The Origin Story of a National Movement to Support Young Transgender Students

When you stand up for what you believe in, amazing things often happen. Just ask Sarah and Amy.

Back in late 2015, Sarah, a mom whose child had decided to transition to living life as a girl, was working with her daughter's school to create a plan for how to share the news with the other students in an open and simple way. They decided that the school would host a reading of "I Am Jazz," a book written by a transgender girl named Jazz that explains her transition. But not everyone was ready to accept Sarah's daughter. An anti-LGBT organization called The Liberty Council came to town and demanded that the school cancel the reading. Unfortunately, the school obliged.

In comes Amy: "I didn't know the family, I didn't know this kiddo, but that didn't matter. We had to do something."

Another mom in Sarah's neighborhood, Amy took action on behalf of Sarah and her daughter. She worked with the local public library to book a small conference room, and let families from their kids' school know that they'd be hosting a reading of "I Am Jazz" there instead.

On the day of the reading, Amy and Sarah got things set up. The room had about 80 chairs, and Amy worried that so few people would come that the room might look empty. Boy, was she ever surprised by what happened next.

"When I started getting close to the library, I started noticing that the streets were full of cars," Sarah remembers. "And I walked in the door, and I was dumbfounded. I couldn't believe how many people were there."

In the end, almost 600 people attended the rescheduled "I Am Jazz" reading. There were no protestors—just people there to support Sarah, her daughter, and the important conversation that she and Amy helped make happen.

Since Sarah and Amy's efforts in 2015, the Human Rights Campaign has helped organize hundreds of "I Am Jazz" readings across the country on December 7 of each year. For 2017, they expected to have more than 200 such readings.

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