Despite the fact that a team of anti-LGBTQ extremists and equal rights obstructionists will soon fill key White House and cabinet positions, I am resolved this year to remain fearless. I will not back down or stand by and watch our country’s progress be rolled back.
The countless non-profit organizations, activist groups, journalists and many others who are speaking out and standing up for the betterment of all fortify me. I am focused on the change I want to see and experience. And I am driven by optimism — hopeful we can instill it in all of today’s youth, regardless of their color, ethnicity, abilities, gender or sexual orientation.
Thanks to the generous chiropractor who lent me her waiting room copy of National Geographic’s special issue, “Gender Revolution,” I’m reminded of the power education and knowledge have to change hearts and minds. We must all find teachable moments to influence attitudes, beliefs and behaviors about what it means to be human, and to rethink the gender binary of boy and girl. (Based on the special issue, National Geographic has put together a wonderful discussion guide for parents and teachers on the topic of gender.)
“The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.” –Avery Jackson, 9 years old, “Gender Revolution” special issue
I will continue to fight for the injustices served those kids by anyone who would negate their sense of self or deny their very existence. Whether we are parents, family, teachers, neighbors, or religious leaders, it is imperative that we assure gender-nonconforming and LGBTQ children they are perfect just the way they are. And we must instill in them the four most important traits of personal leadership: confidence, hope, optimism and resilience.
As is my January drill, here are four* suggested adds to your list of New Year’s resolutions. They encompass ideas that affirm our collective desires for freedom, joy and personal growth. Please feel free to share them with every adult and child you know.
- I will approve of myself, my characteristics, my abilities, my likes and dislikes, my inclinations and disinclinations, realizing that these form my unique individuality. I have them for a reason.
- I will approve of and rejoice in my accomplishments, and I will be as vigorous in listing these – as rigorous in remembering them – as I have ever been in remembering and enumerating my failures or lacks of accomplishment.
- I will remember the tremendous energy, joyful spontaneity, possibilities and potential that lie within me to create that which I can imagine for myself.
- I will realize that the future is a probability. In terms of everyday experiences, nothing exists there yet. It is virgin territory, planted by my feelings and thoughts in the present. Therefore I will plant accomplishments and successes, and I will do this by focusing on how I want and expect the future to be for me.
In addition to shaping your own future, I hope you’ll join me in the fight to advance equality, freedom and dignity across our nation. And let’s hope 2017 will be a Happy News Year for all.
*This list is adapted from one given to Jane Roberts and Robert Butts by Seth on New Year’s Day, 1979.
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