‘True Life’ Update: Is Kiara Still Struggling With Her Parent’s Decision To Transition?

Plus, find out what's new with Jessica from the show's 'I Have A Trans Parent' episode.

MTV’s “True Life: I Have A Trans Parent” followed two young people grappling with their parents’ life-changing transitions. We had an opportunity to check in with Kiara, plus Jeffrey’s parent Jessica, to see how their lives have changed since filming wrapped. Take a look at our follow-up Q&As below:


Kiara

What was it like having a camera crew follow you around? What was the hardest part?
I honestly get so nervous when people stare at me, so having a camera recording my every move made me so nervous. The hardest part was not looking directly at the camera, and talking too fast.

Was it easy to talk out your thoughts to someone every time you did something?
I’m not the type of person that expresses their every emotion, I bottle up a lot. Having to constantly talk about what I was thinking was very new and hard to do. Sometimes it’s hard for me to put my thoughts into words.

In the episode, you show us that you express yourself through tattoos. Why do you choose that as a form of expression? What other tattoos do you have?
To me, tattoos are a form of art. Every tattoo I have displays a special moment from a chapter of my life. I currently only have 14 tattoos. I have a complete back tattoo, two incomplete half sleeves, one on my thigh, both of my each side of my torso, and on both of my shoulders.

Zachary seems to have been really helpful in helping you come up with a plan on how to deal with your struggles. Why was it important for you to speak with a peer? Will you continue to reach out to your peers?
I have some very supportive friends and a super-supportive husband, but none of them can really relate to what exactly I’m going through. It’s important to have someone who can relate to the emotions that come with having a parent who is transitioning. I would love to reach out, or others reach out to me. I know there are more kids out there that may feel like they can’t talk to anyone or ask questions that they really need answered or to get out certain emotions that they may be having about their parents or someone close to them transitioning.

What advice would you give someone who’s having a hard time dealing with their parent’s transition?
Have patience and be openminded. It’s important to remember that, in a way, you’re going through a transition as well, and viewing your parent as a different gender doesn’t happen overnight. Also, you have to stay open minded and try to understand their reason for their transition.

Do you ever plan on talking to your son about his Grampy’s transition? How so?
Although my dad would rather him never know, I wouldn’t lie to my son if the subject ever came up. When I first had him, I was going to tell him when he got to a certain age, but since my dad is having his top surgery and wants to be identified as a male, I will respect his wishes. But if Kamari ever asked, I would sit him down and explain everything the best I can.

What’s the message you want everyone to take away from this episode?
I want everyone who watched this episode to understand that transgender people are just like everyone else with real emotions, normal lives and families. The only thing that sets transgender people apart from everyone else is that they are battling a war deep inside themselves, just waiting to burst out and be who they are on the outside like the feel on the inside — and to have their family and friends support them. If one person watches this episode and may know someone transgender, it will show them that love and support is important.


Jessica

What was it like having a camera crew follow you around? What was the hardest part?
At first it was difficult, but the crew were all so incredibly nice and everyone loved them. I got used to it pretty quickly. I think if they were not nice people, it would have been much worse, but they became part of the family quickly.

What is the message that you like to get across in your talks? What is the message you’d like people to take away from this episode?
We want people to treat the transgender community like everyone else, not special, not different, not weird. Just as we are — ordinary, everyday people. I go to the college and university campuses to help these people understand more and give them the chance to ask any question that they like. These young students are the future doctors, teachers, nurses, parents etc. in our world, and if I can give them a little insight to what we are about, there will be less violence, ignorance, discrimination etc. toward our community in the future. We must stop our young children being kicked out of their homes or beaten up in school or being bullied by the world simply for being comfortable looking in the mirror. With this episode, I would love to reach as many people has humanly possible about our message. If it only helps one person in the world, then it has been worth it.

How is Jeffrey doing in the Air Force? How does it feel not having him around?
Jeffrey is not liking the Air Force. He said he has made some friends but he is very bored a great deal of time; I hope he can make it and deal with the people in there. I miss him a great deal, as I miss all my children. It’s difficult not being able to talk with him whenever I want, but he is an awesome young man that will do very well.

In the episode, we see you not giving up on trying to bring the family back together even though it seems that your son doesn’t want to speak with you. Do you think you’ll ever give up? Why or why not?
No. I will never give up trying to bring my children together again — never. My kids are good, kind boys, and they will come around. It may take a bit longer, but I will never give up trying, I promise you that.

What’s the message you would want to give to your estranged sons?
That both me and Jeffrey miss and love them every minute of every day. Jeffrey has sent numerous letters to both and has never had a response. If I had my way to do it over again, things would have been much different. I’m not saying I would not have transitioned, but I guarantee my kids would all still have a relationship with each other and not so filled with hate. I want them to know how much I love them and will never stop loving and caring about them both and how proud I am of them. I would beg them to at least get hold of Jeffrey — he did absolutely nothing wrong, and he desperately wants the both of them to be a part of his life. He misses them so much and will do anything to see them again. I want them both to know that I love them so much, and I promise I will be part of their lives again.

For more on being transgender, visit Look Different.

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