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How This Openly Gay Student Body President Helped Foster LGBT Inclusion at Notre Dame Bryan Ricketts • Notre Dame
On Father’s Day, Hoosier Dads Stand Up for Their LGBT Children June 19, 2016

As Father’s Day approaches, dads across Indiana are speaking out and standing together in support of their LGBT kids. Like all parents, there’s nothing more important to these dads than ensuring their kids are safe, valued and respected. That’s why they’re raising their voices to call on local and state lawmakers to pass comprehensive protections for LGBT Hoosiers in employment, housing and public accommodations:

KEN INSKEEP

ken“The day my 4th child told me he was really a boy (not a girl as had been assigned at birth) will always stand out as one of my best days as a father.  What?  Can that really be true?  It may sound odd, and I’ll concede I was more than a little confused and knew little about what it meant to be transgender before that day.
But when he told me, I knew I must be doing a pretty good job as a Dad because I had demonstrated to my son that I loved him for who he really was, and not for any outward appearance or pre-conceived notion of who he was “supposed to be.”  And he was revealing to me who he really was deep inside – sharing a really important thing, but making a difficult and what must have felt like a risky disclosure.  Our relationship grew three sizes that day.
My son is one of the strongest, most courageous, patient, determined, and resilient people I know.  He opened my mind and challenged me to shed some ugly biases I knew I harbored inside me, but previously had chosen to tolerate.  Just like every one of my kids, he has made me a better person and my world a better place.  This is what we hope will happen if we are lucky when we become fathers.  I am so proud he is my son and grateful he is part of our family!”
JASON BICKLE:
jason-olivia2“Being the father of transgender child, means I look at her with the same expectations, hopes, and love as all our children. She is the same person only happier, more social, and more confident; these traits will only add to her success.  The only major difference, for me, is my part in making sure the rest of world especially here in Indiana understand she is a great person regardless of her gender identity.  I would love her with all my heart under any circumstance and am proud to call her my daughter.”
JOHN BARNES:
John and kids“I’m proud to have two sons who are awesome kids. My youngest, Matthew, transitioned from female-to-male in just the last few years. He has always been a brilliant, artistic and talented kid. But his mother and I started to realize, during his middle school years, that something was not right. His symptoms were anxiety amplified by depression that got so bad he was hospitalized five different times during his early high school career. He was on some pretty heavy duty psychiatric medications in an effort to alleviate his suffering. After dealing with suicidal ideation and other intense crisis situations, Matt came out to us told us that he felt he was a guy and that he needed to live as one. We honored Matt’s request and, fast forwarding a couple of years, he is a totally different kid. Matthew no longer takes any prescription drugs, he finished high school on time (actually a little bit early!), and he is looking forward to college and a career. If anyone needs to be convinced about the importance of listening to and honoring transgender teens, Matt is the poster child for that. Once we allowed him to be who he really needs to be he flourished. I just wish we had realized what was going on sooner.”
We thank these fathers for exemplifying what it means to be a supportive, loving parent—and we join them in urging lawmakers to take concrete action ensuring all children across Indiana are treated fairly and equally under the law. Happy Father’s Day to dads across Indiana!