If there is anything that will make a person reconsider their view of the world, it is a parent’s love for their child. In a deeply moving speech, Debi Jackson tells the story of discovering that her child was transgendered and her unerring acceptance of her young daughter’s burgeoning identity, even in the face of bigotry and ignorance.
At 3-years-old, Jackson’s child, a “rough-and-tumble little boy” expressed the desire to wear a dress. After some reluctance, Jackson, a self-proclaimed conservative and Southern Baptist, took her to pick out a dress and it soon became all she wore.
Over the following months, Jackson and her husband began to notice more signs until eventually their then-4-year-old-boy finally proclaimed “Mom you know I’m a girl right? I’m a girl on the inside.”
“That moment changed my life… She became more determined to express herself by wearing those pink sparkly shoes to daycare. She wanted to go out for ice cream in a fairy dress and wings. Eventually we couldn’t hold her back. She was showing signs of depression and refused to leave the house dressed as a boy. The day I let her go to school in girl clothes she was happier than I had seen in a very long time.”
Though the other children accepted Jackson’s daughter for who she was there were many adults who did not. Jackson and her family were beset by bigotry, some accusing the parents of forcing their child to be a girl as some sort of liberal agenda or a desperate desire to have a daughter.
In her speech, Jackson addresses a number of these ignorant, and often hateful accusations, including a strong statement to those insisting her child is just playing pretend:
“There’s a profound difference between wanting to be something in imaginary play and in declaring who you are insistently, consistently, and persistently. Those are the three markers that set transgendered children apart, and my daughter showed all of them.”
The love that Jackson shows for her daughter is unmistakable, putting any parent to shame that has ever chosen their bigotries over their child. Her words will likely have you in tears.
Since making the speech, Jackson has become an active proponent of LGBT rights. She has even started a website, Trans-Parenting, to reach out to other parents who have gender-nonconforming children.
Watch Jackson’s speech below: