Meet Josie, 9: No secret she’s transgender

Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star. (Photo available for purchase)

Josie is unique not only because she transitioned from being biologically male to identifying as female at such a young age, but because she and her family are so public about it.

The family has been criticized for going public with it but says they’re just following Josie’s lead. Josie, who is biologically male, has been adamant since she was three that she is a girl and transgender.

“I think we’re seeing a generational shift right now. It used to be that children would have never even thought about telling their parents something like this. They would have had a spanking or worse,” Pearson says. “Ask the person who transitioned at 50 and they usually knew when they were 5 or 6, but knew they shouldn’t talk about it.

Josie and her parents expect she will have sexual reassignment surgery when she becomes an adult.


  1. Do you think someone can really know something like that at such a young age? After 9 years old you can become a completely different person many times over.

  2. Being a gay man, I knew I was far more attracted to other boys (in a very sexual way) when I was in 2nd grade, which put me at 6, as I started school early. I didn’t know the word for it, or much at all about it, except that it was not something to talk about with adults. (Anything sexual really was “taboo” to talk about.) I was a virgin (in all aspects of the word) until I was 19, and didn’t “come out” until I was in my 20s.

    That said, I “knew” when I was 6, and also knew it would not be received well by my family (who disowned me when I did finally come out). “Knowing” from the age of 3 seems a bit of a fetch to me, but not impossible. But what would one propose as an alternative? “Encouraging” a biological boy to be more “masculine”? How would you do that? Buying him masculine toys? Social taunting? Some other form of punishment for being “effeminate”? Spankings? Beatings?

    Kids will be kids. Some kids don’t notice sex, gender, or attractions until later in life, some notice it earlier. It sounds like these parents are encouraging their child to be a kid and live as they see fit. They’re not considering reassignment surgery until they’re an adult, but are affirming their support if/when that time comes. It may just be a phase, or it could be real, but in any case they love their child and will support them. If more parents showed such unconditional love for their children this world would be a much better place.

    • What I found fascinating was the mother saying Josie threw fits at age three when the mom tried to take her shopping in the boys department for clothes. She wanted to be dressed in girls clothes.

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