Mimi and Joe Lemay discuss their child's transition from "Mia" to "Jacob."
This week "NBC Nightly News" debuted the first of Kate Snow’s series on transgender children.
The segment, titled "Jacob's Journey," was a hit with viewers. Nearly 8 million people tuned in to watch the story of 5-year-old Jacob Lemay, who was born a girl but has identified as a boy since birth.
Since the six-minute segment was posted to NBC News' Facebook page, it has received 10 million views and counting.
The "NBC Nightly News" reports on transitioning children are airing the same week that Bruce Jenner will sit down with Diane Sawyer for a "20/20" special, in which the Olympian turned reality-TV star will reportedly discuss his transition to becoming a woman.
In anticipation of Jenner's interview, NBC is taking a look into the lives of families raising transgender children. Here's the story of how the Lemay family knew their daughter "Mia" was transgender — and how Mia transitioned into "Jacob."
"Jacob is your typical, energetic little boy," says his mom, Mimi.
"He loves to run around and play in the dirt. He's a youthful, energetic little boy."
"He's the funnest kid and a great buddy," says his dad, Joe. "He was also born in a girl's body."
Jacob is transgender.
"The doctor said that we had a girl coming, so we started thinking of girl names."
"'Mia' was born in 2010."
"Mia constantly wanted to change her clothes, like 12 times a day."
"Then the dog sweater came and she became obsessed with wearing one garment for six months straight. In hindsight I think she was trying to dispel a sense of discomfort in her image that was being shown to the world."
"She would take on boy personas and always want to play with boy things, we thought we had a tomboy on our hands."
"She didn't fit in with the boys and she didn't fit in with the girls. It was obvious to her and to the other kids."
"She would retreat from people and wouldn't look people in the eyes when they were talking to her."
"Her need to play boy roles and to be seen or spoken to as a boy at home became very persistent, and very consistent. Those are the hallmarks of a possibly transgender child — consistence, persistence, and insistence. And she was meeting all of those markers."
"A mother's heart knows when her child is suffering," says Jacob's mom. "He was talking about hating his body, I found him angrily poking at himself one day, wanting to be something different. He would say 'Why did god make me this way? Why did god make me wrong?'"
One day after a near car accident, Jacob's mom realized that if something were to happen, she didn't want to "force her to be Mia for that one last day. At that point, my mind was made up."
In April of last year, the family took a trip and bought Jacob a Prince Charming costume. "We hadn't yet transitioned Jacob, but he had short hair and was wearing almost entirely boy clothes... and he just glowed. Something clicked."
Jacob's parents showed him the video of the boy, asking if he wanted to be like Ryland, but he said: "I can't, I can be what I like at home, but I have to be Mia at school."
Jacob's parents explained that he could start at a new school where everyone would know him as a boy from the beginning, and he immediately said "That's what I want. I want to be a boy always. I want to be a boy named Jacob."