字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 About four and a half years ago, my life, and the life of my wife, and my two children rather suddenly and dramatically changed. This is our story. To begin, meet my family. This is my wife Veronica, we've been married for 37 years. This is my 29-year-old daughter Rita. For obvious reasons, I call her my glamor girl. This is my 26-year-old son Dana. Both Rita and Dana are proud graduates of the University of Nevada-Reno, and both of them were born when I was in my 40s, making me old enough to be their grandfather. Now, look at this picture of Dana closely, because I am going to show you a picture of Dana nine years ago, senior in high school. You see Dana is my transgender son. Born and raised a female, Dana transitioned her life to live it as a male four and a half years ago, at age 21, making Veronica and I, at an age when I was just seven months before turning 65, parents of a transgender son. And I thought the golden years were going to be boring. (Laughter) It all started for me on February 13, 2011. On that day, my 21-year-old daughter Dana came home from college to inform mom and dad that through a great deal of study, and counseling, and thought she had come to the conclusion that she was in fact a transgender male - a male living in a female body - and was going to begin the transition to live her life as a male. On that day, Dana was terrified. She had read story after story on the Internet of families who had rejected, abandoned, condemned, disowned their own child merely because they were transgender. Dana wasn't too worried about her mom, but she had no idea how her old, conservative, catholic, ex-military officer dad, me, would react. You know, we talked a lot that day, and one of the things I told Dana was, "Dana, for heaven's sake, don't worry about mom and dad. You are still our child, we'll still love you, and we'll support you any way we can." Dana says that it was the most anticlimactic moment of his life. (Laughter) Since then, we have been through a lot, including front-page newspaper articles about Dana and our family in the Carson Valley, the Reno' and the Las Vegas' newspapers. We've learned a lot, and we are closer than ever as a family. So, what is transgender? When we are created, we are given a body, a mind, and a spirit. A transgender person is given the mind and the spirit of one gender, - and I like to call it a gender spirit, in Dana's case it was male - and then they are put into the physical body of the opposite gender - in Dana's case it was female - and they live their lives with this constant emotional conflict between who they feel that they are and who their physical body says they are. And this emotional conflict can be so powerful that it can literally overpower the basic human instinct for a survival, which partially explains why 41% of transgender people at some point in their life attempt suicide. What causes transgender? I've seen a lot of theories; I really don't think anybody really knows yet. So I told you that we've learned a lot, and I'm going to talk about some of the things we've learned, but first I have to talk about pronouns. Hes, and shes, and hims, and hers. I have a protocol with Dana that when I talk about Dana for the first 21 years, before she made the transition to male, I refer to Dana as 'she' or 'her', because that's the way I remember her. When I talk about Dana afterwards, today, I refer to Dana as 'he' or 'him', because that's the way he is today. And if you think it's confusing, you needed to be in my house for the last four and a half years. (Laughter) Alright, things that we've learned. First thing: a transgender person is born the way they are, they never had a choice. In everything that I have read, almost every account from a transgender person, they say that for as far back as their memory takes them, they knew that something wasn't right, they knew that their mind felt that they were one gender, their body was the other. In Dana's case, growing up -- it was rather interesting because Dana not only felt like she was a boy, Dana not only wanted to be a boy, Dana looked like a boy. To the extent that everywhere where Dana and I went, from the time Dana was just a little tike to 16 years old, a fully developed female, everybody said, "Dr. Pardee, is this your son?" I'd say, "No, it's my daughter." And they would blush and get all embarrassed. When Dana about 11 or 12 years old, I asked if that bothered her that people always mistake her for a boy, and she said, "No, dad. Only when they are mean about it." So I'm going to show you pictures of Dana growing up. A picture [of when she was] about 3 years old here. You tell me where the girl is in this picture. It's not the one holding the teddy bear. Dana is in the middle. Notice the short hair? Dana always wanted her hair short, and Veronica and I had absolutely no objection, whatsoever; it was pretty easy for us. This is a picture of Dana, a family picture, about the first or second grade. I've had this picture hanging in my office since it was taken, about 1995, 1996, and everybody who comes into my office would say, "I thought you had two girls!" I say, "I do. That's Dana. Dana is my daughter." They say, "No, this looks like your son." I say, "No, it's my daughter." Here's Dana in the fifth grade. In the fifth grade, Dana's teacher had them make a list of what they wanted to be in life or what they wanted to do in life, and I remember distinctly Dana writing, "I want to be a boy." Two years later, when Dana was in the seventh grade, she