From the time when she was eleven years old, Corey Maison knew she wanted to be a girl. Fearing disapproval from her parents she didn't reveal her feelings about changing gender. Little did she know, her mother Erica, was also coming to comes with a new gender identity of her own. Four years later, the father-daughter duo are embarking on a new journey together.
The Detroit family was watching a documentary of a transgendered girl when it was like a light bulb went off for both of them.
"That's when we both learned what it meant to be transgender, and realized that that explained both of us exactly," Eric said.
Erica, now Eric, watched his son Corey become the girl she had always known she was and that gave him strength to confront his lifelong desire to become male. Just like his child, the 39-year-old feared what his husband and children would think of the change. A year of hormone therapy and a double mastectomy, Eric feels more like his self and has been welcomed by his family with open arms.
For years both members of this family felt uncomfortable in their own bodies.
"I was always sad and angry all the time, and I didn't know what to do about it," Cory says.
The 15-year-old knew something was off, but wasn't exactly sure what. Eric felt the same way.
"I knew that something was off, but I didn't know what that was. I knew that I hated my body, I was very ashamed of it, but I didn't know, cognitively, why," Eric adds. "Honestly, I just thought it was me. I thought there was something wrong with my brain."
While Corey came out right after watching the documentary, Eric however, waited three more years.
The mother-of-five always put her children's needs ahead of her own feelings.
"I wanted to make sure that my child was taken care of. I wanted to do everything to make sure her transition was smooth and everything was in place," he says. "As a parent, you want to put your kids first."
In 2015, Corey started the hormone treatments, which was her final step in her transition.
"Today after waiting 2 1/2 years she FINALLY got her estrogen. I picked it up while she was in school so she had no idea," Eric captioned the video. "We have been waiting months for the readiness letter to be finalized and sent to Chicago, so had no idea on a timeline of when it would actually happen."
That's when Eric felt comfortable to finally come out, first to his therapist, then to his husband Les.
"It actually came about by accident. [Les and I] were watching the movie The Danish Girl, and the transgender girl named Lili dies at the end, and when she dies I was crying so hard, more than you cry from a movie, and my husband hugs me and says, "˜Are you okay?' And I said, "˜I'm sorry you're stuck with a freaking Lili.' And he took a minute to think and process that and he said, "˜I love you, and no matter what we'll make this work,' " Eric recalls.
"It was completely unexpected... because how do you ask a completely heterosexual man to still love you if you're becoming a man? That's not fair," Eric said.
After taking testosterone treatments, he underwent surgery to remove both breasts.
"It's kind of ironic that something needed to be removed from my body to feel more complete," Eric says. "It was a major turning point for me. My biggest area of dysmorphia, my whole life, from puberty, from the time I started developing breasts, was my chest."
Now, both Corey and Eric feel more comfortable in their bodies.
"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."