Parents’ Touching Film: Why We Accepted Our Transgender Son, 6

Fri, May 30, 2014 1:13pm EDT by 43 Comments

Jeff and Hillary Whittington have a very special story to tell. The proud parents of Ryland, 6, want the world to know how their son, born a baby girl, realized he was a boy — and why they accepted him without question.

Jeff and Hillary Whittington are the definition of inspirational parents. After their baby girl started declaring she was a boy almost immediately after learning how to speak, they were faced with many new challenges. In a new video uploaded to YouTube, the parents tell the heartwarming story of how they came to the conclusion that their little girl was actually transgender, and why they immediately allowed “her” to transition into a “him.”

Parents Share Touching Story Of Son’s Transgender Transition

The Whittington family’s story is sweeping the internet and making headlines.

Proud parents Jeff and Hillary made the brave decision to share the beautiful story of how their infant daughter grew into their 6-year-old son.

In a 7-minute video uploaded to their YouTube, Jeff and Hillary give an exact outline of their son’s road to acceptance.

Ryland was born in early 2007 “healthy, happy, and beautiful” — but on her first birthday, the Whittington’s found out that their daughter was deaf.

Soon after receiving cochlear implants, Ryland learned how to hear and speak. As soon as she could speak, she started telling her parents, “I’m a boy.”

Thinking that their daughter was just going through a phase, they referred to her as a tomboy. However, it didn’t take long for Ryland to start protesting all things feminine.

Jeff and Hillary watched their daughter get older, and they watched her “phase” of thinking she was a boy only get stronger.

Things took a turn for the worse when Ryland started to feel ashamed of herself, and at 5-years-old she asked her parents a heartbreaking question: “Why did God make me like this?”

Jeff &  Hillary Helped Ryland Make The Change

That’s when Jeff and Hillary took matters into their own hands. They started “truly listening” to Ryland, and they also started doing research while reaching out to professionals and experts for advice.

It did not take long for Jeff and Hillary to realize that their daughter was actually a transgender boy. Though she was born with girl body parts, it was her brain that identified with being a boy.

After discovering a terrifying statistic that transgender children often become suicidal when not properly accepted by their loved ones, Jeff and Hillary decided it was time to let their son be just that — their son.

Ryland got his haircut, his parents changed their pronouns to “him/he,” and they sent a detailed letter to all of their friends and family members explaining the change.

“We lost a few… but the people who truly matter stuck by us,” they share in the video.

On May 22, Ryland and his parents were presented with the Inspiration Award by the Harvey Milk Foundation. During his beautiful acceptance speech, 6-year-old Ryland thanked his parents for allowing him to be himself.

“I’m a transgender kid,” Ryland said. “I’m a cool kid. I’m the happiest I ever been in my whole life. Thank you to my parents [...].”

“And thank you to Harvey Milk for helping the world be a better place.”

You can watch and follow along with the Whittington’s beautiful and inspiring story in the video above. Warning: You are going to need tissues!

– Lauren Cox

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3623;&

Posted at 12:48 PM on September 5, 2014  

เฮ้ มี คุณจะ ทราบ
ระบุ ที่แพลตฟอร์ม บล็อกที่คุณ กำลัง
ทำงานกับ ? ฉัน มอง จะ เริ่มต้นบล็อก ของตัวเอง ในอนาคตอันใกล้ แต่ ฉันมี
ยาก ตัดสินใจ ระหว่าง BlogEngine / WordPress/B2evolution และ Drupal เหตุผลที่ผม ขอให้เป็นเพราะ คุณ
รูปแบบ ดูเหมือนว่า แตกต่างกันแล้ว บล็อก มากที่สุดและ ฉันกำลังมองหา บางสิ่งบางอย่าง ที่ไม่ซ้ำกัน อย่างสมบูรณ์ ที่ไม่ซ้ำกัน PS
ขออภัย กับ เป็น นอกหัวข้อ แต่ ผมจะ ถาม

