Luke's story: a 9 year old transgender boy
My name is Luke. I am 9 years old, and I am a transgender boy (female to male). I was born into an LDS family. I attended primary, and was baptized when I turned 8. I was excited to be baptized. I was also excited that I would start going to activity days with my older sister. She always talked about how much fun they had. Several months after being baptized, I started 3rd grade. It was time for school pictures so my parents took us to get our hair cut. I asked them if I could get a "boy" haircut. I wanted my hair short like a boy. My dad explained to me that there was no such thing as a boy haircut. He said that girls could have short hair and boys could have long hair. Anybody could have whatever hairstyle they wanted. Up until this point, my parents never wanted me to cut my hair. I had asked several times in the past if I could cut it short. The answer was always the same, "We love your long, pretty hair. Let's keep it long for a little while longer."
My parents called me a tomboy. I am athletic, and like to play rough. I like to climb and get dirty. For Halloween I always wanted to dress in a boy costume such as Woody or Superman. My parents didn't have a problem with that, but they'd point out similar costumes like Jessie or Supergirl. I always ended up settling on the girl costumes. I always knew being female felt wrong. I felt very uncomfortable wearing girl clothes and having really long hair.
They let me wear some of my brother's clothes. To me it felt so much better to look like a boy. My parents noticed a change in my personality and my confidence.
At the age of 5 I wanted to be a boy, but I was afraid to tell my parents. I didn't want to disappoint them. I especially didn't want my mom to lose her little girl. That thought made me sad, and I didn't want to make them feel sad. This haircut was a perfect opportunity to tell them how I had been feeling for so long. They decided that I was old enough to express myself however I wanted, so they let me cut it however I wanted. I got it shaved on the sides with stars etched in. I was so happy. I could not stop smiling. My dad asked me why I had decided to get my hair cut so short. My answer was that being a girl never felt right and I wanted to try being a boy. My dad hugged me, told me he loved my hair, and said he loved me. I went to school the next day and everyone was so surprised that my hair was so short. They were all very nice, and I felt amazing. I went home and asked my parents if I could start wearing boy clothes because I really wanted to see how it felt to be a boy. They let me wear some of my brother's clothes. To me it felt so much better to look like a boy. My parents noticed a change in my personality and my confidence.
On day 2 of living as a boy, I told my friends to call me Luke. I was nervous about telling my parents. A neighbor told them that I started going by Luke. My dad talked to me about why I wanted to change my name. I already had a gender neutral name, and my parents wanted me to keep it. To me, the name reminded me of being a girl. It made me uncomfortable. I wanted a completely new name. I chose Luke because it sounded cool to me. I also thought it sounded like a rich kid. It made me feel happy and positive. My parents talked to my teacher about all the changes. The school was wonderful. My teacher immediately changed my name in the computer and on my desk. She explained to the class that I had a new name. The students in my class were so nice. The only problem I had was with the church. Some parents complained to the bishop. They didn't want me coming to activity days unless I came as a girl. I couldn't attend boy scouts either because they don't allow transgender boys. I felt rejected. I was so sad. I told my parents that I didn't understand how a church that taught love and kindness could be so unloving and unkind. My parents promised we would find another activity I could be involved in. We stopped going to that church and found a new one. They were so accepting. They even made the bathrooms gender neutral just for me. It made me feel loved and welcome there. After a few days of being a boy I was so happy.
It still feels so amazing. I feel like this is how I should have been all along.
My parents noticed such a big change in me that they knew this is real. This was not just a phase or experiment. They bought me some new outfits that were more my style. Also a neighbor gave me some of her son's clothes that were sporty. I loved them. Even wearing boys underwear and shoes made me feel so much better. We also redecorated my room to be a boy's room. It's been about a year now that I've been living as a boy. It still feels so amazing. I feel like this is how I should have been all along. I never want to go back. We are in the process of getting my name legally changed. I can't wait until that is done. I'm starting 4th grade at a new school next week. I'm excited to be in a class where nobody knows I ever lived as a girl. If I could say anything to a child who feels the way I do, I would tell them to find a way to tell their parents and don't give up. I would tell their parents to listen to their children and love them as they are. Parents need to understand their children. Even though it's hard sometimes. It's worth it.