The mother of a transgender boy shown crying in a courthouse in a photo that went viral on Wednesday is speaking out about the the state’s proposed “bathroom bill.”
She’s also opening up about the way the transphobic debate as a whole is affecting her child.
Amber Briggle’s 9-year-old son Max uses male pronouns and transitioned to living as his authentic self almost three years ago. The photo of him crying in a courthouse was shot back in March, but it’s making the rounds on the internet this week in light of anti-trans legislation currently making its way through the Texas legal system.
Briggle decided to share the image because, in her mind, her son Max deserves to have a stress-free summer vacation like all other kids ― and shouldn’t have to cope with the anxiety that his right to use the school bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity may be taken away.
“Max deserves a summer break, free from bullies like Governor Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ― he’s a little boy who shouldn’t have to worry about these sorts of things,” Briggle told HuffPost. “It made my heart break looking at this photo and I hoped it would do the same for others. That’s why I posted it on my public page, hoping to gain visibility for transgender people across the state, and across the country since this fight is really taking place in every state to some degree.”
The Texas senate passed SB 3 late last week, a bill that would force transgender people to use the public restroom that corresponds with the gender they were assigned at birth. While the bill, which has seen major opposition from activists, business leaders and LGBTQ allies, has yet to be enshrined in law, Texas Governor Greg Abbott supports the initiative.
Briggle personally can’t believe Abbott supports the bill, especially after seeing how North Carolina’s infamous House Bill 2 largely cost former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory his reelection ― and made it difficult for him to find a new job after losing.
“Is this really the legacy you want?” Briggle asks of Abbott. “Look ― North Carolina passed a bathroom bill. North Carolina voted for Trump. North Carolina had an incumbent Republican governor who LOST his seat to a Democrat in November. Are you SURE you want to play this game, especially when you’re responsible for making little boys like Max cry? The NFL, NBA, and Boy Scouts are all welcoming to transgender boys ― so what’s taking you so long to figure this out?”
As for other parents of trans or gender-nonconforming children, Briggle has a strong and resounding message of warmth and support:
“Love your kids. It’s not hard. Stop overthinking it,” she told HuffPost. “If you’re more worried about what your neighbor or coworker might say about your transgender child than you are about teaching your child to live authentically, then you have your priorities all wrong... Don’t be your child’s first bully: help them stand up to bullies and shield them with your unconditional love.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.