Eighteen Minutes & Eighteen Seconds

During the course of having gone (very) wide with my story, I have met (mostly virtually) many people along the way.  I get emails from strangers nearly every day; some are transgender themselves, others are attempting to parent a transgender child and others still are just compassionate human beings (and some are all three!)  For their own particular reason, they are interested in the evolution of Jessie and the trials and tribulations inherent in such a dramatic transition.  I like to lend an ear, offer support and remind them of the mantra that I (try desperately to) adhere to: “you can do this.”

Today I received the following email from LNB, the parent of three children, one of whom simply doesn’t fit into any gender clearly:

I imagine you may have already seen this TED video, but if not, I am privileged to be the first to share it with you!


In fact, I had not seen it, although vaguely recall having heard about this incredible story.  I then spent 18 minutes and 18 seconds watching it, as enraptured as I’ve ever been while watching anything and feeling enormous appreciation at her having sent it my way.

This is a wild adventure.  Just today, I was speaking with a mother from my neighborhood that looked vaguely familiar as our children had gone to the same elementary school although none in the same grade.  She knew Harrison but asked me about “my other children” which, as it invariable does, lead to the question as to whether it was a boy or a girl.  (Aside: I hate this question.  I feel that no matter how I answer I am in some way lying…) Since she had been at the same school, I assumed she knew the story and introduced myself as the mother of the transgender kid at school.  After an awkward pause she said, (and I am not making this up) “how did that happen?”  In a moment of quick wit (and gratitude that said wit did not elude me at that moment) I responded, “Just lucky.”

I want her to watch this video.  I want everyone to watch this video.  I actually think that video should be somehow required watching for anyone who ever deals with kids.  Or adults.  Or anyone in the human race.

Find a time that you have 18 minutes and 18 seconds to devote to sitting in front of your computer screen or iPad or Kindle or Smartphone or  any other electronic device on which you can see it.  Watch it.  I dare you not to be moved, provoked and/or want to watch it again.  Go ahead.  Watch it now.  Let me know what you think. I will tell you what I think: fabulous.

10 thoughts on “Eighteen Minutes & Eighteen Seconds

  1. Thank you for posting the TED talk of iO. What an interesting, thought provoking, compassionate talk/project. (And I loved her look.) What a blessing to be raised in an area in which traditional is “abnormal”. It’s funny, in the description of the virtual “people you have met”, I couldn’t describe myself in the LGBT, mother of, close friend of (that I aware ;-)) category. Besides your self-deprecating, honest, heart warming writing, I love the topic of LGBT because in every sense it’s about being brave enough to be fully you. No matter how unpopular that honesty makes you. That you, as a mom, can help your child reach this acceptance, I think is beyond admirable…even as much as it is admittedly difficult some days. I appreciate the honesty in that too. There is something deep within me that calls for this in myself as I get older, and to help others embrace that in themselves as well. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Jules! I watched this with great interest. Taking it to the streets, to make LGBT no big deal because we’ve been exposed to it so much, is really key to integrating America. Remember when we never saw people in wheelchairs out and about? No curb cuts, legislated elevators in two or three story buildings, classrooms with wide doorways and high desks. It was surprising to see them, we wondered about them. Now we don’t even take note when we pass a wheelchair in the cooky section of Stop-n-Shop. I also liked the idea of a sliding scale of “gayness”. What a neat idea. I have always identified as 100% straight, and I would be very surprised to see that change but realize that people fall in love unexpectedly! Maybe I’ll be a little old divorced or widowed lady going on booze cruises with a soul sister some day!

  3. Amazing! Jesse is just ahead of her time. Pretty unfathomable to think of the injustices that Americans have tolerated over the centuries. Like all the other groups of people who have been made second class citizens that have finally started to rise, so too will the LGBT community. Too long from now, people will look back at this point in history and wonder what we/they were thinking. I am thankful Jesse has you to walk her down this path while the rest of the world catches up.

  4. As a TG,that was the best discussion of all time. My Unitarian church,where I am on the LGBTQ welcoming committee is trying to create a neat way to incorporate the discussion into an upcoming Valentine’s Day party. I also have spread the link far and wide in my “T” community.Thanks for that!

  5. Thank you. Beautiful and powerful talk on human rights. I am sharing on Facebook. This deserves to be seen and seen and seen… Just as all humans deserve to be seen. Keep spreading the wisdom!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s