A transgender 6-year-old is thriving well in school, thanks to the real support she’s receiving from teachers and staff. Seth was born a boy, but has always been more comfortable as a girl. Her name is Skyler Burns and her parents haven’t discouraged her feelings or path in life.
Skyler, who lives in Queensland, has begun school as a girl and tells friends, “Mummy said the doctors told her I was a boy — but they got it wrong… I’ve always been a girl.”
Daily Mail Australia covers the story of Skyler and how the educational system is meeting her needs when it comes to acceptance.
The transgender child’s parents — Summer, 45, and Brett, 30 — are nervous about the new experience ahead for Skyler. Many obstacles face her and they’re understandably anxious about what she’ll encounter. Counselors advised Skyler to get accustomed to feminine clothes over the past year before taking the leap into sharing her sexual identity. As a 2-year-old, Skyler would get upset crying and throwing a tantrum anytime she had to dress like a boy.
Doctors at the Royal Childrens’ Hospital Brisbane say that Skyler is a girl, even though she’s literally a boy. They wrote a letter to Summer and Brett supporting their decision to let their child, who was born as their son, live as a girl.
Stephen Strathis is the director of the hospital’s child and youth mental health department. He reveals in a letter written to the school that the transgender child has displayed “marked gender-variant behaviors” from 2 years of age and “disruptive behavioral problems” when she was told by parents to dress like a boy. Strathis informed school officials that he believed “it would be in her best interest to live as a female at school.”
The school’s principal and staff have illustrated “unwavering” support for Skyler and her name change. As the report further explains, the school is intent on making sure Skyler excels “without facing discrimination.” Senior school officials might even lobby the education board to include the option of “preferred gender” on enrollment forms.
The 6-year-old currently uses the girls’ bathroom, but changes in a separate dressing room after swim classes to avoid any awkward questions from others.
Skyler’s mother, Summer, shares her deepest feelings about the whole situation:
“We love her so much, she is so precious to us, we want her to be proud of who she is. As a mother you blame yourself, I thought perhaps because I had her late in life I could be the cause of this.
“I still miss Seth and I occasionally check in with Skyler and ask he if she does, too, and she tells me each time ‘mummy, let’s leave Sethy in the cage where she belongs.’ It breaks my heart every time.’
“This has not been an easy decision but Seth’s gender just didn’t fit. She is exactly who she intended to be. We are lucky to live on the Gold Coast in a community that is accepting and open-minded.”
Skyler’s feminine traits started showing through around the age of 2. As Seth, he didn’t care for the same interests his brother, Archie, and stepbrothers, Chayse, 17, Dayne, 21, and Jye, 22, did. He would have rather shopped with sister, Nykisha, 19, in the girls’ section of the store for Barbie dolls, tiaras, dresses, and other typical items that girls enjoy. He wasn’t into Thomas the Tank Engine and Legos.
Instead, he would ask sister Nykisha to take him to the girls’ section of stores, ignoring Thomas the Tank Engine and Lego sets to play with the Barbie dolls, tiaras, and dresses.
Skyler’s father, Brett, recalls everyone thinking “Seth” was just going through a phase with his girl interests, but it became more apparent as she got older. Dr. Strathis diagnosed Skyler with “gender dysphoria,” which is when a person feels they were born into the wrong body representing their sexual identity. A series of probing questions were asked to Skyler before he was diagnosed. He was asked about favorite colors, toys, friends, and ideas about forms of playing.
When the 6-year-old was allowed to live as a female instead of a male, Seth’s transition made him immediately happy. Skyler was a name she chose because she “loved it,” her mother said. The tantrums ended and she was much, much happier. If she continues living as a girl, her parents will grant her the option of hormone treatments when she’s closer to 12 or 14.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this issue, especially for children. As Media Matters recapped, Bill O’Reilly from the FOX News network doesn’t believe young children should be making transgender decision.
[Images via Daily Mail Australia]