Joanne Lee, the mother of two transgender sons, will share her personal story in a program, “TRANSforming Our Understanding: Standing with LGBTQ Youth: A Mother’s Journey to Acceptance,” at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018 in Lecture Hall A001 in the Thomas C. Pleger Science Building at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, 1006 Connie Road in Baraboo.
The event is co-sponsored by the UW-Baraboo/Sauk County P.R.I.D.E. Club, First United Methodist Church in Baraboo and the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Baraboo. The program is free and open to the public.
Lee is a Madison resident, a registered nurse, a member of the Human Rights Campaign Parents Transgender Equality Council, a public speaker for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, and the mother of two transgender sons.
Lee will speak about her personal journey to accept her transgender sons and to confront the 2015 suicide of one of those sons, 16-year-old Skylar, who suffered from depression.
As Lee wrote in a Capital Times column on October 4, 2017, “Skylar tried to explain what it meant to be transgender, something I struggled to grasp. I made some progress, but it was too slow.
"And in the end, I lost the chance to love and support him. Every parent wants the same things for their children: opportunity, safety, dignity, equality. But for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth, these basic rights are often under attack. And the results can be devastating….
"On Skylar’s funeral day, I looked down at my son one last time and told him, ‘OK, Skylar, you rest. Mom is going to work and fight for you, just like you wanted me to during your life.’ I had never been an activist before, but on that day I vowed to spend the rest of my life advocating for LGBTQ youth.”
For more information about the program, contact Ruth Getsinger at (210) 378-3731.