I am a proud mama bear to three amazing kiddos, two of them are part of the LGBTQ+ community.  Watching my kiddos go through their journey of self-discovery has been a privilege and a roller coaster of emotions. Like any loving parent, I wanted to protect them from the hate and give them all the support they needed. Providing them with all that support required me to take a deep dive into a world I had no idea about. I went into full research mode! I sat down and Googled all the things. I admit, not the best of plans, but it’s all I knew. Navigating my way through the internet terrified me and at the same time, it gave me strength. I found that I wasn’t alone on this roller coaster, but it left me with many questions. I had questions about flag meanings, sexual orientations, gender norms, and pronoun etiquette. I also needed to find doctors, therapists, school counselors, teachers, and medical professionals supporting the LGBTQ+ community. I want the best for my kids. We found that finding guidance and local resources on the Eastside extremely frustrating. We have found people with good intentions, but they had no idea how to provide for my family.

Then I met Axton, a beautiful soul with a calm demeanor that just radiates positivity. Axton is a Duvall native, who now lives in Redmond with their partner James. The cozy apartment is filled with the love of nine thankful rescue rats, seven peaceful cats, and a fluffy Pomeranian named Homie. Maybe Homie could teach my little dog Henry a lesson on how to properly greet humans at the door? Anywho, being the first openly transgender student to attend Cedarcrest Highschool, Axton’s journey was a lot different than my kids. Axton did not have the staff support or LGBTQ+ terminology available to help them to self-discovery. Eight years after their high school graduation and as a fully established independent business owner,  Axton was approached by an Eastside mom to create a binder of information and resources for her transgender student. Axton seized the opportunity and began to research and seek out LGBTQ+ friendly businesses. They went the extra mile, ensuring that the business’s support of the community is genuine. Oh Yeah! The binder includes educational terms and tools, LGBTQ+ resources, and local support for the transgender community. Axton created the binder to give those in the valley and the Eastside the tools needed to educate themselves and help them find providers in our area. I can’t even begin to count the hours we have spent in the car or how many times we had to pull a kiddo out of school early to drive someplace for an appointment.

Peace. That’s what this binder has given to me. I was so excited to meet with Axton. I wanted to learn where they came from and how they came about getting this binder together. Creating this binder took time, passion, and dedication. My family needs a resource like this and I am incredibly grateful for all of Axton’s hard work. I am now on a little bit of a mission to help spread the wealth of information that they have collected to everyone who needs it. Axton is working with the Eastside Pride PNW to help connect to the high schools and middle schools LGBTQ+ clubs providing this binder full of resources for students. 

I plan on having a physical binder at my studio for anyone who needs resources, but if you click on this link: The Big Book of all Things Transgender. It will take you to the folder that has the most up-to-date resources. Keeping these resources free and accessible to all is the plan. Axton is always open to questions and suggestions for new resources, as long as the questions and suggestions come from a place of love. Axton plans on keeping it up to date as more resources become available. They prefer for people to talk to an open and willing transgender person rather than look things up online where there can be hate and misinformation. You can email Axton at transvalleyrep@hotmail.com. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adore and appreciate Axton. All the good things are headed their way, I just know it!

P.S. If you're looking to support the local Eastside  LGBTQ+ community with events, education and engagement check out the Eastside Pride PNW donation page. https://www.eastsidepridepnw.com/donate

Axton, just chilling with their Homie!