CAPE ELIZABETH — Growing up in a small town in Maine, my son Jack is just like any other 7-year-old child: He has an insatiable curiosity about the world, an innocence that lends itself to caring about those around him, and he is passionate about his interests – superheroes, climbing trees and animals, especially tigers. Just like any other parent, I want him to know that he is loved, protected and welcomed by the people and communities around him.

Jack is a wonderful child who happens to be transgender. Since he started telling us he was a boy and began presenting as his true self, he’s become a waterfall of love – he’s always coming up to his father or me and putting his arms around us and telling us how much he loves us since we “let him be a boy” and how he’s just so happy to be able to live as he sees himself in his mind and in his heart.

His energy lights up the world around him, and I want him to have every chance at happiness. However, I’m frightened for him and transgender children like him, whose rights and well-being could be threatened by Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

The Affordable Care Act has been life-saving and life-changing for so many Mainers and for millions of Americans across this country. The ACA protects children like Jack from discrimination by health care providers, and it means he can’t be denied health care just because he happens to be transgender.

With Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court riding on the decision of just a few senators, I’m worried the ACA and its critical protections for my son could be taken away. Kavanaugh’s threat to the ACA is a promise spelled out clearly in his record, with him more than once calling the ACA into question and refusing to uphold it in court. Even more worrying is that he was nominated by Donald Trump, who has promised again and again to end the ACA, and it is crystal clear to me that Brett Kavanaugh intends to do so.

I’m concerned about Kavanaugh and the ACA, but I’m also frightened by what Brett Kavanaugh could mean for the LGBTQ community as a whole. Brett Kavanaugh is an ideologue who is starkly at odds with the constitutional fair-mindedness of Justice Anthony Kennedy – the author of some of the court’s most important decisions for LGBTQ rights. Kavanaugh also has ruled on religious freedom in such a way that I fear he would do away with crucial protections for children like my son or replace them with a license to discriminate in schools, workplaces, hospitals and everywhere else in the public square.


Despite what I knew of his record, I held on to some hope that the recent hearings might show me something different of Kavanaugh than I already knew. Instead, what I saw alongside millions of LGBTQ people and allies is a refusal to affirm Jack’s humanity as a transgender person and for LGBTQ people in general, and evasive responses to questions that challenged his ideology. The thought of this person making decisions over my child’s life sends a chill down my spine.

Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination threatens the ACA and the LGBTQ community. If he’s confirmed to the Supreme Court, he’ll be a threat that my son will have to live under for the next 20, 30, even 40 years.

Just like any other parent, I want Jack to have every chance to thrive and be successful in whatever he decides to do. I want my children to know that they can be true to themselves and who they are in their minds and in their hearts, and to be courageous enough to stand up for what is right.

If I want all this for Jack, I must model for him that his mother is not afraid to speak up and be brave when it counts, even though I may be scared, and even though the odds may be against me. For Jack, and for wonderful LGBTQ children across our country who need and deserve all our love, warmth and welcome, I am asking you to join me, to speak out and to get involved.

We can’t be silent at such a crucial moment in our country’s progress. We must turn up the volume, and we must keep speaking out for what is right. We must ask our senators if they will be a true ally for everyone in their community – including children like Jack, who only have love in their hearts for everyone. We must demand justices who will protect the rights of all Americans – who know that supporting love, equality and inclusion is the best and brightest future for all our children.


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