When Kassondra Elliott met her then-boyfriend Jacob Laybourn in 2012, their relationship seemed normal. Already a mother to one daughter, Sydney*, from a past relationship, the young massage therapist started to notice her boyfriend’s behavior change when she became pregnant with her and Laybourn’s daughter Kennedy*. Laybourn admitted to her that he felt he had “two people in his head.” Elliott took this as her cue to encourage him to seek therapy.
Little did she know that the same therapy session in which he was diagnosed as bipolar would snowball into a complete identity transformation. The man she once “had love for” has now become a transgender-identifying woman whom Elliott “barely recognizes,” and has recently taken joint custody of Kennedy—exposing her to every chemical and surgical element of “transgender care.”
It all started out with a simple confession while the two were drinking—Laybourn had slept with men in college but insisted to Elliott that it was “just experimental.” Yet Elliott noticed his emotional issues began to build up. She already knew that Laybourn had a family history of schizophrenia, and she watched as his bipolar diagnosis and seasonal affective disorder began to change their relationship dynamic.
In one instance, Elliott had prepared an all-encompassing birthday celebration for her then-boyfriend but said she received “no recognition.” To allegedly make it up to her, Laybourn planned a night out with their friends. To Elliott’s surprise, this night out ended up taking place at a gay bar.
There, Elliott said Laybourn became visibly emotional, sobbing, and then dumped her, saying their family was over. She recalled one of his male friends holding her hands, consoling her to “accept the change” that her boyfriend was a gay man. Within two days, Elliott said, Laybourn started dating that friend.
“My whole life just imploded,” Elliott told IWF, explaining how she and her daughters moved in with her parents and that she struggled to balance their schedule and her own day spa business. “I had to do massages through tears. I had to do nails through tears, and I lost clients because of that. I had to start over a little bit. It just was so embarrassing.”
Determined to raise her girls and maintain a certain sense of normalcy, Elliott and Laybourn came to a verbal agreement on how he could stay in contact with the children and visit during the holidays.
After what Elliott thought was an amicable family road trip to the Pacific Northwest, Laybourn decided to move to Portland, Oregon, where he would remain until COVID-19 lockdown riots “got dangerous.” Upon his return to Wyoming, Elliott said that Laybourn, now identifying as a bisexual femme, moved in with a woman. This woman allegedly didn’t get along with Sydney and caused division between the sisters.
“Next thing I know, I’m being served for full custody [of Kennedy],” Elliott said. “Then, the first time I was supposed to meet our GAL (guardian ad litem) was right when [Laybourn] came out as transgender.”
When Laybourn first introduced his transgender identity to Elliott, she said he labeled himself as “a rebel.” He started going by Jade and began using female pronouns. Elliott recalled that in January 2022, several comments Laybourn made about how he planned to change his body to fit this new identity prompted a debate about what was appropriate to share with Sydney and Kennedy.
“He told [Kennedy] how he wanted to change his breasts, how he was going to start doing injections to get fat to grow on his body, and then eventually he would ‘get a round thing’ to put inside his breasts to make them ‘round and luscious like mommy’s,” Elliott explained.
Laybourn continued to experiment with his appearance, growing his hair out long on one side, completely shaving it on the other, and dyeing it bright colors. Elliott said that he began wearing makeup and would even have Kennedy apply cosmetics on his face. Additionally, Elliott said Laybourn would take their daughter dress shopping and even bra shopping. All of this took place when Kennedy was only seven years old.
“Unfortunately, she has said that her dad makes her feel bad for being a natural girl to the point where, yes, she does like more boyish things because of it,” Elliott said. “It’s like she’s disgusted a little bit. She’s almost like, ‘I don’t want to wear dresses because of how much he wears dresses now.’”
When their trial for custody was held in February 2023, Elliott thought that the questioning was focused more on Laybourn’s transgender identity, noting that the judge even asked her if she was “trying” to use Laybourn’s new name and pronouns. She also said that the trial was less focused on parenting and co-parenting skills. This was a point of concern for Elliott, who said that Laybourn “self-medicates with lithium,” allegedly isn’t under supervision for his medical “transition,” and that he demonstrates patterns of neglectful behavior when Kennedy is staying with him.
At the end of the trial, the GAL rewrote their order, took primary custodial parent status from Elliott, and gave Laybourn 50-50 visitation with no communication to the other parent during visits. Since then, Elliott said that the whole situation has “been a living hell.”
Given that she still has the final say on medical and education needs, Elliott fought for Kennedy to undergo a full psychiatric diagnostic evaluation because she feels that her daughter’s emotional health is being compromised by Laybourn’s behavior.
“It’s like, ‘You’re not considering that your daughter is uncomfortable. You’re not considering age-inappropriate material [being] divulged to her. You’re not concerned with the fact that women don’t naturally just sit here exposing their breasts to their children,’” Elliott said, expressing how she wishes that her children could maintain their innocence. She continued:
“Why, at seven-and-a-half, even nine, do they need to know that like at all? That’s like almost the equivalent of telling them, ‘Oh yeah, I have sex with my boyfriend. Would you like to know about that?’ No, that’s not healthy.”
Elliott shared with IWF that, ultimately, what she wants is for her daughters to get “back to a normal, healthy, steady life” and for there to be broader dialogue in Wyoming and nationwide about how children in similar situations may also be exposed to inappropriate conduct. She pointed out that she doesn’t believe in “ripping families apart or taking away visitation,” but that she feels particularly concerned when children’s innocence is at stake.
To this day, Elliott shared that she is still fighting and actively seeking legal assistance to get a monitored limited visitation schedule as well as restore her status as primary custodial parent. Additionally, Elliott said that she has made it one of her top priorities to protect Kennedy by keeping her in an active psychiatric evaluation due to the potential damage done to her daughter’s mental health.
“If there are ever any other women going through this, stand in your truth,” Elliott said. “Yes, it’s isolating. Yes it hurts, but it’s just temporary. Remember, if you put your children first, it will always lead you in the right direction.”
*To protect the identity of the children mentioned, some names in this profile have been changed.
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