Transgender people today face all sorts of negative scrutiny, whether subtle or outright aggressive.
So when trans waitress Liv Hnilicka was at work in a Minneapolis restaurant one day, little did she know that she would get to take part in a marvelous instance in good parenting.
In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Hnilicka recalled the moment a family of three walked in. As she was making her rounds, the dad approached her, 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?" She continued:
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.
The adorable, profound interaction was so different from what she was used to.
Speaking to Cosmopolitan, Hnilicka said that just that morning at the bus stop, a man walked past her and yelled a derogatory, homophobic name at her.
"And I'm like, 'I'm just in the world; I'm just waiting for the bus. It doesn't have to be this big conflict,' " she said. "So yeah, this interaction was so out of the ordinary that I felt like I needed to run to the mountain top and shout it to the world. Clearly it's resonated with people."
While these issues might be tricky to discuss with a child, clearly this dad handled it in a truly admirable way, by giving Hnilicka a voice to express herself to this little girl.