The members of this minority – the precise figures are unknown, but conservative estimates suggest it ranges in size from 0.05% of Belgians to 1.2% of New Zealanders – might have ovaries but know themselves to be male, or they might have testes but know themselves to be female, even if they’re too young to know what ovaries and testes are.A growing number of children and adolescents are coming out as transgender.If my body was the problem, it could be solved.” When she was 15, Max declared that he was not female and never had been.
It was just so comforting to think that I was born wrong.“It was easier to focus if I was having pain from being hungry.” Starving herself was also part of an effort to improve her appearance – she wanted to be thin – but it did nothing to relieve Max of her disgust for her body, an aversion that only intensified as she began to attract the notice of boys. When she was 12, she realised she cared only for the attentions of women, and began dating girls her age. Max describes a recurring scenario: her advances would be reciprocated by a girl who assured Max she was bisexual, even though she had only ever dated boys.But then the girl would hook up with her next boyfriend, dump Max unceremoniously and deny the relationship had ever existed. Max longed to cut her hair short and wear boys’ clothes. While surfing the web, she discovered a new word: “transgender”.She railed against the expectation that she act “girly”.When she was in first grade, she would go home from school in a huff because the girls’ bathroom pass was decorated with pictures of bows, while the boys’ sported soccer balls.Growing numbers of teenagers, convinced they have been born in the wrong body, are switching gender.