Here is Travis Stanton's response to comments on the essay he wrote after learning his father was going to become a woman.
Friday night my dad came down from Lake Worth to watch Her Name Was Steven -- the CNN documentary about him -- with our family and some friends. It meant a lot to me and my mother that my dad was down at our house, in the room much less where all of this first happened. My dad, my mother, some neighborhood friends and my girlfriend Ashlee all sat down Saturday night to watch it.
We all loved it. The next day my dad showed me some of the comments on the CNN web site about the essay I wrote about him in 8th grade for a school project. These comments were some of the nicest things I've read about myself in my life. As people saw my posting, they started asking me some questions. I started answering them.
One good question was: "How did my schoolmates react to all of this? Were they supportive or negative towards this? "
Well, the night my dad told me about his plans to become a woman was also the same night that the news stations found out and aired the story. Surprisingly to my parents, I decided to go to school the next day. I went to a small school at the time. It was a school with grades 4-8 and had about 300 kids total. I was in the 8th grade. As I got dropped off, before I could even walk in the school, some teachers and a bunch of my friends came running out to hug me and say it's going to be okay. I was still in shock from all of this, but I'm pretty good at hiding my emotions. Unfortunately having all of your friends hugging you and knowing about this brought out some tears. All of my 8th grade friends knew about this, and mostly all of them were supportive.
Now I'm in the 10th grade at high school with about 3000 students, so it's a bit different. When I started high school, the story of my dad had kind of settled down. I've not really gotten any support from my new high school friends because we don't talk about it. I've been asked a few times if Susan Stanton was related to me and I say, "Yes, that's my dad."
Other than about three of those little "are-you-related" questions from people I partially knew, I haven't been approached by any kids at school. Yes, some people tell me that my dad is kind of weird and I completely agree. When you truly love someone you learn to accept the choices they make. It's no different if your mom said, "I am going to shave off all my hair." Would you stop loving her because of that? Hopefully not. This is the same thing with my dad, but its i obviously a little more than a haircut.
One of the comments that I read was that it was selfish for my dad to use the money on his surgery. Was it selfish of my dad? Absolutely -- 100 percent -- not. If you had those feelings, I am sure all of us would do the same thing. It would be almost rude to live the rest of his life in pain knowing he wasn't himself and not truly who he felt he was.
Money was always a problem ever since my dad got fired. Like I said in the documentary, the biggest negative change that impacted our family was dad losing his job. I know that if we were really down to the last dollars we had, my dad would not have done the surgery until we got back on our feet. Both of my parents are really financially smart and we have planned ahead to live a comfortable life. The more important part is me and my mom still live in our house. I've lived in this house since I was a baby and I can't imagine having to move.
In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who read my essay. The comments I read about myself are some of the nicest things I have ever read about me. I love the feedback that I get, good or bad.