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nevada conversion therapy

Bravo! Nevada Passes Ban on Conversion Therapy

Nevada passed a ban on conversion therapy yesterday and today Nevada’s Governor signed that legislation. Conversion therapy is an attempt by “therapists” or religious leaders to change a person’s sexual orientation – although it does more damage than good.

Senate Bill 201, sponsored by Sen. David Parks, Las Vegas, would make it illegal for licensed mental health practitioners to provide therapy attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This puts Nevada on the list of progressive states that are passing laws to make the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals better. Seven other states including Oregon, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont and the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy.

You may recall the story our board member, Curtis Galloway, who testified in support of the Illinois bill to ban conversion therapy. Curtis now lives and operates a chapter of One Million Kids in St. Louis, and provided comments on the subject.

“I think it’s fantastic that Nevada has chosen to protect LGBTQ youth from this harmful practice! More and more states are realising that this practice is ineffective and does more harm than good. And I hope that more states follow in this path. I know that what I went through was awful, but I also know that it gets much worse than what I experienced,” said Galloway.

Many states are currently attempting to ban conversion therapy including Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. However, some are worried that our current White House Administration may attempt to hinder the progress towards banning the practice in other States.

Curtis added, “I am very worried about the future of this movement. Vice President  Pence has publicly come out in favor of conversion therapy. I remember rallying against him when he was Governor of Indiana, driving several hours, after he signed his religious freedom act. And now this same man is second in command of our country. It’s very worrying and unsettling,” Galloway said. He added, “One thing is certain though, the bans that are in place, at least in Illinois, cannot be touched by this administration.”

Laws in other States, and now Nevada, do have flaws. They all exempt religious organizations, only creating the ban for certified therapists and psychiatrists. This means that anyone who claims to be operating a conversion therapy like establishment or session under religious grounds are exempt.

“It is a huge exemption as many of these individuals are going to start using religion as means ‘to pass the baton’ to religious leaders,” Galloway said. “However, I am hopeful that with this law as a basis, even religious attempts to convert will be found to be child abuse.”

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge of California’s Ban on Conversion Therapy

The United States Supreme Court on Monday rejected a California Christian minister’s challenge to California’s ban on conversion therapy.

The Pastor challenged the law with an assertion that it violates religious rights.

For the third time in two years since it’s passage, the court let stand a lower court’s ruling that the law is constitutional and neither impinges upon free exercise of religion nor impacts the activities of clergy members.

The law prohibits state-licensed mental health counselors, including psychologists and social workers, from offering therapy to change sexual orientation in minors. The Supreme Court in 2014 refused to review the law after an appeals court rejected claims that the ban infringed on free speech rights under U.S. Constitution’s the First Amendment.

‘Conversion therapy’, often referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” is a range of practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These practices are based on the false premise that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured, a theory that has been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization for decades.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed that there is no place in civilized society for so-called ‘conversion therapy.’ We at One Million Kids For Equality applaud the justices for affirming that California’s law against this barbaric ‘treatment’ for something that isn’t a disorder, is correct and just.” said OMK Co-Director, Charles Chan Massey.

To date, ‘conversion therapy’ has been outlawed in 6 states (CA, IL, NM, NJ, OR, VT) and the District of Columbia.

Statement on Attack in Orlando

In the early hours of Sunday, June 12th a deranged gunman walked into Pulse Nightclub, an LGBTQ club in Orlando, Florida and opened fire on hundreds of bar patrons. It was latin night and many of the victims are young people of color.

Our co-director and Board President, Brad Delaney had the following to say about this harrowing tragedy:

“50 people lost their lives last night and another 50 are wounded after a gunman opened fire in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando Florida. To say we are devastated would be a huge understatement. There are simply no words strong enough to describe our sadness.

Our hearts go out to the families, friends and loved ones who have been affected by this deliberate act of violence against our community.

