Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-09-04
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

GenderCool Champions on their lives, Chicago trip, future hopes
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-12-26

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The GenderCool Project started when founders Gearah Goldstein and Jen and John Grosshandler teamed up to create an organization dedicated to spotlighting the stories of transgender teens across the country under the banner "Who we are, not What we are."

"We just could not sit back any longer," said Jen Grosshandler. "GenderCool is filling a gap in a national conversation, and we are succeeding beyond imagination. We are cutting through the inaccurate, sensational anti-trans noise by helping the country actually meet our children. We know that when people see who these children are as thriving, successful, altruistic young people, their minds open up and they want to be supportive."

"Even when the administration is hyper-focused on restricting people who identify as transgender, we continue to do what we have always done," said Goldstein, who identifies as transgender. "These young people are living their truths and working every day to help replace people's opinions with the experience of actually meeting a person who identifies as transgender. These kids are writers, future politicians, athletes, scholars and Broadway hopefuls and want to be treated like any other young person."

Currently the organization has six champions—Daniel and Gia, from Connecticut; Nicole, who lives in Massachusetts; Landon, from Texas; Stella, who lives in Washington; and Grosshandler's daughter, Chazzie, from the Chicago suburbs. Chazzie's family story was the inspiration behind the campaign.

Daniel said his coming out process has been smooth across the board and he plans on going to college and supporting causes he cares about.

"My biggest hope for the future is to be in a happy, healthy relationship and have one or two kids," said Daniel. "Being a part of GenderCool makes me feel like I am able to be a role model and help others feel more comfortable in their own skin."

Gia said she was worried about how her parents would react when she came out to them, but when she slipped a note under their bedroom door they were very supportive and immediately helped her get the medical services she needed. What surprised Gia the most is the support she has gotten from the conservative town where she lives.

"I want to do more public speaking about GenderCool's message to show who transgender kids are, not what we are," said Gia. "As for the future, I want to go to college and be an entrepreneur with my own business. I like to think outside of the box."

Gia explained that being a part of GenderCool has been amazing because she is able to advocate for herself and other transgender people on a national platform.

Landon explained that he is grateful to have the support of his family, friends and school since he came out.

"This has allowed me not only to survive, but to thrive," said Landon. "I am able to use my voice and tell my story as a way of not only giving back to the transgender community, but also being the person for others that I needed when I was younger. The GenderCool Project is affecting real change through increasing awareness about transgender youth, in addition to conveying that we are multifaceted people who are not defined solely by our transgender identities."

As for Landon's career aspirations, he said he is considering social work, law or media. He explained that doing advocacy work for marginalized communities on the whole will always be a part of his life.

Nicole said she has a very supportive mom and school "with administrators and students who 'get it.'"

"My school principal said I was his greatest teacher because I taught him to be a better person," said Nicole.

When Nicole is not studying or doing GenderCool and other social justice advocacy she can be found performing as a singer, which she has done since she was five years old, and onstage, having done more than 40 musical theater productions. Nicole explained that she would be performing the national anthem for the 2018-19 Boston Bruins season and has Broadway aspirations in her future.

"I am proud to stand with the other Champions to change the conversation about who transgender kids are," said Nicole. "This campaign is making a difference in moving the narrative by focusing on the positive things about being transgender teens and the amazing experiences we have had."

Stella has also received support from family, friends and her school throughout her journey. She said she wants to be the first transgender U.S. president. Stella explained that she fell in love with history after listening to the Hamilton musical soundtrack.

"I love the mix between music and history and it is a fun way to learn," said Stella.

Being a part of GenderCool has been an interesting journey for Stella. She said that most times she thinks of herself as an average teen but then it hits her that she has this platform to speak out to a national audience.

Although Chazzie was born into a household full of male role models ( three older brothers ), she knew as soon as she could communicate that she was a girl. With full family and community support, Chazzie socially transitioned in 5th grade. Her mission now is all about paying it forward.

"I want to help others be their true, authentic selves," said Chazzie. "I tell people it is ok to be you because you are awesome."

Recently, the Champions gathered in Chicago to meet with employees and senior executives at Fortune 500 companies Allstate, Citibank and Conagra Brands.

The Champions said these meetings were an amazing experience because they got to talk to everyone about what it means to be a transgender person. Landon explained that it was great to hear that many companies that operate in places like Texas, where there are no laws protecting LGBTQ people, makes him feel better about his future employment prospects.

