Author Profile

Hillary Whittington

Hillary Whittington

Hillary Whittington was born in Oceanside, CA and grew up in a small town north of Temecula, CA.  Upon graduation from high school she attended the University of California, San Diego, where she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Theatre.  While attending UCSD, she obtained three internships consisting of live radio broadcasting for Clear Channel Communications, news writing/weather producing for Fox News, and planning large-scale corporate events for LPL Financial Advising.  After attending UCSD, Hillary went on to become a Territory Manager for Southern Wines & Spirits, followed by a position as the California Regional Manager for Sanuvox Technologies.

Upon the birth of her son, Ryland, Hillary took time away from her professional career to raise her child.   Ryland’s diagnosis as deaf in 2009 further emphasized the need for her to remain at home and provide his necessary care and attention.  Now a mother of two, Hillary has been advocating for her children for years, serving as a classroom volunteer, family mentor, and public speaker.  Through Raising Ryland, she hopes to bring hope, strength, and humor to her experiences as the parent of a transgender child.  In sharing her story, she encourages readers to have the courage to make the world a better place for all of us.


Jeff bio: 

Jeff Whittington was born and raised in San Diego, where he continues to reside with his wife, Hillary, and two children, Ryland and Brynley.  Upon obtaining a Master’s degree in engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Jeff opted to pursue a career as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the City of San Diego. Shortly thereafter, his son Ryland was born and both Hillary and Jeff were faced with challenges that had never anticipated. Ryland was born deaf and once learning to hear and speak with the aid of cochlear implants, he began asserting himself as having a gender identity opposite than that which he was assigned at birth.  

Having a deaf, transgender child was never something Jeff and Hillary had planned for and through the struggles of understanding, education, and acceptance, they embrace their child’s identity with open arms. Jeff left the fire department in 2013 in order to provide more time for the family and become a strong advocate for Ryland and all others like him. Hillary and Jeff continue forward with a message of hope, love, and acceptance for all of our differences so that all children may be provided with the opportunities for happiness and success. 

"On behalf of the San Diego Diplomacy Council, thank you for serving as the opening speaker at our recent Fulbright Enrichment Program on Advocating for Human and Civil Rights for Minority Communities. I feel like the entire program went very well, but from the feedback I've received, your speech was the highlight of the 4-day program. ... I believe that, through this program, we were honestly able to make a positive impact on the world and that the lessons that our fellows learned will ripple into their own communities. "
-- Heidi Knuff, Program Manager, San Diego Diplomacy Council

"Thank you again for visiting and talking with us last month! You were so engaging, and your family's story is both eye opening and inspiring. We have received only positive feedback about your presentation, and we are all happy to have a better understanding of Ryland's life and some of the challenges facing the transgender community. I'll continue sharing your family's story with those around me!"
-- Conor, Private Wealth Management | Investment Management Division Goldman, Sachs & Co.

"It was such an honor for you to come and talk here at UCSD. They want to make Transgender Week of Visibility an annual event now, as the whole week was very well received. I have been getting so much positive feedback. Again, thank you so much for speaking. It was such a pleasure to meet you and Jeff. The audience was very, very receptive to both of you."
-- Daniella, MD/PhD Candidate University of California San Diego

"So glad to have Hillary Whittington share her powerful story at Cast Centers on Tour in San Diego (part of Demi Lovato's Future Now Concert incorporating mental wellness)."
-- Mike Bayer, Founder & CEO of Cast Centers, Personal Development Coach for Demi Lovato

For more about Hillary and her works, go to

Reviews of Raising Ryland

An uplifting testimonial to the power of unconditional familial love and acceptance.
-- Kirkus

Videos featuring Hillary Whittington

Parenting A Transgender Child | Raising Ryland by The Whittington Family

San Diego family shares story of Raising Ryland

The Whittington Family: Ryland's Story