June is supposed to be a month filled with pride, joy, and celebration. Instead, this has left many of us with feelings of sadness, anxiety and fear.

We ask that you join us in a moment of silence this morning to honor the many lives we lost last night. Take your moment whenever you’re ready.”

Gayby Baby in Chicago! Join Us For A Special Screening.

One Million Kids For Equality has been working to share the stories of youth since we got started last January – from sharing the voices of 5 youth last spring with the Supreme Court in the Voices Of Children brief to working to end conversion therapy in Illinois. Time and time again we’ve seen that when youth speak up they are able to present their stories in a way that changes hearts and minds forever.

Kids being raised by same-sex couples are growing in numbers worldwide. We are in a Gayby-Boom. But who are these kids? What do they think about having same-sex parents? And do they face different issues to other kids? At a time when the world is debating marriage equality, these questions are more pertinent than ever. Told from the perspective of the kids, Gayby Baby is intimate and sometimes humorous account of four children and their families.

We invite you to join us for this FREE special screening of GAYBY BABY in Chicago on April 30th, an Australian feature documentary in which four kids take us into their homes and share their personal experiences.

One Million Kids For Equality is cohosting a panel discussion between screenings with filmmakers and partners addressing how we empower children of LGBT parents and improve the lives of families in our work.

Secure your seats and learn more athttps://gaybybabychicago.splashthat.com/

In honor of International Family Equality Day, our sponsor for this event, MyFamilyBuilders is offering all attendees and members of One Million Kids For Equality an exclusive $10 discount off of all toy set purchases. Use promo code OMK at checkout. See the coupon below for more details.

My Family Builders

LGBTQ Organizations Call on Big Business in North Carolina to Oppose Legislature’s Attempt to Repeal Charlotte LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections.

 

Charlotte, NC – A coalition of LGBTQ organizations led by Equality North Carolina, Campus Pride, and One Million Kids For Equality is calling on Bank of America, BB&T (Branch Bank & Trust), Burt’s Bees, and it’s parent company Clorox to oppose the North Carolina legislature’s attempt to repeal Charlotte’s recently passed city ordinance that aims to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination.

These new legal protections mean that as of April 1st businesses in Charlotte can’t discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants and stores. It also applies to taxis.

Immediately after passage of the new city ordinance many within the North Carolina legislature began advocating for statewide legislative action to block local governments from enacting their own nondiscrimination protections. When North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger announced that they would not convene a special session of the legislature to address new legislation, the legislature took it upon themselves to convene a special session. The special session started today at 10am.

“As three of the largest corporations in North Carolina, all of which proudly protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees through LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination policies, we believe these corporations have a moral obligation and responsibility to voice their opposition when state legislatures put the communities they serve in danger of discrimination” said Brad Delaney, President of One Million Kids For Equality

A copy of the letters to Bank of America, BB&T, and Burt’s Bees (Clorox) are available here:

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-BofA-Letter.pdf

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-BBT-Letter.pdf

https://onemillionkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NC-Clorox-Letter.pdf

 

I am Tim, the Father of DW

My name is Tim Trantham. I am the single parent to DW Trantham, a 13-year-old male to female transgender activist. This is my story of change for the visitors of One Million Kids for Equality.

First off, I will tell you that DW was born a girl. She did not at any time like boy toys or clothes. I assumed, early on, that her female tendencies meant she was gay. At that time, I was so unaware of even the term “transgender”.

DW’s mother and I had another baby when DW was very young. Our second baby was still-born at full term. DW’s mother could never recover from this. This eventually caused the end of our marriage. It led to her crawling into a brown bottle, which she has still not climbed out of.
DW and I were apart from Easter to Fathers’ Day that year. At that point, I moved to Idaho to be with her. Within the next few years, a friend of DW’s showed her a story about “transgender people”. This changed her forever. Now, she knew who she was and that she was not alone. To be honest, I was so mad at that lady for sharing this story with my child without my permission.
The girl clothes and make-up started showing up, as well as several Barbie dolls. I tried to put a stop to all of this! “You are a boy and by God, you will act like it” was my mantra at the time. I would go to DW’s mother’s house and clean it out. I would throw away girly clothes and make-up. I went so far as to gather up all of the Barbies and burn them in the fire pit. All these things kept coming back!

