TransParent launched a new chapter in metro Atlanta in Februrary in repsonse to the growing need for local support and resources to help parents raising a transgender or gender-independent child. Meetings will be held on the second Thursday of every month from 7 to 9pm at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1410 Ponce de Leon Ave.
TransParent is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by Kim Hutton as her and her husband where navigating the experience of raising a transgender child.
“I formed it with another woman, Laurie Copeland, just out of our personal experience and how difficult it was. It was the most isolating experience of my life. I couldn’t find experienced, knowledgeable resources to help me with my child who at that time was six,” Hutton said.
The mission of the organization is “to normalize this experience through connection, support, and resources,” according to the website. It is based on local chapters having monthly meetings for parents to have a space to discuss their experience and feel supported.
Peter Isbister launched the metro Atlanta chapter in February. He learned of the organization through one of his rabbis at Congregation Bet Haverim who has a friend involved in the organization. That conversation led Isbister to look up TransParent and eventually submit an online application to form a chapter.
“There’s not a huge number of chapters. There’s obviously one in St. Louis and then they’re largely in the East, the Northeast,” Isbister said. “Basically what I noticed is that there were none in the Southeast other than Florida, so that made me feel like to start a chapter in Georgia would really be to fill a gap that was important to fill.”
The group has met twice with seven parents attending the first meeting in February. The group meets at St. John’s Lutheran Church, but Isbister said the group and the national organization have no formal affiliation to
Isbister described the group as a peer support group that focuses on the unique parental experience of raising a transgender child where there are no questions asked about where a parent is in their journey.
“Our belief is that the simple act of a parent getting into the room is a win for the parent and a win for the kid. I would say a majority of the parents in the room are clearly supportive of their kid, so we hope that, that can provide support and encouragement to any parent who might be having a harder time,” he said.
Isbister and his wife are raising a transgender child and hope to normalize the experience and make the world safer for transgender children and families.
“I think that for us finding out that we were the parent of a transgender child when our child was five years old was something of a surprise,” he said. “There was never a moment of doubt for my wife and I that we were totally supportive of our kid, but even so it’s an overwhelming life event. We felt like starting the chapter would be one method of creating community for ourselves and our family.”
“We wanted to make a contribution to making the community in our state safer and more supportive for transgender people and their families,” Isbister added.
He hopes to grow the chapter in terms of membership and geographic reach to attract people outside of the Atlanta perimeter. He said the primary goal is to succeed in providing support to families.
“The last goal would just be that through our existing and people knowing about the chapter, that it contributes to normalizing trans kids and families with trans kids because I still think we’re at a point where trans kids and families with trans kids can be viewed with some suspicion. I think by increasing our visibility of our community it’s going to make us more accepted and safer,” Isbister said.
Any parent who is raising a transgender child is welcome to attend the meetings. Isbister said the meeting is not targeted towards friends, supports, allies or the children themselves. The meetings are meant to support parents.
“You can just come. It’s absolutely drop in. You don’t need to sign up. You don’t need to tell me. We’re always going to have a room that’s big enough,” Isbister said.
The group can also be found on Facebook as TransParent, Metro Atlanta. More information is also available on the national organization’s website at transparentusa.org.