Fox News Channel viewers were stunned Friday morning when a segment on a transgender California teenager whose parents started the transitioning process when he was five years old aired as part of the network’s “America Together: LGBTQ+ Pride Month” series. In the gushing interview, Ryland Whittington’s parents claim that their child, who is a biological female, managed to tell them she was really a boy before she could even talk, and that by age five they started the transitioning process by cutting Ryland’s hair short, referring to the child as a boy, and dressing Ryland in boy’s clothing.
While one definitely has sympathy for children who are genuinely suffering from gender dysphoria and their parents, a few parts of Ryland’s story were curious, as if Ryland’s parents wanted a trans child. From Ryland’s mother, Hillary:
“Before Ryland could speak he managed to tell his parents that he is a boy. I could see it. It wasn’t him trying to be a brat. It was like painful. It was painful for him to have to wear feminine clothing and for us constantly telling him that you are a girl.”
So, not wanting to wear feminine clothing makes a toddler gender confused? Frilly clothing can be scratchy and uncomfortable. Or maybe the kid just doesn’t like it. So what; let them wear what they want to wear. And why were they constantly telling Ryland, “You are a girl”?
In other interviews and in her book, “Raising Ryland,” Hillary says that when they transitioned Ryland at age 5 they were fortunate that they’d chosen a gender-neutral name when Ryland was born because they didn’t have to change his name. Fortunate, indeed.
Disturbingly, the interviewer states that it was “Ryland and Hillary’s conservative faith” that led to accepting Ryland as transgender, before cutting to Hillary saying:
“For me, it is just a deep spiritual belief that you believe in God and he created us the way he wanted us and he created Ryland just the way he is.”
Yes, we are all created in the image of God. But the implication here is that if one has a “deeply conservative faith” one must accept everything the trans movement stands for.
The family’s commentary comes across as rehearsed and polished — as if they all have assigned roles in an ongoing family production. Ryland’s sister praises her sibling’s courage, saying she doesn’t think she could do what he does. Hillary’s quote that they’d rather have a living son than a dead daughter is one she’s been saying since 2014 or 2015; it’s part of the script at this point.
His father claims that Ryland is now proud and confident because they’ve allowed him to “live authentically”:
“Allowing him to live authentically and true to himself and be who he really feels like he is. When you get to know Ryland you really see just how proud and confident he is of himself.”
Ryland brings home the main point the family wants to make:
“We put our story out there so people can see that there’s another family out there that is going through what we’re going through or there’s another family who’s proud of who they are,
“I’m just here to make the ride smoother for others. You might be struggling right now but we believe in you. This family, we might not know you or where you live but, you know, we understand you and we believe in you,”
It’s quite clear they don’t believe in people; they’re out there to encourage parents whose boys might want to have tea parties or whose daughters might want to be mechanics that their child was really born in the wrong body. They’re there to be a professional transgender family and milk that for all it’s worth. By “they” I am referring to the parents; the children don’t know any better.
The Whittington parents have been using their child for media, self-promotion, and income for years. Google his name. A rollout youtube video in 2014. CNN in 2015. A book in 2016. A website and social media accounts. And now you’ve joined the PR campaign.
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) June 10, 2022
At the conclusion, the interviewer states:
What extraordinary courage, displayed by Ryland his sister, father Jeff, and mom Hillary. I want to thank the family for speaking to us.
“It is not easy, particularly at a time when trans gender issues have been politicized. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. This family hopes their story will lead to more understanding, more acceptance, and ultimately more love.”
Extraordinary courage displayed by a family whose story went viral in 2014, was the subject of a CNN Films documentary a year or two later, and by a mom who’s already written a book about “Raising Ryland”? It’s exceedingly easy to come out as transgender at this point. It’s celebrated.
“People are afraid of what they don’t understand?” Who doesn’t understand by this point in time? We can’t turn on the computer, the TV, the radio, anything, without being bombarded by the message. We are compelled to show understanding, acceptance, and love, or face social and possibly economic consequences if the rage mob comes for one’s job. From my experience, which obviously isn’t universal, the vast majority of people don’t care if children dress as if they’re a different gender or ask to be referred to by a different name. What a lot of us vehemently reject is the administration of any type of hormone blockers to children or genital mutilation being performed, especially since there’s a not-insignificant number of transgender teens who ultimately decide to live their life as the gender they were born.
How would the Whittingtons react if Ryland came to them and said, “You know, I actually do want to live life as a woman”? I’d hope that they would be as accepting of that as they were of their child’s “decision” at age 5 to become a boy. But the damage — celebrated by Fox News Channel — to Ryland’s body is already done.