PJP Prep for Pride Meeting
We are going to start this event as we try to do with all of our events with a land acknowledgement. Our, we are a virtual program, but our headquarters is in Queen Creek, Arizona, which is on the native land of the Tejana Otto Nation. I probably didn't pronounce that very well, but it is a beautiful land and we are incredibly grateful for everything that is here.
We would especially like to not ignore the fact that there are missing and murdered indigenous women at a much higher rate than the rest of society, and there are groups where we can go and learn and support. We are going to throw a few of those links in the chat. We'd also like to invite you to go to our season one of our podcast, out of curiosity. We have an incredible interview with Ursula Benwood, who is from that nation, and is a queer person and is actually a licensed therapist. Really incredible conversation, so we definitely invite you to check that out.
All right. We're gonna get to the people we really need to acknowledge with this event. We're gonna start with Gamma Mu Foundation. They are our largest financial supporter and they are the nonprofit arm of the National Gay Men's fraternity. They have given us so much support, including if you are here because of a Facebook or Instagram ad. They are the ones that paid for that. That is how we have really expanded our reach to be able to bring all of you in, and we are so grateful for them.
We also have Pride and joy heroes. This is a really, uh, affordable way for businesses to support the, not the nonprofit that we are. And we have three of them right now Renew. I Renew PR is a queer owned PR agency for environmental and equity issues. We also have Jill Davis with the Storytellers Porch, an absolutely incredible podcast that we highly recommend, as well as one more.Who is Dr. Gude Lyon, who is a mothering coach and an incredibly powerful person to have in your life and who will really expand your idea of mothering and what it is and how to do it, and how it's not based on gender. So loving that. As well as we'd like to share with you our mission and vision. We envision a world where all lgbtq plus individuals are heard, housed and mentally healthy.
Our mission that we preserve pursue is to prevent suicide and homelessness in the LGBTQ plus community. We do that by elevating and amplifying the voices of LGBTQ plus individuals. We feel that supports their mental health, as well as it provides an incredible guiding light for parents of LGBTQ plus youth to be able to see an incredible future for their children.
We all, we can't all be RuPaul, right? Or some other amazing queer icons that are out there. But what we can all have the potential to be is happy, fulfilled, and satisfied and healthy in our adult lives. And we like to elevate the LGBTQ+ individuals so that our parents in our community can see that as well.
We also would like to invite anyone who is interested in becoming a sponsor or a board member to contact our director of operations, C. Rizleris, who is in the dms and is here at the event and ready to hear from you. Uh, their email address will be in the chat box as well.
And lastly, we'd like to invite you to check out our next program, which is Leaders for Inclusive Change. This is a class a six module class that you can take on your own, or coming this summer in the live version with the teachers who created it. This is a class designed to support parents, teachers, other community leaders who are ready to hold safe space for L G B T Q youth in their communities. Whether that's at school, at church, or just in the general community at large. You might have a bunch of kids that hang out at your house all the time and you're wanting to make sure how to make sure that it's a safe space for them. This is the class for you. And so the two trans teachers that created it for us will be teaching it live this summer. And we will be able to post a landing page where you can, uh, make sure you sign up for the interest list if you're interested, if you wanna do the DIY class that's already available, and it'll only cost $25, which of course is a donation.
So we'd love for you to check that out. And lastly, we'd like to, uh, end with the ground rules of this event because we did advertise on Facebook and Instagram. We are so glad that we were able to reach so many of you, but we also reached quite a few people that are not affirming, and we just wanna make sure that everyone understands that safety is the priority in this conversation. We are not defensive, but we are protective, and we want everyone to feel safe here. There will be no tolerance for hate, speech bullying, or bigotry of any kind. Our board members are also here. You'll be able to spot them by the way their screen names are. If you have any questions or concerns, please DM any of our board members and or c who is our director of operations.
We are so appreciative of having them, and I would like to turn the time over to C, but C did I forget? Anything? Anything I need to say?
C: We have it all. Thank you. Yes. Um, so yes, thank you everybody for being here. This is one of our biggest pride and joy parent events, um, so far. I would like to just introduce our amazing, incredibly talented panelists that we have here.
Starting with Junior Mint, she her pronouns, and she's out here to show how minty the world can be with a little kindness, empathy, and a strong black trans queer perspective. She is the creator of Minty Makeup, which is now on sale at over 650 JCPenney stores and has been featured in Vogue Beauty, the Cut, Thrillist ID, and Gay Letter for the work that she does on stage and in our community. She is co-host of the Brooklyn Liberation March and the creator of her own Talk show, the Junior Mint Show, and her monthly drag show in Living Color. No matter what classroom, set, club, or runway you experienced Junior mint, you'll leave feeling motivated and embraced. You can find our Instagram and Venmo at Junior Mint, and I'll leave all of these in the chat for you all.
Next up we have Rae McDaniel pronouns They/them, a non-binary speaker, author, therapist, certified sex therapist coach, and transgender diversity and inclusion educator. Rae helps audiences gain the audacity to become both lit up and liberated. Rae is also the founder and c e o of practical audacity and gender and sex therapy practice in Chicago serving over 300 clients yearly.
You can pre-order their upcoming book, which drops May 30th, um, gender Magic, and I will make sure to get that link to you in the chat. Um, after I introduce everybody, Um, next up we have Kailah Josephs pronounced. They, she, um, is a popular speaker who inspires audiences to live their purpose and is a queer spiritual coach who helps families of color understand how to integrate LGBTQ plus culture into their family culture.
You can book your next call or speaking engagement with Kailah here. I will drop that in the chat. Excellent speaker. We've had podcasts with Kailah as well. Um, and then our one and only volunteer executive director, Elena Joy. She Herb. She's an ex Mormon mom of four kids who spent decades as a stay-at-home suburban minivan mom, and spoke about coming out to her teenagers in her viral TEDx Talk.
She's also featured in the award-winning documentary conversion and is our volunteer executive director here at the Pride and Joy Foundation,
Representing every straight parent who ever had questions about race or sexual orientation or gender identity that didn't know how to ask in a way that didn't make them feel like a jerk is our panel moderator, Sara Dean of the Shameless Mom Podcast. She has curated an audience of 10,000 plus parents who are motivated to learn new skills, including anti-racism and authentic LGBTQ plus allyship. So thank you all for being here. We are very excited. I'm gonna hand it off to you, Sarah.
[Sara]: Thank you. Oh, so excited to be here. When Elena reached out to me and. Suggested that maybe this would be happening and would I be interested? It was definitely a like jump up and down and scream. Yes, really loud moment. So I'm really excited that we get to be here and there's folks here who I've had the opportunity to do podcast interviews with before.
Shout out to Elena and Rae, and the new friends who I'm getting to meet for the first time. So I'm just really honored to be on such a fantastic panel, um, of leaders and mentors of the LGBTQ plus community. I also just wanna say to folks joining and listening and learning tonight, give yourselves a little big inhale and a big exhale and feel really proud of yourself that you are stepping into this conversation with an open heart and ready to listen and ready to learn.
It says a lot about who you are that you would show up for this conversation, whether it is 4:15 PM where you live, like me on the West coast, or if it's 7:00 PM on the East coast. Um, and you have little kids that are running around trying to take baths. And you're getting out of bath. And by the way, good job with that.
Um, or you're somewhere else in the world or living in a different circumstance, but you're just really committed to being a part of this conversation. Please know that it matters a lot that you're here and we're so grateful that you are. We were going through how to start this conversation and as someone who does a lot of interviewing, I was like, okay, like we can warm them up with these questions and this question then, then Elena was like, or we could just like start right in with talking about drag and everyone else was like, okay.
