Kentucky

Kentucky mom celebrates adult son coming out as transgender with polarizing photo shoot

What does LGBTQIA mean?

You have heard of LGBT, but do you really know what the letters stand for? And how about QIA? Melissa Winter, youth advocate with the KC Anti-Violence project, breaks down the terminology for you in 90 seconds.
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You have heard of LGBT, but do you really know what the letters stand for? And how about QIA? Melissa Winter, youth advocate with the KC Anti-Violence project, breaks down the terminology for you in 90 seconds.

Gender reveals may be all the rage, but a Kentucky mother upped the ante with a coming out photo shoot with her transgender son.

Photos shared by Heather Lundberg Green, of Louisville, show her swaddling and celebrating the life of her son, Adrian Brown. Her 20-year-old son, that is.

While much of the reaction to the shoot has been positive, the family has received some criticism in the form of name calling.

Several months before the photo shoot, Brown came out to his family as a transgender son, according to The Washington Post.

Brown told NBC News the decision to come out was really scary.

“The hardest part was coming out to myself, accepting myself and loving myself for who I am,” he said.

According to GLAAD.org, transgender is a term used to describe a person whose gender identity is different than the one they were assigned to at birth.

A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed more than half of the male transgender teens who participated in its survey had attempted suicide, and Green said she was determined to help Brown in his transition.

“I have always had many friends in the LGBTQ community and still I wasn’t sure what steps I should take as his mother, or even what an appropriate response was outside of ‘I still love you,’” she wrote in a post on Love What Matters.

Green decided to stage a photo shoot for Brown’s 20th birthday and embrace his transition.

The photos Green shared mirrored those of a gender reveal photo shoot and baby photos. She donned a fake pregnant belly and held blue balloons acknowledging she was having a boy. Others showed Brown popping a pink balloon filled with blue confetti and Green swaddling her son in a similar way a mother would a newborn.

“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,” Lundberg Green said in her Facebook post.

Green told the Huffington Post the photos were taken by her boyfriend’s 14-year-old daughter, Kara Davis, to help empower “a young woman to create art that the world needed to see.”

Since posting the photo shoot on Jan. 29, it has been shared 16,000 times. The photo shoot has been featured in national and international publications, including NBC News, Huffington Post, Yahoo!, USA Today and the Washington Post.

Brown wasn’t so sure about the idea for the photo shoot when his mom presented him with the idea.

“At first when my mom said she wanted to swaddle me in a blanket, I thought she was nuts,” he told USA Today. “But then when we got going, we had so much fun and laughed our way through all of my mom’s strange ideas.”

The photos have been met with many positive remarks and people asking Green if they can recreate the photos for their reveals. She told Yahoo Lifestyle she hopes the photos can make a positive impact for others.

But Green has been criticized in her conservative home state and elsewhere. She wrote back to every single person who reached out to her, including a person who called her “evil and awful,” according to Yahoo Lifestyle.

“I told her that I hope eventually she’ll be able to reconsider her opinion and learn to love us the way we love her,” she said.

Green encouraged parents of transgender kids to “trust your children, respect them, accept that you don’t know everything there is to know and let them teach you,” Huffington Post reported.

Brown told WAVE 3 it’s amazing to have the support system he has.

“I thought this was sort of a struggle I had to do by myself,” he said. “It’s really heartwarming to see there are so many people out there who share the same story that I do and are so supportive of a complete stranger. And it gives me a lot of hope.”

Mike Stunson covers breaking news and real-time news for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com. He is a 2011 Western Kentucky University graduate who has previously worked at the Paducah Sun and Madisonville Messenger as a sports reporter.


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