Dear Melania…

Happy Mother’s Day from the National Center for Transgender Equality. Today is an opportunity to celebrate both mothers and motherhood, and we are marking today by reaching out to you, America’s First Lady. You have described yourself as a “full-time mom” and said that motherhood is your “first job. The most important job ever,” so you understand how important a mom can be in the lives of children. Indeed, during the 2016 presidential campaign, you spoke out against cyberbullying, saying, “We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children.”

With that in mind, we urge you to remember that transgender children are, first and foremost, children. Transgender children have friends and loved ones, they attend school and participate in after school activities and clubs. They live in every part of the country, and are part of every race, class and religion. Transgender children are children of color, children from Christian families, Jewish families, Muslim families, families that don’t practice any religion, children with different abilities, children of immigrants and children who are themselves immigrants, and many, many more.

Ellie and her mother, Vanessa

On this Mother’s Day, we would like you to think about Ellie. Ellie is a six year old trans girl in Washington, D.C., meaning she was born a boy and lives as the girl she knows herself to be. Ellie is surrounded by loving parents, an amazing brother, and a supportive school. She is thriving because of that support, and because her true inner self — the girl she is — is able to shine through and be seen by the world.

We would also like you to think about children who are not surrounded by support. Children like Skye in North Carolina. Skye is a trans young man, meaning his birth certificate said ‘female’ but he always knew he was truly male. He is supported by his parents and has a strong community of friends. Nevertheless, Skye has struggled to succeed in school because his state government made it clear that transgender students are not as important, or as worthy of respect, as non-transgender students.

Supporting transgender youth is particularly important because of the risks they face. Transgender youth are more likely to drop out of school, experience homelessness and attempt death by self-harm. Yet, with family support, transgender people can thrive. For example, in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, we found that 45% of transgender adults with unsupportive families have experienced homelessness. That number is nearly halved when a supportive family was present. Strong parental voices, voices like yours, can make a real and lasting difference in the lives of trans youth.

The mothers of transgender children want the same things every mother wants for their children: to thrive, grow, succeed and live their best lives with respect and dignity.

On this Mother’s Day, we want you to continue being an advocate for children. In particular, we want to ensure that includes all children. Please, speak out against policies and laws that hurt transgender youth. Please, speak out in favor of supporting transgender children everywhere. Please, help the National Center for Transgender Equality ensure that no transgender child is mistreated by bullies online, at the playground, and especially in state houses and the White House.

Happy Mother’s Day.