And junior man was like, yeah. So we're going there first, and I first of all wanna say this is an important place to start because this is where the conversation's already happening and where so many of the questions exist. Um, and we also wanna make sure that we are centering really what is front and center, um, in the news, in communities, what is front and center in terms of safety and a lot of.
Not, and a lack of safety in our, um, local communities right now. So to kick us off, Junior Mintt, can you help us? What is drag? What is it not? Can you help us start to demystify drag?
[Junior Mintt]: Absolutely. Drag, first and foremost is an art form. It is a queer form of expression in artistry that has been going on before there was ever a word for drag, because one of the first things that human beings ever did was begin to decorate their bodies.
And at some point somebody said, men wear this, women wear this. And then it became structural and. Throughout the entire history of humanity, we have been dressing up. We have been playing with the boundaries, and most of the people who haven't been to a drag show may think of it simply as you're in hair, wig, nails, lip syncing to a top 40 pop song, but drag is so much more expansive than that.
Drag is something that. Personally, we do it every day. When you wake up and you decide how you're gonna decorate this beautiful vessel of your body and walk out the door, it's in the hopes that people will see you as who you are. And the thing about drag is it is a true homage to all of the things that make an individual and individual.
So for example, my drag is very centered on my blackness. It's very centered on black exploitation films of the seventies. It's centered on science fiction and all of the characters within that that have inspired me. And so I kind of blend them together and get to exude a part of myself that I don't get to wear every day of my life.
And I think that no matter what artist. You love in music, you can probably point out an example of drag from Elton John who, um, is giving you flamboyant feathers to Bob Dylan, who is a picture of masculinity that is just as much drag as the fem feminine version of it because there's drag is so expansive, there's drag kings, there's drag queens, there's drag things, and there's drag monsters.
It can be truly be expansive when you stop thinking about gender in terms of one category or the other, and start thinking of it as a spectrum. And so drag is not grooming. Drag is an art form, the same way that Basquiat used a paint and newspaper on canvas. We are decorating our bodies and using our bodies as the canvas and. Yeah, I would say I think that's an expansive version of drag. I think I, I nailed that.
[Sara]I think, I mean, I would agree, but I appreciate that you were just like, and I nailed that, so we're done. I love that so much. And I think that that was such a beautiful explanation. Um, C, I think that you have some experience working with youth in drag.Can you talk a little bit about that? If you're, I know you're also doing tech in the background, so let us know if it's a good time to pop in.
[C]Absolutely. Yeah. I, um, I performed just for the fun of it here in North Carolina and recently we did, um, we did a boy band performance with some of the youth for their alt prom. And it was me and them and we put it together. And when I tell you how much joy and just queer joy that was had that night, and to see some of these kids go from being really shy to just a whole different person on stage embodied, confident. It just was, I have chills. And then I kid you not three days later, there was, um, in North Carolina, one of the ban for drag and, and being around with youth. And so I've been mentoring, you know, I've done this before and it's not, it's not grooming, it's, it's empowering, it's confidence building, it's accessing parts of yourself that you might not have access to. So that's all I have to say about that.
[Junior Mintt] I completely agree. And oftentimes as a kid who was bullied growing up, drag was the first time I got to like heal the kid within me because for the first time, I got to step outside of how I viewed myself and say, who do I see myself as? And I saw myself as all of these amazing, powerful black women in television and film that I grew up loving. And it, yeah, you get to get in touch with pieces of yourself that you usually can't, or maybe even pieces you didn't over there. You we're killing it. We're killing it. And Sarah, if I could pop in as well.
Mm-hmm. That's okay. Please.
[Rae]Um, what I love about this conversation, first of all, spot on y'all, you're doing great. Um, is that I think that junior and C are pointing out the two different facets of drag. When we think about it, it's the theater, right? The performance of drag for an audience, which is right now what everybody is kind of up in arms about. And then there is the drag of everyday life of how we want to express our gender. And number one drag as a performance is theater. And like any theater, there are ratings of family friendliness. And in some settings it might not be appropriate for certain age groups. Absolutely. That's why they aren't allowed into 21 plus bars at midnight.
Um, And there are a lot of performances that are just like any sort of of theater. The other part that is the scariest part of this for me personally, is that the drag, that is our everyday experience of gender expression, banning that is not new. Right? Laws were happening as, as early as the 1860s that at least I'm aware of banning drag in public spaces, which simp simply meant things like, um, a somebody who was assigned female at birth, like myself, wearing men's clothing, which would be a suit, jacket, pants.
Oh pants. And that used to be illegal. And I am, I'm nervous that the direction that we're headed is back in that direction. Where it is not just about drag as a performance, but it is about gender expression that is in any way gender nonconforming to what are our current standards or our rule book is.
Rae, that's a perfect segue into the next kind of piece of this conversation that I wanted to dig into. I think there's, when we think about our kids and how our kids wanna express themselves, to your point, there is expression that is theatrical and that is, you know, part of the, the arts if you will. Um, and then there is like expression in everyday life and as we are parents raising children and wanting to be conscientious, um, around how we can let our children live freely and also as safely as possible.
How can we engage in healthy and supportive conversations with our kids around gender identity? Such a juicy question and there's so much I could say to this. The first thing is that why you wrote a whole book on it? Yeah. You know, it's like I wrote a whole book or something. Um, the first thing I would say is to take a, a deep breath because none of you are here because you don't wanna support your kids.
Right? You wouldn't be here anyway. And it's okay to make mistakes. In fact, I just want to get that out of the way. You're gues screw up and that is okay. The important thing is that when you do make a mistake that you learn from it and that you correct it as quickly as possible and you try not to make that mistake again in the future.
But what I see that is a shame is for anybody but in particular parents who are afraid to mess up or say the wrong thing with their kid. It actually will, will. Create some distance, right? It will keep you from being able to engage with your, your child in the way that you really want to. And I think that's a shame, and I would invite you to, to be in the messy middle and to be okay with making mistakes because it's worth it to connect with your, your, your kid.
Um, One of the things I would say is center celebrating their exploration of themselves. We all know how scary it can be to be an L G B T Q person in the world, to be someone who's exploring gender or trans or non-binary. We know that already. We, we got it. What we need are people who are celebrating who we are.
So if your, your child comes to you and wants to talk about gender or says they're exploring gender, the first thing to do is celebrate with them. Tell them how excited you are that they are exploring a part of themselves. Because ultimately that's what we all want as parents, is we want our our kids to be authentic in the world.
At least that's what I hope that you want. And part of that authenticity is standing beside them and celebrating them on their journey when it comes to, to exploring gender. Uh, to bring it from up here down to earth. Some really practical things that I would say is use basic active listening skills. You would be shocked at how far this goes, so I think people can get stuck in their heads not knowing what to say or how to respond.
If you get in that place, just listen a little harder. You can ask questions like, what's that like for you? Can you tell me more about that? It sounds like x, Y, Z. Is that right? Am I, am I understanding you correctly? And then is there anything else that you wanna share? Am I missing anything? And that alone will go a huge way.
The last thing that I'll share is helping your, your kids, your youth with develop some self-efficacy. We know that there are tons of laws that are being passed that are limiting medical care for transgender youth, and, you know, we're doing all we can to push back, but some are already passed and so that is leaving a lot of youth feeling very helpless and very hopeless.
So in order to help your, your kids and youth move through that, it's helpful to orient them towards action and actively being a part of gender exploration. Now, that doesn't mean, you know, taking any steps that don't feel right for them at that time or rushing anything, but it does put them back in this mindset of how can we find the things that feel good for you now that you are unfortunately, legally allowed to do?
