What have in common, Caitlyn Jenner, modeling star Andreja Pejic, with the 9yers old Melissa from California?
They are all born as boys on the body and girls on the soul.
And they all dared to speak, boldly, about their choice to live as women! «Call me Caitlyn» With this simple and absolutely clear title, to accompany her photo on the cover of Vanity Fair, Caitlyn Jenner (former Bruce Jenner) was reintroduced , to the public, a few months after a brave decision: to continue her life now as a woman!
The story went around the world and started a taboo discussion, even for the modern western world.
The goal is to help other transgender people, people that are essentially born in the wrong body ..., setting themselves free and no longer feel trapped, to live as they want, while enjoying equal opportunities.
The introduction of this conversation, however, had begun a year ago ...
A taboo on the spot light
It was June 2014, when Time magazine made a significant solidarity movement for transgender people fighting for their rights, by hosting on its cover Laverne Cox.
The well-known activist and protagonist in the “ Orange is the New Black” series -the first transgender candidate for Emmy Award, explained how all this tribute, is much more than a magazine cover and has not to do only with her.
It is rather a turning point, a moment in history, where now it should be clear that it is not acceptable human behaviours, to be stigmatized, ridiculed and criminalized.
"This (the cover) is dedicated to all my trans brothers out there and to those who have received oppression to deny, their true colors," she said, demonstrating that her revolutionary character and dedication in her dreams, lured her winning .
But it is not unique, as in recent years transgender people, gain a louder voice, come out of the isolation closet and they get recognized.
Raffi Friedman-Gurspan, is the first transgender woman who has a leading position in the White House.
You might think that the above is an isolated incident. And you may be right. But in more open-minded segments, as fashion and beauty, the examples are a lot more !!!!
Trans models, participated in the campaign for the autumn collection of the Swedish brand & Other Stories, the star of the catwalk Andreja Pejic, which after many collaborations with leading fashion houses such as Jean Paul Gaultier, she became the first transgender person, to be in a cosmetics campaign (Make Up Forever).
The road to knowledge
But even behind the success story of Andreja Pejic and other successful transgender, had preceded a difficult path, full of contradictory feelings, that usually starts from a very young age.
Andreja Pejic while speaking exclusively to ELLE said: "My first childhood memories, are to find myself hiding, in my moms closet . I never went along with boys. I always liked to make friends with girls. However it was difficult to figure out how I was different. I fantasized, that one day, I would wake up as a girl, but I thought this is just a dream. When I was 13 , with the help of Internet, I discovered that all these thoughts that I did and the feelings I had, indicated that I'm transgender. “
Even when, she realized, that this is the case, she did not feel comfortable to share it, with those around her.
"I started experimenting with the androgynous look. It was a way to express my femininity, without having to explain to others what it means to be transgender. When I began modeling as a child yet I did photo shoots for men's and women's clothes"
Andreja wavered between two sexes, but at the end of the day, what she wanted was clear. To live like a real girl!
That's why later she decided to go for a sex change, to "feel complete", as he explains.
In this journey she had the full support of her family:
"My mother, like my grandmother, are two traditional women, who loved us, me and my brother, unlimited, and nothing will change in this. My family was supportive and I'm incredibly lucky and grateful for it. “
A transition in stages
It is crucial, therefore, for a transgender person, to have family support This is because the transition from one gender to another should be done gradually, with the assistance of experts and from an early age.
First step, moreover, is that relatives, to begin to start interacting with their, up to recently “boy”, like it's little girl while explaining openly what is happening.
Phillips family, living in Silicon Valley , did something similar, and since last summer, their second-born 9 y.o. son became officially Melissa. “Since he was 1 ½ y.o. he was telling us:" I am your daughter. " Even the name was chosen at the age of 2.
Within a family that loved , Star Wars films and their superheroes of Marvel and was a fan of the local baseball team, Melissa was absorbed and expressed her passion for Disney princesses“, confesses her mother.
In June 2014 her family began the process of explaining to everyone with very simple terms the transition of the child.
"From now on, only use this name and the feminine pronoun" was the explanation.
Now she is visiting once a year endocrinologist, while, when 11, the threshold of adolescence, it will be followed by concrete action. Another step to the transition. Paediatrician, Johanna Olson, which monitors transgender children and their families at a hospital in Los Angeles, explains: "When we talk about transgender children, we mean those who feel, that their gender is different from that attributed at birth, based on their genitals.
A case in which a child expresses the want to be a girl or boy, is completely different from a child who claims to be a girl or boy.
It becomes obvious, then, that young transgender girls, who have a deep voice, broad shoulders and a beard, is a traumatic experience.
The purpose of this treatment, is to delay for a moment the advent of puberty, in order the child to mature and become able to understand why they should take hormones or undergo an operation. “
Psychiatrists, note that the diagnosis and treatment, require a multidisciplinary approach from a group except psychiatrist and must include paediatrician, child endocrinologist, social worker, etc.
The aim of this therapeutic intervention, is through proper psychotherapeutic support to children and counselling of the immediate environment, to enable one to construct gender identity, in emotional security conditions, in order to succeed later, to take charge of important decisions concerning his body .
The truth is that transgender people are a minority.
The rate ranges varies between 0.03% to 3% in boys and 0.01% to 1.5% in girls. This is perhaps, one reason, why there is ignorance, which triggers discrimination attitudes.
"It is a taboo because it causes fear. Many prefer to see children suffer than to face up to reality straight on the face“, explains Clémence Zamora Cruz, representative of the French LGBT community and president of Acceptess-T, an organization that helps young intersex people.
For these people a lot of things are not obvious, such as whether to go to the army or not, or what toilet should be used.
The good news is that recent steps made. Intersex people like Andreja Pejic, share their stories in an attempt to awaken the society and parents like Phillips, openly talk about their transgender children.
The greatest achievement so far, however, is that described by Amy Ellis Nat in her new book:
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family
Pulitzer-winning journalist introduces, a typical American family with twin boys, one transgender, which reached the Supreme Court, claiming the right of the child to use the school toilet of own choice. Case was won, paving the way for other children and their families, who had similar queries, but they had remained silent, due to fear of society condemnation.
A society, that even now, in the 21st century, needs work, in order to become truly inclusive and open-minded.