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As summer approaches, our thoughts drift to family reunions and vacations. Summer is a great time for a family vacation as children are out of school.

Not only has the number of LGBTQ-inclusive picture books increased greatly over the past few years, but also more are being published, even for the youngest children. Here are some new ones aimed at babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Robin Stevenson’s “Pride Colors” board book (Orca Book Publishers) takes the original meanings of the colors in the Pride flag, as envisioned by creator Gilbert Baker, and turns them into a poem from parent to child.

So often when people who are not transgender speak of transgender people, there is one important thing that is gotten terribly wrong, and I think it’s a core part of understanding exactly what it is to be transgender.

As an example, I want to talk a bit about Chelsea Manning.

A few weeks ago, Jackson dipped his toe into the “testing Mommy” waters for the first time. While I was feeding him some concoction of mushed-up vegetables in his high chair, he discovered he could make a fun mess by blowing the puree out of his mouth — followed with a squeal of delight which I tried unsuccessfully tempering with a firm “No.” After about 10 bouts of this, he took the fun to the next level by trying to reach for his bowl of veggies and throw it on the floor — prompting a swift and loud reaction from me. Immediately, his face crumpled, his eyes got big, and then he welled with tears, lapsing into a pathetic little cry that persisted for some time. As did my guilt at losing my temper at a then-7-month-old baby.

Most people have some familiarity with the concept of the “Jedi Master” popularized in the Star Wars movies. If you’re not a fan of the films, the idea is that of a guru who possesses infinite wisdom gained through years of experience surviving in the universe. What if we could have that kind of “mastery,” or at least something similar, as we age?

Many LGBT older adults are faced with negotiating multiple healthcare providers, managing challenges related to physical health, loss of loved ones, and many may experience what feels like a loss of control. In a 2016 research review conducted by the Williams Institute, researchers found that LGBT older adults experienced high risks of mental health issues, disability, and higher rates of disease and physical limitation than their heterosexual counterparts. For LGBT older adults, there is no playbook for how to be successful and “master” later life — until now.

Passover begins the evening of April 19, and although I’m somewhat casual in my observance, I love that the holiday, which commemorates Jewish people’s journey out of slavery in Egypt, has become a time for reflection on freedom and social justice. This year, I’ve been thinking about how we LGBTQ parents might use the traditional “Four Questions” of Passover to guide our modern-day journeys.

During the Passover Seder, a ritual meal, we use a book called a Haggadah to retell and symbolically relive the story. Some of the passages come from traditional texts and liturgy, but much of the Haggadah is open to creative input. Because of the theme of freedom from oppression, many Haggadot (plural) aim at exploring various areas of social justice and include readings from modern civil-rights leaders, poets and other thinkers.

Q: I know it’s late in tax season, but I’m just getting around to it. Were there any major changes to the tax law in 2018?

A: Yes. It’s that time of year again. Millions of Americans are preparing their 2018 tax returns and grappling with some big changes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Their impact on you could be significant. Here’s an overview of key tax changes affecting individuals.

I grew up in a Southern California suburb in the 1970s, a short distance from the smog-filled skies of Los Angeles. It was a time of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors” album, a veneer or patriotism brought forth thanks to the bicentennial of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence, and the era of mood rings and bell-bottoms.

I cannot tell you for sure when, in those days of avocado green and harvest gold, I first heard of the existence of transgender people.

While acceptance of LGBTQ individuals has been growing rapidly in the last decade, there are still subsets of people who abhor any orientation other than heterosexual. Coming out is never an easy process for LGBTQ people, no matter their age. For teens experiencing same-sex attraction, particularly those whose families are deeply religious, there are added fears: “What if they kick me out?” “What if they disown me completely?” “What if they make me ‘pray the gay away?’”

It feels like every day someone is attempting to legislate transgender people. While “bathroom bills” feel like they’re finally on the wane, laws around transgender medical needs, the right to serve in the military and so many more horrible bills are making their appearance. Oh, and of course, the other big fad: whether transgender people can participate in sports.

Every time these rules come up, however, we’re left with one fundamental question: How does one define gender or sex?

Buckle up. This one is gonna get messy.

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