Ryland's Story
June 2, 2014 9:28 PM   Subscribe

The stirring story of Ryland Whittington's family. (SLYT)
posted by growabrain (18 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I saw this the other day via George Takei.

I was unprepared for how incredibly moving it was.

And I read the comments where it was posted on Unworthy. Some people really don't understand the difference between tomboy and wanting to BE a boy. Although tomboy is a weird word, I know.

I liked playing in the dirt and hanging with my grandpa, but I never wanted to BE a boy. I just wanted to do the things boys got to do as well the things girls got to do. That's not wanting to be a boy. I know I'm preaching to the choir here.

This video is amazing and so is this family. Sounds like Ryland will have a very safe place to have discussions about things as he gets older.

(Also...what a cool name. And what a little ham. Such an adorbs kid.)
posted by sio42 at 9:44 PM on June 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

One incredibly fortunate thing Ryland has going for him is that he never had to go to school as a girl. So his friends are all going to meet him as he really is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:55 PM on June 2, 2014 [8 favorites]

So his friends are all going to meet him as he really is.

Okay, now I just started crying again. I love him and his family so much.
posted by scody at 10:05 PM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I loved this video and totally cried. Friends of mine are showing the same support for their transgender child, who actually wants to transition more gradually than the parents do. Their community and friends have been supportive from the start. I've never known any kids who've been confused or had a problem with it. We live in a fairly inclusive area of Vancouver, mind you, so that probably helps.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:08 PM on June 2, 2014

What I love about this video is not just what an obviously great family Ryland has, but the calm, obvious manner with which they tell the story. Their child seemed to be unhappy, so they did what they could to make the kid happy. When the problem didn't go away, they took the child to experts who gave them facts and a solution, which they accepted, and they let Ryland BE Ryland.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:38 AM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lovely video in all its simplicity. Looks like both kid and family lucked out with each other.
posted by Harald74 at 5:03 AM on June 3, 2014

it's sort of a small thing, but also a big thing...the part i keep thinking about is where the video says when they sent out a letter to family and friends explaining what was going on, they lost some. but the ones who mattered stayed. i've been thinking about it since i first watched the video a few days ago.

that seemingly tiny, tiny, tiny part of this story is so big. there are countless questions on askme with people in similar situations - having to deal with cutting people out of their lives who have been causing them hurt or refusing to understand life decisions that the person made the other one doesn't understand or accept.

without knowing the details, i can only guess, but it sounds like these parents know the answer that many mefites have given...you can be sad that person is no longer a part of your life, but you don't have to let them treat you like a dick.

we should all have such supportive parental units to teach us those that. (although it'd probably mean askme would end up only having questions what to serve at a party with various dietary restrictions and identifying childhood tv shows and books from very few half-remembered details.)
posted by sio42 at 5:20 AM on June 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh, and that one piece of video, where Ryland and his sister are in the bath, and he's saying that he's the brother and she's the sister. It's just so simple when your kid tells you what's what.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:24 AM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Relative to the horrific things that people have to endure with their children all over the world ... this is nothing."

This. Clearly these folks have all kinds of resources to raise their beautiful kid in a healthy and supportive way, and so they have chosen to do so, instead of choosing to see Ryland as some kind of curse.

I don't know that I agree with their gender identity "theory" -- I don't think we know yet, and maybe never can know, how that sense of identity gets formed -- but whatever works for kids during humanity's very lengthy "awkward phase" is (in a Jamesian sense) 'true', and good enough.
posted by allthinky at 6:00 AM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Awesome video, thank you for sharing.

Is the transitioning process for children as young as Robert* purely cosmetic (haircuts, cloths, pronouns, etc)? Do they wait until puberty to start hormone therapies?

* "Ryland" was his girl name, correct? Isn't "Robert" how he now identifies?
posted by I Havent Killed Anybody Since 1984 at 7:07 AM on June 3, 2014

Regarding his name, this ABC News blog has a short transcript from the the 6th annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast in San Diego. He kept his first name, but he might have changed his middle name, as he identified himself as Ryland Michael Whittington.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 AM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

As for hormone replacement therapy, this blog has some details, and it sounds like there are a few ways to proceed, but it does sound like before and during puberty is the key time for action.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:33 AM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and that one piece of video, where Ryland and his sister are in the bath, and he's saying that he's the brother and she's the sister. It's just so simple when your kid tells you what's what.

I actually caught a split-second wince after he said "I'm her brother" - as if he sort of knew he maybe wasn't supposed to say that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:05 AM on June 3, 2014

One of the support groups I go to has a very young trans guy. One meeting happened to fall on his birthday, which he attended wearing an awesome cowboy costume after spending the day riding horses and ponies at his party. He was adorable. Stuff like this makes me cry in a good way.
posted by Corinth at 8:40 AM on June 3, 2014

So I saw this the other day and have made everyone I know watch it. I am not trans. I had an abusive childhood and these parents...these parents who listen and hear their children. These parents who love unconditionally. These parents who are there for their child in a way I never even knew was possible. They make me so happy and so sad. So happy for the parents of these happy trans kids and so sad for those of us who had parents that didn't hear us or loved us conditionally or were just neglectful.

My niece has a little trans girl in her 2nd grade class and her mom is just awesome. At my niece's last birthday party, I just wanted to spend all my time with this mom who was easily 8 years younger than me, but her love and care for her daughter just bowled me over.

Ryland, go and rock the world.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:57 AM on June 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

I wonder if they are a religious family (some things about the video make me think they are)? If so, even more commendable. I know someone who is going through this late in life, and the religious intolerance of family members is making it very difficult, if not impossible. The suicide statistic is definitely worrying.
posted by jenh526 at 11:44 AM on June 3, 2014

I can't watch the video (at work) but even just the comments here are making me tear up.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:02 PM on June 3, 2014

What I thought was really interesting about this video was the early shots of Ryland as a baby. They clearly went all out on the feminine presentation stuff - pink everything, bows, etc. Some people I know who are sceptical of the idea of trans kids have said in discussions about it that they think it's suspicious that often these kids grow up in families that are pretty gender non-conforming in the first place. (I don't actually think that's weird - obviously kids in that sort of family are more likely to be able to articulate their trans identity in the first place, and to be heard and accepted when they do so). But in this case it really seems like Ryland's family was coming from a pretty normative place and that it was his experience that led the way to their understanding rather than the other way around.
posted by lollusc at 4:36 PM on June 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

« Older Did you do that   |   "I Love, I Love, I Love My Wife—But Oh! You Kid!" Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments