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Meet Debi, A Mom for Transgender Equality

by HRC staff January 15, 2016

Debi’s daughter Avery was four-years-old when she proclaimed her true gender identity to her mother.

Debi, who is Southern Baptist, admitted that at first she didn’t quite know how to process the information, she acknowledged that it was not a phase and that Avery was simply being true to who she is.

As soon as Avery was able to live life freely and openly as her authentic self, Debi and her family saw an immediate change for the better.

 “Imagine spending your life pretending to be someone you aren’t, to try to live to make everyone else in your world happy rather than yourself,” Debi said. “Since she has transitioned, she’s a completely different person. Her confidence in herself is off the charts.”

While Debi not only expressed her resolute support and reassurance for her daughter, she also spoke to the vital issue of making our world safer and better for the transgender community and gender-expansive youth.

“How many parents have a child in a category of people that, by their very existence, can be the target of such hatred and potential violence?” questioned Debi. “Tamara Dominguez, who was murdered here, 10 minutes from our house, Avery heard that and said, ‘What gives anyone the right to kill someone just for being transgender?’ And you have this moment where you don’t know how to answer it.”

Debi praised her daughter for her resiliency in living her truth and asserts that she and her husband lucky to have a child who opened their eyes and expanded their worldview.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for much of the transgender community. But the repudiation of hate and bigotry and the advocacy of hope, love and tolerance can make a prominent and lasting impact on individuals as well as whole communities.

After legal threats by an anti-LGBT hate group forced a school in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin to cancel plans last month to support a transgender student by readingI Am Jazz, a children’s book by transgender teen and HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings, more than 600 residents showed up at a public reading organized by a parent to show the six-year-old and her family that the community respects and cares for them. On January 14, inspired by the indisputable support by the small town, HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program and youth advocates from across the nation hosted readings of I Am Jazz in support of transgender youth, including Debi, who hosted her own reading in a Kansas City, Missouri church.

Debi also spoke at HRC Foundation’s second annual Time to THRIVE conference for LGBTQ youth last year, as well as at the 2015 HRC National Dinner in October.

To learn more about how you can help close the book on hate and organize an I Am Jazz reading in your community, visit For more information on supporting transgender and gender-expansive students in the classroom, visit

Click here to view more spectacular moms like Debi who are standing up and speaking out in support of transgender equality.

HRC staff
HRC staff


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