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md

Posted at 9:33 PM on June 3, 2014  

Ryland u are a very handsom boy and and you were Blessed with wonderful parents who love you for who you are :). You know you parents are the BEST for excepting ur son for who he is I wish more parents would be excepting and not worry about what everyone else around them thinks and think what best for their kids and their happiness and the people who couldn’t except the change o-well they must not of be true friends anyways .You all have a beautiful family may God blessed you all :)

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Linda

Posted at 2:54 PM on June 3, 2014  

Since when do children in kindergarten or 1st grade know what they want for their life path. Shame on these parents! I really don’t care who disagrees with me either! I taught school with second and third graders for 20 years and these little children can’t possibly make a life decision like this. These parents are irresponsible! What if the child wants to smoke, take drugs, drive a car or any other decision normally reserved for adults. They can let her live as a tomboy but there is plenty of time to make a decision like this later in life.

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charmas

Posted at 2:58 PM on June 3, 2014  

FINALLY. ….someone with a head on her shoulders! Thank goodness!!!!!!

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Jordan

Posted at 12:00 PM on July 3, 2014  

the difference being that that smoking, taking drugs and driving a car before a certain age (and in the case of drugs, period regardless of age) are all illegal. Rylands parents are not encouraging him to break the law; they are empowering him to be himself. False analogies do little to further the conversation and detract from the main point of the article. I personally commend that the parents made the very difficult decision to open their home and parenting style to the judgement of strangers because it was the right thing to do for the well-being of their beautiful child. They have this parenting thing down.

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Nick

Posted at 10:19 AM on June 3, 2014  

She really wants a beer…it’s not a phase!

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dmf

Posted at 10:11 PM on June 2, 2014  

And p.s.
Where is the years of therapy that notmal transgenders recieve. If had surgery it is not possible to have been properly evaluated for this. It takes adults years in evaluation

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Robin

Posted at 10:24 AM on June 2, 2014  

How this child perceives himself is his true gender identity. There should be no question about accepting him as a male if that’s what he feels he truly is. Why do you think your mean, disrespectful, unfounded comments will change who he really is? Why do you want him not to be who he is? You deny the truth and refuse to accept people for who they are. Why can’t you just let them be happy and not force your bigotry and hate onto others? Why do you fight against something that doesn’t affect you, just so these people won’t be happy.

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dmf

Posted at 8:36 AM on June 2, 2014  

I believe it is the most abusive thing you can do to a child, change their gender. Childrens brain’s are not developed and they do not understand how their decisions affect them until near twenty years old. I am horrified, disgusted and feel childrens services should protect this child from HER parents mental and PHYSICAL abuse. I wanna cry out for this little six year old girl! I am amazed any doctor would touch this child and feel people should call for them in a courtroom, revoking license. America………..a place where parents brainwash their kids and force them to change their identity, before it is even developed. Wow. Wow. I would like to change the parents gender please….lets make them both mles.

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charmas

Posted at 10:05 AM on June 2, 2014  

That’s what I said before being attacked by ENSO. He told me I was wrong and my thoughts and feelings were irrelevant.

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James T.

Posted at 3:59 AM on June 2, 2014  

It could have been a lot worse. Their daughter (Oops, I called her a girl) could have claimed she fell in love with a 30 yr old at age 5 or said she wants to start drinking alcohol. Her parents probably would have tried making a video with a bunch of pics and emotional music stating how they “listened” to Ryland. No “professional” or “expert” can ever overrule what gender God intended for HER body to be born in. So sad that her parents did this to her. All 5 yr olds I know are too young to even be concerned with what gender they are, they’re too busy making friends and playing with toys.

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Robin

Posted at 10:28 AM on June 2, 2014  

Not all 5 year olds, obviously. Some children like this boy knows he was “born in the wrong body.” People discover these things at different ages. Whether they’re gay or transgender. Transgenders know their parts are different than the gender they identify with. And in this case this boy knew at 5. Why can’t you accept what’s right in of you?

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shasha

Posted at 6:52 PM on June 2, 2014  

Whole -heartedly agree!!!!

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Leslie

Posted at 7:18 PM on June 1, 2014  

He has a cochlear implant! They couldn’t accept his Deaf identity. Total hypocrisy!!!

