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Parents Of Charlotte Transgender Children Share Their Journeys

Michael Bethea / WFAE

Monday, February 13, 2017

Transgender people have been in a spotlight since HB2, but they and their parents have been navigating uncharted territory far longer. Mike Collins hears the stories of three Charlotte parents of transgender children.

This month marks one year since a Charlotte City Council vote on a non-discrimination ordinance turned into the opening salvo in a fight over LGBT protections in North Carolina and across the country. The debate moved the transgender community into the public eye.

Some, though, have been on this journey for much longer, particularly parents of transgender children.

Ashley Nurkin’s trek began when her youngest child was 4. Nurkin describes the beginning of that journey “like (being) in a boat in the ocean, all alone.”

Not wanting others to feel the same way, Nurkin helped to organize a local support group for parents, many of whom, like Nurkin, have transgender children of elementary school age.

How have they navigated the bumpy waters of the past year in the debate over bathroom access and having society accept their children? How did they come to terms with their childrens’ transitions?


Ashley Nurkin, mother of 8-year-old transgender girl; co-founder, Transparents of PFLAG Charlotte

Pamela Smith, mother of non-binary transgender child

Jay Norris, father of 7-year-old transgender girl