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WATCH: Parents Explain What It's Like to Discover Your Child Is Transgender

When Jeff and Hillary Whittington discovered that they were going to have a little girl, they picked out a name — Ryland — and decorated her room in familiar hues of pink.

However, within a year of Ryland's birth, Hillary and Jeff were making discoveries about their daughter that would change everything.

First, around Ryland's 1st birthday in 2008, they were told that she was deaf and would need a cochlear implant. But the changes didn't stop there. In fact, Ryland was ready to say what was on her mind.

In a heart-wrenching video that the couple made and posted to their YouTube page, Jeff and Hillary show pictures of their growing daughter with text that recalls her words and pleas, saying that she is actually a boy.

"As soon as Ryland could speak, she would scream, 'I AM A BOY!'" the text reads.

And as she got older, this feeling only increased. While the Whittingtons dismissed it at first, saying Ryland was a "tomboy," they eventually realized that this wasn't simply a phase.

After all, they write, "phases end." This wasn't ending. In fact, it was getting stronger. Ryland even told them, "When the family dies, I will cut my hair so I can be a boy." She was 5.

Finally, Ryland's parents looked up information about transgender children and adults and found a startling statistic — 41 percent of transgender people have "attempted suicide due to lack of societal acceptance." That's 10 times the national average.

"We were not willing to take that risk," the Whittingtons write on the video.

So they changed, too: they changed what they called Ryland (switching to he/him), cut his hair and redecorated his room.

They even sent out a letter to friends and family explaining everything. And while they lost a few, they also got a lot of support.

"Ryland's gender identity was not caused by our parenting style, family structure or environmental factors," they write.

"Relative to the horrific things that people have to endure with their children all over the world," they continue, "this is nothing."

In fact, "he's extremely happy."

The family was even honored at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast in San Diego last month.

"Our hope," they write, "is that our voice will be heard, and this world will become a more loving and accepting place for Ryland and the entire LGBTQ community."

Photo via YouTube

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