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Identity

Rural Texas dad shares what he told his son when they saw a trans woman for the first time

His simple message is an example for all parents.

Dad and son sitting in car

James Barlow shares his story on TikTok.

A dad is sharing his first encounter with a transgender woman in his small Texas town, and the simple lesson he taught his son is inspiring hope in others.

James Eric Barlow (oddragon226 on TikTok) shared a video from his car describing how he and his son saw a trans woman in real life for the first time. "We all know that there's people that are disgusted whenever they see a trans person," Barlow begins. "And we all know of the people who don't care if they see a trans person.

"But apparently, we're a third type of person (or at least I am, I can't speak for him)," he says, indicating his son in the backseat who chimes in with "I am, too!"

Barlow then goes on to explain how they had just had their first experience with a trans woman. It wasn't anything major—she just walked through a door behind them and Barlow held the door for her, just as he would any other person. He didn't even notice she was trans at first, but once he did, his immediate reaction was one we can all learn from.


"When I tell you how happy it made me," he says, beginning to tear up, "to be able to see somebody be out and open to the world here in small town Texas. You just gotta know how much bravery that takes. Right, Mikey?"

"Hell yeah!" the son agrees.

Barlow wanted to say something to her, but he didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable, either.

"But if you're a trans woman and you came here to the Landmark truck stop in Clyde, Texas, just know we're proud of you," he concludes.

@oddragon226

our first trans woman experience #trans #transwoman #transpeoplearepeople #transrights #translivesnatter

Barlow's video was shared on Reddit, where it's received 37,000 upvotes and a slew of comments that prove parents set the tone for their kids' sense of acceptance.

"Indoctrinate your children with kindness, compassion, consideration and respect for others." - Toddthmpsn

"When I was younger I would get my hair cut by a woman named Liz. She spoke Spanish so it was hard for to understand her English sometimes. My dad spoke Spanish so would translate for her and me. I noticed Liz looked a little different then other women. But I never said anything, I never felt any differently about her. She never scared me, or made me question anything. She was just Liz. As I got older I realized she was a trans woman. And it literally changed nothing. She was still just Liz. Liz was always kind and treated everyone warmly. I havnt seen her in years but I hope she is doing well. I really liked her." - PerplexedPoppy

"This literally happened to me as a child in the 80s. A cashier at a store we visited suddenly started dressing in a feminine style and it appeared that they were transitioning. My mom explained to me in an age appropriate way that sometimes people decide they want to be a man instead of a woman, or a woman instead of a man. She told me that people would probably be mean to the cashier and it was important for us to remember that and always be polite to her, as we would anyway. This was way before trans issues were as mainstream as they are now, but my mom had seen an episode of Phil Donahue where transwoman discussed their stories, and she recognized it as a medical issue. Core memory for me." - ZipCity262

"As a trans woman, im deathly afraid whenever I have to go to rural areas. I can instantly feel physical tension when I walk into a gas station or a restaurant in these areas. Thank you for being supportive. Trans people need you now more than ever." – rainbow_lenses

It really is a simple matter to accept people as they are and treat all humans with dignity, kindness and respect, even if we don't fully understand them. And as this dad and son show, it's a simple matter to demonstrate non-judgmental acceptance in front of our kids so they hopefully will grow up without being bound by chains of bigotry they'll later have to learn to unload.


This article originally appeared on 7.7.23

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.
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