A recent video posted by national performance series Listen to Your Mother features a self-proclaimed conservative, Southern Baptist mother from Alabama with a poignant, powerful response to the people who took issue with her 6-year-old transgender daughter, AJ.
Debi Jackson, who now lives in Missouri with her family, took the podium at Kansas City's Unity Temple on the Plaza in May to eloquently debunk a few of the many myths and detractions she encountered after her then 4-year-old child told her "Mom, you know I'm really a girl, right? I'm a girl on the inside."
After her daughter's first day at school as a girl, Jackson says, "The kids were great, and the teachers were awesome. But then the kids went home, and told their parents, and they weren't so great after that. Adult bigotry had influenced them. We lost most of our friends and some of our family. We basically went into hiding for about a year while my daughter grew out her hair to look like the girl that she is."
"When we emerged again, it was with a very happy and confident daughter," Jackson says.
Lest there were those in the room who doubted the family's decision to support their daughter's transition, Jackson systematically debunks six oft-cited claims used to discredit transgender people.
"We — or at least I, because they always blame the mom — really wanted a girl so we turned our child into one?" Jackson asks. "Think again. I desperately wanted boys. The idea of raising a girl in today's world scares me to death."
"'Kids have no idea what they want; my kid wants to be a dog, should I let him?'" asks Jackson, reciting another antitrans red herring. "That's up to you, but I wouldn't! …There's a profound difference between wanting to be something in imaginary play and declaring who you are insistently, consistently, and persistently."
Jackson became emotional as she recounted the religious-based opposition to her daughter, recalling people who told her, "God hates transgender people. They are sinners, and going to hell."
"My God taught us to love one another," Jackson explains. "Jesus sought out those who others rejected. Some people choose to embrace Biblical verses that appear to say that transgender people are being wrong," Jackson adds.
Instead, Jackson says she prefers to focus on biblical verses like 1 Samuel 16:7, which says, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
In closing her six-minute speech, Jackson offers a heartwarming affirmation of her daughter. "My daughter is a girl in her heart," says Jackson. "She knows it, God knows it, and that's good enough for me."
Watch the video below.