When little Ella expressed that she wanted to be a girl, mom Julie knew that accepting her gender was the best way forward.
For anyone who understands that gender exists on a spectrum and not a binary, gender reveal photo shoots and parties can be the absolute worst thing ever. In order to subvert the nausea of gender reveals, and in order to make her daughter Ella feel accepted and loved, mom Julie Hindsley celebrated from Waco, Texas, wanted to celebrate her daughter's transition from boy to girl with an adorable gender reveal photoshoot. In an interview with CafeMom, she revealed the journey she has traveled with her family and why the occasion was so special to both Ella and the rest of the Hindsley family.
"When she was two, she would wear a towel on her head and call it her 'giraffe hair,'" Julie explained. "We were convinced it was either a phase or we were likely going to have a gay son." However, it definitely was not a phase. The parents' assumptions could not have been more wrong either. A year or two later, it became clear that Ella was quite serious about her gender. One day, she approached her mom and told her, frustrated, that she wanted to be a girl. The little one demanded, "I want to be a girl, mom! Just make me a girl!" That night, Julie said her daughter could grow out her hair.
The mother recalled, "As she was growing out her hair she would say things like, 'When I'm a sister...' And, 'When my hair is long and I am a girl...' One day riding home from daycare she told me, 'I was supposed to be a girl in your tummy, mom. Why did I not come out as a girl?' Comments like these didn't stop." Ella's parents soon realized that the toddler's life was defined by compromise. For example, she could play with dolls, but could not take them outside. "You can wear that dress in the house," Julie once told her. "But you can't wear it if we leave." Ultimately, it did not feel fair or worth the effort.
The parents sought professional help and a therapist immediately told them that the best way to help Ella transition as smoothly as possible was to affirm her trans identity. With no hesitation, the Hindsleys did everything they could to make little Ella feel comfortable. They even fought her school over her longer hair. While they're holding off on hormone therapy until their daughter is older, the parents have tried to help her transition in other ways. They took her out shopping for a whole new wardrobe while letting her know that she could wear her old clothes whenever she felt like. "We packed a pair of her 'boy clothes' in her backpack every day," Julie shared. "She has never touched them since."
To celebrate their journey, the mom wrote about Ella's story on Facebook. Photographer Heather Harris Witt saw the post and reached out to see if the Hindsleys would be interested in doing a photoshoot. Julie stated, "I said yes of course as coming from a very conservative town with little to no support here, I know how huge it is to spread that awareness." So the family got together and had the most fun, adorable photoshoot. While Julie recognized the criticism gender reveals get, she hopes the photoshoot encourages people to be more accepting. "Being accepting and affirming of who someone is is all anyone ever wants," she said. "I hope [people who read my story] just choose to love and seek understanding."