Transgender teenager Theo Ramos says that he knew he known he is a boy since he was 10 years old, when the onset of puberty started physical changes that left him feeling like he was at war with his body.
“When you’re 10 years old, you really shouldn’t be worried about who you are,” Theo, 14, told The Associated Press. “You shouldn’t be having that existential question when you’re in fifth grade. You should be worried about homework and the fifth-grade dance coming up.”
In fifth grade, Theo was sent to the hospital after he began cutting himself on the arm with a paperclip in the girl’s bathroom at his South Florida elementary school. When his mother arrived at the ER, she was told that her child had begun demanding that teachers call him by a male name and address him as a boy. Ramos was involuntarily committed for 72 hours, after which therapists and doctors told him that he suffered from gender dysphoria — a conflict between his physical gender, and the gender with which he identified. While his mother was accepting of Theo and his desire to be seen as a boy, his father reacted with anger, threatening to disown the 10-year-old.
Theo said that he began facing bullying at school, but even worse was the “acute sense of discomfort and pain” he felt when people referred to him as a girl. Theo began demanding hormone treatment, but doctors told him to wait. Hormone therapy for transgender children is controversial — many doctors recommend that children wait until age 16 to see if they have a change of heart. So Theo, despite his misgivings, has decided to wait.
Watch video of Theo’s story.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.