Do you love your kids just the way they are?
No, really, exactly the way they are?
California couple Jeff and Hillary Whittington are true examples of parents who unconditionally love their child. After welcoming their daughter Ryland in 2007, they had no idea about the journey they were about to embark on.
When Ryland was born, the Whittingtons were tickled pink with their healthy and beautiful baby girl.
At 12 months, they discovered that their baby was born deaf. They were heartbroken, but Ryland received cochlear implants and eventually learned to hear and speak.
As if that wasn’t enough, it wasn’t long until the Whittingtons were faced with another challenge.
“As soon as Ryland could speak, she would scream, ‘I’m a boy!’” the parents said in a YouTube video dubbed “our coming out.”
In their touching video journal, the Whittingtons said they considered Ryland to be a “tomboy” for awhile. But what many called a “phase” only grew stronger. Ryland wore boy’s swimming trunks, dressed in a boy’s shirt and tie, and drew pictures of herself as a boy.
Before the age of 5, Ryland was showing signs of shame and withdrawal.
The Whittingtons were forced to do some research. After doing a little digging, they were sure their daughter was transgender. After seeking professional help, the experts agreed.
The concerned parents knew they had to embrace their child as a boy before it was too late.
Defined, transgender is the state of one’s gender identity or gender expression not matching one’s assigned sex.
This is not your average story, and many still do not accept transgender as a ‘true’ condition. The debate rages on about whether gender identity is innate in a person or influenced by environmental factors.
The Whittingtons admit they lost some friends when they first ‘came out’ with Ryland’s story. That said, their true friends stood by them along their brave and beautiful journey.
Transgender is not a new condition, but it has only been in recent years that families have started coming forward with their stories.
My hope is that the Whittingtons’ story will reach other families struggling to accept and embrace their kids for who they are — transgender and otherwise.
Grab your hankies and watch this amazing video…