And how do we build on that? How do we help help you create a gender expression with, you know, given whatever limitations you have where you can fully be yourself as much as possible. Right now,
Elena, I see your hands and I also kailah saw you nodding, ready to say something. So one of you want to dive in.
Elena: I'll just quickly say like, from a parent perspective, um, There is something, and I just wanna name the elephant in the room. There's something about giving birth to a baby who you might have known, known their gender while you were pregnant, right?And you started connecting with that baby via that gender. While you were pregnant and then right. Childhood happens and you are connecting with that child through that perspective, that lens of I'm my gender and that's their gender, right? And right. We, it's so much in our vernacular, our daughters, our sons, right? We only have those binary options, and so it makes sense to have this incredible sense of panic when your child comes to you and tells you they're exploring their gender identity because it's knocking so much stuff in your brain around, I mean, it's literally the wiring in our brain that that's how relating to that kid.
So it totally makes sense. If you feel a sense of panic, if you feel. Any kind of negative feelings, and I don't want any parent to feel like they need to cover that up with, oh, I shouldn't feel any negative feelings. That means I'm not a good ally, or I'm not a good parent, or I'm not a good advocate for my kids.
Like, don't let that shame be there. It makes sense if this knocks you sideways for a minute, as well as there's so much there to celebrate. And I think that Rae covered that incredibly well. There's also a myth out there that I really wanna clarify for you because it seems like a lot of parents in our audience are not aware that this is false and not fact, no doctor in the United States is doing surgery on children because of their gender identity.
Nothing's being cut off. No one's being mutilated. A hundred percent. You have to be 18 years or older in order to work with a surgeon for gender affirming surgery. Now, there are circumstances when there's genetic issues. That's regardless. That's like outside the scope of this. But if you hear your family trying to spout that rhetoric, like encourage them to Google and see if that's actually true because it's not.
And I think that's a big point that people are using to get parents to be anti gender affirming care because that is scary to think about. Right? But it's not happening. So please don't let that be a talking point for you. And Kailah, what were your thoughts? I was just over there like him and her like, oh my goodness, this is, this conversation is so rich and like to what, you know, what you were sharing, Rae, what stuck with me is the whole celebration piece.
And as a parent, I'm, I'm a godparent and a, a gti, a a, a gay auntie with a shirt, with a gay auntie. Um, but when I think about the celebration and exploration, my best friend, um, my, my godchild, um, you know, came out as queer non-binary at age of nine. You know, that's unheard of for many of us. You're like, you know, this is something that we maybe explore as our teenage years really didn't say anything, or maybe even to our adult years.
And, you know, I applauded my friend because they were so supportive. To their kids, you know, having a religious background. Their, their grandmother was religious and saying, no, I'm going to support my child. And we would talk, how does, how do we navigate that? How do, how do she navigate that with, you know, the, the grandma or just, you know, friends and family?
And it's just more of, um, planting that seed and, and, and letting your child, child, um, child know that you are an advocate, you're an ally for them. Um, I think that's what sometimes what we may have experienced as children is like, okay, I'm in this, I have this newfound identity and I'm going into this world by myself, but helping your child under know that, hey, I'm got, I got your back.
I'm here to support you. And even if it's, if, if it's, you know, um, the time comes where you're having to gain your child's consent and even go before them to talk to parents, um, to loved ones and say, Hey, this is what's going on, to kind of help, you know, support them. That can be that. Um, I was talking to a parent the other night and they was like, okay.
I'm, we celebrated in a house, but how do I go to my aunts and uncle's house where they're gonna be like, what is going on? They're peering masculine or whatever's going on here is, is there an opportunity to sit with your child and allow them to verbally say, this is who I am, and know that you have your support.
So I think when we all think about our own experiences and, and, um, recall what we would've wanted to change and, and for our parents out there, the biggest thing you can do, I think that's, um, us as humans, we want that parent to just say, Hey, I'm here. I don't know. Back to the messy stuff, you know, the, the messy middle.
But I'm here to advocate for you. We are going to navigate this. I'm going to defend for you, be courageous. Um, cuz you are gonna get pushback from family members that do not understand pronouns, that do not understand, okay, why is your child dressing a certain way, why they're expressing themselves this way.
But saying that, you know, hey, I'm trying to figure out, but my number one loyalty is to support my child. So that's one of the ways that I feel that, you know, as caregivers, parents, those that are sharing amongst each other can, can support our youth.
Does anyone else wanna comment on these conversations with extended family and peers? Um, I think there's the spectrum of people who are not supportive, not gonna be supportive. And then there's on the other end, like, wanna be supportive, but really, Unsure, uncertain, maybe don't know quite enough, or they're just like terrified of getting it wrong, which is something we talked about at the very beginning here.
Um, does anyone else wanna speak to how we handle those discussions as parents?
I, I think you nailed it on the head, is there's this anxiety around getting it wrong. Um, and especially as parents, we feel like we're a little bit pulled in two different directions. We really wanna be there for our kid and we have a mom and dad who are like, what the hell? Right? Or we have siblings or we have a church family that we depend on, or whatever it is, right?
And so we're kind of, we feel like we're split in these two directions and it's such this binary concept of. Which way do I need to go and when in reality this is actually a non-binary concept, just like how gender is not binary. Also being an ally and an advocate and a great daughter or a great sibling.
Those thi, those two realities can happen at the same time. And once we can open ourselves up to that reality, then a lot of the solutions and the strategies of how to communicate well come right to the surface. I think a huge part of it is modeling. For your kiddo, how do you have empathy for someone who might act or talk without all the information?
How do you have empathy for someone who you really love but isn't acting like they love you? Right. An an important point to this is we have data that says that. A huge part of our LGBTQ plus youth population, gen Z, essentially, like almost 50% are also neurodiverse. And so a lot of our neurodiverse kiddos are thinking really in black and white, really in binary terms.
And so they hear something that grandma says or Uncle Bob says, and all of a sudden it's like, done. Oh no, the world is ending. Right? And sometimes empathy doesn't come naturally for a lot of our neurodiverse kiddos. And so helping them kinda understand this is what it's like to have empathy for someone who's not understanding you at the beginning.
It doesn't mean we can't, we don't have boundaries, right? And so a lot of this is that modeling of behavior for our kids. This is what empathy is like for someone who doesn't have all the information. And this is a healthy boundary for us to keep our minds safe and to keep our bodies safe. And these two things can happen at the same time.
It's not a binary concept. And I wanted. Yeah, and I also wanted to acknowledge a couple comments in the chat, um, for those who might not be able to see the chat, um, because I think there was some good information in there. Um, Nicole was talking about, um, finding there are times when family is supportive when it's not close to home and with others.
Then when it, um, hits their home, there's this dissonance versus, uh, of expectation versus reality. And then another, um, participant in the chat said, um, current struggle. I'm ready to burn all the bridges. But I know that it's not realistic working on empathy, but it is the thought. And so I just wanted to acknowledge that.
Thank you. C that leads us into some, I think, a, a place to talk about allyship and what allyship can look like. We, this conversation was really, you know, originally to be centered around pride month, but I also know that. My me, my friends who are members of the LGBT friends and family who are members of the LGBTQ plus community are a little bit like, yeah, pride Month is actually a whole year.
And so, so we're gonna center this around Pride month, but also like, it's not just a June thing. And, um, so can we talk about allyship? And we can talk about it in the context of Pride month, but how can we use this month, um, and this season to increase allyship? And I think that some of those comments in the chat are actually like a great segue and to, like, I love, I think I, um, Kelly, I think who said like, I'm ready to burn the bridges and h how can we build bridges allyship when it's really hard sometimes, um, uh, during this season.
