Ben Faryna and Sara Kaplan revealed that both of their children are transgender and wanted to start transitioning at an early age. The couple’s first child, born a biological girl, expressed a desire to transition from female to male at age eight. Just a few years later, their then-four-year-old biological son said he wanted to transition to female.
Faryna and Kaplan, from Berkeley, California, decided to share their family’s story in hopes of “breaking the taboo around trans children,” according to a report by the Daily Mail. The parents also wanted to showcase that they love their kids unconditionally and have been supporting them throughout the process.
“The reason that we chose to be public at this point is because having two transgender children is not that unique, but it’s very difficult to advocate for the second child without it looking like there’s a problem in the house,” said Kaplan.
“It looks like there is an agenda,” she added. “Like the mother is sick, and that’s not the case here.”
“It tends to fall on the mother, and I get feedback that I’m just complicit and just sitting here watching, which is untrue,” Faryna stated. “I am a faithful father, and I love my children dearly.”
James Kaplan, now 11 years old, started to transition from female to male at age eight when he was in second grade. Olivia Kaplan, now age seven, expressed an interest in transitioning from male to female at age four, though didn’t begin the process until she was five and starting kindergarten.
The couple declined to provide their children’s birth names.
“The reaction when people hear that we have two trans kids is shock and awe,” said Kaplan during an interview.
“A lot of people think that it must be a copycat situation where the younger one is just mimicking the older one.”
James began the social process of transitioning when he was eight, getting a haircut, shopping for new clothes, and requesting his peers use male pronouns when speaking with or about him.
Last year, his name was legally changed to James, and he started hormone blockers to halt puberty about a month ago. He is now waiting to start testosterone treatments.
“I have always been a boy,” said James. “Before I transitioned, I had a piece missing, and it didn’t feel right.”
“I was nervous to tell my parents, but when I did, they said they accepted me. I was happy because I know a lot of trans kids don’t have that, and that’s sad.”
Discussing Olivia’s transition, Kaplan stated, “It was less shocking because we had just had a child transition – we had educated ourselves about gender.”
“We were far more experienced in how to move through the transition as parents,” added Faryna.
“Being trans means you were born in the gender that you don’t feel in your heart – anyone can be whoever they want to be, and it doesn’t matter what your opinion is,” said Olivia.
Olivia isn’t old enough to begin any medical treatments to support her transition.
“We have lots of time as she’s only seven – the first thing would be a hormone blocker, and that’s not until she would hit the tanner stage two of puberty, so for now, we follow her lead,” said Kaplan.