If you’re a transgender teen, or anyone really, you might have a couple questions for Gavin Grimm. While he may not have meant to, Gavin has quickly become the face of the fight to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. He was poisedbringing the first transgender rights case to the Supreme Court, and his voice spoke for many transgender students across the country who just wanted to pee in peace. Well, last week, some young people got the chance to tap into some of Gavin’s wisdom during Answer Time on Action.
On June 23, Gavin answered questions on Action on Tumblr, a blog dedicated to amplifying the voices of marginalized people. Gavin gave tips on how to gain rights in your school, how you know if you’re transgender, how to ask someone what their pronouns are, and even answered a question about his pet pig (the pig’s name is Esmerelda).
One user asked Gavin what his advice is for young people being bullied for being different. Gavin said he can relate, and the best form of defense is self love.
"It’s very difficult to find a space to be yourself and feel valued when you are different from the ’norm,’" Gavin wrote. "I grew up being a bullied kid, and I found respite in a small group of close friends that i developed over time. Self love is also a wonderful armor, but it can be very hard to build up. To any bullied kid (or adult) out there– try to build some of that armor up."
Someone asked Gavin whether it’s normal to feel confused about whether or not you’re transgender, to which Gavin answered — yes!
"It’s certainly normal to have questions about yourself and be uncertain about your identity," he said "It is a very normal part of learning and growing. Always know you are allowed to take your time!"
If you do know you’re transgender, but are nervous about coming out because of an unsupportive family, Gavin gave some very important advice.
"It can often be very dangerous for trans youth to come out, and I would encourage you to wait until it is safe to do so," he said. "Of course, this can be very difficult, and ultimately you will have to make the decision alone based on your needs and safety levels. Either way, stay safe and much love."
And if you come out but aren’t sure about where to turn for resources, Gavin says the internet is your best friend.
"Where I live, the closest LGBT support group is nearly an hour away," he wrote. "As a result, I had to find my resources online. While (often, at least for me) not as fulfilling as face to face support, it was certainly better than the isolation i felt!"
And while Gavin is known for fighting injustice on the highest level, he told one user how to make change in their school.
"Contact your local ACLU chapter!" Gavin advised a Tumblr user who asked how to help a friend who identifies as a boy but is forced to use the girl’s locker room. "Follow this link to fill out a report or look up the number for your state."
His advice on fighting for transgender rights isn’t all we learned about Gavin, though. We also learned that his favorite band is Arcade Fire, his favorite Harry Potter character is Ron Weasley and that the best thing that’s happened to him since coming out is how much he has grown.
"I would have to say that my growth as a person through my experiences has been the best thing that has happened to me since I came out. I have been exposed to so many narratives and worldviews that i previously wasn’t familiar with, and am a better person for it," he wrote.
Related: The Supreme Court Will Not Hear Gavin Grimm’s Case