Um, and focus on that being kind of an intention. Elena, do you wanna kick us off with that and then we can, I would love to hear from other panelists. Absolutely. Um, I think if it, if this is really fresh, like when I first came out and when my daughter first came out and I was just so, I was shocked. I was completely unprepared for how much antis sentiment there is out there.
I just wasn't aware. I wasn't aware and so it was really hard to realize it, and it felt like it was growing and it probably was, and I just had this feeling of like, This is my kid. How can you not love everything about my kid? You're they're grandparents. Right? Like I just, it was so hard for me to understand and my therapist kept telling me over and over, I'm sure Rae says this all the time, you have to meet them where they are.
Like you're not gonna be able to make any progress with them if, if you're demanding that they'd be over here when they're way over here. Right. And even my business coach, cuz I'm an allyship coach and I would be like, I would walk into these businesses who were so anti L G B T plus and that just destroyed me to think that my neighbors thought of me and my daughter that way.
Right. And even she had to be like, You've got to find a way to talk to them in the language that they understand, in the values that they understand. And if anyone knows how to do that, it's you. And so that's when I really started tapping into what did I believe five years ago? What did, what were my values five years ago and what, what was I thinking?
What was my framework? And then being able to get into that and realize like, okay, coming out is actually, this is just an example coming out is actually a universal experience. We all come out at some point or another, might not be around our sexual orientation, our gender identity, but we come out as maybe Catholic in a really Baptist area, or we come out as the mother of an autistic kid, or we come out as a mom who just had a miscarriage.
Anytime we're taking like this really vulnerable piece of us and showing it to the world. That's coming out, right? And so we can apply this universal experience to our kiddo that we're trying to protect, and we're trying to educate the people around that hurt. Right? And I have found that to be really, really helpful when we can find these aspects of the lgbtq plus experience that are actually universal, that we can figure out a way to tap into that universal feeling in our extended family and our peers and such, and help bring them instead of just demanding that they move, which honestly, I feel like I spent the first three years doing.
And if you're in that space, just be in that space and don't feel like you have to change any minds. It's okay. Eventually the light will help you find the solutions.
Oh, you're muted. Junior Mint. Thank you. Um, one of the things that I always tell, um, queer people when it comes to existing in the world is that, Because when I first came out, one of the things that I was ready to do was to like stand up for myself and fight for myself in a way that I didn't have the chance when I was a kid, because I didn't have autonomy over my own body.
And one of the things that I learned, and that I tell every queer person is sometimes the most radical thing you can do is be joyous. Mm-hmm. To exist, to have fun, to love your life. And I say that because the allies will find you. The people who love you will find you. And that is slowly how you build your own community around you.
Because even Kelly in the chat, like it's one of those really difficult things. But as a black trans woman, I've had to learn it. Sometimes I don't burn the bridge, but I'll switch out the car and go to a boat. I, I'm not gonna burn it because that requires too much energy for my own self and hatred and anger that I'm carrying it around.
And sometimes what you need to do is, It's okay. I'm not go, the best way I can protect myself is distance and boundaries. And so sometimes there are people that you need to, they need to realize your value in their life with you gone. And I say that because the same thing has happened with my own father, where like 10 years ago, he was the main one who just didn't wanna be in our lives, didn't wanna actually see me for who I was.
And now as life has progressed, he has come to terms with the fact that he is a queer person himself. And that as well on top of it that he, he actually gave me the most beautiful apology for the way that he treated me as a kid. Did it take 28 years to get it? Yes. And did was a lot of that spent being angry?
Yes. But my life didn't get better until I realized that. I can have a joyous life despite all of it. Despite all of it, no matter what bridge I do have to burn, I can still have a joyous life, have love, find anything that I've desire in my life. So I say be yourself. Be your authentic self. And even sometimes it doesn't feel like you can, but you can.
And you're gonna find your community around you who supports you. And for allies, I would say try your best to put yourself into queer spaces on queer people's terms. And I say that mainly because it'll sound like a challenge, but imagine queer people doing it every day of our lives for you, because that's what a bunch of queer people do.
And I say that with so much love simply because. The one thing that we want is to exist as who we are to get to be together and not have to worry about our safety. And as an ally, when you join our space, what you're saying is there's another person who is willing to fight for us, uh, with us beside us when things do get rough.
And that's the moment where you feel community support. Because when I moved into this apartment I'm in right now, my neighbor did one of the most affirming things that has ever happened to me. I was just carrying a box in and he looks over at me. And as a trans woman, I'm always thinking about how I'm being perceived.
And he looked at me and went, oh, la mommy, do you need me to help you carry that box inside? And it was that one little moment of just, I see you. I don't have, I don't have to wave a pride flag. I don't have to do that. I see you. I'm treating you like the person you are. And it was one of the most gratifying moments.
So I say it as try to meet que queer people on their terms and as well, Never be afraid to ask a question, but ask your friend and not the queer people because your friend is your resource for it. And we don't wanna have queer people doing labor of educating people as well. That's why you have your circle of friends.
So I say it is just one of those energetic things of make sure that you're allowing us to be ourselves and not your educator as well. And all of that said with love, oh, that was the entire sermon that we all needed. I, that was amazing. Thank you so much for that. I love that so much. Um, and I saw c put it in the chat, but the, sometimes the most radical thing you can do is to be joyous.
And I think when it comes to allyship, um, being able to demonstrate allyship in really joyous, joyful ways with sometimes the. Like blind assumption that others will follow. And if they don't, to your point, like that's their loss. And I know that I'm saying that from a position of privilege as an ally that like, it's not unsafe for me to celebrate.
But I think that when you go into, when you celebrate loudly and you know as openly as possible, um, other people over time, it invites other people in over time. I think sometimes the people who are really scared to celebrate at all are like, oh, that's actually what celebration can look like. And it's, I think it does start to shift things.
Rae, I see your hand. Go ahead. Yeah, I just wanted to, first of all, junior, that was Chef's Kiss. Amazing. Uh, Elena, I wanted to piggyback off your conversation too about trying to advocate for a, a queer child or even advocate for yourself. So my, my family is not supportive at all. Uh, and that has been a, a big challenge in my life over time.
And one of the concepts that has really helped me is to think about this idea of natural consequences. And this is something that, you know, speaking of meeting people where they are, people like grandparents or other family members might understand a little bit. It's this idea of, okay, if you don't love me for who I am, if my partner is never allowed in your house, if you won't refer to me with the right names or name or pronouns, if you don't ask me any questions about my life, the natural consequence is that we're not gonna be close.
Because how would you feel if those things were happening to you? Would you want to be close to me? And that is a frame that is that universal of, oh yeah, that makes sense, that my grandchild or you know, relative it is pulling away because we're not supporting them. Can I add this, um, last bit here is also to share with your children and others that you're doing the work.
Right? So back to Junior Men's Point is not about using, leveraging queer people as the educator, but to say, Hey, if you feel comfortable to do so, I am doing my part of going to workshops. This is what I'm learning from it. And then also I'm part of that putting it into action so they can have a well-rounded like, okay, you are doing some work, you are trying to make some effort.
I wanna talk about on, uh, kind of in, in contrast to loud and proud, joyous celebrations. I wanna make sure that we also address safety, um, and wellbeing for our youth. And I think that that piece is so important. And I know for parents that piece is really paramount. Um, how can we support safety and wellbeing for our LGBTQ plus youth all year long beyond pride month.
Junior Mint. Do you wanna kick us off with this one?
