I’m afraid – but not of what others are

I’ve had the opportunity to talk about parenthood before, and I’d like to talk about it again. 

With what’s been going on in the news lately, with all this fear for children’s safety suddenly becoming so important, I would like to share some of my fears as a parent. 

But first, let me get this out of the way.

I’m not afraid of a person’s pronouns, neo or otherwise. 

I’m not afraid of the flags people choose to fly, whatever color they might be. 

I’m not afraid of what’s in the books at my library, and whether the authors are gay or not. 

What I am afraid of is that my children will grow up into adults who think it’s okay to hurt people because their skin color, their first language, their gender, their partners or their religion is different from their own. 

I’m afraid that one day my trans children would rather be dead than be themselves. 

I’m afraid that one day my children will go to school and get killed. 

I went into parenthood with the unspoken agreement that it is my duty — not just as an American, but as a citizen of the universe — to leave things better than when I found them, so that those who come after have the opportunity to do the same. 

But that can’t happen if our present destroys their future. 

The inheritance of kindness I hope to pass on isn’t something that will make my children weaker. It takes a lot of strength to look at a world that seems so hellbent on spreading hate and still choose kindness. 

The love I have for my child, as their parent, is not dependent on their attachment to their assigned sex and gender. I love them for the person that they are right now, as much as who they will become. And gender identity will only be a small part of that. 

But if love was all we needed to keep our children alive, then we’d all be immortal. 

I understand how the near constant exposure, or the comfort of our bias bubbles, can desensitize us to distressing topics. But I don’t think we’re ever really going to be able to capture in headlines or hashtags the horror and grief when a family’s worst nightmare becomes a reality.

Going forward, I hope we can turn this conversation of rejection into acceptance as our collective cultural tapestry is remade into something better than our yesterday.

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