A special thank you to Natasha Helfer Parker for sharing this interview from her Podcast: Mormon Mental Health

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Eri Hayward; her parents, Ed & Keiko Hayward and Eri’s boyfriend, Mike.  They discuss Eri’s journey as a transgender woman within the construct of growing up in an active Mormon family devoted to their faith.  

Eri was recently part of the documentary Transmormon where  she and her parents are very open about the painful journey of coming to terms with Eri’s recognition that she was transgender.  They discuss many facets of what they have learned along the way and share with important aspects of becoming educated regarding the terminology, implications to their religious and spiritual journeys, doctrinal interpretations, sex-reassignment surgery, ecclesiastical responses and ways we can all become Trans Allies and support those within our congregations struggling with similar issues.

Extremely important information in helping us be more aware of transgender issues as individuals, as Mormons, as church leaders, as members of congregations and as members of our overall communities.  When transgender individuals do not find safe spaces in which to come out and be supported, the rates of suicidal ideation and suicide are astronomically high.  41% of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average.  Please make the time to listen to this podcast and inform yourself about a topic which needs much better understanding not only in Mormon culture – but overall.

*Correction from Natasha Helfer Parker – After attending a recent transgender training, I realize I use the word “transgendered” instead of “transgender” throughout the interview, which is an incorrect term.  Transgender is not something that happens to someone, it is an identity.  We don’t say “gayed” or “straighted.”  I apologize for my own lack of trans competence getting in the way of the interview process.

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