You are receiving Ellie Krug's Monthly Newsletter, The Ripple 
Fighting Book Bans and
Lifting Up Voices 
Dear Friends:

Three weeks ago, I posted on LinkedIn and Twitter an offer to give my memoir, Getting to Ellen, free of charge to any library in America. (This offer was partly made possible by a donor named Joe who believes in my work.) Happily, six libraries—mainly from small towns—took me up on the offer. I’m absolutely thrilled about that! If you know of any libraries (public or schools) that might want the book, please pass along my offer and have them contact me.

The idea of giving my book to libraries was spurred by the many efforts across the country to ban books about LGBTQ+ people and books about marginalization around skin color/America’s history of enslaving humans. Those bans erase stories we all need to read in order to understand our commonalities and collective humanity.

As I was receiving requests for my book, I heard about Red, Wine & Blue (with the tagline, “Channeling the Power of Suburban Women”) and their initiative, “Book Ban Busters.” If you go to their website, you’ll find an interactive map of various book bans and legislative attempts to prohibit the teaching of diversity and inclusion-related subjects. (I hope to have someone from the organization on my radio show; stay tuned…)

I think this organization rocks! Please support it however you can. And like I did, you can also sign up for their newsletter.

Separately, I’ll now be writing for Lavender Magazine less frequently. You may recall that in the October Ripple, I spoke of ceding some power so that others can be heard; well, that’s now occurred! As I relate in this recent Lavender piece, I suggested to my editor that the publication bring on a younger transgender writer to share the platform. I’m now thrilled to report that Chris Hinze, a twenty-seven-year-old transmac nonbinary human, will be writing for Lavender beginning later this week. (Look for Chris’s first column in this Thursday’s issue of Lavender.) Thereafter, my column will alternate monthly with Chris’s.

You will simply love Chris’s writing! It will melt into you. I wish I was as good a writer.

Have a good rest of the month! Remember, I care about you.
A Teen Cancer Survivor's Compassion
Sparks a Community
Ripple Reader John Edwards passed along this touching Washington Post story of 17-year-old Maddie Barber, a brain cancer survivor, and how she sought to give back to help others in medical need.

When she was twelve years old, Maddie was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Surgery at a local hospital removed most of the tumor, but some remained. The family then consulted with St. Jude in Memphis, where doctors later succeeded in removing the remainder of the tumor; however, Maddie still needed eight months of radiation and chemotherapy. As is St. Jude’s policy, the hospital provided free housing for Maddie’s mother, Tally, for the length of Maddie’s stay. Maddie’s surgery, treatment and hospital stay were also free.

In March 2018, Maddie was declared cancer-free. When she returned home to Boerne, Texas (near San Antonio), she found that trees in the town had been decorated in bright blue. As Maddie related, “Everyone had wrapped their trees to show their support. It made me know that I wasn’t alone.”

Still, even with her recovery, Maddie had some right-sided paralysis, which prevented her from playing her favorite sport, volleyball. At the urging of her father, Maddie joined the Future Farmers of America and started showing pigs that Maddie and her brother raised on the family’s nine-acre farm in Bourne.

Fast forward to early last month. Maddie and two pigs she had raised participated in a combination livestock auction/benefit for FFA members at the Kendall County Junior Livestock Show. Historically, the benefit was a way that the teen FFA members could raise money for college or to buy more livestock.

Maddie had a different plan: she intended to donate all the money she raised that day to St. Jude, as a way of thanking the doctors and nurses for saving her life and supporting her family. “They removed my tumor and saved my life,” Maddie said. “I wanted to give back in some way to help other kids struggling with cancer to have the same chance.”

What Maddie didn’t expect was that the auctioneer (whom Maddie had told about her plan) would announce to the entire audience that all the money Maddie raised that day would be given to St. Jude.

At that point, the community came forward. As the WAPO story related, “(D)ozens of people in her community raised their hands to pitch in what they could toward (Maddie’s) cause. One rancher offered $500. Another person quickly topped that with $1000.” By the time it was over, Maddie’s two six-month-old pigs had brought in $30,500—way more than the customary $2-4000 that usually was raised per FFA teen.

Afterward, Maddie said, “I hope to do whatever I can to help other kids to heal and have a good life. I feel really fortunate. I want to help somebody else to have that same feeling.”

As I have said before, when we’re given a pathway to exercise our empathetic hearts, humans will show up in droves. That’s exactly what happened one afternoon in a livestock hall in south Texas. Maddie Barber, a grateful and compassionate young human, led the way. 
Inclusivity Tip of the Month
Supporting Gender and Sexuality
Alliances in Your Schools
HIW Logo
There are hundreds of Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) in American public and private schools. GSAs provide LGBTQ+ students and their allies with safe spaces to be themselves without the risk of harassment or bullying by intolerant people.

According to the GSA Network, an organization that supports GSAs nationally, “A growing body of research confirms that the presence of a GSA has a positive and lasting effect on student health, wellness, and academic performance. It can also protect students from harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity and improve school climates for all students in the long-term.”

Last month I wrote about a Tennessee school board that opposed creation of a GSA. (See the story here.) Thankfully, that marginalization doesn’t always go unchallenged; for example, here’s a summary of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cases that preserved student rights to form GSAs.

