Want to support S.E.A.R.CH.?
Donations can be made by check to The LGBT Center of Raleigh, with “S.E.A.R.CH.” in the memo line.
Address: LGBT Center of Raleigh, 324 S. Harrington St. Raleigh, NC 27603
Or, online through the LGBT Center of Raleigh, here.
Our Reason: On March 23, 2016, the governor of North Carolina held an “emergency session” to pass HB2, the most anti-LGTBQ+ legislation in recent U.S. history, at a cost of $42,000, with lightning speed in an unprecedented 11 hours . Hidden within the blatant discriminatory language of this bill was a band of other inconceivable items that would not only affect the LGBTQ+ community, but everyone else – including even veterans. Many members of NC Senate were blindsided by not having adequate time to completely read, debate, or clarify questions regarding the bill. In the senate, the bill passed 32-0, with the Democratic party walking out in protest. House Bill 2 became law in less than 12 hours.
The economic fallout has been devastating to NC. And it gets more egregious. Just before July, 2016, funds in the amount of $500,000 from the state’s Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund were transferred to Governor Pat McCrory’s office to handle litigation over House Bill 2, which he continues to defend despite its inherent national controversy, and condemnation from President Obama.
Read about HB2 here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/north-carolina-gender-bathrooms-bill/
and read HB2 here (it’s not that long): http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015E2/Bills/House/PDF/H2v4.pdf
What We’re Going to do About it: My husband and I hope to make a difference with our votes at election time. But we were compelled to do something in the meantime – something that would both benefit our son (who was growing more depressed over gender identity issues), and benefit other like-minded adults who wanted to fight back against discrimination in our home state.
Charlie had been asking me to create a “gender creative playgroup” for about a year. The anger we felt over HB2 pushed us into action, and my husband and I began creating our group, S.E.A.R.CH., the day after HB2 passed.
What is SEARCH?
S.E.A.R.CH. stands for Safe Environment for the Acceptance of Rainbow CHildren.
Our hope is that S.E.A.R.CH. will grow across the nation, and give parents who are raising gender expansive (non-conforming, gender creative, or trans children) who are not yet sexually identifying a place of safety, acceptance, and celebration. I prefer collectively referring to them as “Rainbow Children.”
The “CH” at the end of S.E.A.R.CH. is also (as my son Charlie pointed out) the first two letters of his name. I thought that was pretty fitting since we are creating this group for him and others like him.
I also kind of liked the idea of “search,” because I’ve literally been searching for information to further understand my son (there are limited resources on the gender spectrum and children, but more and more are coming into light as we discuss this topic more); I’ve also been literally searching for other parents of children like mine to connect with, and searching for a local playgroup or parent support group for this type of child since 2008. Nothing turned up. Consistently. So we created our own group: S.E.A.R.CH., and we are honored to now be an official program of the LGBT Center of Raleigh.
Locally, this will be a group of dual-purpose where:
1.) Rainbow Children (gender-expansive, *kindergarten-5th graders), can all congregate for nonjudgmental, free play in a safe environment, and
2.) parents/caregivers can gather for support and educational dialogue about the gender spectrum, and the issues we face raising these children.
*exceptions may be made depending on individual circumstances.
Worldwide, we have a secret Facebook group, which is made open to those who complete a brief screening and wants to help further and support our mission. Online, S.E.A.R.CH. is a place where parents/caregivers of gender creative and trans children can come together for support, guidance, and encouragement. Since S.E.A.R.CH. on Facebook is a closed group, all members are screened prior to being accepted in the group. Currently, we have online members from all over the U.S.A. and Canada.
It is our hope that eventually all LGBT Centers will open their doors to S.E.A.R.CH., to provide their communities with a safe place for gender non-conforming children and their parents/caregivers.
What are “Rainbow Children?”
- “Rainbow Children” is my preferred term for the larger umbrella of gender-expansive children.
- Gender-Expansive = A wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with the binary gender system. (This would include girls whom you might refer to as “tomboys,” or boys as, “he’s more in touch with his feminine side.”)
Example: My 10-year-old son is “gender creative,” meaning, at this point in his life, he is happy with being a boy and having “boy parts,” he just prefers all things traditionally marketed to girls (such as: toys, clothing, shoes, accessories, decor, games, imaginative play, and colors, to name a few), and tends to prefer the company of female friends over males.
- This group is open to all children who fall under the non-binary gender spectrum “rainbow,” whether they are mildly gender non-conforming, or openly transgender, and their supportive parents, older siblings, and/or caregivers.
- Adult allies who want to help support and educate the community on the gender spectrum are accepted as part of our group.
- In addition to giving children a safe place to play, they will also have the opportunity to meet and hopefully form lasting friendships with kids who are like them.
Charlie’s Contribution: After the Orlando massacre happened in Pulse Nightclub, my son wanted to design a gender creative t-shirt to spread awareness, that everyone – children and adults – can wear. He designed it all on his own, from start to finish. You can see the design and pre-order one here:
I just need your name and e-mail to reserve one.
Thank you for your support! Together we can make this happen, and show our government that we won’t stand for hate in our state. #SEARCH #nohateinmystate #repealHB2 #fullrepealHB2