“You are a fool, Harry Potter. And, you will lose everything.”***
I remember sitting in premarital counseling as I was advised to choose: whose relationship would be my priority to protect. My family’s. Or my spouse’s.
When I later began my transition, the trans woman, years further down the same arduous journey and sitting across the table from me – she warned me, “You will lose people.”
My transition was incredibly lucky.
I had already lost most of the people I was going to lose that day in premarital counseling.
Most aren’t as lucky as I was.
At the most important, most vulnerable moment of their lives, they lose everyone.
I know people who have to hide who they are. From their parents. From their siblings. From their workplaces. From their spouses.
Roughly fifty percent of trans adults have seriously considered suicide in the past year and the numbers for teens are just as staggering. It is hard to translate what that means when you live inside that community, what it’s like to be constantly learning your friends’ triggers so you don’t accidentally trigger a depressive episode, what it’s like to always carry a makeshift suicide scale so you can quickly determine how much danger your friend is in.
So, on behalf of every trans child or adult out there living with that constant voice: “you will lose everything if you are true to yourself,” I am pleading with you.
I beg of you. This Christmas, give your child, your sibling, your spouse the gift of freedom.
Tell them in no uncertain terms that you will always and unconditionally love them. Specify that if they were to come out to you as gay or trans that they wouldn’t lose you. Promise them that Voldemort’s voice is a lie. That they will never lose everything. That they will always have you.
Promise them that there is at least one light in this world, that the other side of living their truth isn’t complete utter darkness.
If you give us anything this Christmas, please. Please give us this.
Often, you wait. We have to ask. We have to come out to you with all of our vulnerability and ask if you will still love us if we stop hiding.
This Christmas come out to us first. As someone who will stand by us no matter our sexuality or gender identity, no matter if we finally choose to be true to ourselves. Promise us that your love has no conditions.
Telling your spouse, telling your child, telling your sibling – this costs you nothing.
Asking – this can cost everything.
If you love us, let us know without a doubt before we ever have to ask.
***referencing the book series by JK Rowling is complicated. Her work had a sincere impact on my childhood and young adulthood. But, she is directly one of the reasons for the post. An example of how people we might assume are allies turn out to be our most vocal and dangerous enemies.