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'I'm not gay, I'm a girl, says 8-year-old'

(74 Posts)
pisacake Fri 13-Oct-17 22:33:44

Tegan Dyson is 8 and was the subject of homophobic bullying at primary school after wanting to play with the girls.

'Before it made me feel sick to put a boy's uniform on and at school they called me 'gay' and a Barbie girl.

"I told them I wasn't gay – I was a girl. But they just said 'being a girl is gay!'”

As Tegan grew up, it quickly became clear the youngster wasn't interested in playing with typical "boys' toys". Instead, she loved dresses and dolls.

"When she was starting to make her own decisions, she refused to play with boys' toys. She has never played with cars or anything like that," explained her mum.

"She would get them for Christmas and throw them across the room."

"She'd say to me: "Throw it". She never played with them. She wanted a kitchen. Then she wanted a doll and a pram. They were the things that she wanted."

Fascinated with makeup, Tegan would watch Michelle getting ready to go out. She also adored her own Barbie collection and loved mermaids.

And she would often put a tea towel on her head to pretend she had long hair.

One day, she said she heard the youngster talking into a plastic phone, saying she wanted to marry One Direction. "I thought she might be gay," she said.

But then, early last year, she received a phone call from school to say that Tegan had lost her temper because someone had called her gay.

"She broke down and said, 'I'm not gay, I want to be a girl,' she recalled of the incident. "In her eyes, she thought she was a girl. She always saw herself as a girl."

"She didn't have friends as a boy. She wanted to play with the girls, but the boys couldn't understand a boy that wanted to play girl games.

"She didn't want to play rough and tumble."

"She's very girly. It's all dresses," said Michelle.

"In a way, she's kind of a little bit behind the girls at school.... she wants everything sparkly, glam... they're going a bit tomboy now.

"She wears a full schoolgirl's uniform to school."

Today, Tegan dreams of becoming a film star. When she's older, she also hopes to marry a boy and have children.

ALittleBitOfButter Sat 14-Oct-17 00:10:27

Oh it's always the teatowel on the hair. The Script.

MrsFogi Sat 14-Oct-17 00:15:46

So will the tomboys become boys?

BertieBotts Sat 14-Oct-17 00:25:54

"When she's older, she also hopes to marry a boy and have children."

sad Well how sad for Tegan that they will likely be on a fast track to sterilising medication.

I mean, I realise that for this child having a biological child with a boy isn't possible either but how cruel to take away the possibility of ever having a biological child in the future, whatever route that might have gone down.

SentimentalLentil Sat 14-Oct-17 00:34:27

Oh that's heartbreaking.

What a cruel world that makes a child feel that way, that only girls can play with certain toys or express themselves in such a way.

It's so awful.

Datun Sat 14-Oct-17 00:38:31

Plays with girls toys, puts tea towel on head, get's relentlessly bullied for the possibility that he might be gay. It's just so predictable.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 14-Oct-17 01:24:15

Yes. I don't understand why the L and G part of the alphabet soup of identities isn't putting its head above the parapet.

Ttbb Sat 14-Oct-17 01:32:20

Oh dear, I must be a man then <rushes of to gender reassignment clinic>

WishfulThanking Sat 14-Oct-17 06:08:52

She threw any 'boys toys' across the room?hmm

Lavabravacava Sat 14-Oct-17 06:22:50

So sad. Most boys like a toy baby, a buggy, a try on of a twirly dress. Doesn't mean anything. Let them get on with It.

The focus here should be on stopping the bullying at school. Why does this poor kid think only girls can play with girls?

Knusper Sat 14-Oct-17 09:17:45


When she's older, she also hopes to marry a boy and have children.

I agree, Bertie. Why is nobody reassuring him that you don't have to be a girl to marry a boy? And that plenty of people become parents via adoption or other routes? Poor kid.

HeyRoly Sat 14-Oct-17 09:26:50

Further proof that the transing of children is so often rooted in homophobia.

TimbuktuTimbuktu Sat 14-Oct-17 09:43:38

When I was little I really wanted long black hair (I was blonde) so I used to put tights on my head and twist them into plaits.

I'm not trans Indian though!

busyboysmum Sat 14-Oct-17 10:17:38

Interesting article this morning in the Mail about being unable to speak out about the rush to trans kids.

Chillingly they will soon no longer be able to look into any underlying psychological issues which may be underpinning the desire to be the opposite sex.

busyboysmum Sat 14-Oct-17 10:18:43

"The Memorandum of Understanding will take effect this month. Effectively, it could prevent a therapist, when presented with a person who wants to change sex, from exploring any possible ulterior reason behind their decision. This disturbs James greatly.