[Junior Mintt] Sure. I think that one of the best ways to prioritize safety. Any kid, but especially queer kids, is honesty and true, honest condition. And I say that because there's certain spaces that a parent will know will not be safe, even with that kid expressing themselves fully. And it's that moment of getting to teach them about the real world, which is it's not always going to be support everywhere. And there are certain moments that as a queer person, you do have to prioritize your safety over expressing yourself because I might not be alive the next day, to be honest. And that's not because of my community.
That's because everyone who thinks of queer people is groomers and all the people who do want to attack us. And I say that because my mom never lied to me growing up. She told me about her years in New York. She told me about like, Her, um, relationships with women. She told me about all of these different parts of her life, and she told me about it in a way for me to avoid those potholes.
And I say that because I think that we oftentimes can think we need to coddle children when oftentimes what they need is the truth. What they, because they're seeing the world and they're seeing what's happening. And especially the youth today, they have TikTok, they have Instagram. They're aware of what's happening.
And so if they are gonna get the honest truth from you, they're going to get it from somebody else. And as a parent, you wanna be in your kid's life. And so I say it as be honest with them and as well make sure that when they're coming to you with honesty, you respect it and you engage with it, and you don't attack it or get defensive.
And I know that that's maybe not a specific, like here's the safety point, but I say it because I. A bunch of my friends and my community members would have avoided a lot of trauma as a kid if their parents had been honest with them because they ended up having to discover it by themselves, which is the history of the black trans community, which is our families are dejecting us.
And so now it's time to go and figure out how to exist as a queer person on my own and how to survive. So I would say be honest and be, and let your kids be honest with you. Embrace it cuz all they're doing is telling you how they feel and what is going on with them.
Elena, go ahead.
[Elena] Yes, and I think. One way that parents can do that is to set up a really schedule, a really regular schedule of checking in and asking specifically, do you feel safe at school these days? Do you feel safe at church these days when they start a new part-time job? Right? Are you feeling safe at, at your job? Are you feeling safe on the soccer team? Are you feeling safe when you go to Uncle Bob's house? Are you feeling safe when grandma and grandpa are here? I know they misgendered you sometimes, right? Like checking in and not only making sure they know that their safety is your number one priority and while the amount of love that that communicates, but oftentimes they're not going to answer you the first three times you ask, right?
They're gonna wait until it's a moment that, yes, okay. I need to tell you something. Cuz you obviously wanna know, right? And so getting into that really incredible habit of just checking in and being really clear, are you feeling safe in this place? And repeating it, that it does so much.
I'll quickly add, um, therapy, therapy, therapy, therapy. We have an opportunity to redefine what conversion therapy and making sure that we have therapists, counselors that are competent about what our community experience. So seeking out L G B T Q therapy not only for yourself, so you're not projecting on your child, but also to make sure that your child has a safe place to talk.
Sometimes like as you mentioned, Elena, um, they may not wanna say something the first two to three times. They may feel better with a practitioner and talking about these different things until they're able to open up. So know that not taboo, um, but you vet that process out with your child you interview.
But let's make sure that we are providing all forms of holistic, you know, mental and emotional wellbeing as we're celebrating, um, you know, mental health awareness and these different things that your child feels supported.
Rae, I see your point as well in the chat. Um, which is, I think so helpful. In addition to the other comments here, um, uh, helping your child learn to assess for safety.
How do you know if you feel asking them? How do you know if you're safe? What does it feel like to be unsafe and having them be able to identify, um, really helpful as well. Thank you. I wanna touch on, I know some of us are in communities where we get to go to Pride parades and there's this like really open celebration in Pride Month and some of us are in tiny rural communities where there are not pride parades or a pride parade maybe would be really not safe or maybe not even legal, um, in terms of some of the things that typically happen at a Pride parade.
Elena, I know that you wanted to touch a bit on what are the best ways to engage rural, conservative communities and pride month activities. I think this goes again back to where are they and what would be reasonable to expect. Um, for example, there might be, it might be a small in-home celebration where you just invite a few kids in the neighborhood and their parents, right.
It, it could be. Talking with your church leaders about what would be appropriate. It might just be as simple as we're gonna celebrate families this month and that they can look like anything and everything. Right. That might be as overt as that community can handle, and that's great. That's great. Right?
And, and then we could. Expand on that and we can go to, is this community ready for a workshop to talk about language, to talk about pronouns? I have found that 80% of people, even in rural small communities, they just want a safe place to ask questions. Maybe 20% of them are really loud and against the entire concept, but trusting that your neighbors, even in rural, small communities, 80% of them really just wanna know what is this pronoun thing, right?
And, and what are these different issues that are coming up? And I don't even know the questions, the words to use anymore, because when I was a kid, we didn't use the word queer. Now the kids are using it all the time. Am I allowed to use the word queer? Right? Like being able to have a really safe place to ask those awkward questions can be vital.
It might not be as big as a huge pride barbecue or a pride parade, but you can make a huge amount of difference. Just really keying in to who is the audience and what are they ready for? And let's take them one step further. I agree. And I, I think that like, just to add on top of it, anything is better than nothing.
Anything is better than nothing because at least, even if it's just an Easter egg hunt that is masturbating for them, is pride something that lets them know that there are these people in this world that they could be in community with? Because it's hard to imagine what you can be when you never saw anything besides one thing.
And so exactly what you said, Elena, literally anything, even if it, even if it's not even like a celebration and it's just like we're sitting around and watching a queer movie, like, you know what I mean? It can be anything. And there's so many different ends for how to get people to feel comfortable with the conversation.
And so, yeah, you nailed it. Elena, I see Kristen's comment as well in the chat. One thing over, no thing. Yes, yes, yes. Yes. And the impact of that one thing, even if it's only for one or two or three people, can't be overstated. How deeply significant that can be. And I think that sometimes when we think like, oh, it's only gonna impact a few people, but like it could be, do we have to look at like, what could that long, what's the longevity of that impact for those, you know, for potentially even just for a few people can be really, really huge.
Especially if there's not a lot of places to be seen or to be seen safely. Mm-hmm. And there wasn't that many people at Stonewall and they, and look at Exactly. Look at that. Mm-hmm. Exactly. Can I, something just popped in my head and feels important. Find, if you're in a rural, small community, find the place where the queer kids are likely hanging out.
It's probably the coffee shop or the game store or the comic book store. Find that place where they're hanging out and help them put on. A mini something, right? It doesn't have to be advertised cuz those kids are already there. So support, wherever it might be, the library, wherever the queer kids in your community are hanging out, support them in being able to create a, a queer joy moment in the month of June.
I love that. I wanna make sure we touch on intersectionality. Um, when we're talking about Pride Month and we're looking at all the layers of identity that people can bring to celebrations and to, um, any experience and to any way that they show up in community. Kailah, can you talk about how we can support our youth's various intersectionalities during pride month?
Yeah, so I e I'm black, so that's, that's one thing. But no, seriously, folks, um, understanding whether if you're black or you, you have a different eth ethnic, ethnic background or just various di diversity that we have, neuro divergence, all of these different things. But to help our, our, our black youth, I'll speak in that, that respect to honor who they are.
You know, when we look at our black ancestors and we know the history of this country is the resilience, the grit. So it's, it's, it's embedded into your D n A and understanding that there's different levels and understanding there's challenges because it's not only, you know, you're dealing with the challenges of being black and your blackness and embracing that, but also this added layer of your queerness or your transness, and how do you bring all of that together.
And then surprisingly, we, we celebrate Juneteenth as well, so it's, I. Collectively letting your child know that they are, are rich in, in who they are. Um, and that to honor that, you know, we need to know, we know we are teaching our school system about the war of 18, 12, all these different things, but we don't hear about Baird Rustin.
