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upworthy
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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