A five-year-old child from Essex has become one of the youngest transgender people in the UK.
Zach Avery was just three years old when mother-of-four Theresa was told by her child, ‘Mummy, I’m a girl’, reported The Sun newspaper.
‘I assumed he was just going through a phase and just left it at that,’ Theresa said.
‘But then it got serious and he would become upset if anyone referred to him as a boy.
‘He used to cry and try to cut off his willy out of frustration.’
After taking him to a specialist in London, Zach was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder.
Theresa and father Darren, however, have been fully supportive and Zach has been living as a girl for more than a year now, wearing dresses and ribbons in her hair.
Her primary school has been equally understanding, allowing Zach to wear a girl’s school uniform and use special toilets.
However, the parents say they will leave it up to Zach to decide what he wants to do in the future and will respect his decision either way.
‘The important thing is that the parents are supporting the child to express him or herself in a way the child is comfortable with,’ said Belcher, who believes people’s identity is fairly fixed from birth.
She told Gay Star News: ‘Lots of people have known that they were trans since the age of five, six or seven and it’s not unknown for that to be obvious beforehand.
‘It’s quite possible that this child might decide later on that actually she’s quite happy being a boy and that would be perfectly fine.’
Belcher says she also knew from an early age that she was trans.
‘Certainly by the age of seven, I knew that I couldn’t tell anybody else,’ she explained.
‘I must have expressed it in some way by that age and told it was not appropriate to do so.’
She added: ‘But these parents are prepared to take that at face value, rather than imposing their idea of what the child should be.
‘What this allows this child to do, irrespective of whether they choose to be female from here on in or not, is learn to deal with the world, not hide from it, which is fantastic.’
According to the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which diagnosed Zach with GID, 165 children have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria this year and only seven children under the age of five were diagnosed last year.