This letter includes a compilation of sentiments submitted by over one hundred people over the course of a week in March, 2022.
Dear trans young people -
I am so sorry; you must be tired.
We're sorry misguided adults are making life difficult for you. We have failed you again. People in power are using it not for good, but rather, to intentionally hurt you and your loving, affirming families. I am sorry for this. However, I am not sorry that you are who you are. You deserve so much more, and I hope you feel the love that's fighting back.
Only a couple years ago, I was in your shoes. Young, transgender, and afraid. As a non-binary child in a single-gender Catholic high school, I was constantly balancing -
coming out to friends,
trying to align my body and clothes with how I felt inside,
trying to somehow stay safe.
My home life was unsupportive. I never thought I'd make it out alive.
I can never know exactly the challenges you face, because every human experience is unique. But I know you have seen hate and vitriol and ignorance. I know you will have seen rejection and disgust and the worst that humanity can offer. But don't dim your fire…burn brighter and know that those who support you will be drawn to your light. I offer you hope. I offer love. I don't know you and I may never meet you. But I LOVE you. I love you so strongly that I wish it could overcome every ounce of hate that has ever come your way.
Dear young ones,
Unfortunately, we live in a world that does not embrace difference, though it is this difference that makes the fabric of our lives rich and meaningful. I want you to know that what's happening to you is wrong, and it can and must be stopped. You deserve to exist for your own joy.
Know that we are better than this.
Live your truth. Let us fight for you.
You can join us when you feel up to it.
Life is so beautiful and so tragic, and you deserve a world where you can experience all of it, being one thousand percent you. You are what we need, and we are making this world for you. We're sorry it isn't fast enough. You deserve this now, not fifty years from now. We need you. Please stay with us, and know that there are people who see you and love you for everything that you are.
When I was your age, people like us were in danger of losing their very lives if they chose to come out. These hateful policies will not last because they CANNOT last. I'm writing to let you know that you are wanted, admired, respected and loved by someone who hasn't even met you.
I write this in honor and support of you. I realize that the world has not yet fully accepted your beauty and strength; although so many of us do. I am here to let you all know...cada uno de ustedes....that you are valued, loved, appreciated and needed.
I am old. I'm 55, and I transitioned back in 1992. I want you to know I'm fighting for you every day, striving to make sure you get the good life I was denied. But know this: I may have lost everything when I came out, but it was still the best decision I ever made.
I know that it is hard to feel joy at times when you are living in a world that judges you for who you are. When it feels like everyone is against you, doesn't understand you, and pushes their insecurities onto you. In those moments of loneliness, please remember that there are so many more that love and respect you, who want to understand you, advocate for you, and welcome you with open arms. You are not alone. You are not without a voice.
Until the world is a better place,
There is an army of love around you.
Dear Max whose mom won't use your pronouns,
We see you and love you for who you are. We will always be here for you and know that you can share your pain with us. Your voice and experiences are deeply important and I hope you feel reminders each day that you are loved and deserve to be fully known. Our systems are flawed, your gender is not. You deserve so much more right now. You are valued. You. Are. Loved.
Dear Young Friend,
I want you to know that I see you, that I affirm that you are beloved just as you are, and that you have been created by one who loves you and calls you good. Your existence is celebrated. The beauty, creativity, and authenticity that you bring to this world is immeasurable and you help ME to celebrate my transness as an adult. You are loved. You are valid. You are a part of a long history of resistance and joy. You are a part of our community.
Dear Trans and Queer Youth,
Knowing you are trans or gender non-conforming as a young person is a powerful and emotionally-intelligent thing. There is beauty, bravery and strength to discovering who you are and embracing it, despite living in a place where you are made to feel ashamed. Only you get to decide how you live your life and how you express who you are. The bravest thing to be, is to be yourself, however is safe and authentic for you right now.
In a world where so many have lost themselves, you lead us all back to our truest, most whole, move beloved selves. You lead the way with courageous authenticity. There is so much beauty to be celebrated in who you are! You are braver than you have ever imagined and more beautiful than the world is able to see.
Your soul is perfect just the way it is. I am so deeply proud of you.
Dear Future Generations of LGBTQ+ Community,
You are worth the world. We need you to stay and live and make the world better just by existing. Your beautiful conceptions of gender, your rejections of binaries, your creative ways of looking at boxes and gently putting them on the ground, saying "no thank you." Your ways of embracing genders that fit for you, sometimes wearing them like a coat you can shrug off as needed or for a change, other times, wrapping yourself in the perfect gender and having it light up underneath your skin, never to change again because it perfectly embodies who you are.
You deserve to be healthy, safe, and free. You belong here, there, and everywhere.
You are magic. You are the gift this world needs. You make this world better just by being you. You are loved, seen, and matter! You are unique and subversive, yet beautifully ordinary. No one can take away your worth. Your existence is resistance.
I want you in our future. The future of America includes your amazingness, your creativity, your razor intelligences, your deep critiques of what is, your essential visions of what should be, and your everyday presence as a human being, no matter what you do with your life, and no matter who you want to be. You will be writers and engineers and poets and car mechanics. You will be bloggers and activists and parents. You will be politicians and artists and clergy. You will be in all of our spaces, because you already ARE. And we need you and we want you there, with us.
Know that I love you just as you are. You are valued and you are seen.
There is an army of love around you.
We will rise up. We're with you. Whether we're standing in front of you, next to you, or behind you. Our voices joined will drown out any that don’t honor your truth.
For every gain in human rights, there is always some force pushing back, trying to turn us backward in time. I believe in the collective power of the younger generations to let those stupid politicians know that they will see consequences to their horrific actions. We have weathered many such storms, and we will get through this one too. We stand with you and will do all that we can to fight these terrible laws and policies. By organizing, protesting, fighting, and loving within our community, and with help from the outside.
I know it may not feel like it, but you have so many people fighting for you and for your rights. Even if you don't know us personally, there are millions of us who love you and are willing to fight for your rights to live exactly as you are. I want you to live in a world where being yourself isn't deemed "brave" or "courageous." I want to make a world where being you is simply being you. Where people look and don't assume, don't try to put you into a box, just let you live your life.
I see you, I hear you, and I stand with you. You are not in this fight alone.
We will work our hardest to protect your happiness, health, and wellbeing.
We will fight for your right to be.
I am so thankful our world has you.
I'll spend my life defending you, protecting you, and voting in your favor.
I will fight until my last breath
to make this imperfect world welcoming and affirming for you.
You are the future of this world and the world needs it.
Do not give up, I'll not be giving up on you. Go little Rock star.
Love, your community…
Love, a mom and dad…
Love, a trans elder…
Love, a 24-year-old non-binary social worker…
Love, a pastor…
Love, an academic administrator…
Love, a gender non-conforming friend…
Love, a 63-year-old gay man…
Love, your ever supporting mother…
There is an army of love around you.
In solidarity, always.