Around the time DW started 5th grade, the relationship between her and her mother fell apart. I moved DW into my home full-time. She was so happy to be with me at first, but when the school I put her in made her cut off her hair and wear boys uniforms, she was devastated. Me, I thought that this may be what she needed to finally stop all of this girly stuff. I did not allow this in my home!
DW soon became very depressed. I started finding things saying, “I want to die” written in notebooks and on little pieces of paper around the house. We were no longer very close.
Counseling, I thought! That will fix everything. It did not “fix” DW. That’s probably because she did not need to be fixed. I did! Her counselor called and told me that DW had gender dysphoria. “You people must be joking,” I told them. The counselor recommended drugs for DW to help with her depression. I kind of thought that I was the one who needed “drugs” at this point.

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About the same time, I was injured on my construction job and put on office duty. One day, out of boredom and curiosity, I did the unthinkable. I typed “transgender” into the search box and went surfing. What I found changed my life permanently. Suicide statistics slapped me in the face. Prejudice and discrimination kicked me in the groin. I spent the next few days in recovery from that Google search and a lot of time in self-reflection, as well. Then, I began my own transformation. I realized it was time for me to change, change and save my child! I made BIG changes. I got a new job and we moved to Boise. I gave DW the acceptance for which she had been searching. I told her, “You are my daughter and I love you for who you are.” Then, the unthinkable, I went shopping for make-up and girl clothes.

Sixth grade, I asked for a meeting with the principal and counselor. I told them DW would be entering school as a girl. Only they knew our secret. This was DW’s best year in school so far. She was living as she was meant to be, but one day DW decided the secrecy was not for her. She wanted to make a difference for others like herself. Just before the end of her 6th grade year, I got a phone call from a television news reporter, Lauren Johnson. Lauren works for Today’s 6 and Fox 9 here in Boise. DW took it upon herself to send an email saying she wanted to come clean, to tell her story. This was “news to me” I told Lauren, but after a 30 minute conversation with her, I was reassured that our story would be told with heart and utmost compassion. It was! It took three months before our story aired. Lauren and her news director, Grendel Levy, jumped through hoops to get the story on the air. The concern was for DW’s safety. Being in a super conservative state, the station was unsure of the sentiment of the viewers and didn’t want to put my daughter in harm’s way. Eventually though, Lauren and Grendel told our transgender story to viewers, but it was shown just two weeks before the start of DW’s first day in junior high. That fact almost caused me to have them pull the story altogether. DW and I talked about how this might paint her as a target for bullying, but DW was adamant, “I must do this!” So our story was told. It became the 8th most popular story of the year, even in an election year, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Because of the story,many people reached out to us. what we learned from many of them caused yet an other change for Dw. and I.

 *You can watch my daughter explain her feelings on being a trans teen as only she can here*

We found out that the state of Idaho was one of the 19 or so states that have legal protections for religion, but have no protections for the LGBT community. In this state a person can be fired, evicted or refused services for being LGBT. The ADD THE WORDS campaign organized 10 ten years ago in an effort to get these protections. Trying to get 4 words added to the states human rights act. SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR GENDER IDENTITY are the words that need to be added to get protections for my daughter. When we found out that a house bill HB-2 was given an open hearing Dw. and I jumped at the chance to give are testimony, along with many other people both for and against the bill. When Dw testified Tears filled my eyes as well as the eyes of most of the others in the seats at that hearing. She nailed it. I had to follow her story with my own. I wiped the tears from my eyes, stepped up to the podium and told my story of change to the committee members. I told them that if a man like me can come from burning Barbies to buying bras then certainly a group of highly educated, publicly elected officials should also be able to make a change. I was so wrong, the bill was killed in that committee. I also told them if it did not pas that we would be back and we will.

