Yesterday, a student told me they wanted to be called another name. They didn’t like their name. I asked what name they would choose for themself. After some discussion about the name and why they wanted it, I shared that my child had changed their name, and they liked their new name much better. Sometimes names just don’t fit. The student said my child sounds like they are transgender. Yes, I said, they are transgender and they are much happier now that we call them by the right name.
The conversation didn’t have to turn into a discussion about gender. I listened and let them lead. If they just wanted a less frilly name, we would have talked about how my sister wanted to go by their middle name, Jo, when we were younger. I let the conversation flow. I didn’t force a coming-out moment for the student, but I came out as a parent and advocate for my children.
This is my second year teaching in my new school. My old school knew me. The students knew me as the Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) teacher; the teachers knew me as the mother of the child who transitioned at the end of eighth grade. If students came out to them, teachers would send them to me. I don’t have a solid rep yet at my new school, so I am coming out as a parent of three LGBTQ children to students and to my fellow teachers, one person at a time.
Coming out is a continual and personal process. My children have their coming out process with the people they meet. As a parent of LGBTQ children, I have mine. With children at school, I share to let kids know they are safe to be themselves in my classroom. With adults, I share to let them know I am working on making this world safer for my children to be themselves.
I will call this student by the name they told me. They said they’ll tell their other teachers and their parents to use the name, too. I may get a call from home soon.
The topic for the General Meeting on November 8 is Mental Wellness and Health. As we get closer to the election, we will all be feeling increased stress. No matter how the election is decided, November will be difficult. Not to mention that we are still experiencing a stressful pandemic. Our guest speaker will discuss coping strategies that will help get us through November and beyond.
We will also hold elections for Board of Director positions during the November meeting. We are still in search of candidates for the treasurer position. Candidates must be PFLAG Houston members in good standing. If you are interested in serving on the board, as the Treasurer or a Member-at-large, please email Janice_Anderson@yahoo.com.
After our guests speak, we will break into small support groups. Small groups are the heart of PFLAG. It’s a time where you can meet other parents and allies and LGBTQ folk. We share our stories and experiences, voice our concerns and triumphs.
Our virtual “doors” will open at 1:45 to allow people to settle in on Zoom and get to know each other. The General meeting will begin at 2 p.m.
The meeting, along with small groups will be held via Zoom, the online meeting platform. The meeting is open to everyone, but you must get an email invitation and password to attend. To get that invitation, email helplinePFLAGhouston@gmail.com and one will be sent out to you. This helps keep outside shenanigans at bay and keeps our warm circle of love safe.
Our weekly support groups are still being held online, as well, on Sundays at 2 p.m. Meeting announcements are sent out to our emailing list. Let us know if you would like to be added to our mailing list.
PFLAG Houston is committed to supporting families and educating the public about LGBT issues and invites all to consider the group’s numerous volunteer opportunities. PFLAG Houston is also passionate about advocacy to ensure equal human rights and end discrimination. PFLAG Houston invites all family members, parents, and/or youth who are having problems with coming out issues, and welcomes everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, ethnicity, or political persuasion. The group is proud of its rich history and the continued contributions of members and invites all to learn more about the organization and join in efforts to create a more diverse, accepting society. Find a home in PFLAG.