How My Biggest Ally Saved My Life


When I worked at JPMorgan Chase more than a decade ago, I had a co-worker who was a total powerhouse. She was bright and ambitious. She was a survivor—her family fled persecution at the hands of a dictator in Africa and came to America as refugees. She was smart and confident, a former college athlete, and she embraced her Indian heritage. I hadn’t met anyone like her, and I admired her.

One day, I stopped in the restroom as I was running between meetings, and I quickly realized I wasn’t alone. I could hear sobbing from behind one of the stalls, and, although my first instinct was to give her some privacy, something made me stay and knock on the door. When it opened, I hardly recognized the person sitting in the stall.

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When Your Child Comes Out: 6 Pieces of Advice to Parents From a Queer Teen

So your child sits you down to tell you that he identifies as something other than heterosexual or cisgender (meaning one’s gender identity is the same as the biological gender of one’s birth, i.e. someone born with a vagina who identifies as female). Perhaps you’ve always expected that your son was gay, or maybe your daughter didn’t really want to be your daughter, she wanted to be your son, but this never really became a reality until that moment when you’re sitting in the living room across from your nervous child. This is such an important moment in your teenager’s life, in your life, and in the life of your relationship with your child. With it come many different emotions: fear, excitement, and a whole lot of worry.

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Jess Downey
Words Matter: Understanding the Meaning of Transgender

Covering transgender people, including those making the very personal decision to transition, can be challenging for reporters unfamiliar with the LGBTQ community, and, in particular, the increasingly visible transgender community.

This guide from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, is intended to serve as a primer, a starting point for reporters committed to telling the stories of transgender people accurately and humanely, from appropriate word usage to context that reflects the reality of their lived experience.

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Jess Downey