Republican state legislators are bullying themselves into the most personal thoughts and conversations about how parents choose to raise their children and how to care for them. These strangers intend to make the deeply personal choices only parents and guardians are qualified to make for their own kids.

And their interference knows no bounds, has no decency. These strangers sit themselves between parent and child at the most intimate points in a child’s life; when they rest their heads on our shoulders longing for safety and comfort only to find a scary monster blocking them. The beauty of raising children is to affirm their aspirations and help them reach their potential; it is devastating to watch these state legislators attempt to clip their wings.

The insidiousness of these lawmakers lacks basic understanding of parenting. Like a drone attack, they drop their hate-filled bomb demonizing trans children, criminalizing parents and guardians, then disappear. But we parents know that our decisions regarding our children are never one-offs. They all exist on a continuum; one leads to another that morphs into others, which then multiply, leading to even more necessary difficult decision-making. Each a building block, maybe a lesson and a few unfortunately turn to regret. The hard thing about parenting is we know we have to live with our decisions and that our children do too.

Parenting is often a game of managing expectations. Once you know you are going to be a parent, your ideas of what your child will be and what your life will be with them instantaneously coalesce. And the daily work of parenting is unraveling those expectations and parenting the child you have, not the child you thought you’d have or you thought you wanted. Now it is being legislated that we parent the child our government chooses for us.


With Love,

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  • Richie Jackson is the author of the book Gay Like Me published by HarperCollins, an opinion columnist for The Advocate, and an award-winning Broadway, television, and film producer who produced the Tony Award-nominated Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song on Broadway and executive produced Showtime’s Nurse Jackie (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for “Best Comedy Series”) for seven seasons. As an alumnus of NYU, he endows a program at his alma mater to train the next generation of LGBTQ+ activists called the Richie Jackson LGBTQ+ Service Fellows. He and his husband, Jordan Roth, were honored with The Trevor Project’s Trevor Hero Award. They are the proud parents of two extraordinary sons.