When Beryl’s child Micah came out to her as transgender when he was 21-years-old, Beryl remembers feeling “overwhelmed.” She had raised Micah as a female, but he shared with her that he had felt for a long time that he is male and would be transitioning to live each day as the man he has long known himself to be. Beryl was overwhelemed not because of what her son had just told her, but because, as a social worker, she knew the road ahead for him might not be easy. Micah, she explained, would be vulnerable to discrimination based on his gender identity when going out to a bar, a restaurant, or a club—things that are normally a way for young people to relax.
“I immigrated to this country to escape apartheid and live in a place that values freedom and protections from discrimination,” Beryl said, referencing her immigration from South Africa to the United States. “I want Micah to be treated with respect, to have fair access to everyday resources like restaurants, hospitals and public bathrooms, and to be ensured the same legal protections that everyone else in our family has in the face of discrimination.”