A mother has revealed how one of her four boys announced he was transgender at the age of just nine after watching a male X Factor contestant wearing a dress.
Rachel Armstrong, 38, says her nine-year-old, then known as Sam, asked her for her thoughts on Seann Miley Moore wearing a dress on the ITV talent show.
Sam then revealed that she herself was transgender and wanted to be known as Zoe. It emerged Zoe, who is now 10, had already researched how she was feeling online and discovered there was a name for it.Rachel said she was not surprised and that Zoe had always stuck out from her three brothers by wearing pink tutus and a tea towel on her head to resemble hair and later Zoe confessed that she wanted to be a little girl in October 2015 during an episode of the X-Factor which featured Seann Miley Moore. She said;
‘The earliest sign was when she was just a baby. She would always choose to wear a pink tutu at nursery and would always pick stereotypical girl things over boy things.
Another sign was when we took the boys to the fair and they all chose a crossbow and arrow but she wanted a princess set. She would also wear my heels.
‘We knew the writing on the wall and it was no shock. I would have questioned it a bit more if it was one of my other sons that came out because they showed no signs.
‘When I first found out I did lots of research and I found so many articles on people who had killed themselves and I thought to myself, she’s not going to be a statistic like that.
‘It was all about her wanting to be happy and I would rather have a happy girl than an unhappy boy.
‘At the end of the day, I’m just loving her and letting her live her life as a happy 10-year-old little girl. It’s just a different name.
‘I can understand how people can be shocked but as far as I’m concerned she is my child. I didn’t care if she was a boy or a girl when she was in my womb and nothing’s changed.
‘It won’t be an easy life for her but she has so much love and support from those that know and love her.’
‘She asked me what I thought about one of the contestants, Sean, wearing a dress. I said “as long as he’s happy that’s all that matters”.
‘She then asked “do you know anyone who is transgender?” and that’s when she told me she was. I told her I already knew.
‘She had already done research on it online and that’s when she realised there was a name for what she was feeling.’
The mother-of-four bought Zoe a new outfit to express her new identity two weeks later, which she put on straight away and didn’t want to take off.She officially took on her new name in November 2015, which she chose herself after the beauty blogger Zoella. After wearing girly clothes for a week Zoe became insecure about her short hair.
To make her feel better, Rachel cut her hair very short as a surprise so that they could grow their hair long together. Zoe said:
‘I was a bit nervous to tell my mum but I knew she was going to react fine. My mum told my dad but I knew everything would be okay.
‘I was a bit unsure but I think I always knew [I was transgender].
‘It’s a big relief. I’m much happier now and I feel like I can be more myself. I feel closer to everybody now [after telling them].’
After Zoe had taken on her new image and name, Rachel knew it was time to tell their friends, family and the school. Rachel said:
‘It didn’t upset me that she wanted to change her name but I was worried at first about what she would choose.
‘We told our family and friends and we have been very lucky. Everyone was very supportive and no one was overly surprised.
‘I wrote to all the parents of the children on the street she played with so they had the opportunity to speak to their children and ask me any questions they needed to before she played out in her girl clothes.
‘Her school were amazing they held an assembly in the afternoon and read the book the Red Crayon which is an excellent way explaining to children about being transgender.
‘They simply said to her class that the boy they knew as Sam would be coming back as Zoe on Monday.
‘When she started dressing as a girl she didn’t receive any negativity. She was incredibly brave and extremely excited.
‘She’s the most confident little girl. She is a bit vain. She thinks she’s beautiful and I do too. She’s just amazing.’
The next step that Zoe will face through her transition is monitoring her puberty so that it can be paused.
They will then consider introducing female hormones so Zoe would develop as a woman, however this would lead to infertility. Rachel said:
‘It will make her infertile but I know she will find a way to be an amazing mum if and when she wants to be.’Surrogacy and adoption is something she could consider in the future. Her being trans shouldn’t affect her ability to be a mum.
‘It is what it is, I just don’t want her to live a lie. I know there will be some negativity but she has a lot of support.
‘I’m very keen to get the message across that there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about and so is Zoe.
‘We’ve got a very close relationship. I’ve always said I don’t mind as long as you’re a nice person there is nothing that will make me love you any less I just want you to be happy.
‘I do constantly worry about her. I find it really hard not to. She goes to big school next year. It’s not going to be an easy life for her.
‘However, she has an amazing support network and I have every confidence that she’ll be just fine.
‘I hope that Zoe’s bravery helps other children feel strong enough to be themselves and encourages parents to be accepting and supportive.’