Eight years ago, Sylvester Neal and his wife became guardians to their grandchildren, and after that, the couple’s purpose in life became supporting those children. One of Sylvester’s grandchildren, Trianna, is a transgender girl, born and raised male but expressing persistently and consistently the feeling that she is female. When Trianna started to act differently and withdraw from family, Sylvester figured she was just growing up, and that withdrawing was just a part of doing that in the modern world. But Sylvester soon learned it wasn’t and that the disconnect between who she knew herself to be, and who her grandparents and peers perceived her to be, was causing her to withdraw.
When Sylvester and his wife started to treat Trianna as a girl, everything changed. “We didn’t have the language for it at the time, but Trianna is a transgender girl,” Sylvester explained. “That means that even though we had originally labeled her as a boy, she knows herself for who she truly is – a girl. We have a duty to fight for all folks and let them know they are loved for the amazing, complex individuals they are.”