Moved by ‘Jadee’s journey’ |

Moved by ‘Jadee’s journey’

Other Voices
Kathleen Sutphen

I am so deeply impressed and moved by The Union's story, "Jadee's journey."

JD's strength and honesty brought me to tears as I read how courageously he acknowledged his true identity to family, friends, teachers and the public. I am equally moved by the love and acceptance JD has received in our community.

Not so long ago, our daughter grew up attending our local elementary schools and Nevada Union High School. She too was a "tomboy" and had a gender identity that she did not feel safe expressing as openly as JD has done. She looked and acted like a boy. Many kids, teachers, etc., readily "guessed" the truth. She graduated in 2003, not so long ago.

While growing up, she had many great teachers and friends that contributed to her growth and self-esteem even as she lived a less open childhood and adolescence. Unfortunately, she also had teachers, school personnel, and students that were very unkind to her.

I remember a time when she told me she wanted to die because of who she was and what some students, teachers, a coach and, yes, an administrator had said to her. Luckily, our love and that of her friends along with counseling and a support group held her safely through graduation.

She went on to college and is now an attorney and a Bar Association board member in San Francisco. She recorded an "It Gets Better" video accessible on YouTube to all young people, particularly those that are LGBT.

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It does get better and better. I wonder what would have happened if our daughter did not have parents who loved her unconditionally as we and JD's parents have done.

Readers, please know that many of our young people have gender identity concerns and do not feel safe to "come out" and be themselves. Many are harassed and bullied for no other reason than who they are.

Kudos to JD and her friends, family members, and teachers for being wonderful role models. JD, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Kathleen Sutphen lives in Nevada City.

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