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He drew a circle to shut me out – Heretic, Rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in! by Edwin Markham

This poem was on the wall in a church that hosts a local transgender support group I help facilitate. I have never heard of this poem, but it spoke to me, being that we were once very active in church and lead a ministry in the past. Honestly I really had no idea what ‘flout’ meant and had to look it up. If you are unaware of the meaning, it basically means to treat with disregard, to scorn at, or mock. I have shared our experience with a church and Christian home school group in the past where when we came out as having a transgender child, we were told we were no longer welcome; that we were going against God and the Bible, and would not be supported by them. I guess some might say we have become the Heretic, or the Rebel. I mean we show love to ALL people and do things without an agenda because we choose to, and do not because we have to. I am ok with going against the grain to make sure people know that my house has an open door for all, and my friendship offered is safe and loving without condition.

“PARENTS ARE SUPPOSED TO NURTURE THEIR CHILDREN AND HELP THEM ACHIEVE THEIR OWN DREAMS, NOT TEAR THEM DOWN AND KICK THEM OUT FOR BEING DIFFERENT.”

I keep hearing horrible holiday stories from others in the community, and I just do not understand how people treat their own family members in such ways. If a person is transgender, you do not ask them to come to a holiday function as their opposite identity. This just puts them back into a closet and is not healthy on any level. The fear of losing any remaining family sometimes drives transgender people to perpetuate this facade and go along with what is requested of them. This is not unconditional love! It would be like asking a homosexual person to bring a straight date to a holiday celebration rather than their partner, and to pretend they are not gay. You just do not do this, and if you do, you are the one causing problems in this relationship and within this family. Family members disowning their children and telling them they are not welcome any more because of who they are and/or who they love is just sad and heartbreaking. Parents are supposed to nurture their children and help them achieve their own dreams, not tear them down and kick them out for being different. When people realize that these differences are not failures in their parenting, just differences in people, relationships become less taxing. Having a gay or transgender child says nothing about your parenting efforts, but disowning them for being gay or transgender does show a lot about your parenting failures. The world is harsh enough without becoming your kid’s first or most critical bully.

I posted a thought I had on Facebook the other day and I want to share it here.“You do not have to be religious or part of a church to have a mission of helping others. Privilege is not always a bad thing if you use it to BENEFIT others. Activism is not always violent or angry. Love looks like many different things to different people.”

I have a dear friend that says “Love and Light to you” as a form of well wishes and so I pass this on to you all now. Go forth in the holiday season and beyond and spread the love we all need and be the light you want to see in return! Do not draw circles or put up walls to keep people out, but do so to include them and show them true, unconditional love.

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