For several months leading up to the trip to NYC and Boston, Ryan and I focused on planning community meet-ups in and coordinating professional meetings/guest lectures, all while organizing the logistics that accompany any travel. I recall standing outside of a Denver spa (while on vacation in February) talking with the president of Positive Exposure to ensure our community would not miss such a fantastic opportunity! This trip has been on our minds for a long time, and in preparation, each meeting was intentionally selected, diligently planned, confirmed, and mapped out.
The immense honor it is to represent and support Living with XXY in settings both near and far. And equally important (as a mom to a 14-year-old son with XXY) the honor of simply being a member of this amazing community.
The sheer joy and genuine support that comes from meeting another XXY guy, parent, or partner. The proof was seen while sharing experiences, the understanding looks, laughter, and "that's me too!!" exclamations after only MINUTES of knowing each other. It is true with this community; you are no longer alone.
The importance of showing up for our community: Not everyone will feel comfortable sharing or being in front of the camera. But if and when we're ready to leap, the positive impact will be felt for years and in ways we can't even begin to understand.
And some people want to help by spreading the word, researching, supporting the mission, and partnering on projects. But these groups need opportunities to learn more about our lived experiences, organization, and the needs/concerns of our community.
These have been constant themes in every community and professional meeting. And I know they will guide and motivate me for years to come.
If it isn't apparent, Ryan has dedicated his life to this community and the mission of Living with XXY. Trips like these would not happen without his willingness to be open and share his entire life story. It may not be obvious, but it doesn't come easy for Ryan. I've watched him learn as much as humanly possible about clinics, providers, and services. I've seen how seriously he takes every phone call, text, or email request for help. I've listened as he asks the fundamental questions on behalf of our community. I've observed his constant creativity in addressing the needs of our community in hopes of making life just a little easier for the next generation. He does not take his role lightly, and his commitment to our community knows no bounds.
The work of Living with XXY and trips like this will have positive impacts that are too big to comprehend. The sharing of our lived experiences and the voice of a community with over 100 current and future professionals will not go unnoticed. Partnering with students, nurses, and genetic counselors on long-term projects to help fill the gaps in service areas will not go unnoticed. And most certainly, creating space for XXY guys, families, and partners/spouses to connect genuinely will not go unnoticed.
With the support of the community, I am looking forward to continuing to build on the momentum of 2023 and sharing our wonderful Living with XXY community with the world.
In gratitude and with excitement for the future,
Volunteer and Mom to Elliott (14-year-old with XXY)