When David Lockard talks about starting his journey as the parent of a transgender child, he’s clear up front that although he didn’t know at first what it meant to be transgender, he did always know he wanted to take care of his child.
He just didn’t know how to do that in the beginning.
The rest of the journey, he says, has been about learning what it means to be transgender, and learning how best to support his son.
And that’s what really matters for changing hearts and minds, and being able to ensure transgender people like his son are protected from discrimination—that people who may not know anyone who is transgender be open to learning and accepting.
David will be the first to admit that he’s not always been so enlightened about the issues and challenges transgender people face. When his son was younger, David knew he was struggling with something deep, but for a long time, he didn’t know what.
I wanted to take care of my child, but I didn’t know how to do that in the beginning. Now I do know: The way fathers take care of our transgender children is to accept, respect, and protect them.” —David Lockard
It was David’s son who first came to his parents with the realization that he is transgender. Now, David feels it’s his job as a parent to help educate others.
“The experience of a person who is transgender is authentic,” he says, pushing back against some of the misinformation about transgender people that’s being circulated by the backers of Proposition 1, the ballot initiative that would repeal Anchorage’s non-discrimination law protecting transgender people like his son Col. “Their experiences are real, just like the rest of us. And everybody needs respect.”
David knows his community is full of good people who really care about others. He is certain that once more people know that Proposition 1 would open his son up to harassment—including forcing Anchorage Public Schools to discriminate against transgender students—they will vote against Proposition 1 in April.
And if someone has questions, or is unsure, David says he’s open to talk.
“I would encourage them to talk to someone who is transgender, or someone like me who is the parent of a transgender child, and then go out and vote in favor of the rights of transgender people.”
Fair-minded Anchorage residents who are already on board with protecting their transgender friends and neighbors don’t have to wait until April 2018 to signal their support—they can sign our pledge to vote against Prop 1 right now.