In a surprising twist, Fox News may be the next entity to go woke, with the conservative outlet airing a segment on Friday that celebrated a transgender teen and the family that supported the teen’s transition, calling the story "inspiring."
The segment was about Ryland Whittington, who transitioned into being a boy at the age of five.
"14-year-old Ryland Whittington is a typical South Carolina teenager, and the Whittingtons, along with mom, Hillary, dad, Jeff, and sister Brinley, are a typical family," the segment began.
"The only difference though, in Ryland’s eyes, is what this family can mean to the tens of thousands of kids under 18 who identify as transgender," the narration continued.
Ryland, speaking in an interview with Fox News, stated that the family put their story out there in case "there’s another family out there that is going through what we’re going through, or there’s another family who’s proud of who they are."
Fox News correspondent Bryan Llenas continued by stating that before Ryland could even speak, the young child "managed to tell his parents that he is a boy."
"I could just see it. It wasn’t him trying to be a brat, it was, like, painful. It was truly painful for him to have to wear feminine clothing and for us constantly telling him 'you’re a girl,'" Hillary Whittington said.
The parents said that there was initially some pushback, and that they were confused. "We thought that gender and sexuality are the same thing. It took us a while to figure out that those two things are different and that children actually do recognize their gender identity very young."
Llenas said that "they listened to Ryland, and to Hillary’s conservative faith."
"For me, it’s just a deep, spiritual belief that you believe in God and he, you know, created us the way he wanted us. Well then, yes, he created Ryland just the way he is," said the mother.
The father, Jeff, said that they went to support groups, and at one of these meetings, a father across the table said that the parents were "lucky" to be there, and that the father had a child who was experiencing gender dysphoria around the same age as Ryland did.
Llenas continued on to state that that particular father "pushed back" on their child, which led them to turn to self-harm.
The segment continued on to cite statistics from the Trevor Project, which earlier this year was revealed to have been actively pushing children who reach out to their online services to transition if they are even remotely questioning their gender.
"That pushback led the child to turn to self-harm as a teenager, which 60 percent of trans and non-binary kids engage in, according to the Trevor Project," Llenas stated. "More than 50 percent consider suicide."
The family said that that father’s testimony was a "turning point," in their acceptance that their child was transgender, with the mother adding that "I’d rather have a loving son than a dead daughter."
"I never thought that I would be known for this, like, as well as I am, but it’s really just a small part of who I am," Ryland said.
Llenas said that the Whittingtons believe "sharing their story could make a lasting difference in another child’s life."
"I’m just here to make the ride smoother for others. You might be struggling right now but we believe in you. This family, we might not know you, we might now know where you live, but you know, we understand you and we believe in you," Ryland said in closing.
Closing out the segment, Llenas said that Ryland and the family displayed "extraordinary courage" in speaking out.
"It’s not easy, particularly at a time when transgender issues have been politicized. People are afraid of what they do not understand, Dana. This family hopes their story will lead to more understanding, more acceptance, and ultimately more love," he concluded.
The segment comes as the topic of transgenderism has skyrocketed into the spotlight in recent months, with much of the focus being on protecting the fairness of women’s and girls' sports, and protecting children from potentially irreversible surgeries and treatments associated with changing genders.
Many states across the country, like Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Arizona have passed laws separating sports teams by a person’s birth sex, with many of these laws coming as former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who is transgender, was seen blowing away biological female competitors.
In states like Florida and Texas, concerns have been raised about giving children cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers, and surgical procedures to achieve the appearance of the opposite gender, with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton labeling these procedures and treatment as "child abuse," and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo requesting that the state’s Medicaid program not fund these treatments because there is insufficient safety data and research on said treatments.
In response to the surprising airing of such a segment on Fox News, Twitter users blasted the outlet for promoting transitioning children.
The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh launched into a thread slamming the outlet, saying that if what he said damages the relationship he has with Fox News, then "so be it."