Gender Confused Kids: Melissa, Tim

Transgender Child?

"My son, who is 8 years old, believes that she is half male and half female," Melissa says. "At age 3, he stated that he was a she."

"He said, ‘Dad, I have to tell you something, and you're going to get mad at me,'" remembers Tim. "He said, ‘Dad, I want to be a girl.' And I stopped for a moment and said, ‘But you're a boy.' He said, ‘No, Dad, I'm a girl.'"

"My son has always danced. Gosh, from age 2, 2 ½, he's always danced like a female, very flamboyant, more the Britney Spears-type dancing," Melissa says.

"I thought maybe it was just a phase because of the age. He was only 3, and maybe he hung around his mom a lot and liked girl things, and maybe in time, when he gets a little older, he'll grow to like boy things," Tim says.

"My son was really just drawn to female toys. I would take him to toy stores, and he was very much drawn to the female dolls that he would see, you know, the ones with the long hair, and you can interchange their clothing and stuff," says Melissa, who has begun referring to her son as a she. "And she played a lot different. She played more female, more imaginative. A regular boy would want to go outside and get dirty and climb trees. No, he's very much ‘I want to be clean. I want to look nice. I want to sit here, and I want to play with' whatever toys she was playing with."

"He's always acted feminine. He chooses to play with girl toys, and I tried to introduce cars, fire engine trucks. He didn't like any of those," Tim says.

Tim, who has also started referring to his son as a she, had a hard time dealing with the fact that his son wanted to dress as a girl, and at first, he blamed his wife. "When Melissa first introduced the idea that she wanted to allow her to dress as a girl for school, I was against it, mainly because it's going to cause a lot of problems in her life," he says.

"My husband became very angry, more so because he was afraid," Melissa says. "He said it was my fault that she was this way because I allowed her to play with female toys as a child."

"I've kept on trying to push her on jerseys and boots, and she would not want anything to do with that. She was getting depressed," Tim says. "On Halloween, her mom allowed her to wear a princess outfit to her kindergarten Halloween dance. That was the first time where she actually wore women's clothes in public. They did it without telling me. She was happy. You could see the glow in her. My heart just dropped. I felt like I'd been a bad dad, keeping her from how she really feels."

[AD]Melissa and Tim want to know about what's next. "My son wants to have hormone therapy. She wants to grow breasts. She wants to look physically like a female. She does not want to grow facial hair, so I did talk to her about hormone therapy," Melissa says.

"We're looking to find out if that's the best thing for her. When she becomes a teenager, she's going to go through the puberty changes, and we're looking to see if it's the best option for her to take hormone therapy," Tim says.

Melissa and Tim say their son's situation was difficult at first, but now they both completely accept him as a girl.


"Are you concerned that an 8-year-old child doesn't know, and that you're turning the steering wheel over to an 8-year-old child?" Dr. Phil asks.

[AD]"No, I'm not concerned at all because I believe in my heart that from 3 and up, gender identity is actually established," Melissa says. "But when they actually come to you and say, ‘I feel like I'm a girl,' then to me, in my view, I feel that you have to love your child, and be there, and be an advocate for your child and let them do what they feel is best."

"Are you aware that less than 20 percent of transgender children grow up to be transgender adults?" Dr. Phil asks. "How do you feel about that? Does that mean that this is a phase?"

"I think because society pushes them back into dressing as their gender-born identity," she says.

Melissa and Tim made a home video to depict their child's feelings about living as a girl. In it, their child shows off his room.

"This is my room, which I share with my sister, who's asleep right now. These are the clothes that I wear to school," he says, striking a pose and laughing. He pulls a leotard out of a school bag. "I'm in dance."

"What kind of dance do you do?" asks Melissa, who's holding the camera.

"Ballet," he says.

"How do you like ballet?"

"Good," he says, pulling other items out of the bag. "And here's my glittery hair that made my hair look great when I did my first recital. Here's my makeup."

"When did you first feel like you were a girl?" Melissa asks.

"When I was 3. We were shopping at Wal-Mart, and we were in the boys' aisle, and then I saw a pair of little girls' thongs and undies, and I said, ‘I want to buy them,'" he says.

"What is transgender?"

"When a boy wants to be a girl and a girl wants to be a guy," says the child. 

[AD]"And what tells them that they want to be a boy or they want to be a girl?" Melissa asks.

"Their mind," he says.

"So, are you different than everybody else?"

"Yeah."

"And do you feel sad about being transgender?"

"Uh-uh. Not at all," he says.

"Did you want to say anything else?"

"To say thank you to Dr. Phil to let this video be on his show," he says.