041: Transmormon: the Story of Eri Hayward Part 1

Unknown-1Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Eri Hayward; her parents, Ed & Keiko Hayward and her 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-nonconformin 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.

Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to James Estrada of Oak Street Audio for audio production of this podcast.



4 comments for “041: Transmormon: the Story of Eri Hayward Part 1

  1. Hazel Goslin
    May 3, 2015 at 5:43 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is helping me understand the needs of someone that I dearly love.

  2. corbin
    September 8, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    thank you very much.
    its amazing that spirits can be born into a gender that is opposite,
    i think that transgender actually proves the pre existence.

    • Helen
      October 15, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      Yeah, I think so too! I think it highlights too how our gender is so much more than just sexuality or sexual preference, it really is an intrinsic part of our identity – just like the proclamation says.

      But yeah, I suppose now that we are more informed about how things can be for people born as transgender, and their families maybe we, as their community, are getting closer to being able to accept revelation that might encourage them to have their place as women and men in the fullness of the gospel. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years from now we discover that the physical genomes or whatever it is for building a female body instead of a male body (or vice versa) can be interfered with, or just mis-assigned during the foetus’ development – goodness knows many of us are born with other things that seem to be “defective” some how, and that then become lifelong challenges. I was born with a brain that does funny things as I process thoughts, and now that we slowly piece together oral histories in the absence of medical records, a picture emerges that it is most likely genetic. My father is colour blind. He only sees shades of colours – sure, he’s learned to tell most colours apart by association e.g. bananas will be yellow, green or brown, but, if you held up red and green that were the same “shade”, he couldn’t tell you which is which. One lime green painted trailer that was meant to be beige later, we’re all still bumbling along 🙂

      I have faith that our leaders will search and pray and find a way. One message that really comes through in this Transmormon clip is the unconditional love and understanding of her family, who haven’t just turned around renounced their own faith, or rejected or hidden away their daughter, but are just patiently waiting for Heavenly Father to make it all come together.


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