February 7, 2019
When Heather Lundberg Green's son Adrian Brown came out as a transgender man, she wanted to celebrate. To do this (and do it big), she staged an over-the-top gender reveal photo shoot with blue balloons, onesies, a fake pregnancy belly and her 20-year-old son swaddled in a blanket that read "It's a boy!"
Green posted the happy family photos to Facebook, and it didn't take long for the pictures and her message to go viral.
"When your child comes out as trans, the best thing to do is create a photo shoot to celebrate the fact that he silently and bravely stepped out of the race that he never wanted to be in, found his own lane and proceeded to win," Green wrote. "HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY, Adrian! You are without a doubt the most fascinating human I know and I will always be your biggest fan! I love you, I honor who you are and I respect your courage to be unapologetically you!! Let's celebrate!"
In just over a week, Green's gender reveal post has gotten over 29,000 likes and been shared 16,000 times. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and Green and her son have received comments and messages of support from around the world.
Before the photo shoot went viral, Brown wasn't quite so sure about his mom's ideas. "At first when my mom said she wanted to swaddle me in a blanket, I thought she was nuts," he told All The Moms. "But then when we got going we had so much fun and laughed our way through all of my mom's strange ideas."
In the end, though, Brown had a blast taking the photos with his mom and his brother, Lucas. And he's grateful their family's story is inspiring other LGBTQ teenagers and young adults.
RELATED: Raising a Transgender Child
Sadly, research has shown transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) people have an increased risk of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide. That's why it's so important for other young people to see positive stories and happy outcomes like Brown's.
"I want them to know it's going to be OK," Brown told NBC News. "It gets better."
Fortunately stigma surrounding the LGBTQ community is fading fast, and doctors are taking steps to better support TGD young people and their families as well. Just last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement with evidence-based direction for medical professionals to provide the care, guidance, and advocacy that can help TGD people grow up mentally, socially, and physically healthy.
That's what parents want for their kids—regardless of gender. As Brown's mom told NBC News, "My son is happy and healthy and that's what matters."
"I want the world for him," she said. "There's nothing he can't do."