12-year-old school boy has sex change in Sussex, England

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

A map of England with the Sussex region highlighted in red.

A 12 year old boy turned up to start the new academic year as a girl, at a school in England.

The boy, who will remain unnamed, arrived for his first day at secondary school in Sussex in southern England wearing a dress, and with long hair in ribboned pigtails. His parents have had his name changed to a girl's by deed poll, and the boy is now preparing for hormone treatment and eventual surgery.

Former classmates from primary school noticed the change, and the boy was the subject of taunting, including being asked by other children if he was "gay".

The school called an emergency assembly and ordered fellow pupils to treat the individual as female, and threatened tough disciplinary action if he wasn't treated as a girl or if his new name was not used.

Many parents were outraged by the assembly. One of them stated, "They behaved appallingly by throwing this hand grenade into the room and then leaving the inevitable questions about it for unprepared parents. Maybe we could have explained sexual politics and encouraged our kids to be more sensitive if we'd had a chance to be involved."

Breaking news like this in a mass assembly without pre-briefing parents was crass and cruel

—Deidre Sanders, The Sun

Deidre Sanders, an agony aunt for British tabloid The Sun, which broke the story, gave her view: "It's ironic pupils will be disciplined if they fail to handle this child's sex change 'sensitively' — when their school could hardly have handled it less sensitively. Breaking news like this in a mass assembly without pre-briefing parents was crass and cruel — and added to this child's troubles."

Because of the tauntings, the boy was absent from school on Thursday. The family have been receiving threats and the house is now under police protection.

The Sun does know the identity of the boy but has refused to reveal it. The boy had told his classmates that for years he had wanted to be a girl. It is understood that the boy was treated as a male by his primary school principal, despite "girlie" behaviour such as wearing a bikini instead of shorts at swimming lessons, drying himself on Barbie towels, wearing pink ribbons in his hair and riding a pink scooter to school.

In an interview with Sky News Online, a spokesperson for the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) said, "It is very unfortunate [...] It needs a careful process of familiarisation, not the big bang approach. The proper way would have been to train all staff before the term started, to work with the child's peer group and to prepare the teachers to be able to talk to the other pupils and their parents individually to answer their questions. What one school did was get the pupil to talk with peers in an interaction that was supervised by teachers. That kind of careful process is what's required."

Earlier this year, a German born by the name of Tim became Kim Petras after having medication at the age of 12 to suspend her puberty. She later had feminising hormone treatment and eventually gender confirmation surgery at the age of 16, making her the youngest transsexual in the world.

According to the Sun, this 12 year old boy is preparing to progress with hormone therapy and possibly undergo surgery that would make him one of the world's youngest sex-change patients.