Episode 99—The Mother's Refuge—featuring Paria Hassouri, MD, author of Found in Transition: A Mother's Evolution During Her Child's Gender Change

Paria’s work is an honest one, a memoir free from the veneer of personal perfection that we’ve grown accustomed to, a type of tailored-for-consumption presentation that I myself am guilty of.I was watching my mind as I read this work of hers, looking to see what thoughts would arise, almost as if I already knew on some level that I would feel the sting of my own boundaries to accept others for who there are. The truth was that I was afraid to meet the limits of my understanding. What I discovered, in Paria’s book and in our conversation, was that the way to expand my love was to meet those limits and not turn away.


The journey of shock, pain, confusion, acceptance, renewal, and love that Paria and her daughter go through is enlightening. It has not only given me a more nuanced understanding of my expanded human family, but it also provided me the opportunity to feel textures and wounds inside me that I’d never touched before. When we are given the chance to see old wounds, we can lay hands on them to heal.


I am thankful for Paria’s courage and willingness to share her book and time with me.




On Thanksgiving morning, Paria Hassouri finds herself furiously praying and negotiating with the universe as she irons a dress her fourteen-year-old, designated male at birth, has secretly purchased and wants to wear to dinner with the extended family. In this wonderfully frank, loving, and practical account of parenting a transgender teen, Paria chronicles what amounts to a dual transition: as her child transitions from male to female, she navigates through anger, denial, and grief to eventually arrive at acceptance. Despite her experience advising other parents in her work as a pediatrician, she was blindsided by her child's gender identity. Paria is also forced to examine how she still carries insecurities from her past of growing up as an Iranian-American immigrant in a predominantly white neighborhood, and how her life experience is causing her to parent with fear instead of love. Paria discovers her capacity to evolve, as well as what it really means to parent and the deepest nature of unconditional love.


This page-turning memoir relates a tender story of loving and parenting a teenager coming out as transgender and transitioning. It explores identity, self-discovery in adolescence and midlife, and difference in a world that values conformity. At its heart, Found in Transition is a universally inspiring portrait of what it means to be a family.




Paria Hassouri is a mother of three and a pediatrician practicing in Los Angeles. She is also a marathoner, transgender rights activist, wine enthusiast (Malbec preferred, but any red will do), storyteller, carbohydrate lover, avid reader (Jane Austen meet Cheryl Strayed), feminist, validator, and shoe addict--not necessarily in that order. She is also a proud Iranian-American and spent most of her formative years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Her personal essays have been published in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Women's Running Magazine, Kevin MD, and Grown and Flown.


She can be found through her website pariahassouri.com, or on Instagram and Twitter.

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-Brother Oran Parker

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