School board and/or community member resistance to GSAs is incredibly marginalizing, if not traumatizing, for LGBTQ+ kids attending those schools. The clear message is that young LGBTQ+ humans are unworthy and that they don’t matter to those in power. There are clear data that LGBTQ+ students suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety, and attempted suicides, compared to straight/cisgender kids. (See here.)

So, how can you be supportive of GSAs in your local schools?

First, determine if your school district has a policy of supporting GSAs; you can do that via either website searches or by simply calling the district superintendent’s office. Assuming GSAs do exist in your schools, then determine whether they are in both the middle and high schools. (Note, the school district may call its LGBTQ+ affinity groups something other than a “Gender and Sexuality Alliance”, so it may take you asking, “Do you have a formal support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students?”)

Second, once you know that there are GSAs in your schools, determine the contact information for the teachers or administrators who sponsor or organize the group’s meetings and offer to help in whatever way they might need it—it may be by directly donating to help the GSA’s programming budget or it could be by appearing at school board meetings to voice support for the GSA. Given what’s going on in America right now and the need to protect educators, sponsor contact information may not be readily available, and instead, your only option may be to leave your contact information and ask that the sponsor reach back you. Of course, let whomever you leave that information with know that you are an ally/that you want to support the district’s GSAs.

Third, share within your network that GSAs are incredibly important to protect the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ students. Urge others to also support their local GSAs.

Lastly, if the school district doesn’t have a GSA in place, urge that the district create one. Without a doubt, there are LGBTQ+ students in every school district in the country and they need to be supported.

For more information about GSAs, go to the GSA Network website, which provides many resources, including an advisor handbook.
Sixty Second Roundups
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Below you will hear about how state legislatures continue to marginalize transgender and LGBQ+ humans, but here’s a story of compassion by Arizona Republican State Sen. Tyler Pace, whose vote killed a bill that would have banned health care providers from treating trans kids and youth in Arizona. He said, "The testimonies we heard today (were) about the many people who are using these avenues of medical treatments to save lives, to improve lives. I don’t want my vote to stop those great things." Here also is a video of a police sergeant saving a lifeless baby—the parents’ pleas for help are haunting. Thankfully, the officer’s quick action saved the baby! 
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Read this incredibly thought-provoking ACLU piece by Dario Alvarez re: how his life was derailed by a simple traffic ticket—folks, this is a common story across our nation. Also, see this MSNBC interview that highlights how all of the anti-CRT bills—designed to prevent white-color people from feeling uncomfortable—are really about blaming the victims of racism. Lastly, check out my February 12th Ellie 2.0 Radio interview with Ellen Kennedy of World Without Genocide—an organization that’s doing incredible work!
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The story about Tyler Pace above included this chilling statistic: as of early February, more than 160 bills targeting LGBTQ+ people had been introduced in statehouses across the country; of those bills, an astounding 92 were aimed at transgender humans. Unbelievable! This includes Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would prevent educators from talking about sexual or gender identities in the classroom. (View this ad that pushes back against the proposed bill.) Of course, Tennessee is among the states seeking to make it illegal for doctors and therapists to treat trans kids and youth (see here). Additionally, this Pennsylvania town just became the first locale to revoke LGBTQ+ protections for its residents. All of this comes against the backdrop of a recent Gallop survey that shows more than 7 percent of Americans identify as LGBTQ+ (that amounts to more than 24 million Americans); for Gen Z humans (those born between 1997 and 2012), 20 percent identify as LGBTQ+. The reality is that it’s impossible to turn back the tide of humans living authentically, no matter how much intolerant people try to do that. Finally, just as I suspected would happen, here’s a story confirming that some schools are pausing or disbanding diversity, equity and inclusion programs for students and educators for fear of backlash. Ugh. There’s way too much Pain this month!
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This month’s Relief has this incredible video of a drone with dangling sausages working to rescue a lost whippet—you just have to watch! And here’s a serene scene of a pup contemplating the ocean. Finally, I just had to pander to the puppy lovers—see a compilation of pup videos here
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Have you heard about Third Act, an organization for those 60 and older who are working to make the world better? Talk about a group of idealists! Also, check out this video of how a London hotel went to the Nth degree to ensure for equal access for all humans. And did you catch that California State has now banned caste discrimination? (See here.) It’s an example of incredible allyship! One more thing: Mossier, an organization that supports LGBTQ+ identities in the workplace, has openings for a Facilitator and a Jobs Coordinator; if you or someone you know is interested in working with a dynamic team, email (You can email me too and I’ll send along the job descriptions…) 
Lastly, if you want to help me to do more work for organizations that lack budgets for training, please consider donating to Human Ripple Works, Inc., a nonprofit that others and I set up to train nonprofits/other organizations on human inclusivity. Thank you for that!! If you’d like to support this work, please click here on the HRW website.
The Ripple is a work in progress, so please, I welcome your suggestions and comments! Please share this newsletter with others, too!

Please consider reading my book, Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change; if possible, order it through your local bookstore. And, if your book club reads my book, I'm happy to come for the discussion via Zoom!

Thank you for helping to make the world a better place! I'm at your side, cheering you on, I promise! Please have compassion for yourself and for others.

Encouraging Open Hearts and Thriving Human Spirits 
Human Inspiration Works, LLC: We make "inclusion" an action word

Ellen (Ellie) Krug