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San Diego couple shares story of young transgender son

Monday, June 02, 2014
A new video that is being shared by millions tells the story of a San Diego couple's controversial decision to allow their young child to change genders.

Jeff and Hillary Whittington were honored at the 6th annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast last week. Now their story is exploding on YouTube.



In the video they explain how their daughter Ryland, at the age of five, began insisting she was actually a boy.

The video shared a question from Ryland, "Through tears, she asked me, 'Why did God make me like this?'"

The couple says after consulting with professionals they realized this was more than just a tomboy phase.

They cut off Ryland's hair, bought new clothes, and started referring to Ryland as he.



ABC Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser says parents who have questions need to ask for help.

"Talk to your child's pediatrician if they have expertise or any experience in gender issues, go with that," he said. "If not, ask them to refer you someone who does because this is really, really tricky and really, really confusing. There are many children who will a line with the opposite gender physically and it will be a phase. But not all."

In the video the couple shared a statistic from January 2014 by The Williams Institute at UCLA, "41 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide due to lack of societal acceptance."

They went on to state that the national average is 4.6 percent and that they were not willing to take that risk.

The couple says they're sharing their story in the hopes that the world will become a more accepting place for Ryland.

Ryland spoke out about his transition at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, "My name is Ryland Michael Whittington," he said. "I'm a transgender kid. I am six. I am a cool kid. I am the happiest I have ever been in my whole life. Thank you to my parents."

(ABC News contributed to this story)
Related Topics:
family transgender children lgbt youtube viral video parenting San Diego California
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