This year's Southern Comfort Conference was themed "Heroes Among Us". I have been privileged to meet and befriend many heroes over the past three years since my first SCC. Each year, I meet and re-connect with more and more heroes... transgender people who are living their truths, loving parents, compassionate therapists, strong partners, radical activists, political lobbyists, people with transgender parents... I find myself at home there. It's become a homecoming of sorts, a place of celebration and reflection of the year before. For nearly a week each fall, that fancy hotel on the perimeter of Atlanta hosts this vibrant community.
COLAGE Kids of Trans program presented another panel, featuring Amanda Veldorale-Brogan and me. Amanda's MTF dad drove 13 hours from Michigan to see her speak. She sat in the front row with her camera and recorded this video of Amanda, who augmented her own experience with her Family Therapy degree. The video is about 20 minutes long and Amanda certainly became one of my heroes that weekend. (Yes, there is some footage of me toward the end, although the 9am EST session time didn't help my West Coast brain with articulating my empassioned point.)
I have grown so much since my first Southern Comfort Conference in 2006. Perhaps more evident this year was just how much the Kids of Trans program has grown. The conversation I have with parents has changed. We used to lament the lack of resources for transgender parents and their children. This year, I heard so many success stories - from parents who attended our panel before coming out to their kids, who actually read the resource guide and gave it to their children. This is progress.
We are reprinting the Kids of Trans Resource Guide, with help from IFGE, which will distribute the 2nd edition through their online bookstore. Stephanie Battaglino, IFGE's Communications Director, and I announced the partnership at Saturday's lunch after a moving key note address from Jamison Green. I stood on the stage feeling proud of this work, it's impact, and standing on the foundation of so many heroes.