Everything Is Possible When It Comes from a Place of Love
Kara Hollingsworth & Dommie
Kara, a seasoned movement builder, and her 21-year-old son Dommie shared their reactions to the latest wave of anti-trans bills.
I always felt like my children chose me. I had my oldest son Dommie when I was 21. We’ve grown up together. Who I am, the work I do—everything about me—centers my two children. My job isn’t to turn them into me or who I want them to be. My only job as a mother is to not let the world get in the way of who they’re meant to be.
Dommie sent an article about a new anti-trans bill and said, “It’s that time of year again.” It feels like every spring there’s a new wave of attacks on trans youth—particularly on the decisions parents make for their kids. I’m struck by how predictable it’s become. Politicians are scoring points by harming completely vulnerable people who just want to exist. The only word I can think of is cruelty.
A lot of this anti-trans legislation is aimed at young people—basically just adults bullying children. These politicians use trans people as collateral for political gain without actually thinking about us as real people.
The voices of actual parents and trans children are completely absent from the conversation. Families already have so much to do, so much to learn, to support their children. Now on top of that, they have to become superhero advocates.
We live in DC, which can feel like a bubble far from the latest wave of bills. But at my college, George Washington University, the GW Young America’s Foundation posted a slew of tweets calling trans people pedophiles. That’s the same rhetoric politicians use to target trans people. We’re just their latest wedge issue. It’s still acceptable to pick on us. It’s so easy to convince people we’re dangerous.
My fraternity protested at a student association meeting. We showed up with signs that said Condemn GWYAF, and they passed a bill calling for the university to defund them. We’re being forced to pay for this anti-trans organization to exist on our campus—now it’s up to GW and the Student Rights and Responsibilities organization to show us what they really believe.
I call Dommie my North Star. It’s common to think parents are supposed to teach our kids, but kids have so much wisdom if you just sit back and listen. There are times when I’ve come back to him and apologized. You were right! You were like, eight years old and right!
Dommie’s transition has been an exercise in figuring out how to truly support him as a mother. One of the greatest gifts my baby has given me is the opportunity to change. I can never walk a day in his shoes, but it’s not his job to always have to fight. The only thing I can do is try to be a voice so he doesn’t always have to scream.
One thing to know, even if you can’t hear our voices above the noise: we’re out here. My children introduced me to the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference. We went there as a family, and it was the first time I got to be with other parents that were supporting their kids through transitions. I also got to meet trans adults who could share things my kid might need but may not have the words to tell me. Attending that conference was a really powerful and helpful experience.
There’s no stronger fuel than love for the people we’re charged with protecting.
It’s our job to help our children find out who they are in any situation. Seeing who Dommie is now, as he was given to me on this Earth, I know that we made the right decision to show up however we could to support him. He’s blossomed into exactly who he’s supposed to be. He’s only 21, but I can’t imagine who we would’ve been, or who he would’ve been, or what we would’ve lost if we had listened to anyone else.
When a child comes to you and tells you who they are, your assignment is to nurture them. Your job is to protect them. Trust your child, trust yourself, and keep going.
Just listen. Do research. Find credible sources on how to support trans youth. Really consider the validity of what these politicians are saying—do you really think your child wants to be trans because it’s trendy? That really isn’t the case, especially now when they’re just being bullied.
It’s not my assignment to teach him how to make the most money, or how to do this, or how to do that. My job is to teach him how to advocate for what’s rightfully his in this world. You can’t tell kids that. The only way I could show him was to show him.
Dommie was going to protests at three, four years old. He saw amazing, positive people—people who put him on their shoulders, watched and played with him as I spoke to the crowd. Part of advocating for your children is planting seeds and memories so that when they get older, they feel powerful. Teach your kids, you don’t have to take that, and they’ll grow up to be adults that know how to advocate for themselves.
If something makes me angry, if something bad is happening, I’m not the type of person who’ll just sit there. It’s a very natural transition for me to think, now what can I do about it? It’s probably because that’s what my mom does.
There’s only so much lawmakers can do to enforce unconstitutional, hypocritical laws. To my mom on Mamas Day, I just want to say: thank you for listening to me, trusting who I am, and never questioning my identity. To trans youth and their parents: now’s the time to find community. There’s strength in numbers.
There’s no stronger fuel than love for the people we’re charged with protecting. Everything is possible when it comes from a place of love.