Transgender Utahn can relate to Bruce Jenner

Friday night, Bruce Jenner opened up for the first time about transitioning into life as a woman. According to one study, nearly 700,000 Americans identify as transgendered. One is a young Utahn named Eri Hayward. She was featured in a film called Transmormon. We sat down with her to talk about Bruce’s 20/20 special.

It's been about a year since Eri Hayward transitioned from a man to a woman, and she’s seen a lot of change.

"Everywhere I go there's a TV show, a movie, people are talking about it, so it's become a hot topic," Eri said.

Eri has a loving and supportive family, and the feedback from the film has been mostly positive.

"I think I was really lucky where we kind of just popped up out of nowhere whereas Bruce Jenner has kind of had this long life in a very specific role and I feel it's difficult when you're trying to then change that," she said.

Eri and her father Ed understand how hard the transition must be for Bruce Jenner.

"It's hard enough if you're just going through the transition quietly, maybe just sharing it with some close friends but to be right there in the media spotlight with no place to hide, how tremendously difficult that must be for him," Ed said.

Since this family has intimate knowledge about this topic, they're using their experience to help other Utah families.

"If it's what makes you happy and if it helps you be a better person then it's what we should do," Eri said.

A group called North Star LDS is holding a 2 day conference, discussing transgender and gay issues in Utah. Ed is sitting on a panel with other parents and LDS church leaders.

"I think it's important for people who are struggling with any kind of an issue to be able to talk about it frankly without being afraid," Ed said.

He believes the discussions are also a learning experience for church leaders. Eri says the more the topic is discussed the less taboo it becomes.

"I think it's wonderful," she said.

She also believes Bruce’s bravery to speak openly about his transition will help people nationwide.

"It’s so much easier when you have people around you and you're able to see other people around you doing it, it kind of gives you a little more strength," she said.

For more information on North Star LDS, click here.


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