14. Parenting LGBTQ+ Kids – with Ellie Dote

On today’s episode, Elle sits down with Ellie Dote, a transgender, lesbian woman who has a deep and beautiful relationship with Christ. They discuss being LGBTQ+ while raising LGBTQ+ kids, the experiences we’ve had that have shaped how we parent our LGBTQ+ kids, and the things that we think society and individuals need to think about and find solutions for to make our communities safer and more accepting for people across every spectrum.

“What you are on the outside is not necessarily what you are on the inside.” – Elle

“I liked that book! There was a kid like me in it! They were a boy AND a girl! Just like me!” – Teddy

“Just seeing Teddy lean into that freedom has just been so good!” – Elle

“I’m 30 and I’m STILL learning to say ‘This is who I am!’” – Elle

“I didn’t even realize that the transgender community was a possibility or a thing until I was 40.” – Ellie Dote

“I knew that there was something different from a very early age, but I didn’t necessarily know what.” – Ellie Dote

“There’s a lot of criticism – ‘why do we have all these labels?’ And honestly, if you didn’t have those labels, it would be really hard for people to say ‘Me too!’” – Elle

“In reality, do we need them? Mmm, maybe not. But we do need them for our society to give words to an experience.” – Ellie Dote

“I think of it as the way you see a true rainbow. It’s not broken up into separate colors that are completely distinct from each other. They bleed into each other and they overlap and there are some shades that you aren’t quite sure – ‘Is it really blue or is it really purple? It’s just kind of both.’” – Elle

“You have to see the spectrum in the media, because for some people, that’s their only experience. So, not only do we have to see LGBTQ people and people of all colors represented in media – we need to see those people in all kinds of positions, in all kinds of variations of relationships and coming out stories and discovering yourself stories, because, like you said, not everybody’s story is the same.” – Elle

“How can I make my kid’s journey better than my journey was?” – Elle

“The big thing that I’ve discovered is really just being willing to listen. To listen to our experiences, and to find common ground. The biggest thing that we have in common is that we’re all human, we’re all taking up space on this earth, and we’re all living in this community.” – Ellie Dote

“And that is the most important thing – is to listen to each other’s stories and see the tapestry that is woven together for our society and our community, and appreciate that.” – Ellie Dote

“How do I wish the people around me had responded when I had disclosed to them? And that’s what I’m trying to bring to Teddy.” – Elle

“If your child doesn’t come to you for answers, doesn’t feel comfortable asking you these questions, and you haven’t created a space for them to have these conversations, then they are going to find the answers somewhere else. And the places where they get the answers could be disastrous, could be risky, and could be… could put their own life in danger.” – Ellie Dote

“I think that it is VITALLY important as parents that we provide that space to listen to our kids and to allow them to ask questions, and to not be afraid to have these tough conversations. Because the consequences of not being able to are too big of a price to pay.” – Ellie Dote

“It’s not enough to just say “Oh, my kids know I’m accepting, my kids know I’m x, y, and z. It is still hard for your kid. It is something that we have to be proactive with because there is such a stigma. There is such a fear around these conversations.” – Ellie Dote

“We need to normalize being more human in front of our kids and letting them see more of the range of emotions other than happy, authoritatrian, and angry.” – Elle

“We have built a society where it’s not ok to show weakness, and that is something that needs to change.” – Ellie Dote

 

We do offer a Content Warning for today’s episode, as we do briefly discuss the topics of suicide and risky behavior.

Listen to the episode here.

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Today’s guest:

Darryl Dote was born and raised in Southern California, where he found an early place in music ministry within the Catholic Church.  What he didn’t know at the time was that he was using his identity as “church musician” as a way to hide from the real battle over her identity.  When adolescence began to set in, he quickly learned that his role in music ministry wasn’t as authentic as he needed it to be – and so he left the Catholic Church in search of something deeper – and found it in Evangelical Christianity, where he went to Bible College and pursued a career in full time ministry.  After getting married and starting a family, Darryl continued on this path – until he couldn’t hide it anymore.

In 2016, after receiving the devastating news that he was HIV positive, Darryl was left to face the questions surrounding his identity head-on – and shortly after that, it was discovered that Darryl wasn’t the 40 year old cisgender heterosexual male that he had grown up as – he was really Ellie, a young woman that had been fighting to be seen for her entire life.

In early 2017, Ellie began taking her first steps, and 2019 found her divorced, living back in Southern California, and a single mom to her youngest child.  Her journey and experience in ministry has allowed her to have conversations with various church leaders about the LGBTQ+ community and inclusion.  She is currently working (slowly) on a memoir, and regularly shares her thoughts on the intersection of her trans identity, the LGBTQ+ community, and her faith as a Christian on her blog, elliedote.com.

You can find her on Facebook and on her website elliedote.com and Ellie can be found on myspace.

Resources related to today’s episode:

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Red by Michael Hall

Resources regarding Faith and LGBTQ

Orange County LGBTQ Center

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

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