That's, that's the, that's the mark behind, you know, m l k, uh, Marsha p Johnson, some of these figures that our young folks can grab strength from and resilience from and say, you know what? I connect with that story. I connect with who these people are so that they can see themselves and that, so it is really just helping, um, our folks celebrate, um, you know, their, their blackness, their queerness, and the other identities that they're, they're layered with and, and all of it that is beautiful.
And, you know, to just show up as you are is your beautiful self. So that's what I would say for our, our parents that are, are navigating that and, and wanting support their children. Thank you Kala. And also thank you for the shout out for Juneteenth. Yes. Cause we have overlapping celebrations in June for sure.
Really, really important in our last few minutes. So I just wanna help people with time here. So we have three minutes till the top of the hour. We're gonna stay on for a little while after to take some questions for people who wanna stick around for that. But before we get into q and a and um, we, in using our last few minutes here in kind of presentation mode, I wanna make sure that we give everyone a chance to promote their goodness in terms of what our panelists have to offer the world.
And they represent so many gifts and have so many wonderful things to offer. And then I also have a question, and I have to shout out to Junior Mint to this for this final question. One of the things that Junior Mint brought up when we were thinking of like, what's a good closing question? And you said that you had to do a lot of reparenting of yourself in order to be able to show up in all of the ways that you get to show up in your glory today.
So for all of our panelists, can you talk about one thing that you've had to do to reparent yourself? Um, and then can you also share where people can get all the great things that you have to offer in the world, whether it's a book or a makeup line, or a podcast or coaching or anything else. And gentlemen, since you inspired the question, you get to go first.
You're muted. I got, but I caught myself halfway through, so I'm real. Um, so I would say the thing that I have really had to work on with reparenting myself is putting myself first. So growing up, um, it basically, a lot of the energy in the house was very much. We're going along to get along. We grew up very poor.
We grew up without many resources, so it was kind of like we were all in the same boat together. And so the last thing you're thinking about is individually what you want. And I, it took me so long in order to even like do something like laser hair removal, which is just something very simple in the span of like gender affirming proce procedures you can get done.
And it took me so long because I was thinking about. Putting everybody else's thoughts of me before me. So like besides how I would feel when I look in the mirror at my body, I would be like, well, how is my mom gonna do with this change? Or when I have to look at my brothers, what are they gonna be thinking?
And the last person I was thinking about their happiness was myself. And so that is one of the biggest reparenting things that I've had to do. And it's been really, really helpful because with my chosen family, my close community in New York, they have reminded me that I am a priority because oftentimes other people can see things within you that you don't even see within yourself.
And they saw the backseat that I was putting myself in, so reparenting. But it really came from like me and my community, cuz growth never happens in the vacuum. It always involves your allies and the people who are there with you. And as a side note, it's been amazing because I've been teaching my mom to put herself first too now, and it has been amazing.
She just got a turtle. So she's doing good. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Love it. Love it. And. As for plugging by the, oh, y'all better work. Y'all really move fast with the chat. But in the chat you will see my own makeup line. Um, it is in fact the first black trans zone makeup line in the world. Um, we are in 650 JC pennies.
And, um, on the page you will notice that every model is black and trans. Um, every single makeup artist is black and trans. Um, it is about getting everybody to see the beauty that is black transness without having to change any part of myself to get there. And so, yes, if you want it supported, you're gonna be paying a black trans woman.
And as well, I guarantee you, go to a JCPenney. We have been training all of the JCPenney employees as to how to speak to queer people, how to address queer people pronouns. So we've been educating JCPenney while we, while they have been giving us money, so work. Amazing. Amazing. So the team is ready for queer people.
So good. Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for all that. Who's next? Rae, I'm gonna call you next. I'm just gonna call on you all in random order. Let's do it. Uh, so if there's one thing I could tell my younger self and absolutely resonate junior men with this idea of reparenting myself, I definitely had to do that.
If I could go back and take me of today and to talk to Little, little Rae, I would tell 'em they aren't broken. You know, I, I think I spent a lot of growing up feeling like there was something wrong with me and I didn't, I didn't have words for it. I didn't know what it was, but I felt. Like something was off and in the environment that I was in, it, I, I very much felt broken for a long time and I don't anymore.
And that is a really beautiful thing and I wish I, I could have learned that younger, which is why I'm really excited to be talking to all of you because this is the next generation of teaching youth and, and kids that they aren't. Broken. And that's a really beautiful thing. And see you are so on it. So I have a book that is coming out on May 30th.
Here it is. It's called Gender Magic, uh, live shamelessly reclaim your do joy and step into your Most authentic Self. Please do pick up a copy. You can check it out. Read more about [email protected]. And my hub is Instagram, which you can also find in the chat, but it's at the Rae McDaniel. That's Rae r a e.com.
There's also a, a link for a mailing list and, and the book there. Thank you, Rae. The book is gonna be phenomenal. I mean, the book is phenomenal, but it'll be phenomenal for people who get access to it. Starting May 31st. May 30th. May 30th, May 30th. Yes. Two weeks. PS pre-orders matter. Go get in your pre-orders.
Yes, please, please buy many. We want Rae get, make all the lists. And you make lists by getting pre-orders. So go get all your pre-orders in. Um, Kala, you wanna go for it? What would I tell? And I'm actually was thinking about it while we were sharing. Um, and I actually kind of go back to when I came out to my dad and it was a short piece that he shared with me that changed my life.
And he said, I will never turn my back on you. That stuck with me when I had to do the shadow work and the inner work of reparenting myself was I'm not gonna turn my back on you. I love you and I accept you. So I may have not heard that in the early on years from my mom and my dad, but the younger Kailah needed that to know that I love you, I accept you.
I'm here for you. I support you. And that's what I was share, um, for my younger self. Um, as far as in staying with connecting, staying connected to me, I'm primarily on, um, Instagram and also on LinkedIn. Um, so I do coaching and speaking engagements. So you could check all of that in Kailah J. And actually this has been inspiring me.
I've been getting a lot of conversations. The universe has a funny way of doing things. I've been having, most recently a lot of parents come to me and say, Hey, you know, you live your life out loud. Can you talk to me about this? So I have been, um, in, in the space of, um, in the fall coming out with something, um, a course or some, um, rather for our parents, cuz I focus more on queer spirituality.
How do I support my child when I may have my faith against what I know in, in queerness. So, um, you know, join my mailing list. That's something I'll be coming out, um, in the fall. I'll have something out for the parents for that. Thank you. And thank you for digging into that component. Cause I know, um, that's a big.
A huge piece of this for so many people is that trying to rectify that intersection of religion and, um, sexuality, gender, and all of that. Thank you, Elena. I would say one of the biggest ways that I had to reparent myself, and I am still reparenting myself, is trusting my emotions. I mean, it had to start with like even recognizing my emotions.
There's a reason why I didn't come out to myself till I was 37 because I had shut down my emotions so concretely at such a young age, and it doesn't even matter why. It just was, and I think a lot of L G B T Q people go through that, but also everyone. And so I think that that has been instrumental for me is first.
Understanding I have emotions and they're valid and they can be trusted, and I can tap into that intuition and it can be an actually a really powerful thing. Now what's funny is that now that my emotions are online, they're always like right here. I can cry at the drop of a hat. Like I can go from sad to happy incredibly fast.
Like it's a little ridiculous. But I really love to feel now, like it's, it's like a luxury. Being able to feel my emotions at the depth that they are now. It's so, it's so great. Um, okay. So the thing that I would share would be our class leaders for inclusive change. Um, you'll, the opportunity to, to learn from two trans high school teachers is just, we might not have that opportunity for very long, so let's grab it while we can.
