The HRC Foundation's Parents for Transgender Equality Council is a group of 24 inspiring parents of transgender youth from across the country. The council serves as a coalition of the nation's leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people, with the intention of connecting, mobilizing, and amplifying many of the most powerful voices of love, inclusion, and support for transgender equality.
HRC recently sat down with two members of the council, Ea McMillan Porter and Dr. Louis Porter II. They are the parents of student activist Zeam and currently live in Minnesota. Ea serves as the community liaison at the University of St. Thomas for the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling. She is an executive board member of University Advocates for Women and Equity and an executive board member of the Association of Black Women in Higher Education.
Dr. Louis Porter is a writer and editor, and serves as the Executive Director for the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage. He is a fellow and board member at Growth & Change, a progressive think tank based in St. Paul. He is also an executive board member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Minneapolis-St. Paul Graduate Chapter. Porter is a teaching artist and board member at COMPAS. Last year, the couple received the Transgender Law Center's Family & Youth Award.
What inspired you to join HRC's Parents for Transgender Equality Council?
As we faced the challenges of being the proud parents of a transgender child (now a young adult) we wanted to help other families in the same situation. Additionally, this is an opportunity for us to influence policies and practices on a national level because of the strength we gain by uniting with other parents on the council.
What's been one highlight of your experience as a council member?
We value the opportunities to meet and really get to know other parents, share stories and compare notes with them. We treasure the support and sense of community we receive from other activist parents of transgender children.
What part of HRC's work do you connect with the most?
HRC's ability to capture our collective voice as parents of transgender children and then articulate our hope, concern and even our outrage over the systems that would deny our children their dignity stands out. The public policy work HRC does on behalf of transgender children and youth is nothing less than transformative.
What's one message you have for other parents of transgender children?
The most important thing is to seek out the support and counsel of other parents of transgender children. We are able to truly understand what it's like to have children who are so particularly misunderstood for being themselves.
Earlier this year, Zeam joined HRC to discuss what teachers and administrators can do to create a safe and inclusive school climate for all students.