 

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You can see Dw’s testimony here

Shortly after that the bullying for Dw. increased at school. I thought some thing must be done about that problem as well. My pleas to the school brought little if any change to the bullying. When an other house bill called HB 246 came up for a hearing Dw. and I again jumped at the chance to bring about change. We jumped in to this effort with every thing we had. We rallied, marched and again testified. We stayed on top of it the whole way. I missed many days of work and Dw missed some school as well. I lost my job, her grades suffered. I am proud to say that this bill is on the Governor’s desk. We along with others that fought so hard for it will be in the Governor’s office when he signs it into law some time this week. Change can happen.

One last change I want to tell you about. We fought for the right for my daughter to use the bathroom of her gender identity. I was ready to sue when the school board finally gave in and Dw and I won that fight, but only in one school district. Now is the time when we will fight for that right to be given to all transgender people every where in our nation. Join us, together we can make a change.

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If you would like to help the Trantham’s then please click here

 

I am DW and This is My Story

My name is DW Trantham. In my thirteen years of life, I’ve faced far more adversity than your average teenager because I am transgender.

My story began in Las Vegas where I was born as a “male”. The first three years of my life I spent perfectly happy to play with the vacuum and cuddle with my favorite rainbow blanket my daddy bought me. My parents did not notice the fact that I loved dolls and the color pink. In their minds, I was a baby and my behavior did not warrant any concern.

When I turned three, my parents suffered the loss of my baby brother. Unable to console themselves, they divorced. I moved with my mother to a minute town in Northern Idaho named Mackay. Though I had many family members surrounding me, I missed my daddy tremendously. The first few months living there were terrible. My mother and I did not have the close relationship my daddy and I did. My mother suffered enormously from personal issues and as a result, I was forced to grow up very quickly.
At this stage in my life, I knew nothing of gender identity. I didn’t even know that boys were not allowed to play with Barbies. Eventually, my daddy could no longer bear being away from me and he moved to Idaho. I was elated! He made an effort to resolve things with my mother, but it was not to be. Instead, we chose to focus on building a healthy father/child relationship.

DW TranthamWhen I entered school, I was so innocent in my ways that I believed other girls had the same makeup in their private area. There was nothing about me that thought connected with the boys. It was only when I began to pay attention to the lessons my teacher taught that I realized that there was an enormous difference between “he” and “she”. Because I referred to myself as “she”, I was ridiculed. It wasn’t long before I began to think that the doctor had made a gigantic mistake when I was born. He must have accidentally written boy on my birth certificate instead of girl!

The years fell by and with it, so did I. My mother’s personal problems in addition to my gender confusion caused me to fail in school. The issue of gender was a constant reminder to me and I felt completely out of place. Though I knew I was born a boy, everything in me fought that notion. I tried to act like one – many times, I copied my daddy’s ways hoping I’d pick up on how to be a boy, but it was to no avail.

When my dad moved to New Mexico, it was as if it was the end of the world! I missed my daddy again and could barely stand the person my mother was becoming. Each day grew more and more difficult to deal with and the costume of being a boy began to rub me sore. Relief came in the form of a boy at school. He was cute and I quickly developed a crush on him. My femininity did not seem to bother him and though his father was a policeman and people didn’t allow their children to be friends with him, we formed a tight bond. Eventually, he began spending the night at my house. It was so much fun to have a friend who cared about me! One day, we were jumping about on the trampoline and I felt the urge to tell him that I liked him. I didn’t have to wait long because he said, “I feel something different about you.’. Distracted, I answered “Like what?” and he responded, “I’m not sure, but you’re not like the other boys.’.
DW Trantham
At that moment, I froze. The truth had surfaced and I didn’t know what to say. Quickly, I blurted “That’s because I’m really a girl. My parents wanted a boy when I was born so they dressed me like one.’. To my amazement, he told me that he thought I made a beautiful girl. He went on to be my first secret boyfriend. We lasted one year.

