In a Facebook post that has now gone viral, Heather Green wrote, “When your child comes out as trans, the best thing to do is create a photoshoot to celebrate the fact that he silently and bravely stepped out of the race that he never wanted to be in, found his own lane and proceeded to win.”
“Honestly, when Adrian came out, I didn’t know how to react,” Heather Green told Yahoo Lifestyle. Adrian — formerly known as Hannah — had already been part of the transgender community as an ally, but it was only recently that he announced he identifies as male.
“As parents, we have set reactions for milestone events, like learning to ride a bike or scoring a goal or getting a good report card,” Heather said. “Saying, ‘I still love and accept you’ seemed obvious.” She said she wanted Adrian to know “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that this milestone was cause for celebration, too, and she wanted his gender transition to be a joyful event — though even Adrian will playfully admit it was a bit over the top.
“At first I thought my mom was completely nuts for wanting to do this with her 20-year-old,” Adrian told Yahoo Lifestyle. “But after she explained it to me, it seemed like a really fun thing to do. I tend to roll with whatever crazy ideas my mom comes up with.”
Heather intentionally waited until Adrian’s birthday to schedule the shoot. “We wanted that time to have the conversation with close friends and family first,” she said. Sharing it online was an obvious next step. “We’re globally connected now. Our social circle extends beyond our neighborhood and country,” she said. “And there was no easy way to announce that I now have a son, which made me think, ‘I know, I’ll have a gender reveal.’ That’s how parents normally announce they’re welcoming a son or daughter!”
She said the photos were taken by her boyfriend’s 14-year-old daughter, Kara Davis, with the camera she received for Christmas.
In one of the photos, Adrian is swaddled like a newborn, smirking at a teddy bear placed beside him. In others, he’s surrounded by balloons and, true to tradition, pops them to reveal blue confetti. Some photos show Green with a faux baby bump, or completely cracking up over the stunt with Adrian and her other son, Lucas — Adrian’s 17-year-old brother.
In fact, Adrian came out to Lucas even before announcing his identity to his mother. “I was very nervous,” Adrian said. “I came home one day and said to him, ‘What would you think if I started living as a boy?’ Then I said, ‘What about if I changed my name?’ He didn’t seem bothered by it at all. It didn’t seem to faze him.”
Later that night, Adrian approached their mother when she was watching TV and made the same announcement. Heather’s reaction assured him his family still fully accepted him. But the person who it was hardest for Adrian to come out to was himself.
“It was a bumpy road,” he said. “I didn’t even come out to myself until September. A lot of it was me trying to figure why I was not like the other girls.” Adrian said it was more than just growing pains — he would break down in tears when he had to do things other girls might enjoy or at least take in stride, like shopping for bras or girls’ clothes. During one excursion, a close friend who had to console Adrian suggested he consider whether he identifies as female or male.
“I started reading articles on how other people had come to [the realization they were transgender], and I started considering my own feelings,” Adrian said. “It all started to make sense. Things started to click into place.”
Heather said that since the gender-reveal photos have gone viral, she’s received thousands of messages of support. Many have thanked her, she said, for sharing her story, and several revealed that they had been on the verge of suicide and that the photo shoot gave them a renewed hope for what’s in store for the transgender community.
Heather said the photos were set to private at first on the social media platform. “We just did the shoot because we’re we’re goofy and it’s a great way to have fun.” But one of her Facebook friends asked if she’d make it public so it could be shared, and Heather cleared it with Adrian before changing the privacy settings. “I knew my Facebook friends would be supportive, and I could delete anyone who was negative or didn’t agree with what I was doing. I would have the ability to protect Adrian from mean people.”
One person did reach out to Heather to tell her she was “evil and awful,” but the mom leads with her heart. “Negative comments tend to stem from a lack of understanding,” Heather said. She said she wrote back to every single person who reached out to her, including this naysayer. “I told her that I hope eventually she’ll be able to reconsider her opinion and learn to love us the way we love her.”
In the meantime, Adrian and Heather are choosing to focus on the positive impact their photos are having. “I just hope the people who are in my position, who are struggling to get acceptance from others, I want them to know it gets better,” Adrian said. “It will be terrifying the first time you announce it, but eventually it gets easier.”
For Heather, shouting her support is just a mother’s love. The experience overall has been eye-opening for her. “We used to say to Adrian, ‘You’re the cutest little girl in the whole wide world,'” she said. “But now I wish we would have just said, ‘I love you because you’re my child. Not because you’re a boy or a girl. Because you’re my child.'”
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