born. In just under a year, the social group has grown to more than 100 active members including parents and siblings of trans and gender non-conforming kids. Speaking to others and letting them know they are not alone is one of her greatest goals and will continue to be a focus in the future.