Recognition for a Mother and Her Transgender Daughter (Me)

Volunteers of the Month: Cille Haley and Gabrielle Hermosa

The December/January issue of The Empty Closet is honoring a mother and her transgender daughter for their volunteer work with the Gay Alliance and efforts to make the world a better place. If you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s my mother and I. :)

From coming out to volunteering
On January 16, 2014, I came out to my mother as a trans woman. Earlier that day, I had just completed my second (or third?) public presentation about LGBTQ awareness and education. Mom took the news rather well, commenting: “I always wanted to have a daughter!”.

She had a lot of questions about what it means to be transgender. We talked for about 2 or 3 hours the day I came out. Eager to gain more insight about her trans daughter and learn as much as she could about the diversity within the LGBTQIA, Mom started volunteering at the Gay Alliance as an office worker.

We’ve come a long way
From the dark years of my childhood to much brighter, happier times today – our relationship has gone from terrible to awesome! We’re closer than ever and enjoy a level depth and vibrance in our relationship that was missing for more than 40 years. It wasn’t a “happy ending”, but rather just the start of something beautiful.

Nothing but gratitude
It’s unfortunate that we still live in a world where people treat other people poorly, just for being different. The silver lining is the many opportunities it offers to get out, speak publicly, shed light what on means to be transgender, and unravel the mystery that often surrounds LGBTQ realities.

I’m so very grateful for the Gay Alliance, especially Education Director: Jeanne Gainsburg, who taught me how to use my life, struggles and experiences to educate and open hearts and minds. Each presentation and speaking opportunity is an honor and privilege. I love connecting with people, sharing, learning, making new friends along the way and making a positive difference in the world.

I was aware that Mom and I would be featured as volunteers of the month beforehand. After having finally read the finished article pubslished this past Monday, I was brought to tears. The beautiful things written about us really touched my heart.

The thoughtful sentiments and recognition felt really good, but that’s not the reason I do this work. I do it for a different kind of recognition – the most important recognition of all: recognition of ALL human beings as human beings and equals, regardless of our differences.

Whether or not people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual or any of the letters in the alphabet soup that is the LGBTQIA… one thing is for certain: we are ALL human beings. Human beings are quite a varied and diverse bunch, and yet we have FAR more in common than we do differences.

When we learn to celebrate our diversity, work together, and find the abundance of ways we are all connected to one another, the world will become a much happier, healthier, safer place for everyone.

Downloadable PDF
If you’d like to read/download the article in The Empty Closet in PDF form please click the following link:
Volunteers of the Month: Cille Haley and Gabrielle Hermosa (PDF version)

Thank you
Thank you Mom for being such an awesome mother! I love you and I love our relationship! You’re the best!!

Thank you so very much, Jeanne Gainsburg, for all your amazing and much appreciated training, guidance, feedback and friendship. I don’t have words to express my gratitude for all you do!

Thank you to the many people who work and volunteer with the Gay Alliance, especially the other members of the Speakers Bureau, whom I’ve had the honor of presenting with and learning so much from!

And thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to spend with me here, in recognition of our continued efforts, and more importantly, in recognition of humanity.