was playing in the girls' seventh grade basketball team. They were at an away-game, and before the game, the opposing coach requested from the officials that Dana -- (Sobbing) Sorry. that Dana be taken into the locker room and proven that she was a girl. (Sobbing) I'm sorry. That kind of hit me through the heart when that happened. Here's Dana in the eighth grade. Just about this time frame, Dana was at the department store, and she heard these three girls about her age talking about this hot guy. So Dana set out trying to find the hot guy. Turns out they're talking about Dana. Notice the volley ball? Dana was a very good athlete. Dana tells me that sports were her saving grace growing up. Going on the ninth grade, or in the ninth grade, Dana started on a girls' GV volleyball team, started as a catcher on a girls' GV softball team, and was the starting center on a girls' varsity basketball team at Douglas High School. This picture, taken in Dana's freshman year, won awards in the state of Nevada for one of the best newspaper sports pictures of the year. All the time that Dana was growing up, Veronica and I were very, very well aware of Dana's struggles with looking so much like a guy. As a matter of fact, two times we put Dana in counseling with a psychologist to try to help her. We talked to her a lot about it, so we weren't unaware of it, but what we were unaware of is that potentially Dana could have been transgender. And you know why? Because neither one of us had a clue what transgender was. If you remember, before, first, Chaz Bono, and then Caitlyn Jenner today, transgender was something that happened in our society, but nobody talked about it. So we had no clue that Dana was potentially transgender. In all honesty, Dana was my tomboy, and I loved it. Dana was the son that I never had. We did everything together: playing catch in the backyard, hundreds of hours of shooting hoops in the driveway, there is not a person here today who will beat her in a free throw shooting contest. Wolf Pack, basketball games, football games, we did everything together. And you know what? I always knew that some day Dana was going to grow into a tall, beautiful young lady. And guess what? It happened. About half way through high school, Dana started wearing her hair longer, started to wear make-up, and by senior year in high school, people were telling me that Dana could be a world-class model. But as opposed to the vast majority of tomboys who grow up and are comfortable in their own body, this constant feeling that she was a male living in a female body just never would go away. It just wouldn't go away. Just a short time after Dana turned 17 years old, she saw an Oprah's show about transgender people, and Dana said, "Oh my god, that's me!" But for almost five years, Dana never told anybody about it. This is, well, the last picture I have of Dana before she made a transition to live her life as a male. Her sister Rita throughout this entire process has been Dana's number one supporter. So again, a transgender person is born the way they are, they never had a choice. Second thing. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., judge a transgender person by the quality of their character. Character is who we are inside, that's who we are as a person. The vast majority of people in this world are good people, there is a few bad ones. The vast majority of transgender people are good people, there is probably a few bad ones. But being transgender has nothing to do with character and should not be equated. There is lots of stories that I could tell about Dana's magnificent character. Dana was refreshingly honest, even as a little kid, always very responsible, and to this day, one of the hardest workers I have ever known. But there is one story that just stands out further than any other thing. It was June of the year 2001. Dana had just turned 12 years old. She went to Lake Tahoe with a group of friends to go swimming. Dana and her 11-year-old friend Aly were snorkeling in the water, and Dana said, "Let's swim out to that rock out there." So, they were swimming out to the rock. Dana looked back, and Aly's 7-year-old sister Kendra was trying to keep up with them, tagging behind them. Dana said, "I swam a little bit further and looked back, and Kendra was gone." Without a moment's hesitation, Dana ripped off her snorkel gear, dove down in ten feet of water, and found Kendra unconscious on the bottom of Lake Tahoe. Dana lifted that lifeless body off the bottom of the lake, struggled to get her to the surface. With one arm held on to Kendra, with the other arm swam to that rock, Dana told me, "Dad, she was getting so heavy, I didn't think I was going to make it." Dana made it to that rock, she pulled Kendra out of the water, she threw her over her leg, face down, and she hit her as hard as she could on the back. And Kendra spit up water and started breathing again. Today, 22-year-old Kendra Renolds, currently working on her master's degree, is alive because of this remarkable, heroic rescue by a 12-year-old girl, named Dana Pardee (Sobbing) (Applause) who today I call my son. For 14 years, every time I thought about that, I get tears in my eyes. Every single time. You know, I've learned something about what happens when a transgender person changes from one gender to the other. Their character stays the same, it doesn't change, they are still the same person, they still basically have the same personality. Really only two things change. One is that they look different, their appearance changes, and sometimes their voice changes.