SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Sometimes creating change starts at home. For one San Diego mother, a journey of advocacy and understanding started a decade ago when she realized there was nothing locally in place to support or assist her transgender son.
Kathie Moehlig is a non-profit executive, an ordained minister, and a mother. She knew early on her adopted son Sam, now 21, was amazing, special, and unique.
Moehlig tells me since he was a toddler, Sam always wanted to be like the boys, always dressed like the boys, and behaved like the boys but he never said the words “I am a boy.”
Kathie realized the systems in our local schools, hospitals, and mental health sectors were not yet set up to assist transgender and gender-nonconforming children like her son.
“As we were struggling trying to figure out what was going on for him because he didn't have the words to tell us that he was a boy. But he started to have a lot of issues that we see with depression and anxiety,” said Kathie Moehlig.
Finally, someone suggested some websites on gender topics. Kathie shared them with Sam.
“He jumped up and hugged me harder than he's ever hugged me in his life and said, Yes, Mama, that's me. That's me. That's who I am," Moehlig added.
So, Kathie knew there was work to be done. She says she took her inherent tenacity and knowledge of the non-profit world and created TransFamily Support Services seven years ago knowing from the beginning any non-profit can be taxing, and tough economically.
“I am super passionate, so it doesn't feel like work to me," Moehlig said.
The tagline of TransFamily Support Services is Navigation is the Journey.
Kathie calls it a one-stop shop, offering support groups for parents and kids of all ages, young groups, and help to navigate the medical and insurance pieces around transition. To date, they've worked with over 2400 trans youth and their families.
Kathie knows the feeling of being helpless and hopeless all too well.
“He told me he didn't think he was ever going to live to be an adult. And for a parent to hear something that tragic, I am so glad I didn't know that before we had the answer to what was happening for him.”
She's devoted to bringing educational, financial, legal, and emotional well-being to all the amazing children just like Sam.
For all the life-saving and life-changing work, we selected Kathie Moehlig this month's ABC 10news Leadership Award Winner.
If you know someone making a difference, please nominate them on our website 10News.com.