As I began to embrace my femininity, the children in my grades noticed and not much time passed before the bullying began. I was very open about my gender identity and though some were accepting, most were not. At first, it began with name calling. Then it escalated to physical assault which became a daily routine. Though I reported it, the school did nothing. One particular time, after a long day of school, I missed the bus and had to cut through the baseball field. When the teenagers on the baseball team saw me, they caught me, then beat me with their baseball bats. The sexual harassment occurred every single day of my young life. I became so depressed and scared of the daily beatings that I tried to commit suicide.

After a year, I confided in a close friend of my daddy’s that I felt like a girl trapped in a boy’s body. I told her I needed help or I would kill myself. She ended up showing me a documentary on transgender children. It changed my life. I knew who I was meant to be and what I had to do. I just didn’t know how to go about doing it.

DW TranthamMy daddy finally moved back to Idaho and I moved back in with him. He knew nothing about how to raise a transgender child. Indeed, he had so many misconceptions about the gay community that it was scary to tell him I was in fact, a girl. It was months before I finally confessed it to him. Understandably, he was shocked and tried to push it all under the rug. He distanced himself from me. With his new job, he traveled a lot and I was forced to stay with his new wife. Cruel and unable to accept my choice, she forced me to act like a boy. Her anger toward me was unforgivable. Deep down, I knew I was a girl and I needed to act as such. I had to be true to myself! But still, I was trapped in the costume of being a boy. It was excruciating.

 

When school began, we were informed that a dress code would be instated. Boys would have to cut their hair short above the collar and would be forced to wear polo shirts with khaki pants. Two weeks before the beginning of school, my step-mother dragged me to the barber shop and cut my long sun-bleached hair off. When I got home, I locked myself in my bedroom and cried for two days, but there was nothing I could do. When school started, people saw me as a boy and treated me as such. However, once they saw my femininity, rumors began to circulate that I was gay. Once again, the bullying started. One boy tried to “cure” me. I thought it might help and attended his church. All it did was beat me into the very depths of hell. There was no “curing” me.

DW TranthamSurprisingly enough, my step-mom finally grew to accept me for who I was. She stuck up for me at my school and did not allow the counselors to try to push me into being a boy. She supported me in that she bought me dresses and makeup. It was nice to be accepted and it helped me tremendously.
It was around the time when my father and step-mom divorced, that he was hurt at a construction job and was given a desk job. During his hours of boredom, he surfed the internet looking to understand his child. In doing so much research, he learned what a transgender person was, how they felt, what they endured. Finally, he began to see what his child had been through. Slowly, we became closer and soon, we were stronger than ever. He told me he loved and accepted me. The relief at being acknowledged as a girl by someone so important to me meant the world to me! With his blessing, I began my outward transition.

My father and mother attempted to renew their old life together and we moved back to Mackay. That summer was one of the best! I was finally transitioned and made friends with a few girls from the neighborhood. I even reconnected with old friends. My daddy gave me the option to be homeschooled, but I wanted to attend school with my friends. Unfortunately, in my complete happiness at being accepted, I did not realize that others would not be as accepting and the harassment immediately began. Even today, I am not comfortable with discussing the abuse I was forced to endure. Not only did the abuse come from the students – it came from the very people I respected: my teachers.

11106304_898545670206321_393235092_nThankfully, Daddy was offered a job in Boise and we moved. My dream was being fulfilled – I could attend school as a girl without anyone knowing my secret! This time it would be different – I would just be me! I was instantly accepted by the students. The principal, counselor and my father discussed my special situation and came to the conclusion that despite accepting me as a girl, I was not allowed to use the girl’s bathroom. Living this lie did nothing to help me feel accepted. It was not me. It was not authentic.

