Grazie, Italia! Vanity Fair, we appreciate you sharing the story of our transgender family in the country that stills has my heart (and stomach)! Bravo!

3be1b31100000578-4093430-image-a-13_1483668114907The translation of Vanity Fair Italy’s article on our transgender family (okay, a family with one Trans* member) goes just wonky with pronouns. Isn’t that life! I see it as another reminder of how we have difficulty deciding on language, even within English, to describe our experience.

A reader pointed out to me recently that “transgenderism” does not well describe it, as any “ism” seems like a choice, but she has yet to offer me a sound alternative. The younger LGBT tribe has largely reclaimed “queer” as their own, while many LGBT elders still cringe to hear it. How do we talk to each other without a common language? How do we even speak respectfully amongst ourselves?

The language of compassion is a language that requires listening. Listening beyond words. Compassion asks that we look beyond the trappings of language, roles, and gender to the spirit of the speaker. Compassion is about connecting people at the heart of things. It’s about believing the best in each other and remembering that every behavior, every word spoken, is an attempt to meet a need.So whether people read about our family in Italian or English, whether our situation is treated warmly or sensationalized, my hope is that people will Listen. I fully trust we have it in us.