For a transgendered person, coming out to their friends and family can be one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. For Eric Maison of Detroit and their daughter Corey, however, that worry was only one part of the story, because both had to go through the experience of revealing the truth to those they loved.
This is the story of a father and a daughter who began their experience as a mother and a son before discovering that both had the same feelings.
10. The Maison’s Story Begins
While growing up, Erica Maison remembered wishing to get breast cancer, simply because she wanted to have a legitimate medical reason to remove the breasts that she never wanted in the first place. While growing up, she had always felt she had more in common with men, but growing up in an era where transgendered individuals were rarely seen positively meant she had no idea that she could be a man. Instead, she tried to be as female as she could — knowing she wasn’t happy with her life.
9. The Arrival Of Corey
Erica’s efforts to live a female life included the birth of five children — but even those experiences couldn’t make living as a woman tolerable for her. Instead, Erica hated everything about her body while pregnant, with the presence of her children being the only positive thing from the experience.
“Once I hit womanhood I started trying to play the part and dress as female as I could to see if that would help me feel better about myself,” Erica said. “But it never worked, I just felt like I was dressing up.”
Erica’s pregnancy photos are a giveaway, revealing none of the joy an expecting mother usually displays. But the birth of Erica’s only son Corey would mark the beginning of changes for the better for the Maison family.
Find out how a video helped parent and child discover who they really were in slide 8!
8. Corey Makes A Discovery
Corey, the Maison’s only son, had never felt comfortable being a male. As a child, Corey had always felt that he was a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and those feelings were finally brought to the surface in 2012 when he and Erica watched a documentary about Jazz Jennings, a transgendered female who was born male. At that moment, Corey felt like the truth had come to the surface and that he was the same way.
He didn’t know it at the time, but Erica felt the same way as her son, in reverse. But while Corey would waste no time revealing who she truly was, Erica would keep her secret until 2015.
7. Corey’s History And Erica’s Sacrifice
Despite Erica’s feelings that being a man was finally possible, she kept her secret for one reason: a desire to do what was best for Corey. Throughout his past as a boy, Corey had been depressed about being stuck in the wrong gender and admitted thoughts of suicide before discovering who she really was. The last thing Erica wanted was for her son to continue to struggle, so even though she badly wanted to leave Erica behind for good, she held onto her secret to make Corey’s transition to female as seamless as possible.
Check out the gift from Erica that helped Corey blossom in slide 6!
6. Corey’s Greatest Gift
In 2014, the family gave their only son the thing Corey had always wanted: the chance to go from son to daughter. Erica and her husband Les hid Corey’s prescription for estrogen treatments that would make Corey the girl that she had always wanted to be in the couch, and their newest daughter began crying tears of joy when she saw that she was finally free to be on the outside what she had always been on the inside.
“It was the happiest day of my life. I could go out in public and no one knew I was transgender,” she said.
For Erica, that happiness of freeing the person he was inside wouldn’t wait much longer.
5. Corey’s Bravery Inspires Eric
While Corey’s school proved very accepting of her change from male to female, her new life was anything but easy. She found herself bullied, spit on, and called several unflattering names among her peers, making an already challenging experience even harder. Through it all though, she continued to blossom as the girl becoming the woman she had always dreamed of being. The person she had the biggest impact on was her own mother, who decided it was finally time to be brave himself.
“‘I just saw this brave child facing the world, and I finally said to myself, ‘If she can do this, so can I,’” Eric said.
Find out the hardest part of Eric’s transition in slide number 4!
4. Eric Confides In His Husband
For Eric, the hardest part of the experience was telling the man he had raised a family with that the woman that he had fallen in love with was now gone. Just like Corey had been afraid of not being accepted, Eric feared that his husband would not accept the Maison’s new reality, especially considering that Les would now be a heterosexual man married to another man.
Les’ reaction could not have been further from Eric’s fears. When the couple watched a movie featuring a transgendered character who dies at the end, Eric revealed his true self, and his husband stood by him.
“(Les) said, ‘I love you,’ and ‘Whatever we have to do to make this work, we will.” From that moment, Eric felt he was finally free.
3. Eric Becomes Himself
Soon after, Eric began taking testosterone and finally removed the long hair that he had hated for so many years and only wore in his attempt to be the female he thought he was required to be. Just like his daughter was when she discovered her estrogen therapy treatments, Eric was overcome by emotion when he finally had the mastectomy he had wanted so many years ago, weeping when he saw himself with his new body.
Check out Corey’s efforts to help others like herself in slide 2!
2. Corey Becomes A Voice For Transgendered Teens
While her mother was in the process of becoming a man, Corey was using her social media channel to help other children in her situation embrace themselves as they are. Since her transition began, she has posted several photos on her Instagram account to show off her new self with the hashtag #ThisIsWhatTransLooksLike — and the multitude of pictures would make it impossible to guess that she had ever been anything but a girl.
1. The Maison Family Today
For the Maison family, little has changed besides Eric and Corey’s bodies. Even though he identifies as a man now, Eric’s children all still call him “mom,” and his marriage to Les remains as strong as it ever was.
“I fell in love with the person. She was beautiful as a woman but equally beautiful on the inside,” Les Maison said. “As long as Eric is happy with the appearance, Eric will be happy with what’s in her brain – or his brain.”
Becoming father and daughter — and the experience of transitioning together — has made Eric and Corey even closer. Corey plans to complete her transition at the age of 18 and undergo full sexual reassignment surgery, and both she and her father are enjoying their lives much more.
“We’re just happier overall,” Eric says. “Holding a secret breaks us up and puts up obstacles. We’re better people and have better relationships with our family members.
“The only regret I have is not being educated sooner about what transgenderism was, so I could do it sooner. But that’s OK because I have five beautiful children, I have an amazing husband.”