Despite the tragedy I have endured, I will fight rather than allow myself to be railroaded. I decided to contact the local news station and share my story with hopes that I could gain some support. I never would have imagined such support! Not only did they follow through with covering my story, they have been there through my medical transition and supported me with Add the Words. Repeatedly reporting on my updates, they have been a major voice for me. As a result, I have become an advocate for transgender teens. Hundreds of supporters have voiced their concerns and openly accepted me! I am so grateful to them for stepping forward and endorsing me!

dw+1This year, I met a wonderful person who eventually became my boyfriend! A big supporter of transgender teens, he and I are a perfect match. My daddy and Jacob are among my biggest supporters. My journey has been long and it is ongoing, but there is nothing more that I would like to be doing right now. I am woman. I am strong. I am brave. I am DW.

Dear LGBT Community | Every Story Matters

Dear LGBT Community,

Like Heather Barwick, I too am your daughter. I too am the child of two dads and I was raised in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Like Heather, I understand the complications of being the child of two same-sex parents during those decades, and as a result, I too, am hurting.

But here is where Heather’s and my stories diverge.

I’m hurting because in my formative years, my dads never had the option of being married since the law didn’t allow it. My family experienced a great deal of discrimination, marginalization, and direct hatred because society took a prescriptive approach using heteronormative families as the baseline for “acceptance.” Therefore, any family falling outside of that norm was categorized as aberrant. I longed for my family to be seen as good, and whole, and holy, but none of the laws, nor society, nor communities of faith supported that option.

When you are told for years that your family is not valid, it hurts.

Children Need a Family

My family (both my dads, and my mom and step-dad) fought to provide me with an upbringing that involved all four voices. And though my mom and my dad divorced when I was six years old, they managed to co-parent with a consistent voice that has helped me become the woman I am today. A professional woman. A woman of deep faith convictions. A woman who had a successful educational experience. A woman who has a robust and diverse community of friends. I am who I am because of my family.

To LGBT parents please know that your sexual orientation/gender expression has no bearing on your ability to develop a healthy attachment with your child, so don’t let anyone tell you that it does. You are a good parent because you care for and love your child. Period. I am 44 years old and I have a very healthy and life-long attachment to my father. That attachment is valid, and wholesome, and good.

To straight parents who were formerly married to an LGBT individual, know that when you make the incredibly difficult choice to co-parent with your LGBT ex, it makes a positive long-term difference for your child. When you choose to create opportunities for your child to develop a healthy relationship with the LGBT parent as mine did, you are giving your child the gift of a fully-developed identity. When you choose not to disparage your former spouse, but instead build them up as the co-parent of your child, you are positively forming your child’s self-esteem and ensuring that your child knows they are loved by their entire family. YOU as well as the LGBT parent are key to the healthy development of your child. Never abdicate that because, as you can see in Heather’s post, the disappearance of her father was a devastating, and life-altering loss. YOU matter.

Why can’t Gay People’s Kids be Honest?

Heather and I happen to agree on this one point…children of LGBT families have not been able to be fully honest about our experiences because often people have not inquired about our narrative. When I grew up, people were either fighting for or against the validity of gay families, so children’s voices often became lost in the fight. Thankfully organizations like One Million Kids, Family Equality Council and  COLAGE are fighting to change that.

My heart breaks for the narrative Heather brings to the table. It breaks because I’m a daddy’s girl and I can’t imagine life without him. She has a right to have a personal narrative and it is important for her to find her authentic voice.

However, I would request that Heather not make her case at the expense of the rest of our narratives because ALL of our stories are valid.

What is not conducive to the health of all families is when Heather takes a prescriptive approach based on her solitary experience. It is healthy and good to look at our family narratives descriptively, but universalizing policy based on one specific experience, or worse, creating an overarching prescriptive narrative from one experience weakens everyone’s rights.

At the end of the day, children need a family to grow up healthy and when those family systems are globally protected under the law, it shows a greater, not a lesser, concern for all children (many of whom are already a part of LGBT families).