A schoolgirl who came out as transgender inspired her future stepfather to begin transitioning from a woman into a man – just two weeks later.
Arianna Quizhpi was born Jorge and raised as a boy but told her mother Jasming Arce, 33, that she was transgender at the age of six.
At the time Jasming – who identifies as being ‘pansexual’ – had split from Jorge’s father and was living with her girlfriend Jennifer Hull.
And just two weeks after Arianna began her transition to female in July 2016, Jennifer found the courage to come out as a man called Braxton.
Jasming and Braxton, 36, are now married and say brave Arianna is an inspiration to them and the wider trans community.
Braxton, a mechanical engineer, said watching her transition encouraged him to make the “physical and emotional leap” he had buried since he was a young child.
The family, of Cranford, New Jersey, USA, are now living as their authentic selves and have been a solid support to one another throughout their transitions.
Braxton, who is also a dad to Stella, six, and Nicholas, four, said: “I was still in denial.
“I grew up in a conservative family that was really religious. I never had a word to describe how I felt.
“When I saw Arianna making this change it allowed me to traverse the unknown.
“I thought if this child can do this, and this can be accepted then maybe I could.
“She did what I couldn’t so at her age.
“I decided to take the physical and emotional leap.
“My wife is so open-minded, she is just amazing. Arianna is lucky to have such a wonderful mother who is so supportive.”
Arianna, now aged eight, added: “I thought it was a little crazy that somebody else in the family was transgender but I felt happy because we could share stuff together.
“It made me feel pretty sad when everyone thought I was a boy because I always knew I was a girl.
“When I was allowed to be myself. I was really happy.
“Telling my mom really changed my life.”
Energy healer Jasming is pansexual, which is defined as someone who is “romantically or emotionally attracted towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity”.
She started dating Braxton – then Jennifer – June 2016, just a month before Jorge announced he wanted to become a girl called Arianna.
Jasming, who married Braxton in July 2017, said the change in her daughter and husband since their transitions has been incredible.
“I noticed whenever Arianna used to draw, she would draw herself as a girl, or a female superhero rather than a male,” she said.
“It came to a point where she would get so upset when we tried to give her a haircut. She just didn’t want to have her hair cut short like a boy.
“Something different about her. From the beginning I was reluctant to push gender on her.
“One afternoon I asked Arianna if she liked being a boy.
“When she told me ‘No’ I was a little bit overwhelmed, but I’m a pretty open minded person.
“It wasn’t such a big deal to me, I was proud that she could express who she is.
“At the beginning of her transition I mostly felt nervous for her, but I knew I had to help her be the person she was meant to be.
“When Arianna tried on her stepsister’s clothes for the first time, I watched her light up. It gave me chills. She was just different.
“She started school that September as Arianna.
“When Braxton told be he was trans it made sense. I was actually really relieved and proud because it was his first step to living his authentic, true self.
“It truly has been a blessing to witness them transition simultaneously without ever really second guessing the situation.
“It felt very natural to watch them take their true forms.”
Although Braxton has changed his name and gender legally, the family is waiting until Arianna is older to legally change her name.
The eight-year-old will begin hormone treatment when the first signs of puberty emerge.
Arianna, who loves bowling, says she hopes her story will encourage other transgender children to confide in their parents.
She said: “If you feel this way you should tell your parents and if they don’t listen you should tell a teacher how you feel.
“I hope telling my story will help other kids.”
Braxton added: “Arianna is inspiring to me. She has such a strong voice and I’m very proud of her.”