With his blonde pigtails and purple tutu, Zach Avery, now five, has been living as a girl for more than a year – after he first refused to live as a boy when he turned three. Little Zach was just three when he began refusing to live as a boy, instead choosing to wear pink dresses and ribbons in his long, blonde hair – because he has Gender Identity Disorder (GID). And the primary school he attends in Essex has even changed the kids’ toilets to gender-neutral Unisex in support of Zach since his official diagnosis last year, aged four.
Zach is one of the youngest in Britain ever to be diagnosed with GID – meaning he feels like he’s a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Mum Theresa Avery, 32, said Zach used to be a ‘normal’ little boy who loved Thomas the Tank Engine, but suddenly at the end of 2010, he decided he wanted to live as a girl. He became obsessed with the girly kids’ TV character Dora the Explorer and started dressing in girls clothing.
Parents Theresa and Darren Avery, 41, became worried by Zach’s behaviour and took him to the doctors. After numerous consultations and observations, he was officially diagnosed by NHS specialists with Gender Identity Disorder (GID), making Zach one of the youngest affected children in the UK. Mum-of-four Theresa said: “He just turned round to me one day when he was three and said: ‘Mummy, I’m a girl’. I assumed he was just going through a phase and just left it at that. “But then it got serious and he would become upset if anyone referred to him as a boy. “He used to cry and try to cut off his willy out of frustration.”
Concerned Theresa and Darren took him to a specialist at Tavistock and Patman Foundation Trust in London. At first his parents thought he may be autistic, but after several months a child phycologist diagnosed Zach, affectionately called Zachy, with GID. The dedicated specialists explained to them that gender identity disorder is a conflict between a person’s actual physical gender and the gender that person identifies himself or herself as. Theresa said: “They told us that although he had a male body, his brain was telling him he was a girl.”
And Zach’s school – Purfleet Primary in Essex – has even turned their toilet block gender-neutral to support him. Theresa added: “They have changed the toilets for Key Stage 1 pupils into Unisex instead of male/female and they address him as a girl, which is what he wants. “When he gets a bit older, to Key Stage 2, then obviously the law changes and there will be more difficulties surrounding the bathroom issue, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it – it may be that Zach will use the staff toilets.
“We explained to the other kids at the school that Zachy’s body was that of a boy but in his brain he was a girl. We said Zach was just happier being a girl than a boy. “But the other kids haven’t batted an eyelid, they’ve accepted Zach as Zach and there’s been no problems at the school with bullying.
SMH at “He used to cry and try to cut off his willy out of frustration.”
What age do you think is the appropriate age for one to be able to recognize what gender they identify with???