Happy Birthday, Admiral Ocean Freireich

All photos provided by Admiral’s mother, Mika.

“Almost immediately after meeting Vanessa, Admiral and Rei were indirectly kicked out of school,” Mika says.

“I initially reached out to Vanessa for emotional support. She responded immediately and compassionately with a very long email that, even talking about it now brings tears to my eyes…We didn’t know anybody else. We didn’t have a community. My child was six years old and I was told that community is not ready for her. It was a very scary time. Vanessa’s kindness was such a gift and she even went beyond that by helping us figure out how to address the issue.”

Admiral eating Taco Bell in celebration after submitting her name change paperwork

“What’s your name?

Admiral Ocean Freireich.

After three months of homeschooling and an upcoming end of a lease, Admiral’s family decided to move to Oak Park for its diversity and inclusiveness. “The kids started school in April and it has been wonderful. There’s another trans girl who is in Admiral’s class and the entire school has been trained on gender creativity and identity.”

“[Vanessa] is coming to Admiral’s name change court date. In a little over a year, we have gone from feeling so lonely and scare to feeling lucky and supported. It all started with one act of compassion from Vanessa. It was about feeling seen and heard. We needed that first and foremost. Vanessa gave us ways to find more community.”

Support is imperative for our youth — especially our trans youth. In a climate where hate speech fuels hate violence, and where reality of “safe spaces” can be compromised at any given moment, community becomes key.

Left to Right: Admiral with brother, Rei, and Mika (first photo); Admiral after her first year of Brownies (second photo); Admiral with Rei and Ben (third photo)
Admiral with Rei and their dog, Emerson (second photo)
Left to Right: Admiral with her best friend, Juliet (first photo); Admiral with her friend and neighbor, Ella (second photo)

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Center on Halsted

Center on Halsted

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Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s largest community center dedicated to advancing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Movement.