Richmond, VA

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I’m Michelle. I’m a lifelong Virginian, a home school educator, and mother of six. One of my children came out to me as a transgender boy about two years ago. After a crash course in issues that I didn’t think would ever affect me, I began the journey of helping him come into who he really was. Honestly, since he came out, I feel like I’ve gotten my kid back. He was clearly miserable, which I thought was normal teenage stuff, but he finally let us know that it was so much bigger than that. I’m so grateful that he felt he could come out and tell us who he really was. Once he was convinced that we had his back, no matter what, our relationship improved immensely.


So far, everyone has been fairly accepting: friends, family, teachers, the principal. As a mom, I try to do my best to smooth the way for my kid. I don’t want people around him who aren’t on board or who can’t at least “fake it ’til they make it.” Being a teenager is difficult enough, without having to constantly hide, explain, or defend who you are. I feel honored to have stood by his side and advocated for him during this process. But now, he’s almost 18. He’ll be navigating on his own much more now, and I want him to live in a world that supports and affirms him.


He deserves to be respected, and to have opportunities just like the rest of his peers. He shouldn’t have to worry about being treated differently simply because of who he is. I don’t want the places that he can safely live, work, shop, eat, or receive healthcare to be limited because state policies don’t support him. He shouldn’t have to vet opportunities more than other people because he’s afraid of what might happen if they find out he’s trans. Finding and choosing colleges, employment, and housing is stressful enough. We haven’t had issues with anyone trying to deny him service, but right now we live in a fairly accepting area. He should be able to go anywhere and not have to worry about discrimination or worse, simply due to lack of understanding and the absence of protective legislation. Just like all people, he should be allowed to thrive and to be himself, no matter where life may take him, so I support nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations.