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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.

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.
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.
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.
Alejandra Marquez Janse