Two parents helped their four-year –old daughter live her life as a boy.
Sarah and Yuri Brown said that at age two their daughter Sophie told them she was a boy.
"At first I didn’t argue with her much, as I thought it was just a phase. But she was insistent,” Sarah said.
Psychological tests diagnosed Sophie with Gender Identity Disorder.
Brown showed her an anatomy book to explain that she was a girl. However, Sophie insisted that she was indeed a boy despite her female parts. She thought her parents changed her.
At age four, Sophie refused to wear dresses, many which were passed down from her older sister Olivia who is eight.
Although Olivia has the interests of many young girls her age such as fashion and makeup, Sophie prefers superheroes.
"Once when she was wearing the costume someone came up and said, ‘Oh you are Spidergirl’. But she was insistent, ‘No, I’m Spiderman,’ her mother said. .
"She started wearing androgynous, plain white tank tops to school. I sat down and said, ‘What’s wrong with your clothes, why won’t you wear them?’ And she said, ‘They’re too girlie,’ Sarah told reporters.
Sophie’s parents said that she’s always identified with the male characters on TV and even portrayed male roles when playing games.
Her parents decided to allow Sophie to live her life as a boy when she began imitating a man shaving.
“…she got into our medicine cabinet and tried to use my razor, pretending to shave her face, and she cut her lip,” Yuri said.
Sarah and Yuri found a therapist and decided to research Gender Identity Disorder. They found that if parents are not supportive of the child’s desire to live a transgender they can likely suffer from anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and emotional scars.
They said Sophie was thrilled to learn that they supported her, especially since she could finally shop in the boys department.
"We bought shirts and shorts. And where Sophie had been wearing two piece swimsuits we switched over to pirate-themed shorts and sun tops — ones that made her identify as a boy,” they said.
After changing her wardrobe, they all agreed to change her name to Jake. They also explained the transition to her big sister.
“At first she started to get upset and say, ‘I want my sister back,’ Sophie’s parents said. “She got time with the therapist to talk it through and they worked out what she could say to her friends. After that she was fine.”
Last fall, their family decided to go public with Sophie’s transition at school, church, and in their community.
“We were so nervous as we knew people would judge us. I was ready for a fight,’ Sarah said. “My sole priority was making sure no one hurt my child. I wasn’t going to allow anybody to make him feel bad.”
To their surprise, they found immense support at both church and Sophie’s school. Their minister even welcomed transgender speakers to present one Sunday to educate the congregation.
Sophie’s teacher helped create a supportive classroom environment by reading a book about a transgender child.
“We found a book called When Kathy is Keith about a male to female transition and the teacher read it to the kids and talked about how Sophie feels like the character in this book. Thank goodness it was pretty smooth. The kids just accepted it. Everyone switched to Jake and life went on.”
Sarah and Yuri are now researching how to navigate the process as Sophie gets older and experiences puberty.
"We will have to start making decisions — about whether we will need to give him puberty blockers and hormones or more. I’m part of a parent online support group, we speak to parents in the middle of the process. So we are prepared,” the Browns explained.
The Browns are thankful to have this eye-opening experience from their child.
"I am so proud of Jake for staying true to himself and so grateful he is my child,” they said. He has challenged my narrow definitions of gender and made me a better person. He has forced us all to re-examine our beliefs.”