042: Transmormon: the Story of Eri Hayward Part 2

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.


7 comments for “042: Transmormon: the Story of Eri Hayward Part 2

  1. August 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Natasha, thank you for this interview, and thanks to Eri and her family for sharing their story. I’ve gotten positive feedback from active, believing Mormons when I’ve shared her documentary online. I’m far from an expert on any of these issues, but I do want to say that I became a little uncomfortable by the somewhat facile hypothesis of transgender people being born into the wrong body. I’m sure there are many who feel that way (i.e. that they were born into the wrong body), and I don’t mean to disparage their experience at all. However, I have heard some transgender people remark that they feel they were not born into the wrong body, but that they were born into a society that does not understand what their body means. What I’m trying to say is that I think the born-into-the-wrong-body theory is great for those to whom it applies, but we probably need to be aware of who we might be marginalizing by trying to apply it as a catch all to all transgender and gender-queer people. Again, thanks Natasha and Eri. Keep up the great work!

    • natashaparker
      August 4, 2014 at 3:35 am

      I agree. And that’s why I asked Eri to put us in our “place” if she felt it necessary :).
      The main reason I brought this up – is not so that we can fit everyone into one nice little Mormon box – but I do see this concept as a possible bridge for Mormons to look at their doctrinal positions in ways that might be inclusive to situations they might not otherwise be able to feel inclusive about.

  2. August 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    “However, I have heard some transgender people remark that they feel they were not born into the wrong body, but that they were born into a society that does not understand what their body means.” I do know many, many trans people and I have never heard anyone put it this way, but I haven’t met every trans person so maybe there are some who say that. Being “born into the wrong body” to me is not perfect phraseology, but it’s not horrible, and the concept is generally understood by most and is probably used at times when it is understood enough that further explanation won’t be necessary, even if further explanation could be given.

    Anyway, I suppose those who say that they were not born into the wrong body, but that they were born into a society that does not understand what their body means are those who Natasha refers to in part 1 who don’t feel the need to make any physical changes. Because if it’s not wrong then there’s nothing to correct.

  3. Trish
    August 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I’m only part way through the podcast, do I don’t know if it is discussed later. But I am very confused on why her father keeps referring to her as her birth (boy) name, Eddie.

    • natashaparker
      August 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      My understanding when I spoke with the family prior to the interview, is that the pronunciation of her name spelled “Eri” can either be “airy” or “eddie.” And Eri does not have a preference.
      Please feel free to clarify Eri, if I got that wrong. Thank you!

  4. Judy
    March 12, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Hi there. I really appreciate coming across this podcast the other day after my son told me of this struggles. I come from a VERY active LDS family and we raised our two boy and two girls in the church. I know this was very difficult for my son to tell us what has been going through and has waited years to tell us. I want to help him and could really use some advice. In the podcast Ed commented how he loves to have people contact him with questions and he mentioned he loved to help people, yet no information was given on how to go about that. Also, they mention a video. Where is that? Every one in their family seem to really handle this in a fantastic, loving matter and I would like to do the same, but it seems like a HUGE mountain for us to climb right now and I don’t even know how to put on my hiking shoes yet! – Overwhelmed 🙁

    • natashaparker
      March 15, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      I will look into the ability to contact this family directly since it’s been a while since I’ve done the podcast. In the meantime… please connect yourself with the Mama Dragons facebook support group. This is a great group of moms in particular who are trying to navigate Mormonism and the coming out stories of their children. http://mamadragons.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *