Good Morning America: Ryland Whittington
California parents Jeff and Hillary Whittington have allowed their little girl, Ryland, to start becoming their little boy, as Good Morning America reported. The couple posted a video recently documenting their decisions that has now gone viral. The seven-minute video now has over 3 million views, and the video explains the transgender transition of Ryland Whittington.
GMA: Gender Therapist & Tomboy Phase?
After consulting a gender therapist, it was determined that Ryland Whittington was not going through a tomboy phase, but that she truly felt she was a boy. The Whittington family now refers to Ryland Whittington only as “he,” cut his hair, and sent letters to family and friends about their decision to make this change.
Good Morning America: Transgender Child
The issue is gaining a lot of attention. An article on People.com has gathered over 1,500 comments in just three days. Some of the comments are supportive, saying things like, “I commend these parents for doing what is right for their child.” Others feel differently, saying things such as, “I would never do this to my child.” Another commenter even said, “I find it disturbing.”
GMA: Ryland Whittington Transgender
Ryland Whittington spoke at an event honoring the family recently, and said, “My name is Ryland Michael Whittington. I am a transgender kid. I am the happiest I have ever been in my whole life. Thank you to my parents.”
Good Morning America: Too Young To Distinguish Gender?
Dr. Richard Besser was on Good Morning America to talk about the issue. Is it too young to distinguish gender? Dr. Richard Besser said the more researchers learn about gender, the more they learn that it is hardwired in the brain. He also said that very early on in life, children will recognize gender and then start to identify with one.
GMA: Transgender Self-Esteem
In the case of Ryland, she claimed very early on that her gender identity did not match up with her anatomic gender. After the family met with specialists, it was determined that making this change early on would be the best choice for Ryland’s self esteem and development. Dr. Richard Besser said transgender cases are very rare, but children going through phases of enjoying things that aren’t typically thought of as “for their gender,” such as a girl who acts like a tomboy or a boy who likes to play with dolls, is very common and not the same thing.
If parents have any questions, they can always talk to their child’s pediatrician about gender identity. As always, no matter what, the best thing you can do for your child is love them unconditionally.