Lauren Leahy and her husband, Stephen, are the proud parents of three: a 6-year-old daughter, an 8-year-old daughter, and their 10-year-old son, Alex, who is transgender.
Alex was born a female and socially transitioned—meaning he started to identify as male publicly, including at school—two years ago. He had initially begun to express a male gender identity when he was 2 years old. And while at the time, they were unsure what this meant, they clearly knew that Alex was struggling to fit into the gender he had been assigned at birth.
“His level of anxiety and gender dysphoria—he knows exactly who he is, but struggles with how others perceive him—that’s the ongoing challenge,” Lauren said, noting that their small community and Alex’s school have embraced him, both of which take a prominent worry off her mind.
It’s the larger world, she says, that worries her as a parent—especially in the current political climate, where anti-transgender forces are attempting to rollback transgender non-discrimination protections, including here in Massachusetts.
“I struggle every day with will he be safe in the world, will he be protected? Will he be able to live a full life as a part of the world like he should?” –Lauren Leahy, Sherborn
“I struggle every day with will he be safe in the world, will he be protected?” she said. “Will he be able to live a full life as a part of the world like he should?”
This feeling drove Lauren and her family to get involved in the push to pass #TransLawMA last year—the law that now ensures transgender people in Massachusetts are fully protected in public spaces like medical offices, parks and hotels. Now, with an initiative seeking to repeal this law on the ballot in 2018, Lauren and her family are speaking up and sharing their story to show why this law matters to real people across the state. Her son’s ability to live a full life depends on it, she said.
“Every parent just wants their child to blossom and be able to live fully, and not having him be protected would make me fear for his safety on a daily basis,” she said. “This is not a choice, it’s who he is. It’s not a decision that he made, it is a deep part of his identity, and he deserves to live with authenticity.”