“My daughter is six years old,” Debi Jackson said before a crowd of people at the Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. “She transitioned, which means she changed her outward appearance from male to female and started living full time as her true gender, when she was four. Until that point she was quite a rough and tumble little boy with a buzz cut and a shark tooth necklace.”
In her speech, Jackson explains that when her daughter, then her son, was three years old, she asked for a princess dress. After that, she asked for more dresses, headbands, sparkly pink shoes, and girl’s underwear. Jackson abided by all the child’s wishes, except for the underwear.
One day, she noticed her daughter pulling at her genitals, so she asked what was wrong. “She said that they bothered her and were in the way,” Jackson said. “She wanted them gone.”
“I had never even heard the word ‘transgender’ before and really didn’t know what to think,” she continued. “We made an appointment with our pediatrician. She recommended a child psychologist. But before we could even get an appointment, my daughter, then my four year old son, said to me: ‘Mom you know I’m really a girl, right? I’m a girl on the inside.’ That moment changed my life.”
Jackson began letting her daughter dress in girl’s clothing around the house, then eventually out in public.
“The day I let her go to school in girl clothes, she was happier than I had seen in a very long time,” Jackson said. “The kids were great and the teachers were awesome. But then the kids went home and told their parents and they weren’t so great after that.”
Jackson said her family had to “go into hiding” for a year, during which they lost many of their friends and family members. But she refuses to let their bigotry prevent her daughter from being who she truly is.
Check out her moving speech in the video below. You’ll be glad you did.