How I became the boy I always knew I was: Transgender teen's powerful story of starting female to male transition at just 13
22:32 GMT, 29 May 2012
A teenager has told how he began his transition from female to male at the age of just 13.
Isaac, now 17, from New York, describes his parents' initial resistance, judgement from his school and peers, and how a mastectomy and puberty-blocking drugs stopped him developing a feminine shape.
In an interview with New York Magazine, he says he longed to be a boy from early childhood.
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Always a boy: Though Isaac (pictured as a child, left, and several months ago, right) was born female, he says he knew from a very early age that he wanted to be male
'Around six, I just started getting pissed at girls who wore pink,' he said. 'Why are you doing that to yourself'
He successfully convinced his parents that it was more than a passing phase after presenting himself as male at a sixth grade summer camp.
'I'd been to the same school since I was two and never had a blank slate,' he explained. 'I couldn’t stop myself.'
Predictably, his parents were stunned
when they arrived to collect their daughter at the end of the camp, only
to find that they had a son instead.
The couple, both artists and completely accepting of their child's desires, had assumed that Isaac was just 'gender-queer'.
Strong opinions: Isaac was aged just six when he started getting annoyed by girls who wore pink He would think: 'Why are you doing that to yourself'
Tomboy: Even as a child, Isaac had boyish tendencies in the toys he chose and how he liked to dress
But this was just the first stage in what would be a long and difficult process, as the family now had to address the impending puberty process, which Isaac was desperately keen to prevent.
But despite the support of the city's top medical and psychiatric opinions, the prospect of puberty-blocking drugs was too much for his mother, who insisted that he wait.
'I instinctually didn’t want to start messing with Isaac’s endocrine system. I said no,' she admitted.
Isaac's distress at getting his first period was the moment that changed her mind, and by the start of the next summer, he began taking the drug Lupron.
'I chose a pill form,' he told the magazine. 'I should probably have
started injections, which have a stronger effect, but I don’t like
shots. I should have manned up.'
Turning point: Isaac was 12 when he went to summer camp and presented himself as a boy to his new friends
That was the year Isaac also posted a video self-portrait on YouTube, detailing his transformation from a long-haired little girl to teenage boy.
A montage of photographs set to music, it was titled: There Once Was a Little Girl (Who Never Existed), and sparked a supportive and enthusiastic response from the almost 20,000 people who viewed it.
'There was not one phone call for any birthday party or playdate for two years'
But while the online community – and, indeed, those sixth grade summer campers – had been completely accepting of Isaac's
decision to become a boy, the Manhattan private school he attended was
Isaac was required to stand in front of his class and field questions about his gender change, which, though he answered willingly and honestly, did not stop him from becoming a social outcast.
'There was not one phone call for any birthday party or playdate for two years,' his mother admitted.
The school even rejected
the teenager's requests to make a presentation to his fellow students on
the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
at a new school, Isaac is firmly accepted as his male self. He has
fallen in with a group of girls, some of whose parents, he admits to the
interviewer with a degree of pride, do not let him sleep over.
Online support: A video Isaac posted about his journey has received almost 20,000 views on YouTube
He looks and speaks more like a man now too, thanks to the testosterone he started taking at 15, and a mastectomy last summer in California, (the only state where some surgeons will operate on under-18s) to remove the breast tissue that had developed before he began taking the puberty blockers.
His parents could not be more proud and told how they had 'very quickly got used to the pleasure of having a son.'
But Isaac doesn't feel the need to overdemonstrate his masculinity.
'I act as a fairly effeminate male a lot of the time,' he says. 'I'm giggly, I have no interest in sports. I’m not the most masculine transperson. But I’m a guy.'