When Jeff and Hillary Whittington found out they were expecting their first child in 2007, they were beyond excited. When their daughter, Ryland, was welcomed into the world – the parents couldn’t have been happier.
As time went by, Ryland began to display signs of that she did not identify with the female gender, and though many other parents would have disregarded this behavior as a “phase”, the Whittingtons knew that this was more than just a temporary moment in time. When Ryland began to feel shame, and stated: “When the family dies, I will cut my hair so I can be a boy. Why did God make me this way?”
The Whittingtons decided to let Ryland be the person he knew he was inside, and supported him 110% of the way.
According to The Huffington Post:
The family shared the story of their transgender son in a video at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast last week, where they accepted this year’s Inspiration Award, San Diego LGBT Weekly reported.
“One of the most inspiring things that Harvey Milk had done as far as our family is concerned,” Jeff Whittington said to the crowd, “was to encourage people to come out; to let their voices be heard; break down the walls, break down the barriers and start allowing people to see them for their authentic selves and be true to themselves, and this is our coming out … this is us making our voices heard.”
“We are overwhelmed with the kind, loving messages from many people,” the family said in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. “While this journey has been difficult at times, we have come to a place where our family is ready to come out and try to help other families facing similar situations. Our hope is that by sharing our story, we can begin to make the world a more loving place where people can be their authentic selves.”
There is nothing more powerful than the power of love, and acceptance. The Whittingtons are a beautiful example of this power, and Ryland’s courage is absolutely inspiring.