The mom explained that when her little one expressed that she wanted to be a girl, as a parent she knew that accepting her gender was the best way forward.
This month brought with it a historic win for the LGBTQ+ community when the Supreme Court ruled that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. It also marked a personal victory for mom Julie Hindsley who took a giant step towards doing the right thing for her transgender daughter by celebrating the 6-year-old's transition from boy to girl with an adorable gender reveal photoshoot. In an interview with CafeMom, the mother-of-two from Waco, Texas, explained why the shoot was so important for her daughter Ella and the rest of the Hindsley family.
"When she was 2 she would wear a towel on her head and call it her 'giraffe hair,'" she recalled. "We were convinced it was either a phase or we were likely going to have a gay son." They learned just how wrong their assumptions were by the time Ella was about 3 or 4. The little one approached her mom and told her, frustrated, that she wanted to be a girl. "I want to be a girl Mom! Just make me a girl!" she demanded and that night Hindsley told Ella she could grow out her hair.
"As she was growing out her hair she would say things like 'when I'm a sister ...,' 'when my hair is long and I am a girl..,'" Hindsley recalled. "One day riding home from daycare she told me 'I was supposed to be a girl in your tummy Mom. Why did I not come out as a girl?' Comments like these didn't stop." Ella's parents soon realized that their daughter's life was defined by compromise. "Her whole life had been a constant compromise, 'you can play with dolls here, but you can't take them out in public. You can wear that dress in the house, but you can't wear it if we leave,'" Hindsley revealed.
They ultimately decided to seek professional help both for Ella's sake and theirs. Their therapist recommended that they transition the little one socially as soon as possible "as they have found that affirming [transgender kids'] identity is the best possible thing for them." The Hindsleys took the therapist's advice and did everything they could to make little Ella feel comfortable, even fighting her school over her long hair and informing school authorities that they plan on fully transitioning Ella's pronouns and name over the summer. Although they decided to hold off on hormone blockers or hormone therapy until Ella hits puberty, her parents have tried to help her transition in other ways.
Hindsley took her daughter out shopping for a whole new wardrobe while still reminding Ella that she could dress in her old clothes at any time if she wanted to. "We packed a pair of her 'boy clothes' in her backpack every day. She has never touched them since," the mom revealed. To celebrate her daughter's transition journey, Hindsley wrote about Ella's story on Facebook earlier this year which caught the eye of photographer Heather Harris Witt, who has a gay son herself and expressed interest in doing a photoshoot to raise awareness about their story. "I said yes of course as coming from a very conservative town with little to no support here, I know how huge it is to spread that awareness," she explained.
Posting the photographs on Facebook earlier this month, Hindsley wrote: "Just a few days ago I heard Ella tell a family member, 'Sometimes God makes mistakes. He just made a mistake with me.' She has asked me numerous times, 'Why did God make me this way?' and I always tell her it is because he made her extra special. Somehow, someone got to her and explained to her that she was a mistake and that is what she remembers." She explained that while she recognized the criticism gender reveals get, she hopes the photoshoot encourages people to be more accepting. "Although typical gender reveals seem to place a significant amount of stress about how important it is to be a boy or a girl 20 weeks before the child is born, I felt it was necessary to have this photoshoot for Ella; the main reason being so she knows that she is not a mistake," she wrote.