Yeah. Thank you Elena. And see. C my goodness. C, huge shout out. Huge cheers. And thank yous for all of the work you've done in the chat stand. So on top of things, and I would also love to post that last question to you. What have you done to reparent yourself and anything you would like to promote as well?
Yeah, I've, I've done a lot of just, um, like self-awareness and self-reflecting and thinking about how to navigate the world and my emotions mainly like, cuz I think in my parenting it was, I. Shoving them down. And so I've done a lot of work with recognizing my emotions. My anxiety has a name, Alexander. Um, and so, you know, doing that.
But then also I walked into myself and said, actually, I can do something like this is for me. And so I'm about to graduate with an M f A in writing, and I'm very proud of that in myself. I'm 37 years old. It's been a dream of mine since I was younger. And so just knowing that it's, you know, there are things for us.
We don't have to, you know, limit ourselves or things like that. So, um, yeah. Thank you. C. So we would love to open it up for folks who might wanna answer or ask some questions. Um, and our panelists can answer, um, are there questions that people have been holding onto that they might wanna ask the panel, our panelists, you can put questions in the chat, see if there's any questions that have come in that we haven't had a chance to answer.
Feel free to call any of those out. I know that I wasn't able to kind of keep up with everything. If there's any, um, questions that have come in. And then also I'll, I would invite folks if there's a question that you wanna ask that feels vulnerable to ask, uh, too vulnerable to ask publicly. If you wanna send a private message and see, I hope you don't mind me putting you on the spot, but just to send a private message to see, um, and then they can go ahead and, um, convey the question.
And I see Kristen raised a hand. Kristen, do you wanna unmute and go ahead?
This question goes to panelist. Rae, do you with your dulce tones read your book for the audio version? I do. Good question. I sure do. Great question. Thank you.
So important. I remember the first time I, um, went to listen to an audiobook by Brene Brown, and it wasn't read by Brene Brown. I mean, Brene went, she lost, she lost a few points. So thank you Rae for doing that. It makes such a big difference.
Any other questions?
It's so funny cuz this happens at all of our events. We get to the q and a part. Not many people wanna have a question, but also no one wants to leave. I mean, they don't want the event to be done. In lieu of a question we, you could put, if there's something that you're taking away that you either you wanna share for accountability or you just wanna share as like a, oh my gosh, I'm so grateful that I got this.
Like, aha. It can be really valuable for other people to see those things in the chat. Um, if anyone wants to share that as well, we will accept ahas, we will accept accountability, we will accept questions. We're here for it all. Mm-hmm. I feel like a huge aha for me was what Rae said. I don't know why it had never occurred to me to talk with my children about what does safety feel like for you?
What does not being safe feel like for you? I've literally never asked that question. So huge aha moment for me. Thank you Rae. That was really good. I noticed that too. That's just like a real good parenting tip in general. Like really nail hit the nail on the head. There was that one. Thank you Rae Nicole.
I see your hand. Go ahead. Yeah, so I'm attending, not as a parent myself, but as an auntie and a caregiver for many. Um, but additionally I'm the external engagement lead for our take pride, e r g, um, at my organization. And so we're bringing back this content to our parent and caregiver, e r G, um, and looking for an opportunity to kind of raise awareness, um, because oftentimes we do events, um, e r g fairs or whatnot, and I can't tell you how many people come up and they say, not me, but my child, or, you know, and we all end up in tears and it's a wonderful, joyous occasion for the most part, but not always.
Right. There's also a lot of trauma in those stories, so wanna be able to bring back support.
We have two questions in the chat. Um, the first one is from Brenna who says, was there anything the speakers wished they could share that they didn't say yet?
Did we leave anything out
unmuted this time? I unmuted this time. Um, I would say, um, that for any of the parents that are in here, um, talk to your kids about how you, how you experienced this, this entire panel. Talk to them about this. A amazing opportunity to have a conversation with them about something that's on their terms and something that, you know, there's nothing that makes me smile.
Like when my mom is like, oh yeah, I just watched this non-binary person get an interview online and I feel like I just learned something. Like it's that moment where, thank you for putting in the work without as being asked to do it. So I would say that's what I would say. That's beautiful. That's beautiful.
Um, what I would say, um, and I wanna give Grace cuz I know we don't, we didn't talk about the faith piece, but I wanna make it inclusive for everyone when it comes down to like, spirituality. However you see that, um, is to know that there's something bigger than yourself that has gifted you, your child. And we, in many of our practices, we talk about this whole element of unconditional love.
That's where you really get the test of unconditional love. It's, I don't understand it from a human perspective, but from a spiritual perspective. I have to know that this person, this being in front of me, is a gift from the universe and is here to be my teacher. So, um, they, you may be playing the reverse role where you're not teaching your kid, but your kid is teaching, teaching you a lot about what it is to be a human and what it is about unconditional love.
So just wanted to touch on the spiritual note for those that are kind of like, ugh, what do I do? I love that. Um, for me, the, the piece that I would love to, to share is that I, I truly think that the world is better when we are all able to walk around as our most authentic, most lit up biggest selves. Free from fear and, and free from shame.
That is a really magical thing. And what a gift that you get to help your child do that. That is amazing. That is amazing for you. That is amazing For your kid. That is amazing for the world. That's really special.
It really Is it, that's part of the queer magic, isn't it? Like it is just there's so much beauty there. Ugh. I would say the thing that I always, I always try to share in every event that I do is to help parents realize, you know, the most conservative survey that we have right now says that of Gen Z, who's about age 15 to about age 25, right in there, um, about 24% of them identify as LGBTQ plus, so that's one in four.
We have another survey that asks the question a different way. They ask, do you identify a strictly heterosexual yes or no? And they got a much bigger response rate, but they also got. Here in the United States, 30% no said no. And 33 in the uk, 33% said no. So we're looking at one in three of Gen Z, identifying as not strictly heterosexual.
So regardless of why we think that might be, it is reality. And so if you are a parent of Gen Z who's feeling very alone, you might not feel like you don't know any other parents that have LGBTQ plus kids. Knowing that statistic can really be helpful and applying that to school populations and church populations and team populations, right?
If you're working with Gen Z in any way, shape, or form, one fourth to one third of them do not identify as straight and, and that could change a lot of things for a lot of people.
We have another question in the chat that might be fun for our panelists. What activities do you look forward to in June to celebrate Pride? How are all of you celebrating
question? Well, um, I, I perform like as a drag queen. June is like, I've been booked all the way through June, since February. So it's like one of those things where I'm in a lot of queer spaces. I'm doing a lot of different things, but I can say the most fulfilling thing that I always look forward to with pride is me just getting to exist with my friends and my loved ones.
Because while it is amazing to get to be this amazing drag performer in these spaces, there's nothing like getting to live the dream that the younger version of me never could have imagined me getting to be trans, queer, proud, out, and about finding love in my friendships, finding love in my romantic life, finding all of these different things, and that is the thing I always look forward to because it, it feels like I'm getting to do justice to all of my ancestors by getting to have that joy in my life.
And yeah, that's what I look forward to.
It's one of those things like, who's gonna go next for me? I think because we've, you know, these past couple years we've been in this pandemic and kind of coming out of that, um, is looking forward to just the pride parades, you know, um, last year going and it's full on where everyone is able to be present.
I was able to, you know, have my godchild out there. So, and I'm looking forward to what our younger folks are going to be doing. Um, and just love seeing the family. So I'm just looking to just be in community and being present at the parades and just really soaking up all that love. It's overwhelming. I cried last year.
I was like, oh my gosh. It's just so overwhelming to be in the presence of everyone. So that's what I'm looking forward to.
