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For NPR's 50th, A Listener Remembers A Story That Guides Her As A Mother

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This show had a big birthday yesterday, so we're celebrating all week. One way is by sharing stories that have stayed with you, our listeners.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Brooke Frizzell of Milwaukee will never forget a 2016 conversation she heard on this show between a parent and child - John and Jake Ralston, a father and his transgender son. Here's Jake.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

JAKE RALSTON: I remember being different. I never wanted to wear dresses or skirts or play with dolls or play house with the other girls. I always played with, you know, the boys. I was running around on the playground. I was getting dirty. I was playing hard. And so I never really fit in.

CORNISH: Jake and his dad were on to talk about the reality of day-to-day life for trans kids and their families. And for listener Brooke Frizzell...

BROOKE FRIZZELL: The story just really struck a chord with me for how this parent's love transcended gender identity. And then it's really stuck with me over the years because about six months after the story aired, I myself became pregnant. And my daughter is 3 1/2. And I think about the story how Jake said he knew he was different from a very young age.

CHANG: Different but seemingly fearless.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

JAKE RALSTON: I've had people come up to me and tell me that I'm an abomination of God, that I'm going to burn in hell and that I bring shame to my family for being trans and that I should put a bullet where my brain is. And, like, I just tell them, if that's how you feel, then that's - I can't change that. And kill them with kindness is always, you know, the best option that I found - is making up for their hatred, their lack of understanding,

JON RALSTON: Hearing those words just now, again, it's just - it's - I'm not angry so much as just devastating to hear that my kid has had to go - to endure that. And it's just awful to hear that.

FRIZZELL: I think of that often and just think about Jon and Jake's relationship and how it's the kind of relationship that I want to foster with my own child.

CORNISH: That's Brooke Frizzell of Milwaukee talking about an ALL THINGS CONSIDERED story that's affected her life. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.
Art Silverman has been with NPR since 1978. He came to NPR after working for six years at a daily newspaper in Claremont, New Hampshire.
Ailsa Chang
Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who hosts All Things Considered along with Ari Shapiro, Audie Cornish, and Mary Louise Kelly. She landed in public radio after practicing law for a few years.
Justine Kenin
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.