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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Video shows parents of trans kids speaking out
From a press release
2016-05-04

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In response to continued attacks on trans people across the nation, recently nationalized by failed Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, the Trans United Fund ( TUF ), a recently formed political advocacy organization, has produced a moving and historic ad utilizing the voices of parents of trans children and speaking directly to the impact of the increasingly hostile rhetoric faced by the trans community.

"Trans United Fund was founded on the conviction that nothing is more transformative than trans people and our families sharing their lives authentically. For too long, the voices of bullies who play to the public's worst fears and demonize our community have been the loudest. For too long, trans people and our families have been kept out of the spotlight for fear that the truth of our lives would be 'off message.' This ad shares the story of three incredibly loving mothers and their children. The story of a mother's love, dreams and hopes for her children and fierce commitment to protect them is something that all Americans understand. This week we celebrate the failure of Cruz's particular brand of political bullying in Indiana and the interjection of a different kind of politics - one based on hope and love and rooted in the goal of bringing our country together not tearing it apart," said Hayden Mora, TUF board chair.

"Even though we saw Ted Cruz' attempts to use the trans community as a wedge issue fail, the Department of Justice stepping up to hold North Carolina accountable for HB2 and recent victories in Alabama and Texas upholding local laws protecting trans people, the struggle is far from over," said Andrea Jenkins, a founding member of the Trans United Fund.

"We all recognize the tremendous transphobia in our culture and that attempts to legislate discrimination against trans people will only continue. This ad puts a face on families with trans children in a bold and authentic way, allowing them to tell their stories with heart and sincerity. It does not get more real than this. Like other trans people, I simply want to be able to live my life with safety and dignity. This ad is an emotional yet rational response to painful and wasteful attack and represents the continuing work of the Trans United Fund will help make our country safer for trans people, educate the public about our lives, and hold politicians accountable when they attack us. The T is indeed no longer silent," concluded Jenkins.

Parents of trans children, deeply concerned for their children's safety, participated in the Trans United Fund ad to put a face on the trans community and our families, to combat misinformation about trans people and educate the public with the facts.

Zoila Fajardo of Rockville MD and mother of trans daughter, Ariel, said:

"Many of us were attending a vigil for a young trans woman who was brutally beaten to death just outside of Washington, D.C. on Friday evening. Our hearts broke as we listened to the young woman's father share about how much he loved his daughter and how she had only turned twenty-two a few days before her murder. As we watched a father, friends and community share their grief over this horrific murder — the 9th murder of a trans woman this year — the Ted Cruz Presidential Campaign issued a political ad attacking trans people which was all over the news. The black and white ad, complete with scary background music and ominous images of restrooms, borrows a page from North Carolina's pro-discrimination playbook and is nothing more than a cheap attempt to demonize trans people. The ad would be ridiculous, if it wasn't so profoundly dangerous. Even before the NC style campaigns targeting trans people began, the trans community already faced tremendous levels of violence.

'My daughter Ariel is only five years old. She is beautiful and perfect, just the way god made her. She is also trans. Like many little girls, she loves Elsa and Barbie and dresses. Unlike most little girls her age, she has had to learn to be strong at a very young age. She has had to learn to stand up to bullies.

She loves ballet and yoga. She has a mother, a father and grandparents that love her. I love her more than anything and I would give my life to protect her but I know I cannot always be with her and I know the world is very dangerous for my little girl. Just this Friday, I came to a vigil in my community when a young trans woman was killed. I'm scared for her and I know that greatest danger to her is other people's ignorance. I've committed to my life to educating others to make this world safer. I expect politician's to take my little girl's life seriously and to be working to make her safer not in greater danger.'

Melissa DeStefano from Pottstown, PA and the mother of a trans son who is also featured in the Trans United Fund ad, said:

'I love my son more than anything and I just want him to have the same opportunities any other young person has. Before my son came out as trans, I'd never heard about trans issues and I had a lot of questions and that's okay. We are on this journey together. What's not okay is bullying kids and making a dangerous world even more dangerous for trans folks like my son."

Trans United Fund's Hayden Mora, Andrea Jenkins and Jacob Tobia teamed up with Sundance award-winning producer and director Melissa Regan, creator of the trans documentary "No Dumb Questions."

Trans United Fund is committed to building the political power of trans and gender expansive communities and our allies to advocate for trans equality. Trans United Fund accomplishes this mission through engaging trans and gender expansive people and our allies in the political process, building the political leadership and capacity of trans people and allies, and endorsing candidates with a commitment to our communities and a pro-trans platform.Trans United Fund is a non-partisan 501( c )( 4 ) organization.

For more information go to www.transunitedfund.org .





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