A teenage boy who “transitioned” to a girl two years ago with his mother’s help has now changed his mind, as he has realized that he is not really a girl and is actually comfortable with the way he was born.
Patrick Mitchell, now 14, and his mother Ellie, who hail from Australia but currently live in the U.K., recently appeared on “60 Minutes” to share their story.
“[The doctors] were wrong to pigeonhole him so quickly,” Ellie Mitchell said. “I think they should have said, ‘Here we have a child who does have gender dysphoria and he’s going through a period of transition, where he needs to work out exactly how he feels.'”
She explained that her son began expressing an interest in female clothing as a young boy, but she initially overlooked the matter as just a phase.
“When he was young, he would dress up in girl’s clothes,” she explained. “And at one stage, he did say to me, ‘Could [I] be taken to the doctor to be made a girl?'”
When Patrick was 12, he still told his mother that he didn’t feel like other boys, so she decided to take him to a doctor. Mitchell was consequently diagnosed with gender dysphoria and allowed to begin presenting himself as female.
“I felt inside that I was a girl,” he told 60 Minutes. “I didn’t feel physically that I was a girl, but I felt like I was on the right track to becoming a girl.”
Puberty became an even more difficult and confusing period, as Mitchell recalled that he didn’t like to look at himself in the mirror.
“I would just kind of wonder if I really needed to be alive,” he divulged.
His mother, becoming concerned at his suicide threats, hid all the knives in the house and sought to help her son obtain puberty blockers. However, since Australian law does not allow youth to undergo hormone therapy until age 16, Ellie Mitchell gave her son her own estrogen medication.
“It was a very tough decision,” she said. “Our motivation for second stage treatment was that Patrick was growing very tall and very broad. One thing that estrogen will do is halt the bone growth to more of a girl pattern of growth. So, we were wanting to fuse his bone growth so that we could reduce his height a little bit and also soften his features.”
Earlier this year, Patrick was still feeling restless, and admitted to his mother, “I’m just not sure that I am a girl.”
“I guess that I just realized that I could be happy without completely changing who I am,” the teen said.
Mitchell now is planning to travel to South Korea to have a breast reduction, since his chest began growing after taking his mother’s estrogen. He sees it as the final step in getting back to himself as a male.
While Mitchell and his mother say that they don’t regret the two-year journey, Ellie Mitchell did remark that she is sorry that her son experienced such confusion.
“To see your child smiling—He’s so happy and he’s confident now,” she said. “I’m sorry he was confused and for the dark times, but I’m really happy with who he is today.”
Pediatrician and professor John Whitehall of Western Sydney University told the outlet that confusion is common in children, and that making permanent changes to their body is not the answer.
“People are not interested in discussing the science, [and make us think that] we’ve all got to believe that there’s no such thing as a boy or a girl—that we’re all somewhere in between. No, I don’t believe that,” he said. “You think that [a child’s] emotional problems are going to get better by giving them estrogen? Fine, that’s called optimism; it’s not called scientific method.”
“The good news is that in all the major articles these children will revert to the natal sex through puberty,” Whitehall stated. “What we should do then is have confidence in the statistics and not mess the child up along the way.”