Raising Ryland

  • by Hillary Whittington
  • Narrated by Hillary Whittington
  • 7 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This powerful, moving story - which has already touched more than seven million through a viral video created by the Whittington family - is a mother's firsthand account of her emotional choice to embrace her transgender child.
When Hillary and Jeff Whittington posted a YouTube video chronicling their five-year-old son Ryland's transition from girl to boy, they didn't expect it to be greeted with such fervor. Beautiful and moving, the video documenting Hillary and Jeff's love for their child instantly went viral and has been seen by more than seven million viewers since its posting in May 2014.
Now, for the first time, they tell their story in full, offering an emotional and moving account of their journey alongside their exceptional child. After they discovered their daughter, Ryland, was deaf at age one and needed cochlear implants, the Whittingtons spent nearly four years successfully teaching Ryland to speak. But once Ryland gained the power of speech, it was time for them to listen as Ryland insisted, "I am a boy!" And listen they did. After learning that 41 percent of people who identify as transgender attempt to take their own lives, Hillary and her husband, Jeff, made it their mission to support their child - no matter what.
From the earliest stages of deciphering Ryland through clothing choices to examining the difficult conversations that have marked every stage of Ryland's transition, Hillary Whittington shares her experiences as a mother through it all, demonstrating both the resistance and support that their family has encountered as they try to erase the stigma surrounding the word transgender. In telling her family's story, she hopes she can assist the world in accepting that even children as young as five can have profound and impactful things to say and share. What emerges is a powerful story of unconditional love, accepting others for who they are, and doing what's right regardless of whether those around you understand it.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wishing The Very Best Life Possible For Ryland!

If you are at all like me, maybe you are getting tired of reading newspaper articles on the controversial transgender bathroom issue? Thinking it is a bunch of hooey and needs to just go away? I was tending toward that thinking and realized I needed to have more information, to see what the "hype" was all about. I was really feeling ignorant and along with that, guilty about my ignorance. After all, I have seen a very nice family in my neighborhood for several years with what seems to be a transgender little one growing up.

So when I saw this title, I knew I needed to listen to it. It took me a short while to get used to the mom and author's voice. Hillary Whittington sounds so incredibly young. I also had to get past what I initially interpreted as her preachiness. However, as I listened to her story, I realized in some way she needed to be a bit preachy, as she really wanted to get her message across. One of her purposes in writing this book, exposing her child to the world, was the need to educate the public. That is, people like me, who have never encountered this challenge before, never even contemplated it, who may have unjustified preconceived notions.

The Whittington's story is very moving and touching. I applaud these parents for really taking the time to think about the consequences of their actions and for treating their child in the best way they possibly could, all the while breaking new ground. In reality, they were treading where very few have gone before. And all of this with such a very young child.

I can see why you might be thinking that a very young child could not even fathom what a gender mixup could feel like. If you are thinking that, then this book could be very informative and educational for you. I strongly recommend it. As they say, knowledge is power!
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- Kathy "Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy."

An inspiring story of love and acceptance

I preordered this book and listened to it in one day. There are so many lessons we can all learn and apply to life regardless of our individual situations. I wish this family all the best in life to come. I thank them for their bravery and openness on a topic that society is painfully slow to accept. I feel honored to have heard their story and I strongly recommend every person take this very special opportunity to listen to this incredible book.

To the Whittington family- Thank you. As a SLP student I am so glad you included Ryland's journey from the very beginning. Your family is a wonderful example for the world to follow. Thank you for your honesty and candor about the most difficult, personal challenges as individuals, a couple, parents, and a family.
If you are ever in Cleveland, Ohio, there is a safe place for your family.
-Ella W.
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- Erw

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-23-2016
  • Publisher: HarperAudio