Transgender interview with a young friend – Charlie

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 5.21.52 PMNote – Charlie is 12 y.o. I have conducted the entirety of these interviews through and with the approval of his grandmother, his guardian, through her email.


Interview with Charlie

You were called a ____Girl______ (girl/boy) at birth. 

When did you decide your assigned gender was not correct?

Honestly, kind of my whole life, but I really knew when I was about 7 or 8. 

What did you do? How did you act? Give me a little background about the “processing” of your thoughts and feelings.

I sort of always knew I was male. Calling me a girl is like calling a wolf a cat. 

Parents typically assign toys, clothes, and such for the gender they think you are. How has that changed? What hasn’t changed?

It’s not really a change, they usually got me girly toys but I never played with them. I always stole my uncle’s toys (we grew up together) and played with those instead. 

What do you enjoy, and what do you do for fun?

Writing, playing guitar, listening to music, jogging, reading manga and watching anime (I’m an otaku). (Editor’s note – a style of Japanese film and television animation)

Did you change your style of dress? Your habits?

I never really dressed like a girl except for the times my dad or mom made me. And my habits were never that of a girl’s. 

Did you talk to your parents, relatives, friends?

Yeah, I talked to my mom and my grandma first. I always tried to tell my dad that I wanted to be a boy, but he just said I didn’t know what I wanted. 

Was that a hard thing to do, talk to people about it?

Not really, my mom and grandma always saw me dress like a boy and act like one, so weren’t too shocked when I told them. 

How did people react to your decision? Give me a couple of examples.

Like I said, my mom and grandma weren’t too shocked but they were still surprised. And I don’t blame them. My dad never listened to me and said that I didn’t know what I wanted. 

Have you decided to change your gender … in dress alone? All the way, with surgery?

Absolutely, I want nothing more than to get on testosterone and get the surgery as soon as I can. 

How far along are you in your transition?

I’m (hopefully) getting on testosterone next week and I’m super excited so I wouldn’t say I’m extremely far along but I’m at least almost halfway there. (Editor’s note – Charlie has started testosterone)

How do you deal with the derisions and jokes, teasing and bullying?

I usually don’t let it get to me. Those people are just trying to get me to stoop down to their level because they’re too bored with their own lives. But if it gets too bad, I’ll sic my grandma on them. 

What is the best thing that ever happened to you – regarding your transition – with a word of support from a family member or friend?

Probably my grandma doing all of the things she’s doing just to get me on testosterone. I’m extremely lucky to have her. 

What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you – regarding your transition – bad words spoken to you by horrible people or stuff people said to you, those who just don’t understand or refuse to accept you?

Nothing too bad yet except for all of times my dad didn’t listen to me and made me constantly wear dresses. 

What advice would you give to others who think they might need to transition?

I’d say “Go for it, be yourself. If that’s what you really want then you do it, and don’t let the stupid bigots of the world bring you down.” 

I have interviewed a few other trans people. One said something like, it’s not what the haters say but what your friends and family say that hurt the most. What do you have to say about that?

It’s probably true, I’ve never had it that bad except for all the times my dad argued with me over it. 

As a straight woman, I want to know, what can we do to advocate for transgender without looking or acting like butt-heads?

Get some LGBT people on your team, and as long as you are not insulting people of the LGBT community, the smart people should take no offense. 

You are very young, Charlie. How can you be sure this is what you want?

I’ve known pretty much my whole life, I’ve had 12 whole years to change my mind and nothing’s changed. I’ve never been more sure of anything in my whole life.

_______________________________ ***

Resources provided by the Darcy Jeda Corbett Foundation.

US Resources, by state:

US State and Territory Resources


Filed under Personal Articles, Uncategorized

23 responses to “Transgender interview with a young friend – Charlie

  1. Bravo, Charlie. As long as people are happy with who they are, that’s all that matters.

  2. I wouldn’t have thought that a child that age could truly be sure of his/her gender identity, but Charlie seems to have a pretty clear head on the subject. I’m glad there is family support!

    • karenrsanderson

      I would have thought so too (about the age), but this series of interviews has taught me to not question, but to listen. I’ve learned a lot and made new friends. I think family support is critical, and I’m glad for it too.

  3. Tawnya

    I’m Charlie’s grandma (Nana). If anyone has any questions for me, ask away!

    • karenrsanderson

      I don’t have any more questions right now for Charlie, but I think we should all question the “rules” that are forced on babies once doctors and nurses decide “this one is a boy” or “thing one is a girl.” It is much deeper than that. I’m honored to be involved in this discussion.

  4. It’s funny how when a biological girl acts “girly”, no one says gosh are you sure? You’re so young, how can you be sure? Yet then people question how a young child can know what they identify as if they feel they were born in the wrong body. Charlie obviously knew he was a boy just as much as any biological boy knows they are a boy. So glad he has the support and family members on his side through all this. Charlie’s story is such an inspiration and I know he will do great things.

    • Tawnya

      Yes, Charlie knows he’s a boy like he knows he has blue eyes. There’s no doubt.
      Thanks Nakeisha!

      • karenrsanderson

        You make an excellent point, Nakeisha. I was born a “girl” and I am happy being a “girl” but I don’t like girly things. Why do we have to push pink and blue on babies because of their assigned birth gender? Why are girls supposed to love dolls and boys trucks? These interviews have me questioning so many of the gender-assigned rules that we push on everyone from the day they are born.

        • Absolutely, that too. I’m most definitely female, but not all that into things considered “girly”. But I also never questioned if I was supposed to be a girl…I just knew I was, I didn’t hit some magical age of maturity and say oh, yep, I am a girl! But you’re right, all these arbitrary rules are out dated, gender is much more fluid thank male/female, and it’s fabulous to see so much more openness and acceptance.

  5. Melissa Lopez

    What an amazing young man. He is so lucky to have his mom and grandma in his corner.

  6. Ilil Arbel

    This is, again, a wonderful interview, Karen. I admire what you do! I also want to say to Tawnya — you are the best. The absolute best. Charlie is lucky to have such a courageous, kind, and open-minded grandmother. And as for Charlie — you are doing the right thing. Of course, you don’t need me to say it, you know you are doing it — but I want you to know how much I admire your common sense, your resolution, and your self-knowledge — at such a young age, it’s almost miraculous.

  7. I hope his father and he can talk about this now.

  8. adam s

    Amazing. Way to go Charlie.

  9. What a marvelous, centered, create person Charlie is. Wise beyond his years – we should all hope to be so self-aware. Great interview, Karen.

  10. karenrsanderson

    My hope is that we can ALL talk about it more. Just ask questions and listen. It’s pretty simple. Thank you Peggy, Adam, Juliette, and Shawn. Thank you for stopping by and reading Charlie’s story.

  11. What a wise and mature young man. And boy, do I love his Grandma! I hope as a grandmother I can always be such a strong advocate for my grandchildren. I wish Charlie all the luck in the world. But I have a feeling he won’t need it.

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