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Former Bears TE Desmond Clark shares heartfelt message to his transgender son

Clark says his love cuts through any identity.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Chicago Bears - December 17, 2006
Desmond Clark says his transgender son came out to him in January.
Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Former Chicago Bears tight end Desmond Clark is commemorating Pride Month with a public celebration of his transgender son.

On Facebook, the 12-year NFL veteran shared a heartfelt message to his son, DaShawn. In it, Clark tells DeShawn identity is about what’s inside.

“Identity can be ruse, a false-concept,” Clark writes. “If you read enough Buddhist texts and do enough meditation you see it as fluid. If we identify with anything, really, it’s our approach to understanding who we are; not any individual label applied to it. Thoughtful, is a closer description for DaShawn than either gender.”

Clark says DaShawn came out to him as trans in January. The two talked about it over breakfast.

“Regardless of what you call yourself, what gender you identify as, or what pronouns you use, my love for you cuts through all of that and has for over nineteen years,” Clark writes.

It’s not hyperbolic to say that loving parents can be life-saving for LGBTQ youth, especially transgender kids. Nearly half of LGBTQ kids considered suicide over the last year, according to a survey from The Trevor Project, and 59 percent of transgender boys thought about ending their lives.

A skilled receiving tight end, Clark is one of the most prominent athletes to publicly disclose they have a transgender child. NBA legend Dwyane Wade is an All-Star dad to his trans daughter, who came out when she was 12 years old.

Last month, Wade shared some poignant advice to the parents of transgender children.

“[Think of] the moment when you were in the hospital and you grabbed your daughter, and you looked at your daughter,” Wade told Variety. “All the things that went through your mind and all the emotions that went through your mind. And how much love fills your heart at that moment. Don’t let that ever leave you, no matter what.”

It doesn’t seem like Clark is letting his love go, either.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.