We've all seen it. A child stops and stares or points at someone who is somehow different from what they would expect. Often the parent will shush any questions and look embarrassed. But as far as Liv Hnilicka is concerned, one parent recently handled one of these moments with aplomb. The trans waitress posted a story on Facebook Sunday that begins with the words "Stellar parenting moment of the day," following an exchange she had with a father and his young daughter shortly after they entered the restaurant. She says she posted it publicly so that people can share the story with other parents they know, and within about 12 hours of posting it had been shared roughly 100 times; commenters called Hnilicka, whose profile identifies her as living in Minneapolis, "an inspiration." Another writes, "I'm still crying. Magic."
Hnilicka writes that she was filling the water station when a father approached her and said, "My daughter just asked if you were a boy or a girl. I didn't want to speak for you so would you like to talk to her?'" Hnilicka says she nervously obliged, walking to the table and telling the girl that the important thing is to remember that people can be "anything they want to be in this world," and that it's also important to try to be "the best selves we can be for our family and friends, and even to strangers." She then explained that "I was told that I was a boy when I was little" but she now lives her adult life as a girl. "It sounds complicated but it's actually pretty simple. Do you have any questions for me?" The girl smiled at her and said, simply, "Nope!" Hnilicka says she walked away "feeling really good about parents intentionally engaging their children about possibly difficult topics. And showing that giving people the power to voice their truths in this complicated world is beautiful and healing." (Read more transgender stories.)