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Audrey

Posted at 5:36 PM on June 1, 2014  

Absolutely beautifull! xox

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TEEEBOOO

Posted at 6:44 PM on May 31, 2014  

Why is it anyone’s business to condemn this family and their decision to let their child follow his/her heart? Who cares? It doesn’t affect you! It’s nosey people who believe “their way” is the only way. All that does is breed intolerance and perpetuates hate and ignorance. None of which, society needs.

Blessings to Ryland, his amazing parents, and the warmest of wishes for a long, healthy, and HAPPY life!

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charmas

Posted at 6:59 PM on May 31, 2014  

Well TEEEBOOO, they released this by choice. We have every right to express what we feel about this story, good or bad. You are so naive to expect all positive feedback to travesties such as this one. Like I wrote earlier, a 6 year old has no idea what he or she wants. The kid needed therapy not a sex change. If people don’t want others to be honest about how they feel about what they share with the public, THEN DON’T SHARE IT FOR EVERYONE TO SEE!!!! It’s just that simple.

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Robin

Posted at 10:29 AM on June 2, 2014  

Why do you think you should stop it from happening?

 
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Melissa

Posted at 5:17 PM on May 31, 2014  

This is disturbing, and I’ll tell everyone why. I was a Tom boy drowning up, from as early as I can remember until middle school. I even hated the fact at points in time that I wasn’t a boy. I wanted to be able to have my shirt off whenever I wanted. Crazily enough I even wanted to have a penis and I wanted to be as strong as my brothers. I would compete with them and showed no interest in female things. I didn’t start relating to girls until middle school. It was a slow change over but I started realizing that just because I was a girl didn’t mean I Cosby like sports and compete with the boys, cause that never ended lol. But I started to like girly things. So while it may not have seemed like their daughter was going through a phase she could have just been on a long journey to identify with who she really is. Switching her over, while meaning well, could be potentially harmful to her. When kids are that young they don’t really know who they are yet. They could have let her be a tom boy and dress how she wants, cut her hair short without calling her a boy. That can make some really unstable ground for a child, but I’m sure the psychologists are loving this cause I’m sure it’s just a nice experiment for them

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Robin

Posted at 10:32 AM on June 2, 2014  

You really don’t know what this family has been through and what they’ve experienced or the extent of it. Clearly this goes beyond being a tomboy. You never thought you actually were a boy did you? No. You said you wished you were one SOMETIMES. TOTALLY different than saying you are a boy when you have female parts. This child thinks he is a boy. So that’s what he is.

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J

Posted at 3:36 PM on June 3, 2014  

I think I’m batman

 
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Melanie

Posted at 1:48 PM on May 31, 2014  

Oh my word, I couldn’t stop crying. Truly happy tears. An incredibly brave and beautiful family. So many people can take a page from their book not only to become better parents but to become a better person in general. Thank you to the Whittington family for sharing their story.
Much love and respect!
Melanie Rodrigues
South Africa

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J

Posted at 3:40 PM on June 3, 2014  

If my child believed he was white inside, so I had his skin chemically bleached, so his outside would match his inside. Would you call me crazy? You’d probably want me arrested. Don’t worry that will never happen. Because there’s no justice and so no legality in allowing a parent to alter their child’s appearance and “identity,” based on the child’s whims and imagination. Explain to me how this situation is (will become) different?

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Rachel j

Posted at 12:10 AM on May 31, 2014  

Beautiful!! These are REAL parents. There is nothing in this world that should ever make you turn your back on your child. They accepted him as he was. If only everyone else could stop the hate and do the same. Way to go mom and dad!!!!

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existentialenso

Posted at 3:16 PM on May 30, 2014  

Thoughts and feelings do not change facts. Reality doesn’t bend to our whim. It is a fact that gender dysphoria often presents as young as age four.

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existentialenso

Posted at 3:15 PM on May 30, 2014  

Does that mean that people with physical deformities shouldn’t get surgery to correct them? That, according to you, is what God wants.

Any good therapist is going to support letting someone with gender dysphoria transition.