"Having people come up to us afterward to thank us for being there with them was great," said Daniel. "Even though I was nervous, I felt better afterward because of what people took away from the experience."

"Someone came up to me after we gave our presentation at one of the companies and said I changed their views and was an inspiration and should keep doing what I am doing," said Gia.

"The fact that they invited us to speak about our experiences in order to better their policies and inclusion efforts across the board was so empowering because we felt like we were heard, especially since we are young," said Landon. "It is great to know that we are playing a part in how these policies are going to affect others now and in the future."

They also toured the city and the Center on Halsted, saw the Howard Brown Health queer mural, and were present at the unveiling of the Legacy Walk's newest bronze plaques honoring Marsha P. Johnson and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in October. Local transgender icon Gloria Allen was with the champions during the dedication ceremony and mural visit.

After the Legacy Walk induction ceremony, the Champions said they were honored to be included amongst the others in attendance.

"To be able to take a look back in history and see who worked to make the world safer for the LGBTQ community was very powerful," said Daniel. "Visiting with Mama Gloria was a true reminder of the privilege and safety I have felt in my life. I felt supported and loved being in the city of Chicago."

"The ceremony was an inspiring event," said Gia. "Meeting Mama Gloria, who has gone through so much in her life, gives me a new perspective on how things have changed throughout time. The recognition of transgender icons with plaques shows that Chicago supports us."

"Being able to witness history with the completion of the Legacy Walk was an unforgettable moment, especially in the current climate where transgender rights and existence are under attack," said Landon. "I felt a deep sense of pride and power when the Marsha P. Johnson plaque was unveiled."

"The dedication ceremony and talking to Gloria were very emotional and overwhelming experiences," said Nicole. "It was incredible to see how far we have come but also how much more work has to be done. I felt honored to meet everyone and hear how our work as the Champions has helped them."

"It was pretty overwhelming to be in a place that is centered around the LGBTQ community," said Stella. "The Center on Halsted tour was incredible and the Legacy Walk is hard to put into words for me. To see the people who created a pathway for me to feel safe and accepted was significant and powerful. Chicago will always feel like a special place to me."

As for what they will incorporate into their lives going forward, they all said spreading their positive message in their own communities and the wider world are vital to educate more people about their lives both together and separately.

GenderCool has also been covered by a number of mainstream media outlets including the Today Show, the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, People, ABC News, NBC News, Pink News and WGN-TV. Additionally, more than 43 countries have reached out to the campaign with messages of hope and gratitude.

See gendercool.org/ .


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

District 211 considers transgender locker room proposal 2019-09-12 - The Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board of education is considering allowing transgender students to use the locker rooms of the gender with ...


Gay News

Keisling speaks on staying optimistic in the age of Trump 2019-09-10 - While speaking at Center on Halsted the evening of Sept. 9, activist Mara Keisling said that, though the trans community has been beset ...


Gay News

Study says bias experiences affect suicides in trans adults 2019-09-10 - New analysis of data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS) found that more than half (51.2 percent) of respondents who had experienced ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Gay police captain, more trans deaths, Chasten Buttigieg 2019-09-10 - In New Jersey, Newark's police department swore in its first openly gay captain and promoted 43 other officers at a ceremony, Patch.com reported. ...


Gay News

WORLD Kazakhstan first, HIV news, intersex items, Chick-fil-A 2019-09-10 - A controversial case that took a year and a half for Kazakhstan's court system to hear has turned out to be the first ...


Gay News

National Black Justice Coalition calls for action on murders of transgender teens 2019-09-06 - WASHINGTON— Bailey Reeves, at 17-years-young, and Bee Love, at only 18, became the 17th and 18th trans people murdered in the United States ...


Gay News

Trans athlete to headline ISU dinner Sept. 20 2019-09-03 - Swimmer Schuyler Bailar will be the speaker for Illinois State University's ( ISU's ) Housing Services LGBTQA Cultural Dinner at 5 p.m. on ...


Gay News

Applications out for Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards 2019-08-29 - Broadway In Chicago is inviting high schools throughout the state to participate in the Ninth Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. Beginning ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Suicidal partner, Cory Booker, serial killer, trans group's crisis 2019-08-27 - In Philadelphia, a 20-year-old Black man took his life after being the target of relentless bullying because of his relationship with a trans ...


Gay News

Measure for non-binary gender marker on driver's licenses, state IDs approved 2019-08-26 - Under legislation approved Friday by Gov. Pritzker, individuals in Illinois will be able to select a non-binary gender marker on their drivers' licenses ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.