One of the most difficult parts of coming out as transgender can be not knowing how family members will react. Unfortunately, some people face criticism or are even disowned for simply expressing their true identity. But for Eric and Corey Maison, family was a source of support — because parent and child were both going through the same thing.
Corey, a 15-year-old girl who was assigned male at birth, came out as transgender four years ago. Her dad, Eric, who was assigned female at birth, came out as trans last year. Since then, they've been supporting each other throughout their transitions.
Corey didn't know at first whether her family would accept her. "I wanted to make my parents proud of who I am, but I thought that they would not like me," she told 60 Minutes.
Corey, too, was afraid to come out — even after he knew he had a transgender daughter. When he realized he was trans after watching a documentary about activist Jazz Jennings, he said, "the first feeling was relief, the second was terror... Fear for what my future would hold, fear for how my family and children would [react], fear for what the rest of my life was going to look like."
Fortunately, Eric's husband, Les, stayed with him. Les told 60 Minutes he was "still married to the same person I married... I fell in love with the person. [He] was beautiful as a woman, but equally beautiful on the inside."
Eric recently got a double mastectomy, which has helped him become more comfortable in his body, while Corey has been learning to love herself in the face of school bullies.
Trans people are at a high risk for mental health issues, with 40% in a recent National Center for Transgender Equality survey saying they'd attempted suicide. However, a recent study in American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that if these individuals are able to transition — and if their parents are supportive — they have no higher risk for depression than anyone else.
In other words, being transgender doesn't have to be as tough as it currently is for many people, and families and other support networks play a huge role in determining how easy or difficult someone's transition will be. Hopefully, stories like Corey and Eric's will inspire more families to accept their parents and kids unconditionally, regardless of gender identity or expression.
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