Canadian 10-year-old begins gender transition at Manitoba children's hospital

At the age of seven, the foundation wrote, Mary began "to articulate feelings of longing to be a 'real girl.'"

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Wednesday, the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba promoted the story of Mary on its X account, applauding the transgender 10-year-old being on a "gender-affirming path to make her feel more authentically herself."

At the age of seven, the foundation wrote, Mary began "to articulate feelings of longing to be a 'real girl.'"

"Femininity – dresses, rainbows, and girl roles in games and on screen in Disney movies – felt like the only areas that truly aligned with her identity."

Mary’s family, the foundation said, immediately discarded Mary’s "dead name," or the child’s male name given at birth, and worked with their child in "finding her new name that fit who she really is."

"Yet, echoes of her old name persist, an unwelcome reminder in doctor’s offices and dental chairs that health systems are still not up to speed on the needs of transgender kids."

The promo piece by the foundation notes a study done by Dr. Bhatla, a pediatric resident at HSC Children’s Hospital, who "committed herself to understanding the experiences of transitioning youth in Manitoba during her resident research project."

A key finding from her research reportedly "underscores the paramount importance of having safe providers that can be supportive of the unique health care needs of transgender kids."

One "significant issue" that the study found was the "perceived lack of support" a youth found once they start looking to "transition."

"The study reveals a broader challenge of what some call 'structural transphobia’ within healthcare systems. These systems are currently ill-equipped to support youth who have changed their names or pronouns."

These children, the foundation said, frequently were "misgendered" and addressed by their "deadname, leading to negative psychological impacts, especially for children."

Bhatla suggested social transitioning for children awaiting cross sex hormones and surgeries, which includes "changes in dressing, hairstyles, and the use of special garments like binders to alleviate the discomfort of being in the wrong body," as well as speech therapy and a change in name and pronouns.

"The research underscores the importance of allyship in supporting transitioning individuals during their social transition. Respecting each phase of the transition, even if the ally doesn’t fully understand, is crucial."

Mary, now 10, already worries about the future in relationships and having children, but the foundation brushes it off and says "her plans to be a famous actress won’t allow time to be a mom anyway."

Mary’s parents said they started seeing "subtle signs" with Mary at the age of five that their child was transgender.

The promo concludes with glowing advertising for the Children’s Hospital, with Mary’s parents being "thankful" for the "crucial role" the hospital has in getting Mary treatment. 

"From pediatricians to the Gender Diversity and Affirming Action for Youth (GDAAY) program, their support has been invaluable. Guiding youth in Manitoba through their gender affirming journey and supporting those experiencing stress caused from a mismatch between gender identity and sex assigned at birth are the foundational goals of the GDDAAY."

Since 2010, GDDAY has provided services to more than 450 transgender youth patients in Manitoba.

"Mary, the dancer, singer, and dreamer, moves forward with grace, supported by the love and care of her family and the medical expertise at Children’s Hospital. Her story is not just one of personal triumph but a testament to the power of understanding, compassion, and unwavering support. Mary’s journey shows that the community around a child can play an important role in paving the way for their improved quality of life through a life lived authentically."

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