The school gender resource fair was about as contentious as a bake sale and twice as sweet.

"It's cool that everyone's showing up today. It's very cool," said Hildie Edwards, who will be 13 in July. She stood in a smiling, rainbow-wrapped crowd outside the Minneapolis Public Schools district headquarters on Thursday. It was a community show of support for trans kids like her. "All these adults, showing up and saying, 'I love these trans kids.'"

Minneapolis schools host all sorts of resource fairs for students and families. Like the others, the gender resource fair was designed to connect families with information and resources to help children feel safe, happy and themselves at school.

There was music and dancing and books and pamphlets and volunteers from community groups. There were games and a drag storytime and a pizza party.

A handful of protesters who had threatened the event ended up at the wrong address on the other side of town. That's what happens when you get your information from social media instead of a newspaper.

It was a day of joy.

"Schools are such a central part of every child's life," said Julian Applebaum, a Macalester College senior who turned out to support the event, joining the cheerful dance party on the sidewalk outside. "To feel comfortable and celebrated and loved within your school — for any child — makes a world of difference in their outcome."

Applebaum was in high school — the student body president — when he began his transition. Telling one friend at first, then others, then a few trusted teachers, and finally, his family.

"The difference between who I am now and who I was when I was still living in the closet is night and day," said Applebaum, who will graduate soon and begin work with the ACLU in Washington, D.C. "I am so much happier now. I am more confident. I love myself more than I ever did before. And so much of that has come from being able to be myself and to grow into who I am without that fear."

Hannah Edwards, Hildie's mother, watched her child suffer, early on, at a school where teachers didn't listen to the kindergartner when she told them she was a girl. In a different school, with supportive teachers, her daughter thrived.

"It's easy to see the difference that it makes," said Edwards, director of Transforming Families, one of the groups on hand at the resource fair. "You go from having a kid who's constantly worried about feeling othered or different, to just a kid getting to be a kid; who's creative and loves to dance and participates fully in school and their extracurriculars."

At her new school, Hildie's name and pronouns were no big deal.

"Everybody in the classroom learned about it and Hildie got to say, 'Yep, that's me,'" Edwards said. "And everybody moved on and everybody was happy."

Happiest of all was Hildie herself.

"She's able to be herself. She's more confident," her mother said. "She's a happy kid."

Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd, a pediatrician and medical director of Children's Minnesota Gender Health Program, spoke at the event.

It wasn't a conversation about drugs or surgeries or medical procedures. Gender-affirming care at school just means letting kids use the names and pronouns that make them comfortable. It means connecting parents with resources and information. It means standing up to bullies.

There are enough bullies outside the school walls these days.

"When parents have kids who are transgender or gender-diverse in some way, often they have a lot of questions about what to do next," said Goepferd, who gave a great short TEDx talk about kids and gender identity that you might want to look up if you're curious.

"I'm a parent of three kids," Goepferd added. "What I want for my kids, no matter what they're facing in life … I want them to have access to the specialists, to the services, to the information and support that my kid needs to be the best version of themselves possible."

Most stories about trans kids these days focus on the politicians who want to decide which bathrooms they can use and which sports they can play. Or the hate groups that picket drag storytime, screaming. Or the toll that sort of hate can take on children and adults alike.

What you might miss, unless you look for it, is the joy.

The joy that comes when transgender and nonbinary and gender creative kids and grown-ups can be their own excellent selves.

They joy of knowing Minneapolis has their back.

"I'm a trans girl," Hildie Edwards wants you to know. "And I'm awesome."