'Any ethical therapist wouldn't try to impose their view of how a client should be — but surely they should be able to explore if gender identity is truly the psychological issue,' he says.

'We need a framework that allows therapists to freely explore other underlying issues that may be present before they start gender reassignment treatment, without the fear of being accused of conversion therapy if they do so.

'The Memorandum of Understanding is saying we must accept whatever gender identity a client says they are without question."

Boulshired Sat 14-Oct-17 10:21:32

Is this class or a regionals thing as I just do not recognise the description of under 8 playing as school. I know with my children and family children they didn’t separate playing by sex till junior age. Mixed groups and even 1 boy and numerous girls was not uncommon. I have met very few girls who fit the descriptors given and those who have it was just a small part of a bigger picture. It is interesting that being called gay was quickly glossed over and still one of the meanest things to be called and yet not addressed.

pisacake Sat 14-Oct-17 10:29:58

I don't understand how we went from 'Boys can do anything', and 'Girls can do anything' to 'Boys can be girls' and 'Girls can be boys'.

There's also a strong sense here of a sort of fundamentalism of the sort you might get in Iran - 'homosexuality, no we don't have anything like that here'. Men dressed up as women? 'Perfectly ok, carry on'.

It seems that the school is not willing or not able to protect the boy from homophobic bullying but if you can play the transgender card (a) they will suddenly take the bullying seriously [note how the school has called them not to report bullying but to complain that he lost his temper] (b) it's a top trump, 'oh transgender why didn't you say so sooner? Please bear with us while we rearrange the entire school around your whims.' (c) they believe, possibly correctly, that by becoming a girl the bullies will no longer pick on them.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 14-Oct-17 10:32:56

Is this class or a regionals thing as I just do not recognise the description of under 8 playing as school. I know with my children and family children they didn’t separate playing by sex till junior age

It is 19 years since I had an 8 year old but I agree, the description did not resonate with me either.

PricklyBall Sat 14-Oct-17 10:36:42

That's a very good article, busy, and very measured, thoughtful and balanced. The sort of article in fact that somewhere like the Guardian should be carrying - but it's had to appear in the Mail instead!

And sheesh, tea towels on the head. Again.

qumquat Sat 14-Oct-17 10:37:24

This is just awful. Of course she is 1000x times happier. She isn't being bullied any more and she can wear the clothes she likes and behave how she likes.

It seriously never occurred to anyone that it might be possible to sort this out for her as a boy?

StealthPolarBear Sat 14-Oct-17 10:39:22


Further proof that the transing of children is so often rooted in homophobia."
Yes this is it isn't it. Boys who play with dolls or have long hair are just so vanishingly rare that if you find one it therefore must be a girl.
This is ridiculous. Let boys play with dolls and wear dresses. Let them be gay if they are or <shock> straight boys that play with dolls. The world will not explode.
I tried to avoid gender stereotypes but now have a ten year old boy who plays with guns and cars and an 8year old girl who loves nothing more than playing with her dolls. I'm glad because at least they're at low risk of someone coming along and telling them they're in the wrong body. Pathetic.

StealthPolarBear Sat 14-Oct-17 10:41:03

I now just need to prevent them carrying on the stereotypes into adulthood.

pisacake Sat 14-Oct-17 10:43:08

I wonder how many schools are like this, where homophobic bullying is everyday and not taken seriously. It seems that 'trans' brings you an extra level of protection from bullying not afforded to normal boys.

It is the 'special snowflake'

Popchyk Sat 14-Oct-17 10:48:27

Tegan's mother has inadvertently set all this up with her wholesale acceptance of gender stereotypes. The mother talks exclusively about certain clothes, toys, make-up, sparkly stuff.

Because for her, that's what being a girl is. Just that. Absolutely nothing else.

This whole "He like playing with dolls therefore he must be a girl" thing is just so damaging to children. And the child's response of "It's very hurtful to be taunted about being gay; I can get away from that hurt by being a girl. Nobody will bully me again" is entirely predictable.

I do wonder how far any of this would have got if there was another parent at home who was a bit more open-minded and educated about gender stereotypes and norms.

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Sat 14-Oct-17 10:57:47

Yes. I don't understand why the L and G part of the alphabet soup of identities isn't putting its head above the parapet.

Plenty of us are, Lass. Both online and IRL.

But the likes of Stonewall, which used to be there for lesbians & gays, now only care about trans so we're having to do it without the big money behind us.

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