Thanks from the Person of the Year

How do I begin to tell you or the LGBTQ community how honored and proud I am to have been named “Person of the Year”? It truly was a surprise to me.

I never would have expected this because I have done nothing more than be a mother! Kyra was my daughter and my only child. I stood by her when she came out at 16 then stood by her again when she began her transition at 18. There is no way I could or would walk away from her now. She was my child, my friend and what made me who I am today. I will continue to stand by her until there is a resolution in her case and I finally get to see who ended my daughter’s life far too soon.

I have attended many events over these past months in dedication to Kyra out of love for my daughter, and to try to show the LGBTQ community that there are parents out there that love and support their children. I have also done it in an effort to let parents know that it’s OK to stand by their children. They need not be ashamed of who their children are or who they have become; they need only feel ashamed when they turn their backs on their children and try to act as if they don’t exist. Pretending something isn’t there honestly doesn’t make it go away.

I realize I wasn’t active within the community while Kyra was alive and that has become one of my biggest regrets; however, I believe all things happen for a reason and that I may have now found a new path in life, a new reason for being a mom. I am proud to have become part of a community that can offer so much support and love to others they have never met. It is truly amazing.

While my focus may appear to be on Kyra, please know that I fight her fight now, which means that I will be fighting for trans rights. I will be fighting for acceptance and understanding. I will be fighting thinking of all the things my daughter was denied simply because she lived her life the way she knew in her heart she had to live. There is work to be done within the community, work that I plan to do and work that I want to be a part of.

I am very sincerely honored and proud to be named “Person of the Year.” However, that would not have been possible without the love or support of my family, friends and so many within the LGBTQ community. Truth be told, it has been the overwhelming support and love that I have felt that has given me my strength during this time, as well as made it possible for me to attend so many events during this time. I need to thank the LGBTQ community for all that they have given me and for all that they gave my daughter Kyra!

As I have said time and again, it is not the LGBTQ community that should thank me but I who should thank them.

With much love, Momma Dawn (Maher)