Child Advocates of Silicon Valley

An End to ‘Deadnaming?’

Monday, Apr 17, 2017

Anna has known who she was since she was 4 years old. When she was in foster care at 14, she was just beginning to be able to live openly in the world as a young woman, something she had not been able to do while living with her family. It was then she met Sue, her Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Even when other people made living that truth a struggle, even when it was scary, she knew she could rely on Sue to treat her with respect.

        [As an adult, Anna has reconnected
      with her mother & today they
      have a positive relationship.]

Anna told Sue it really mattered to her that she never called her the wrong name or used the wrong pronoun: “You're the only person that never called me by the wrong thing.”

Deadnaming – or calling a person who has transitioned across genders by a prior name – can be very upsetting, even traumatic for trans youth.

Crafting a new identity takes a lot of thought and hard work. Deciding whether or not to use careful make-up, researching safe binders (a garment to flatten one’s breasts to have a more masculine silhouette), finding and filing paperwork, scheduling and paying for doctors’ visits can be overwhelming.

Too often, trans foster youth have to undertake this journey without the support of family or friends. So when someone deadnames a trans person, it can feel like all that hard work has been deleted. For people who are not trans or who do not have trans children or friends, the pain of deadnaming may not be intuitive. That’s why, at Child Advocates, we provide all of our volunteer CASAs with 1.5 hours of training in understanding the experiences of LGBTQ youth from those who know their needs best – the youth themselves. We host a number of LGBTQ programs and have an LGBTQ resources specialist on staff. We recently won a major grant to continue and expand this work, but for us to reach every single LGBTQ youth in Santa Clara county’s foster care system, we need your help.

On April 20th, we are honored to participate in National Give OUT Day, a day of giving to raise critically needed funds to support nonprofits serving the LGBTQ community. Please consider making a donation to support our work. Pre-schedule your gift now.

Help us make that acceptance and support a reality for more of the LGBTQ children and youth in foster care in Santa Clara County by giving today.

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