by: Joanna Small Updated:
SEATTLE - After a brutal attack on a transgender person Thursday night, Seattle’s LGBT community banded together by the thousands. They kicked off Pride weekend with a parade and a message more powerful than ever before.
The community may have been bruised by the assault on Michael Volz in Capitol Hill--after a fundraiser for the victims of the Orlando massacre---but is not broken.
“I’m hurt but I feel encouraged by the people around me who love me and have shown up,” Volz told reporters. “We don’t back down and we support each other.”
That’s what the Knowlton family has been doing practically ever since their youngest family member Annabelle was a toddler.
“She’s known her whole life that she was a girl but she transitioned when she was 4-and-a-half,” Annabelle’s mother, Vlada Knowlton, explained as they moved with the crowd of people.
Now Annabelle is a happy, healthy, thriving 5-year-old, and one of the youngest transgender people walking in the parade, flanked by her parents, older sister, and 10-year-old brother Sam holding a sign that read “I love my transgender sister.”
“We’re all really proud of her that she’s gone this far and everybody is helping her out and I think it’s awesome all these people are supporting this. And I’m really glad she can be who she wants to be and I think everybody should be able to.”
Because Vlada Knowlton saysshe knwos that is not the case; she’s producing a documentary about what she says is Washington State’s anti-transgender legislation. It’s called The Most Dangerous Year; meanwhile, she’s trying to give Annabelle the least dangerous life. That’s why the family joined a Seattle support group for families with transgendered children and attends events like the Trans Pride Parade, now in its fourth year. It’s one of a growing number of places where Annabelle feels nothing but free to be just who she is.
“I’m very proud and she’s really proud, too,” Sam told us.
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