And once again, while children often do not know what they want, gender dysphoria does often present at a very young age. This is a fact. It’s not that we have different feelings on the subject as you have said elsewhere.

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existentialenso

Posted at 3:07 PM on May 30, 2014  

My point is that this has nothing to do with “feelings,” but facts and evidence. How either of us feel is irrelevant.

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charmas

Posted at 3:11 PM on May 30, 2014  

Our thoughts and feelings are relevant

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Robin

Posted at 10:43 AM on June 2, 2014  

You’re trying to make Ryland’s thoughts and feelings irrelevant by telling him that how he feels is not real.

 
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J

Posted at 3:49 PM on June 3, 2014  

he may actually feel something – it doesn’t mean his feelings justify his parent’s decision making regarding his gender identity. There are certainly realities that can/do occur in the lives of small children. Potentially one’s they recognize, most often one’s they do not recognize and fully possess until later in life. It is foolish to begin a process in a child so young. It is morally outrageous for these parents to exploit this child regardless of the “reality,” of the gender situation. And it is non sensical for the gay community to support this, when they claim taht preference is immutable but gender and biological reality is mutable. Not allowing this child to come to his own fully adult, and developed over time recognizable preference/life – is essentially a claim against the existence of homosexuality. “She began to have an aversion against anything feminine.” Please tell me what exactly is feminine, if nothing more than simply being a girl. Aren’t we tearing down the gender roles or merely using them now to facilitate another perspective? One that is in complete opposition to a gender-progressive position. This is an utter social contradiction in the gay community.

 
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Kaurreche simz

Posted at 3:03 PM on May 30, 2014  

What in the world is this coming to? Nice video

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Joan

Posted at 3:01 PM on May 30, 2014  

it shows how far parents go; just to let their children live a happy, loving life!!!! i wish the best for Ryland

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existentialenso

Posted at 2:49 PM on May 30, 2014  

I can see how you would think a child that age wouldn’t understand, but you’re wrong. Gender dysphoria presents at a very young age and is extremely hard burden to carry left untreated. Plenty of transgender people, including myself, had a very clear idea of what was wrong from 4-5 years old.

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Enso

Posted at 1:48 PM on May 30, 2014  

I’m transgender and knew at age 5 I was meant to be a girl, and those feelings persisted. I didn’t come out until my 20s because I was afraid of how people would treat me, but experiences like that are pretty common.

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charmas

Posted at 2:00 PM on May 30, 2014  

You have your thoughts and I have mine. I don’t agree with it.

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Robin

Posted at 10:33 AM on June 2, 2014  

Not that you can make a person’s choice for them.

 
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Robin

Posted at 10:34 AM on June 2, 2014  

You can’t stop someone from being transgender. So that makes your opinions irrelevant.

 
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Peacemaker

Posted at 5:56 PM on June 3, 2014  

An opinion is an opinion. Don’t call someone’s opinion “irrelevant,” because everyone is entitled to their own.

 
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charmas

Posted at 6:09 PM on June 3, 2014  

ENSO thinks opposing opinions are irrelevant as well. He is down right nasty if you don’t agree with him/her whatever it is.

 
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existentialenso

Posted at 2:04 PM on May 30, 2014  

It doesn’t matter what you “agree” with, and I have far more than my thoughts. The overwhelming consensus in the medical and psychiatric community is that gender identity is fully formed at a very young age, and the only effective way to treat gender identity issues is letting people with them live as the gender we really are.

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taze

Posted at 10:58 AM on May 31, 2014  

weirdo

 
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florin

Posted at 1:56 PM on June 1, 2014  

I am completly against legalization of homosexul/lesbian marriage but regarding Whittington’s family decision my heart don’t let me to judge them. I am really confused!

 
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Jean

Posted at 1:27 PM on May 30, 2014  

This is a wonderful video. I hope everyone watches it.

What a truly amazing little boy. And, so strong. Right from the start!!! What a fantastic family!!!
Of course, the struggles, unfortunately, are far from over. But, I have no doubt Ryland and his family will weather those storms.

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