Mine is an event called The Dyke March, and they have them in cities all over the United States. It's, it's the best event. It is a, a march. It's very trans led. It's very, uh, people of color led and it's a marsh that ends in this really wholesome picnic with lots of performers and some vendors, and it's just a lot of queer people in a park all day, which is glorious.
I'm gonna be real real right now. The thing I love about Pride Month is that I can force my kids to celebrate it with me. Cause it's like allowed, cause it's my month, right? So like in our community, we live in a really conservative community and we're only allowed to fly our pride flag during the month of June.
And so like midnight on May 31st, we're out there hanging the pride flag and I get my kids all the pride stuff and they wear it all month long and it, our house is dripping in rainbows. And it's like the one month that I feel like I can really, I don't know, like integrate that in, right? Like, because otherwise I don't wanna force it on them, right?
So like I feel like it's the month that I get that pass and I love it. I love it. I love it. Oh fun. All the rainbows. Oh. That's beautiful. What about you C? Anything you're looking forward to? I mean, I consider pride my religious holiday, so I just love to, you know, just have that, it's like this vibe, you know, like you, you nod in the street and you're like, you're your family.
Like this is, this is a month to just celebrate and you know, be you. So, yes, like Rae said, queer Christmas, that's what it is all about. We had a, um, private message question that I wanna make sure we touched on, about planning, um, being worried about planning, uh, a first pride event in a rural area, ru rural area, that is a very hard word for me, and worried about getting pushback.
Something I have found that might give you confidence is that statistic that I said earlier. There are so many parents that haven't gone public with the fact that they have an LGBTQ plus kid. And so by you starting that conversation, it helps them realize you're a safe person to talk about that with.
And you will actually get more support than you might have anticipated. It is. Uh, so I work with companies and it's the number one way that I get executive circles on board with doing LGBTQ plus inclusion stuff because they all have a queer kid or a queer grandchild like they all do. And so, and they haven't talked to each other about that even though they spend 60 hours a weeks together.
Right. And so by tapping into the fact that the majority of them are parents or grandparents of LGBTQ plus kids, that can really help. Junior, what was your thought? I was gonna say, um, Like we said before, do it in whatever capacity is possible, whatever you can get done. Again, one something small is better than nothing.
But what I would also say is as an ally, that's kind of what being queer is. There will always be pushback just for us existing or wanting to be together. And so I would say don't let that stop you from having it happen. If anything, that's an amazing time to build the community that you have. So if there's other people who believe there should be a pride as well, that's a great time to band together and make something happen.
And even if it doesn't happen, you have just said an example of how hard you're willing to fight for your kid. You are willing to fight for this because they deserve that space. Um, and so that's what I would say is just don't let it stop you because there will always be another thing And then another thing of pushback when it comes to existing as a queer person.
And there was a resource in the chat, um, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Con Commerce, sorry, commerce, um, to see if there's a regional chapter where you can connect with lgbtq plus businesses and seek opportunity. Um, thank you Nicole for that. Mm.
I will say is the, um, representative non LGBTQ plus community member here tonight that when I go into, when I lead conversations in communities and I've had the opportunity to do this because of the nature of my podcast and also because I co-chair the parent association at my son's school, which is a Catholic school.
Um, when I go into conversations and show up and say like, Hey, these are the things I think we should be talking about, that like no one else is talking about, that in especially Catholic schools can be considered controversial. It's. Always shocking to me how many people line up afterwards to say thank you.
And to say, I was hoping someone would say that, or I didn't feel like I could ask that question, or I wasn't sure if that was the right place for me to interject it. And so I, I've learned to get more comfortable being the person to go first and be really awkward and fumbly and uncomfortable. And then knowing that other people will follow suit.
And sometimes it's great that it's like another CIT person who's like, okay, cool, I wanna do it too. But often what's really interesting is it's the people who don't have safety, who are like, I can't ask for that. And you asked for that thing, and that's like, Everything. Um, so I just wanna encourage people that are feeling nerves and discomfort.
If you do have a position of safety and power and privilege to do like the one little thing and just try a little bit to see, like, once you start getting your toe wet, you're like, oh, okay. Like, now I know what that feels like, and then you can take it to the next step, um, because it's gonna feel like you're gonna be pooping your pants like you're gonna, it's gonna feel real nervous and real uncomfortable.
But I think that that's often, like, that's where it starts. And if you have that position of safety, I think that, that, that piece becomes really important. And then it becomes like, oh, well I have the position of safety, of course I'm gonna do that. Um, and I think that, that that piece becomes more, more critical.
And then the, the one third to one quarter to one third then have, um, a lot more opportunities. Mm-hmm.
Well, we are coming up on enough time, about time, all the time. Um, so if, if never enough, I know. Never enough, never enough. Thank you so much everyone for being here and huge thanks to our panelists and our moderator, just absolutely, incredibly grateful for you all. We are so appreciative. Um, so a few things for next steps.
One is if you, you enjoyed this event, if this was helpful to you and you wouldn't mind sharing a testimonial of the value that this event was for you, we would like to start adding some testimonials to our parent. Landing pages, our parent event, landing pages. Um, and so you can respond to any of the many emails that I'm sure you've gotten because she is amazing at getting everyone here.
Or you can also send an email to, to us directly. See, we'll put that in the chat and we would love to hear from you if this is valuable and how it was valuable and maybe how it could help other parents. That would be wonderful. As far as the replay, um, it's not gonna be immediate because we wanna make sure that the audio is great.
We wanna make sure that everything is in there. You will get a link to the replay. It's not gonna be within 24 hours. We wanna make su this as qu high quality as possible for you. So you will get a link to the replay as well as we will be editing this event to be a podcast episode with our podcast out of curiosity.
So you all will get the video replay by signing up and being part of the live event. And the world at large will get access to this information as well via our podcast. So those will all be coming and hopefully you're part of our newsletter list and you'll be able to be notified of when that happens and share it with the people that you know need the information.
All right, see everyone. Did I miss anything at all? Okay. Can I make two requests? Yes. Can we get a picture of the panelists? And also can we get a boomerang of the. We need on a very serious note, we need some photos and some boomerangs. Sarah, I dunno how to do that. Do you? I wanna do it. I'm gonna do it. I have my phone right here.
I'm gonna do, so are you taking a picture and the boomerang or do you want me to screenshot? I'm, I'm gonna start with a photo for attendees. Just enjoy us being ridiculous for a moment. Um, I'm gonna start with a photo and then I'll go to the boomerang. So hold on just a second. I'm gonna make this, you're amazing.
Okay. I know. Everybody get cute. Okay. 1, 2, 3. I'm gonna do a couple. Okay. And now hold on while I switch gears to Boomerang. And now you can do, oh, I gotta, let's see here. Okay, let me move this. Okay. And 3, 2, 1.
Okay, I'm gonna do one more. Hold on. Okay. Okay. And last time being goofy. Okay. 3, 2, 1.
It's funny, we all know Boomerang movie, like I know everyone has. Okay. Thank you all for thank you for indulging me. We'll all be very glad we have this for our, um, upcoming speaking careers for everyone's speaker reel.
Thank you again everyone for being here and thank you panelists and Elena and c for putting on such an incredible event. What an honor to be a part of it. Thank you all for thank so much your time and your energy. It has been so rewarding to work alongside of you all. Thank you. Thank you you so much for having me.
It was phenomenal. So glad and we never did do a shout out for our board members that were here, but so grateful for them. For Kristen, Caitlin, and Noel, thank you so much for being here, helping keep our community safe and advocating so grateful. Thank you everyone. We are done. Thank you. And it's just so nice to have these like queers.