Corey Maison was born in Detroit, U.S., to proud parents Erica and Les. But as a little boy, he battled a few demons. He always felt like something wasn’t quite right.
Corey couldn’t shake the feeling that he was born in the wrong body. And, after years of confusion, young Corey finally came to a brave realization. He wanted to identify as a girl, and not as a boy.
Corey was terrified to tell his family that he wanted to transition. Indeed, in 2017 he told Australia’s 60 Minutes that he always wanted “to make my parents proud of who I am, but I thought that they would not like me.” However, he decided it had to be done.
Luckily, the revelation went down much better than expected with Corey’s parents. They supported his decision and chose not to stand in the way of their son’s happiness. And so Corey’s transition began, but it was to be a long road ahead.
Corey began experimenting with her appearance, although she hadn’t quite mastered the art of makeup just yet. She grew her blonde hair out and became much happier as a person, finally feeling truly like herself. Unfortunately, however, the little girl didn’t escape some cruel teasing at school.
In September 2015, Corey started hormone treatment for the first time. An emotional video captured the youngster opening a box and bursting into tears when she realized it contained the hormones she needed, and the footage quickly went viral. To date, it has reached over seven million views.
However, the video also sparked a heated debate over Erica’s decision to support Corey’s transition. But there was one particular reason why Corey’s mom might have been especially open to the idea of her son transitioning. A very good reason.
Why? Because eventually Erica herself decided that she too wanted to transition. Indeed, what no one knew was that Erica had also been struggling with her gender identity. So, three years after Corey began transitioning, Erica decided to become Eric.
Eric had watched a documentary on Jazz Jennings, a girl who had famously made the transition. This program had only cemented the decision in his mind. Of course, the thought of transitioning was still scary, but he knew that ultimately it would lead to finding happiness within himself.
Spurred on by his daughter’s courage, Eric revealed to Australia’s 60 Minutes just how much he hated being a woman. In fact, he revealed that he had “hated being pregnant.” He also said, “[I] used to wish for cancer so I would have to get a mastectomy.”
However, Eric was worried about the family’s future, and said that he was also concerned about “what the rest of my life was going to look like.” But he knew too that transitioning was necessary for his future happiness. The next step for Eric, however, was to be the most terrifying of all: he was going to undergo a double mastectomy.
So, within just a matter of years, the family dynamic had changed from a mother-and-son relationship to a father-and-daughter relationship. For some families a change this major would be enough to break them. But not the Maisons.
They have stayed a strong family unit, despite the harsh criticism thrown at them. Corey in particular suffered bullying so bad that she questioned whether or not she wanted to even continue living. And in 2016 the Daily Mail reported that bullies actually told Corey to kill herself.
But Corey remained determined. Instead of going to pieces, she threw herself into modeling and campaigning. And in 2016 she featured in a Seventeen magazine campaign called #VisibleMe, encouraging others to be brave and embrace their true selves.
These days, Corey has become an internet sensation, with over 65,000 followers on Instagram. She regularly posts positive messages, actively trying to change the public mindset about the transgender community. But she’s never far from trolls on social media, and the occasional harmful message does feature among the thousands of supportive comments.
A recent Instagram post from Corey attacks the common public conception that there are only two genders. She tells followers to “educate yourself before you open your mouth.” She also reminds the world that, “Gender identity is in your brain, not in your pants.”
Now that Corey and Eric are living the life they believe they were meant to, they are much more content in themselves. Eric recently told Australia’s 60 Minutes that, “My life’s pretty good now. It’s awesome.” But what does Eric’s husband, Les, have to say about the transitions?
Well, he doesn’t have a problem with it. Speaking about his wife to 60 Minutes he said, “I fell in love with the person.” Les continued, “She was beautiful as a woman, but equally beautiful on the inside. As long as Eric is happy with the appearance, Eric will be happy with what’s in her brain, or his brain.”
So, do the family have any regrets? Well, according to Eric, they don’t. In fact, he said he only wishes that they had been educated earlier about transgenderism. And he would have had the double mastectomy sooner had he known more about it.
Corey and Eric’s decision to transition took a huge amount of courage. But they are now using their experiences to support other people going through the turmoil of confused gender identity. “It feels so good to be MYSELF and it feels even better to love myself!” Corey said in an Instagram post. And here’s hoping that she can help other people feel the same way in the future.