My son starts middle school next week and seems absolutely fine with it. I, however, have been in a simmering state of anxiety for the last several months as I anticipate everything that could possibly go wrong. I’m sure every parent of every first-time middle schooler feels the same, but this situation is slightly different: my son is transgender.
It’s an awkward tension I find myself in daily -- feeling a responsibility to step up for my son while also feeling a responsibility as an ally to step back so that queer voices can be heard. I regularly hear words of encouragement and gratitude from LGBTQ people (and their parents) to keep going, but I also hear valid criticism from other queer people to sit down, and I struggle to know what is the right answer in each situation since both sides seem to be right.
In a world that wants to tell trans kids that they're different, you have an opportunity to tell them that they're special. Here are 5 ways you can be a better ally: