The parents of two transgender children told how they unconditionally supported them, after they had both decided at a young age to switch to the opposite sex.
Ben Faryna and Sara Kaplan, from Berkeley, California, welcomed a biological daughter and then a biological son into their family.
But at the age of eight, James Kaplan, now 11, who was born a biological girl, realized that he had to switch from female to male.
And just a few years later, Olivia Kaplan, now 7, who was born a biological boy, realized at the age of 4 that she wanted to switch from male to female. Their names at birth were not disclosed.
The family now shares their story with the hope of breaking the taboo around trans children, after statistics have revealed an alarming number of suicide among trans children whose families are not supportive.
Ben and Sara Kaplan, from Berkeley, California, told how they supported James, now 11, second from the right, and Olivia, now 7, second left, during their transition. They are now being seen
Sara told Barcroft TV: & The response when people hear we have two trans children is shocking and awe.
& # 39; Many people think that it must be a copycat situation where the younger imitates the older. & # 39;
James was eight years old when he told his parents that he wanted to switch from woman to man – he was in second grade.
Olivia was four when she said she was transgender – but did not start socializing and using female pronouns until she was five years old and went to kindergarten.
The parents welcomed a biological daughter and then a biological son into their family. James, left and Olivia, right, are depicted before they passed
Sara said about the transition from Olivia: & # 39; It was less shocking because we had just had a transition from child – we had taught ourselves about gender.
& # 39; We were much more experienced in going through the transition as parents, & # 39; Ben added.
When James was eight, he started to change socially. He had a haircut, went looking for boys' clothes and asked his colleagues to use masculine pronouns.
Last year he legally changed his name to James.
& # 39; I've always been a boy, & # 39; James said. & # 39; Before I passed, I missed a piece and it didn't feel right.
& # 39; I was nervous to tell my parents, but when I did, they said they accepted me. I was happy because I know that many trans children do not have that, and that is sad. & # 39;
Olivia, now 7, who was born biologically as a boy, realized on 4, pictured, that she wanted to switch from male to female. Their names at birth were not disclosed.
Olivia, now 7, is seen after she switched with the support of her parents and brother
Olivia added: "Being trans means you were born to the gender you don't feel in your heart – anyone can be who he or she wants to be, and it doesn't matter what your opinion is." ;
When Olivia told James about her transition, he was very proud of how brave she had been.
But as with most siblings, he admits that there was the usual competitive strength.
& # 39; I responded to Olivia's transition as most older brothers and sisters would – even though I am trans, & # 39; James explained. & # 39; I was a little confused at first and got a bit defensive because I thought it was my thing.
& # 39; But after such a day I saw that Olivia is a girl and she will always be that. & # 39;
Olivia and James Kaplan are depicted before they passed
Olivia and James Kaplan are depicted after their transition
It was important for Olivia that her big brother understood: & # 39; He was my first supporter and I was confident that I would have many more. & # 39;
A month ago, James started taking hormone blockers – an implant that prevents him from starting puberty, especially his menstrual cycle and breast development, which would be painful.
When discussing the decision, James said: & # 39; I am a man and if another man thought of being a woman, it would be uncomfortable. & # 39;
James is now waiting to start taking testosterone, which would be the first permanent action he takes to pass, because the process would affect his fertility.
However, Olivia is too young to have no medical treatment for her transition yet.
Sara explained: & # 39; We have a lot of time, because she is only seven – the first would be a hormone blocker and that is only when she would reach the tanning phase two of puberty, so for now we will follow her example.
& # 39; And we as parents, for those who think we are just following our children and doing nothing, & # 39; said Ben.
The family, seen before they passed on, now shares their story with the hope of breaking the taboo around trans children, after statistics have revealed an alarming number of suicide among trans children whose families are not supportive.
A portrait of James and Olivia Kaplan, who are now much happier with who they are
Ben and Sara want to train those who accuse them of imposing an agenda on their children.
& # 39; The reason we have chosen to be public at this time is because having two transgender children is not that unique, but it is very difficult to argue for the second child without it appearing that there is one problem is at home, & # 39; Sara explained.
& # 39; It looks like there is an agenda, & # 39; she said. & # 39; As if the mother is sick, and that is not the case here. & # 39;
Ben added: & # 39; It often falls on the mother, and I get feedback that I am just an accomplice and just sitting here watching, which is not true – I am a loyal father and I love my children very much & # 39;
From left to right: Ben Faryna, Olivia Kaplan, James Kaplan, Sara Kaplan.
Olivia and James Kapla are depicted before they passed
Of course there were times when the process was not easy.
& # 39; There was a grieving process for me when they passed, and it wasn't because I didn't love them anymore. It had to do with my own misunderstandings and my own prejudices. It had to do with navigating a world I knew nothing about, & Ben explained.
Ben and Sara are determined by teaching and teaching others that their children live without a stigma.
& # 39; We are on the good side of history and we do not allow our children to feel embarrassed or fearful of other people – they deserve to feel loved and accepted. & # 39 ;
& # 39; We do this because we listen to our children and because we do a lot of research, which shows that we are doing the right thing, & # 39; Ben added.
Olivia and James Kapla are pictured with their mother Sara before they passed
Olivia and James Kapla are depicted with their mother Sara, after James had passed on
The alarming statistics about suicide among trans children whose families are not supported make Ben and Sara terrified.
They knew that the only thing their children should feel about them is love and acceptance.
Sara and Ben often contact their children to see if they are happy and confident in the gender they are in, to rule out any hesitation.
& # 39; We will love and accept them if they come to us tomorrow and say they have changed their mind, & # 39; Sara said. & # 39; And we will love and accept them if they don't. & # 39;
It is this family environment that has enabled James and Olivia to have faith in who they are and the decisions they make regarding their identity.
For James, being trans is one of the least special things: being trans is only a small part of me – there is so much more to me than being trans. & # 39;
& # 39; I would say we are no different, & # 39; Olivia continued. & # 39; We should not be treated better or worse. & # 39;
Olivia and James Kapla are pictured with their mother Sara and father Ben before they passed on
James and Olivia Kapla are now pictured, with James being a & # 39; lawyer, celebrating & # 39; wearing a t-shirt
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