Jeff and Hillary Whittington have a special story to tell. These proud parents want the world to know how their son Ryland, born a baby girl, realised he was a boy — and why they accepted him as transgender without question.
Jeff and Hillary Whittington are the definition of inspirational parents.
After their little girl started declaring she was a boy, pretty much as soon as she could speak, they were faced with many new challenges. The family have decided to share their heartwarming story of how they came to the conclusion that their little girl was actually transgender, and why they quickly allowed “her” to transition into a “him.”
In their YouTube video below, Jeff and Hillary share their son’s journey 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. Ryland soon received cochlear implants and was soon speaking. As soon as she could, she told her parents “I’m a boy”.
While others claimed Ryland was just going through a tomboy phase, her parents knew better. Pretty soon she protested all things feminine and commented she couldn’t wait to cut her hair and be a boy. 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?”
It’s Time For Change
That’s when Jeff and Hillary took matters into their own hands. They started “really listening” to Ryland, and started research while reaching out to professionals and experts for advice. It wasn’t long before they realised their daughter was actually transgender. Although she was born with female anatomy, her brain identified her as a boy.
They soon discovered that 41% of transgender people attempt suicide due to lack of societal acceptance so Jeff and Hillary decided it was time to let their son be just that — their son.
Ryland got his haircut, his parents changed “she to him” and “her to he”,and 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 said.
On May 22, Ryland and his parents were presented with the Inspiration Award by the Harvey Milk Foundation. During his gracious acceptance speech, 6yo 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.”
Trigger Alert: Watch and share the Whittington’s beautiful and inspiring story in the video below. Be ready, you’ll need some tissues!