In celebration of 2023 International Transgender Day of Visibility, Lindz Amer '10 shared their insights on identity and helping to "bring about a world that ought to be." Their trailblazing projects have helped children and families realize the potential possibilities and reflections of who they are and who they could grow up to be.
Lindz is the Founder and CEO of Queer Kid Creative, a digital edutainment company spreading queer joy through queer and trans centered intersectional all-ages media. They wrote, produced, and co-hosted Queer Kid Stuff
(QKS)—an original LGBTQ+ educational web series for ages 3 and up—for four seasons and over 50 episodes which now has over 4 million lifetime views.
Lindz also produces and hosts two podcasts: Rainbow Parenting
is a podcast for grown ups with children in their lives that expands on their upcoming queer and gender-affirming parenting book, and Activist, You!
is a family-friendly podcast where they explore social justice topics through interviews with kid and youth activists. Their work has been featured by Good Morning America, Kidscreen, NBCOut, Teen Vogue, Shondaland
, and Parents Magazine
among other publications. You can also watch their TED Talk
on why kids need to learn about gender and sexuality.
Why is talking to children about gender and sexuality so important?
I believe we have a responsibility to expose children to all the potential possibilities and reflections of who they are and who they could grow up to be. A big reason why I focus on gender and sexuality specifically is because we live in a world and society where cisgender and heterosexual identities are deemed “the norm.” The information we can give to children about who they are and who they could become is currently incredibly skewed toward this “norm” to the point where it obscures the possibility of any children being queer or trans or becoming queer and trans grown ups. This enormous gap in knowledge among young people leads directly to the horrific mental health stats on LGBTQ+ youth and allows bigotry to fester. Providing young kids with information about queer and trans genders and sexualities shows kids who are queer and trans that they belong while nurturing allies in their peers.
How has your time as a student at Friends informed and prepared you for the work you are undertaking today?
“Bringing about a world that ought to be.” That’s a phrase that has stuck with me for a long time. It’s certainly informed my life and my work. I think Friends really did instill a sense of social justice in me from a young age, and as I reflect back on my experience there, the connection between that social justice being fostered in an educational setting definitely isn’t lost on me and the ways that shows through in my work.
You're incredibly accomplished—from your highly-acclaimed web-series, to your podcasts, to presenting a TED Talk, to writing your first book, which will be released in May. Which project are you most proud of, and what's next?
Well, thanks! To be honest, it’s been a really long road to get here. The TED Talk was cool because it was kind of an early bucket list item that was just a really beautiful calling card for what I do that was an important culmination of my work to that point. The podcast is super fun! I really just love having an excuse to talk to cool people I admire about something I’m passionate about. I’m extremely proud of the book, it’s also absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Writing a book is no joke! But I think what I’m still most proud of is Queer Kid Stuff, the original web series. It was also a really difficult thing to make, but it came from just a really raw place like “this doesn’t exist so by golly I’ve gotta do it myself!” It’s just so optimistic, and unapologetic, and the fact that it’s really stood the test of time and is somehow even more relevant than it was when it started still baffles me. I made mistakes, for sure, our resources were super limited, and the harassment was traumatizing, but it’s really given me a career, so I’m proud and grateful for it.
What can an ally say to someone who says, “I just don’t get it” about being transgender?
Honestly, I guess I would say that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get it. Ultimately, you don’t have to get it. Because even if you don’t get it, that doesn’t negate the fact that trans people still exist. Because even if you don’t get it, trans people are humans just like you who deserve respect. What might be an annoying or silly pronoun to you might be a critical and important part of someone’s entire identity. And I might also ask if that person has ever really truly thought about their gender. How do you know you are the gender you say you are? Is it just because a doctor put an F or an M on your birth certificate? Besides that, how else do you know and understand and feel your gender?
Your online-accessible work is even more important now for children and families who reside in Florida and Kentucky. Will new laws prohibiting mention of gender identity or sexual orientation in the classroom affect your work?
Oh for sure. Everything that’s happening right now when it comes to queerness and transness and kids affects my work. It means that schools are more hesitant to book a trans person to come and speak, especially a trans person who talks about gender and sexuality. It spooks TV and film executives from hiring me as a consultant and to write for them and to pitch shows because these topics and trans characters are too “risky.” It means that I don’t personally feel safe traveling to and through those states. It affects my work in many ways, but especially my bottom line and the financial resources I have access to to survive and continue to make work.
And are there any plans for QKS to help fill this void? Even more strategically than the incredible work you are already undertaking?
Oh my gosh I wish I could tell you I’m bringing back the webseries. If anyone wants to finance a reboot of Queer Kid Stuff that could directly respond to everything happening right now, I’ll get you in touch with my people because I’ve already got a script written. Outside of hoping that I can make new QKS episodes one day, I’ve really grown the business beyond the original series. We have a brand called Queer Teachers Rock! where we create programming and resources for queer and trans educators that started as a virtual mini-conference last October and has turned into a monthly support group. We’ve also been working on a project called Dear Queer Kid where we’ve commissioned letters from rad queer and trans grown ups to rad queer and trans kids. We’re currently working on the next iteration of that project where we are turning it into a coloring book. We’re actually launching the Kickstarter for that early April, so please keep an eye out for that!
Otherwise, the Rainbow Parenting podcast and book are a huge part of the strategic work to help parents raise kids in a queer and gender-affirming way on a large scale. All of these projects together with the webseries (that continues to reach hundreds of thousands of people every year) are trying to stitch together intergenerational queer and trans communities among young folks and the grown ups who love them.
From a human rights perspective, what's the most crucial thing you wish cisgender people knew about transgender and nonbinary people?
I think, from a broad lens, most people don’t think of trans and nonbinary identity when they talk about diversity and DEI. I once had a phone conversation with the head of a DEI consulting organization who verbatim said she “wasn’t good at the nonbinary stuff.” Trans and nonbinary people are an extremely marginalized group, socially, economically, culturally, etc, etc, etc. March was women’s history month and I don’t think I saw a single women’s panel come across my feed that included a trans woman, unless it was already a queer or trans-themed event. Basically, I wish that people just thought of trans people at all and treated us with dignity like any other human being. All of the anti-trans legislation gives a lot of big bully on the schoolyard beating up the short kid for their lunch money.
Personally, what questions do you wish people would ask you about your work or identity?
Oh good question! I’m a whole human outside of what I do! I wish people would ask me about my hobbies, my wonderful wife and our two ridiculous dogs. I wish I could be a full human and an artist and storyteller in my own right. At the end of the day, all I want is to be able to tell stories about universal truths from the point of view of my lived experience. I think that’s all any artist and creative can ask for. The fact that I have to try to create “a world that ought to be” for me to do that in peace, is a gargantuan task that I (nor any other artist) should not have to attempt to undertake in order to just tell stories and allow those stories to find the people who need them.