Tuesday Transgender Law Center and GSA Network launched TRUTH, a national storytelling campaign that aims to build empathy, understanding, and a movement for transgender and gender non-conforming youth and their families to share their stories in their own words and in their own way.
“When my daughter first came out as transgender almost three years ago, my wife and I had a hard time finding resources around trans issues and instead saw a lot of stigma and misinformation,” says Ramon Montemayor, father of 15-year-old Holly Montemayor from Saint Paul, MN. “I hope that by sharing our story through TRUTH, people will see that we’re a loving family just like any other, and hopefully other parents will learn from my experience raising a transgender child.”
Inspired and informed by the experiences of young people who have spoken out in charged community contexts, TRUTH combines public education, guidance for families, support and community-building for young people, and resources for media professionals in order to address the hostility and stereotypes transgender and gender non-conforming youth all too often face.
“I knew I wanted to speak out and create change, but as the first out transgender student at my high school, I wasn’t always able to share my story on my own terms,” says Pat Cordova-Goff, an 18-year-old college student and Trans Youth Justice Organizer for TRUTH (a position jointly funded by GSA Network and Transgender Law Center). “No matter how much I tried to prepare, having reporters show up and shout personal questions at my softball tryouts or having adults I’d never met shame me in national publications took a toll, and I lacked a support system of peers who had similar experience in the public eye. TRUTH provides a platform for youth to support each other in our storytelling experiences, connect on a real level, and build the strength to speak out in a way that feels right and true to who we are.”
TRUTH launches with five short video profiles of young people and their families, a storytelling toolkit that guides youth and families through the process of speaking out, a toolkit for media professionals containing best practices for reporting on trans and gender non-conforming youth, and an Instagram selfie campaign for youth to share their #transTRUTH with signs bearing their name, pronouns, and gender identity.
TRUTH, made possible with seed funding from the Palette Fund, will roll out more videos and resources over the coming months, and youth leaders from across the country will shape and lead the campaign as TRUTH expands. Several organizations have joined Transgender Law Center and GSA Network to support the campaign as TRUTH partners, including Gender Spectrum, True Colors Fund, OutFront Minnesota, BreakOUT!, Camp Aranu’tiq, Forward Together, and the San Diego LGBT Community Center.
For TRUTH videos, toolkits, and opportunities for youth to share their story, visit: transgenderlawcenter.org/truth