It's totally natural for girls and boys to be curious about the opposite gender, but Jean, a mom in Maryland, knew it was more than curiosity when her then two-year-old daughter Kathryn firmly said: "I am a boy."
The Washington Post recently wrote a profile of this family, which detailed the journey of Kathryn evolving into Tyler, who, now five years old, is referred to as a boy. At first, Jean and her husband Stephen tried to show Tyler that he was a girl, with girl parts. Tyler's answer to that was a dismayed question: "When did you change me?"
After bringing Tyler to a psychologist who specializes in transgender people, Jean and Stephen were given the official diagnosis: Tyler has gender dysphoria, and, to Tyler's elation, it was recommended that he be allowed to live as a boy.
The Post reports that children have been openly changing genders for less than 10 years, so this is still new and controversial territory. Is it even possible for children as young as two to know they were born the wrong gender? Yes, says Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Patrick Kelly to the Post: "Gender solidifies at about 3 to 6 [years old]." At Tyler's school alone, two other families are looking to enroll a transgender child.
Jean acknowledged to the Post author the struggles Tyler and his family will face once puberty hits—questions about hormone therapy and puberty blockers, and whether Tyler should be allowed to take them at a young age. But for now, Jean said she just wants Tyler to live happily as a boy. "Right now, this works," she told the Post. "He's happy. I just want my child to be happy." Isn't that what every parent wants for their kid?
Watch the Post's interview with Tyler and his parents, and read the eye-opening story about parenting a young transgender child: