From: TransActive Education & Advocacy
To: TransActive Education & Advocacy
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 10:01 AM
Subject: Tragic News: A Child Lost


1631 NE Broadway, Suite 355-T, Portland, OR  97232



Dear Friends & Family,
Late Monday evening I received the news that I have dreaded since beginning my advocacy work on behalf of transgender children, youth and their families. I knew this day might, indeed would have to come, but I hoped with all my heart that somehow it would not happen.
Ian Guarr, a 16-year old transgender boy committed suicide yesterday.
As sad as the death of any child can be at any time, in any way, the loss of this child, in this way at this time is particularly painful for many of us.
It's painful because I knew Ian, his mother, father and younger brother personally. At one time, I considered myself part of their extended family.
Ian's death is particularly painful because he was one of the lucky ones. He was loved and cherished for who he was by his family. His mother and I, along with others, co-founded TransYouth Family Advocates in the hopes of providing help to Ian and so many other transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth. He had every good chance of overcoming the 50% suicidal ideation rate that is reported for transgender children and youth. And yet, with the most loving and supportive family imaginable, the sun rises today on a world missing another treasured child.
I liked Ian very, very much. He was a sensitive, thoughtful, incandescently intelligent young man. His mind was swift, taking in everything around him, though he rarely commented aloud about what he observed. When he did though, it was always worth hearing. Ian was painfully shy in many ways, and for that reason I took pleasure in making him squirm with the occasional non-sequitur, which he enjoyed and he would often toss one back at me with a sideways smile. I will always remember him with that sideways smile...
I loved making him laugh, and I loved his dry was an honor to know him and his life enriched mine.
As someone who once considered myself part of the extended Guarr family, I send them my deepest condolences. I send an embrace from the deepest part of my soul not only to the Guarr family, but to Kim Pearson, Shannon Garcia, "Just Evelyn" and their families as well.
From all of us at TransActive Education & Advocacy, I pledge our ongoing committment to work on behalf of the thousands of children and youth who, like Ian, struggle to fit into a world that far too often sees only their difference and ignores their gifts.
Please join us in sending your prayers, positive thoughts and support to Ian's family, extended family, friends and classmates. Join us and others who are working to create a more loving and nurturing world for transgender and gender non-conforming children, youth and their families. Hug your children and let them know that they are loved for exactly who they are...not in spite of who they are.
I wish Ian the peace he was unable to find in this life. And I believe that wherever his spirit, soul, energy force or consciousness is now, he is free of such insignificant limitations as gender and any other pain he may have experienced in his life. You were loved, Ian...and you still are. 


Your friend,




Jenn Burleton

Executive Director
TransActive Education & Advocacy


Co-founder & Past President

TransYouth Family Advocates


West Region Coordinator & Board Member
PFLAG-Transgender Network


Hayley Klug

Associate Advocate
TransActive Education & Advocacy


Kaig Lightner
Associate Advocate/Technology Coordinator

TransActive Education & Advocacy


Cathy Zellmer-Jackson

Associate Advocate


Brooke Haight Turpen

Youth Advocate


Tracie Stratton

Family Coodinator


Mission Statement:
TransActive Education & Advocacy (TEA) is committed to supporting families of gender independent children and youth,
and the child’s right to freely express their true gender identity.


TEA presents workshops, seminars and in-service training to professional & family organizations, educators, healthcare providers, administrators, social service agencies and community groups. TEA also works directly with children, youth and their families on breaking through stereotypes
 that may exist related to gender independent and transgender identity.

For information on arranging a TEA presentation, please contact us at:


TransActive is a non-profit educational and advocacy organization.
While we depend on service, speaking and presentation fees as well as the financial support of our allies,
TransActive will not turn down family support, educational or advocacy opportunities due to lack of ability to pay.