Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Asking for Help

By Quinn Gormley

“It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.”
–Laverne Cox

I locked myself out of my car recently. I called a garage and they sent a technician. Apparently, he tried to call me on the way over and I missed it. He left a voicemail, which meant he heard my message: "Hello, you've reached Quinn at the Maine Transgender Network.”

My trans status isn’t a secret. Being public about it is part of my job. But being public and being out to random men on the side of a quiet, rural road are very different things.

He arrived and we wrestled back into my Subaru. After handing over my insurance card, he got quiet for a minute. Nervously he asked, "You do the rainbow thing?"

It took me a second to put the pieces together. I froze for a moment. This question doesn’t usually end well.

Tentatively I answered, “Yeah, I do the rainbow thing… Is that a problem?”

He shook his head and took a deep breath. And then he started to talk.

Seen from behind, at the beach, a father has his arm lovingly wrapped around his child's shoulder.

His kid came out a few nights ago and wants to transition. He’s very worried. He watches the news. He knows how trans kids get treated. I do too. I was a trans kid. I released the breath I’d been holding. This was a conversation I know how to have.

We talked for a while about how cruel the world is, about how his kid might very well get hurt. Lots do. He's afraid to let them transition. But then we talked about how we can't control the world. His kid is different and might get hurt either way. "So why not let them control what happiness they can? You can teach them how to handle the rest.” We talked about how happy kids are safer kids, because happy kids have adults they can ask for help.

A hug, a trading of numbers, and a few tissues later and he was on his way to the store to buy his son a clip-on tie and those Spider-Man shoes he didn't give him for his birthday.

Sometimes the story does end well.


Creator God, help us to create a world worthy of children's smiles and laughter. Help us to delight in all the ways we are beautifully different.

About the Author

Quinn Gormley

Quinn Gormley (she/her and they/them) serves as the Executive Director of MaineTransNet, a community based organization supporting transgender people and those who love them in rural Maine. Quinn believes in centering the wellness of marginalized communities, and that the root of power and...


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