Our children instantly became good friends. Before I knew it all of our holidays and birthdays were celebrated together in our nearby apartments. Far from our home state of Texas, we had found a family. After my wife’s clerkship with a Hawai’i judge ended, we moved back to Texas.
When we returned to Hawaii a few short years later, Doug and Kathleen opened their home to us. We stayed with them as we got our footing, and ended up being neighbors; our kids grew up together. We were so close that one time in kindergarten, our daughter drew a picture of her family and it included the Chin’s dog as her own.
Doug and Kathleen have always been trusted friends. I remember opening up to Doug and Kathleen after our oldest child told us he was transgender. They were not only accepting, but showed us the kind of love and understanding that helped us through our own transition. Doug, Kathleen, and their children embraced our son’s opportunity to live authentically. As the parent of a transgender child, this is the most important kind of support someone close to you can show. They loved our children, and would support them and us no matter what.
The acceptance he showed to me and my family is what defines Doug Chin for me more than anything else. And, this acceptance didn’t end with our child. During his service as AG, Doug supported marriage equality, supported Gavin Grimm in the United States Supreme Court case that fought for Gavin’s right to use the restroom associated with his gender identity, and came out against Trump's stance against transgender service members. He has and continues to stand up for the civil rights of those who the federal administration treats as undeserving of our protections. Doug did nothing but protect civil rights as Hawaii's AG.
In 2015, as Hawai’i’s Attorney General Doug helped draft legislation to allow the transgender community to correct birth certificates to match their gender identity. While my son did not directly benefit from the legislation because he was not born in Hawai’i, to me, Doug’s support for all members of the transgender community showed me that he was not afraid to publicly fight for others like my child. As AG, he also supported legislation to ensure Hawaii insurance companies cannot discriminate against members of the community like my son based solely on their gender identity.
The Doug I know showed me it was okay to be ourselves, The Doug I know showed me that he would fight for someone who was different than him. The Doug I know is someone that I trust to continue to fight for all of our families.
– Jesse Copeland