real life

They thought that their daughter being deaf was their challenge. They were wrong.

This beautiful story begins with a young deaf girl called Ryland…

When Jeff and Hillary Whittington fell pregnant with their first child in 2007, they were thrilled. They discovered they were having a little girl, decided to name her Ryland, and prepared a gorgeous pink and white nursery ready for their new baby’s arrival.

What happened next shocked this Californian couple to the core.

Ryland receives her cochlear implant to restore her hearing.

At the age of one, they found out Ryland was deaf. She would need cochlear implants and it would take years for her to learn to talk. When she did learn her words she said this:

"I am a boy".

Ryland insisted on dressing as a boy as often as possible.

Her loving parents thought she was just a tomboy going through a "phase", but the older she became the more she identified as a boy. They consulted endless medical experts, all of whom concluded that Ryland was transgender - she was born with the body of a little girl but her brain was identifying as a boy.

Due to the confusion surrounding her gender, Ryland began to experience feelings of shame and expressed a desire to change her body into one of a boy. Her concerned parents were advised to allow her to change genders as quickly as possible. So they did. The sent a letter out to friends and family explaining that Ryland was now their son.

Ryland is now living life as a boy and has never been happier.

Some friends and family struggled to accept the change. Others offered unconditional support.

Ryland is now a different child, happy, handsome and healthy. Jeff and Hillary are working tirelessly to increase societal acceptance of transgender people, including their son Ryland.

When Ryland was living as a girl she always insisted she was a big brother, not a big sister.

While they continue their amazing work, they know that harder times are ahead of them. When Ryland reaches puberty he will need medication and surgery to fully transform into a boy.

The Whittingtons have released an amazing video explaining their family's journey, which you can view below.

What would you do if one of your children identified with the opposite gender? Have any of your children ever been called a tomboy?

Watch the Whittington's full video here:

Like this? Try:

I'm a transgender mum.

My son went to pre-school in a skirt.

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