I Am Ryland – The Story of a Male-Identifying Little Girl Who Didn’t Transition

5-years-old Ryland was born a female; her parents have been transitioning her to male. Here’s my story with a different conclusion.

My husband is amazing at design and is the decorator/designer for our home.  He does most of the clothes shopping for both of us, and has no interest in learning how to change the oil in our car.  He is creative and artistic.  But he also loves to go hunting and fishing and has to handle any dead little animal that we find on our property because I can’t handle that stuff. These things don’t make us gay or transgender, they make us unique human beings.  Because my parents never forced me to, I never considered if some of the things that I enjoyed were “boy” things or “girl” things, I was just me.

 

I have been shying away from highly controversial topics on this blog recently because I just couldn’t take the drama that naturally associates with it.  But I keep hearing the story of Ryland, a child who was born a female, whose parents have transitioned her to male at 5-years-old.  You can see the full story HERE, but in short, because their daughter identified herself as a boy, and liked “boy” things as opposed to “girl” things, they cut off her hair, bought her “boy” clothes, and have begun telling her, and others, that she is a boy.

I have no degree in early childhood development, nor have I studied psychology.  I didn’t even graduate from College.

I am also not here to pass judgement on Ryland’s parents.  I believe that they are doing what they believe to be the most loving thing for their child.  I’m simply sharing my story because I see so much of my 5-year-old self in this child.

I was born the second daughter to two loving, amazing, supportive parents.  They would go on to have 2 more daughters. The four of us couldn’t be more different, even down to our hair and eye color.  Our parents embraced our differences and allowed us to grow as individuals, not concerned with the social “norms” for girls.  I often joke that I was the boy my dad never had.  My dad is a free spirit, 100% unconcerned with what people think of him, and he thought nothing of “out of the box” behavior.  I function more as a firstborn than a second born (however, this does not make me the firstborn, amiright?)

Anyhow, even as a baby I seemed to prefer “boy” things.  I was rough, tough, and daring.  My parents had to cut my curly hair short because I would twist it into knots and refused to let my parents brush it.  I once managed to make my way onto the second story roof, and was gleefully running around, as my parents had simultaneous panic-attacks.  My toys of choice were sticks, sling-shots, bows & arrows, guns, mud, motorcycles, and monsters.  When my sister and I picked out “My LIttle Ponies” I chose a blue one, and promptly cut all of that lustrous long hair off as short as possible.  My barbie also got the chop.

I loved going on hunting trips with my dad and thought it was amazing when he taught me to pop the head off a dove. (PETA, please, no…just.  No.)

I wanted to be a boy.  Desperately wanted to be a boy.  I thought boys had more fun.  I felt like a boy in the way that our society views genders.  I liked blue and green more than pink and purple.  I remember sitting up as high as I could climb in our huge mulberry tree, bow & arrow in hand, trying to kiss my elbow (a neighbor lady had told me that if I could accomplish this, that I would turn into a boy, which was what I wanted in that moment, as a child, more than anything.)

Thankfully, my parents didn’t adhere to the archaic stereotypes that “boys like blue” and “girls like pink;” that “boys play with dinosaurs, and girls play with dolls.”  Had they told me that liking these things made me a boy, I would have concluded that I was a boy.

They just let me be me.  They let me be a girl who wore jeans more often than skirts.  They let me play with slingshots rather than princess wands.  They didn’t conclude that I was gay, or transgender. They didn’t put me in a box that would shape my future, at the expense of my own free will.

My best friends growing up, until around the age of 14, were boys.  Sure, I had girl friends, but my best friends, the ones I identified with most, were boys.  Every evening after dinner I would go outside and play football with my neighbor friend, Tom.  My very best friend in the world was a boy named Robin. His wife is a friend of mine to this day.  My friend Andrew and I would make swords out of plywood and burn our names in them with soldering irons.  We made elaborate models of “trampoline worlds” because, bouncing around is waaaay better than walking, right? I wished so badly that I could play baseball on my friend Jaime’s team with him.

At Thanksgiving we would play “cowboys & indians” with my cousins and I was always, always, the wild Indian. Never the prairie maiden who had been captured….boooooring.

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