Two parents have made a moving video tribute to their six-year-old transgender son Ryland.
Jeff and Hillary Whittington were expecting a baby girl when they conceived in 2007, but from the moment he could talk, Ryland rejected all things feminine, and began to refer to himself as a boy.
At first they just thought he was a ‘tomboy’, but after consulting with others and learning of shocking transgender suicide rates, they allowed him to cut his hair and change his pronouns to male.
They said: “We sent out a letter to friends and family explaining the change. We lost a few… but the people who truly matter stuck by us.
“Ryland’s gender identity was not caused by our parenting style, family structure or environmental factors.
“Relative to the horrific things that people have to endure with their children all over the world, this is nothing.
“He is still healthy, handsome and extremely happy!”
The family shared their story at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast at the White House earlier this week, where they accepted the Inspiration Award.
The video has since gone viral, attracting nearly 2 million views so far.
The family said in a statement to Huffington Post: “We are overwhelmed with the kind, loving messages from many people.
“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.”