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    Modern Family Takes a Step Forward for Transgender Teens

    Transgender teens are in the midst of a volatile and violent time in America. With bathroom laws and arguments about their “validity,” they can start to feel isolated and alone–but one TV show decided to help make a stand recently. Modern Family invited transgender child actor Jackson Millarker to star in an episode. Millarker will be known as the first transgender child actor to appear in a popular TV show. The Huffington Post recently reported on this story.

    Giving transgender teens role models and support

    Transgender teens are rarely represented on television–and when they are, it’s not by an actual transgender actor. Recently, more movies and television shows have been choosing actual transgender actors and actresses to play transgender roles. In this new episode of Modern Family, the writers decided to have a conflict arise from a comment by one of the characters to the transgender child–then they used that conflict as a learning moment. A moment to further understand the struggles that transgender children face everywhere.

    This type of representation and discussion is essential for transgender rights. Without acceptance and understanding, transgender youth won’t be able to feel safe and reach their full potential as adults. We–as parents–have the ability to start this discussion with our kids. Explain to them that just because someone is different doesn’t make them “wrong” or “weird.” They’re a human being. They deserve the same love and rights that we all have.

    Another example of a transgender actor becoming a role model for transgender teens is Laverne Cox. She’s most well known for her role in Orange Is the New Black, but she’s become much more than that–she’s become a beacon of hope for transgender teens hoping to become successful. We need to continue to encourage the media and big time television shows to embrace transgender actors for the sake of breeding understanding and acceptance among our own population.

    Trails Carolina can help your family

    Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling youth, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other behavioral challenges. We use outdoor learning and wilderness therapy to improve the lives of young people.

    For more information about how Trails Carolina helps transgender teens, please call 800-975-7303 today



    Graham Shannonhouse

    A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graham Shannonhouse has been actively involved in the wilderness therapy field for nearly three decades. After receiving her degree in 1991, Shannonhouse spent 10 years working with a premiere wilderness-based therapeutic program in south-central Idaho. During her tenure, she served three years as a hands-on Field Instructor, three years as Field Supervisor, and the remaining time as Wilderness Program Director. During this period she developed, managed, and served as counselor for the country’s first wilderness program specifically focused on pre- teens ages 10 to 13 Graham returned to the east in 2002 to serve as Executive Director for a therapeutic wilderness program based in North Carolina, successfully growing it to one of the most respected companies in the industry. In 2008, she resigned her position to open Trails Carolina. Having an intimate working knowledge of the roots of wilderness therapy, Graham has brought her experience and wisdom to her position as Partner and Executive Director with the goal of integrating the true family work that must be done to insure lasting success.

    All stories by: Graham Shannonhouse