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.