A Mother's Journey In Exploring Transgender Issues with Paria Hassouri, M.D.

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Can you imagine having your 13 year old son report to you that she is a girl? That's what happened to pediatrician Paria Hassouri. In her memoir we join her through the reactions of shock, resistance, grief, acceptance, and finally pride. Transgender people have had to live in the shadows and their stories have been underreported in mainstream media. The majority of people feel either male or female. Gender is not necessarily binary; it can be on a spectrum. What would happen if we weren't so strict with gender roles. There may be many transgender people who have just sublimated being trans all of their lives. Today we learn about the hope that one day the recognition of being transgender is no longer being stigmatized but is finally accepted in society. A wonderful child therapist helped Hassouri to accept the fact that her child was transgender when he assured her by saying, “She's a girl not because of what she wears or what makeup she puts on but because for the 45 minutes that she's in this room, she gets to be seen for who she is and this is being a girl. Her entire demeanor changes and that's why she's a girl. It has nothing to do with what she's wearing, or growing out her hair, or the makeup she's putting on.” When asked how the general public can be an advocate for the trans community Hassouri said, “The best way you can be an advocate is actually to just get to know one trans person, really get to know them. I think if you do that the advocacy will follow and everything will change after that.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 


Paria Hassouri, M.D. is a pediatrician, mother of three, and a transgender rights advocate. She’s a proud Iranian-American and has written articles that have appeared in multiple media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post

Paria Hassouri is the author of a memoir: 

  • Found in Transition: A Mother’s Evolution During Her Child’s Gender Change (New World Library 2020) 

To learn more about the work of Paria Hassouri go to www.pariahassouri.com

Topics explored in this dialogue : 

  • Hassouri describes her first inkling that one of her three children was trans
  • Hassouri describes what may be surprising in what is socially acceptable in Iran as gender roles go
  • Hassouri describes how being bullied as a young person moved her to be protective of her child
  • How most doctors are not trained in gender identity issues
  • Why Hassouri thought her child was somewhere on the autism spectrum
  • How it is difficult to bring into public dialogue gender fluidity in a binary world of strict gender roles
  • What is being cisgender
  • How Hassouri found a support group and a good child therapist and what that did for her
  • Why using female pronouns for her child was difficult and calling her by a different name
  • How this shifting of gender affected her immediate and extended family and friends
  • How Hassouri was challenged to not be her transgender child’s first bully
  • What was it like to attend court with Ava for her legal name and gender change hearing 

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 10/26/2020   Program Number: 3717

Music Playlist

From Album: Sanctuary
Artist: Radhika Miller

Opening Essay: Track 01 Journey Homes
Music Break 1: Track 02 A Visiting Angel
Music Break 2: Track 03 Conga Heaven
Music Break 3: Track 05 Jubilate