Please accept me as a boy - transgender child (11) born a girl who is starting secondary school as a boy
'Mum, I'm transgender. I want to be a boy, I'm not a girl please accept me.'
Please accept me as a boy - those are the words of an 11-year-old who was born a girl but is now living his life as a boy.
The brave schoolboy who was born a biological girl is set to start secondary school next month and will attend there as a boy wearing a boy's uniform.
The youngster whose name was given as Paul to protect his identity told the BBC Stephen Nolan Show how he has known that he didn't want to live as a girl since he was just five-years-old.
He said: "It was scary, it just felt like I was different. I didn't fit in with the girls and I was too scared to fit in with the boys. I was pretty much a loner from primary two up."
He told how he used to cry himself to sleep at night feeling "trapped in the wrong body" until he recently told his mum he wanted to live as a boy.
"It was very difficult growing up being trapped in the wrong body.
"I couldn't take it any longer I had to come out. I couldn't face it, it was too difficult. I was crying at night and crying myself to sleep. It was horrible.
"Like, I'm a boy I need to get this changed soon and I just felt so sad.
"I just wanted to be known as a boy. I wanted to stop being called a girl and stop being made to do girls things when it's not me at all. I just wanted to be a boy, wear boy's clothes and do everything as a boy."
Paul said he hated being made to wear dresses and "act like a girl".
EMOTIONAL MOMENT HE TOLD HIS MUM
He recalled the emotional moment he told his mum how he felt.
"I was in my room and I was researching the whole thing and I just burst into tears.
"I called my mum up and had to tell her straight, I want to be a boy I'm not a girl, this is who I am and I'm just hoping you accept it.
"I was at this age (11) because when I was younger I was too scared to tell anybody."
He continued: "I said, ''Mum, I'm transgender. I want to be a boy I'm not a girl please accept me'."
But his mum Angela (not her real name) reassured him that "everything would be ok".
She said: "There has been issues ongoing for the last few years he's been having a bit of trouble with identity and sexuality.
"So it didn't come as a shock completely. I reassured him that everything would be ok and I would always be here for him.
"It doesn't make him any less my child."
She told how Paul had struggled in school with bullying and name calling and how he often would isolate himself.
She said: "It was a day to day constant worry. I know he did have hassles in primary school probably from about p3 through p7.
"Generally just bullying. Name calling, just generally kids being cruel because he was different"
"He isolated himself a lot of the time. he has a maturity where it's on a higher level than what his peers would be. So he found it hard to get along with them on the same level of maturity as what they are."
Mum Angela said she is often questioned on how her child knows when he is still a child.
She said: "I have come up against it. And that's the line that's always been used. How does he know he's only such an age. That's ridiculous he shouldn't know things about that. In this day and age children are becoming more aware of his feelings at a younger age. Who am I to argue with what's going on in his head.
"Some might think it a could be a phase. At the end of the day I have to take it seriously I can't turn my back on a child. I need him to feel loved and secure."
Angela said she began referring to Paul as a boy quite recently.
She said: "It was getting very distressing for him. So it's quite difficult to change names. I've had a daughter for 12 years and now I have to think of him as a son. So it's a wee bit like a grieving process if you like.
"It's not so much difficult. I think the difficulty lies in where he goes from here in life, his experience in school, how he's going to be accepted in various situations."
As Paul starts secondary school next month he says he is confident when it comes to grades but is worried about making friends.
He said: "I'm worried about whether people will accept me. Like changing rooms and toilets are a big issue as well. Just generally people accepting me."
But Paul said the reaction he got from pupils in his primary school "meant the world to him".
He said: "Kids that I thought were going to be mean about it actually turned out to be the nicest about it.
"They said, 'It's going to be OK, I'm always here to support you'.
"It meant the world to me. It was so nice and shocking and overwhelming, it was amazing.
"It felt better once I told people and I stopped crying myself to sleep and I became more happier with who am I. People being nice about it in general just changed me completely.
But the youngster says he will "definitely not" change his mind.
"I'm so sure because I felt this way for so long. I'm starting to get help about it. I've just known all my life that this I who I want to be, I wouldn't change it for the world."
PAUL'S MESSAGE TO CRITICS
And to his critics Paul has this message:
"People that can't accept it, I block it out of my life. If you can't get used to the fact of who they are. If they cant accept it, I just let them go.
"This is who I am. If you can't accept it go away somewhere that is not beside me. Get out of my life I don't need this. I've had enough stress as it is. I don't need you making the stress any worse. Get out of my life if they can't accept it."
Looking to the future Paul said when he grows up he wants to be singer.
He said: "I want to make people happy with my music. I want to be a dad, I want to be the dad I never had.
Paul said he is excited about the prospect of big school.
He said: "Even though there are going to be those people who can't accept it. I'm excited for making new friends, new teachers and in a new school.
"I'm really excited for the clubs after school and improving my music skills and things like that - I'm so excited."
Belfast Telegraph Digital