Transgender Lafayette High School graduate shares her transition story
An article on the front page of Sunday's Herald-Leader told of two young people who, despite personal challenges, persevered and graduated from high school in Lexington this spring with the help of supportive or at least non-judgmental educators.
In some ways, their story is nothing out of the ordinary.
But it also stands as a testament to the power of tolerance and compassion — and a reminder that our differences need not divide, but can make a school, a city, a nation stronger.
Indeed, despite ongoing examples of bitter, bloody oppression and resistance, America's leading brand has always been strength through pluralism.
The students profiled by reporter Valarie Honeycutt Spears realized at relatively young ages that they are transgender and with the help of their parents came out.
After one of them was bullied at her elementary school in rural Kentucky, her family moved to Lexington in hopes of finding a more supportive environment. And they did.
Lexington has long been a refuge for LGBTQ Kentuckians, which has enriched the city's life and advanced equality for all, as two new historic markers attest.
The city's young people seem to be carrying on that tradition of tolerance. At Lafayette High School students have adopted the slogan "Love Generally," a play on the school's mascot (for the French general who came to the aid of rebel American colonists) and the movie "Love Actually" (featuring Hugh Grant as a dishy British prime minister).
Love Generally is a great motto for everyone, but especially for young people, who often struggle because of circumstances beyond their control, such as violence, poverty, depression, sexual orientation, gender identity, or a combination of factors.
It doesn't help when adults, looking for political wedges, pile on and make scapegoats of minority groups. (By the way, the students and schools worked out bathroom arrangements without any help from the legislature.)
Thanks to new graduates, Crystal Hahn (Lafayette) and Davey Pezzi (Tates Creek), and to their families, for sharing their stories of struggle and success. Hahn and Pezzi will share their experiences and insights again, as part of Fayette County teacher training this summer.
Their honesty and openness probably already have helped someone else.