Life is full of surprises. Some good, some bad, some in between. I learned it’s how you react to these unexpected changes that makes you grow into a better person. When our child came out as transgender, my wife, Jessica and I experienced a lot of uncertainty as we embraced our new reality. As we found happiness for our child, we realized that there were tens of thousands of other children that could not find the same happiness. They were hiding, afraid to live their lives as their true, authentic selves. We couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. That just wasn’t right.
In 2018, we founded Living With Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting transgender youth and their families. We vowed to not only fight for our transgender child, but for all transgender children.
Trans youth need a safe place to find a supportive network. We discovered the Transgender Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. It was run by amazing people, who donated their time. While they were beyond passionate about the work, we knew the clinic and the families it serves needs more. They needed full-time staff to attend to their full-time needs. We wanted a staff of navigators able to help trans youth and their families.
When you see an opportunity to drive change, take it. We saw this obstacle as an opportunity to help in a significant way, which is why we made a donation of $2 million to create the Living With Change Center for Gender Health. We fueled the change from a clinic to a center. And then that center hired more qualified staff, started more critical programming, and had more room to support trans youth and their families. There is still work ahead.
The LWC Center for Gender Health currently serves children and families that are coming from places like West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and more. My family is lucky to have a best-in-class center at Cincinnati Children’s right in our backyard. But for other families, the distance, time, and cost to travel is simply too far. We’re expanding to support the growing needs of the youth we serve. We need your help.
This past weekend, Jessica and I hosted the 2nd Annual Every Journey Matters Living With Change Gala to raise money for the LWC Center for Gender Health at Children’s Hospital, the Living With Change scholarship programs, and our future goals of expansion. Every year, I am surrounded by friends and family who show up for my child. My cup is overflowing from the love they share and the commitment they make to Living With Change. With that, I am proud to say we raised $301,000!
But it’s not just about the money. It’s also about key to continue the conversations. With conversation and a willingness to listen and learn, comes change and understanding. And that, to me, is the biggest key to a successful journey: that we can have a conversation. We don’t all have to agree, but if we lead with love and acceptance, we can find ourselves in a better world, not just for transgender kids but for all.
And so, my request to you is this: keep the conversation going however you can. Everyone has a microphone. Thanks to social media, you can reach hundreds if not thousands of people with one post, one story, one comment. Word of mouth is an amazingly helpful tool – many families with gender non-conforming children aren’t aware of Living With Change or the LWC Center for Gender Health. Get the word out! The more educated our community is, the better.
I’m glad that we have some amazing people support us on this journey. Nobody wants to see a child that’s not included. Let’s make sure our kids stand up for doing the right thing, which is making sure that people are safe, protected, loved, and feel included.
To support Living With Change, visit https://livingwithchange.org/ and be sure to follow us on social media: Instagram @LWC_Organization, Facebook @LWCOrganization, Twitter @Living_W_Change