Transgender Families at the White House

While Easter might have come and gone, people are still talking
about the White House Easter Egg Roll. In this guest post
Justin Tanis, Community Education and Outreach
Manager at National Center
for Transgender Equality
(NCTE), talks about his visit to this
year’s Egg Roll with a group that included a trans child. NCTE,
alongwith Family Equality
, was one of the few national LGBT organizations invited
by the Obama administration to this year’s White House Easter Egg
Roll. The accompanying picture features some of the NCTE
participants standing in front of Sasha and Malia Obama’s play
area. (Cross-posted at NCTE’s

Today NCTE got to focus on inclusion and acceptance of transgender
people and that was a wonderful thing. We do a lot of meaningful
work that involves listening to and telling stories about the
discrimination and violence our community faces but it’s
important to also celebrate what is right in our lives.

Today, I went with a group of children and parents to the White
House Easter Egg Roll. Different people that went with NCTE went in
in different shifts (there were five total time slots), but the
group I was in included a family with a trans child and members of
my family who have always accepted me.

It was great to hear about a child picking out a very special
outfit for this occasion, one congruent with a child’s sense of
self and gender. Talking with the child’s mom, she said you would
have thought they had gone shopping in Paradise. We all need those
moments when the world seems absolutely perfect.

When I came out to my brother and sister-in-law more than a dozen
years ago, long before they had kids, one of their first comments
was that I was going to be a great uncle to their kids. I think I
helped make good on that today by taking the kids to the White

The kids participated in the Egg Roll, wielding their wooden spoons
very effectively, including tossing one egg over the fence. We saw
Spongebob and Clifford the Big Red Dog and, of course, the Easter
Bunny. We found the jungle gym that has recently been installed for
the new, young residents of the White House and listened to Bob
Marley in the distance.

Of course families aren’t perfect and with the kids today came
the usual challenges of standing in lines, being hungry, dealing
with siblings stepping on each other’s shoes. But there was also
the beauty of families that accept transgender people in their
midst exactly as we are. Family is, after all, not about who you
can leave out but about who you can come home to with all of the
exciting and tear-filled moments of school and life and the world
out here.

The Obama Administration extended invitations to all kinds of
children, recognizing that the America we live in has families that
are very diverse. NCTE was proud to help bring transgender children
and trans-affirming families to the White House on this special