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Mom of genderqueer teen writes touching email to college student about photo shoot

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Making a difference to a 13-year-old.

Isaac Gotterer at the Wesleyan gym
Photo by Celina Bernstein

Last week we ran a great photo spread of Isaac Gotterer a Wesleyan University student and former high school soccer captain, which showed them in a pink sports bra, a black dress and heels lifting weights to make a point about gender and identity.

“I identify as genderqueer,” Gotterer said, “which means, for me, I identify outside the gender binary. I don't feel like a man or women or anything in between and I never have.

The photos and essay touched the mother of a 13-year-old who is struggling with their identity. She allowed us to reprint her email to Gotterer as long as we omitted her name.

Hi,

As mom to a genderqueer kid who frequently doubts themself and fears expressing their true self publicly, I want to thank you and applaud you for both doing this photo shoot and also for being you!I showed the article and photos to my child. I can't explain both the excitement and calm that came over him.

They are 13 years old and AMAB (he/him or they/them). To see themself represented in such a powerful and positive way is so important and empowering.

So, thank you.

Thank you for being visible.

Thank you for being proud.

And Thank you for being you!

Sincerely,

[name withheld] mom

Gotterer was thrilled by the letter and I’m thrilled that what started out as a class project had a big impact on a young person who needs reassurance and comfort. The act of coming out, in whatever form, is a powerful statement and can make a difference in another person’s life.