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Kids say the darndest things — and ask the most honest questions.

Liv Hnilicka, a waitress who lives in Minneapolis, experienced this firsthand earlier this week during a shift at the restaurant where she works.


Photo courtesy of Liv Hnilicka/Facebook. Used with permission.

Hnilicka, who is transgender, was approached by a man in the restaurant whose young daughter had asked about Hnilicka's gender identity.

The man didn't want to answer for Hnilicka, so he asked Hnilicka instead. Admittedly, she wasn't exactly sure how the conversation would unfold.

"I think I thought, 'I'm so impressed that someone actually asked me how I identify in this straight space,'" she told Upworthy. "This could go really poorly or really great."

And fortunately, we can report, it was the latter.

Hnilicka wrote about the experience on her Facebook page:

"Stellar parenting moment of the day:

This afternoon I was at my waitressing job on a beautiful early fall afternoon. Two parents and their young daughter came in; the tall burly dad adorably scratching his back on the door as they walked in. As I was filling the water station, he came up to me and said, 'My daughter just asked if you were a boy or a girl. I didn't want to speak for you so would you like to talk to her?' I nervously said yes and walked to their table. 'Hi, I like your hair ribbon,' I said. 'I heard you asked if I was a boy or girl. I think the important thing to remember is that everyone can be anything they want to be in this world. And it's also important to try to be the best selves we can be for our family and friends. And even to strangers. So to answer your question, I was told that I was a boy when I was little and now I live my adult life as a girl. It sounds complicated but it's actually pretty simple. Do you have any questions for me?' She looked at me smiling and simply said, 'Nope!'

I walked away from the table feeling really good about parents intentionally engaging their children about possibly difficult topics. And showing that giving people the power to voice their truths in this complicated world is beautiful and healing.

Way to go, mom and dads out there making space for transfolks/gnc people like me.
(Also I made this post public in case you want to share it with parents you may know.)"





Since it was posted on Sept. 20, 2015, the post has garnered more than 10,000 Likes and nearly 2,000 shares.

The response has been "overwhelmingly positive," Hnilicka told Upworthy.

And one glance at the post's comment section makes that very clear:

While Hnilicka's experience has "brought [her] such joy," there have, of course, been a few transphobic comments in the mix. But Hnilicka was quick to dismiss the haters.

"To me, [a negative comment] speaks to the idea that a lot of people hold disbelief that trans/[gender non-conforming]/intersex people exist at all," she explained of some of the negative comments she's read, most of which were people apparently angered about her pushing some sort of agenda. "But we do. We exist. We are not going anywhere."

Hnilicka's experience may be a seemingly small one. But she hopes it challenges our views of trans people.

Because our collective view of trans people as a society still needs a lot of work.

"I hope that people take away a sense of investment in trans/[gender non-conforming]/intersex people's rights and existence," she said, noting the several hurdles her community faces, like a lack of accessible health care, housing discrimination, and violence. "As allies, we need you to fight for us in solidarity."

And that starts with knowing how to be respectful — especially when it comes to acknowledging someone's gender identity. Although Hnilicka's customer went with a more assertive approach, she recommends people stick to saying something along the lines of asking, “I use she/her pronouns — what pronouns do you use?" instead of just interrogating a stranger about how they identify.

If Hnilicka's story teaches us anything, it's that understanding goes a long way.

Transgender people are our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our friends, and depending on who's reading this, ourselves. The lives and stories of trans people are just as valuable as anyone else's. If a curious little girl in Minnesota sparked this amount of good with a simple question, imagine what would happen if we all took a moment to understand others who are different from ourselves?

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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