A PURFLEET five-year-old who felt he was a girl trapped in a boy’s body has become one of the youngest-ever children to be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder.
From the age of three Zach Avery refused to live as a boy, instead choosing to wear pink dresses and ribbons in his long, blonde hair reports the Daily Mail.
He also became obsessed with the girly children’s TV character Dora the Explorer.
Parents Theresa (pictured) and Darren Avery, 41, became worried by Zach’s behaviour and took him to the doctors.
‘Zachy’ Avery decided he wanted to live as a girl when he was three and was last year officially diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder at the age of four
Zach at the age of four before he grew his hair into the pigtails he now prefers
After numerous consultations and observations, he was last year officially diagnosed by NHS specialists with Gender Identity Disorder, making Zach – then aged four – one of the youngest affected children in the UK.
With his blonde pigtails and purple tutu, Zachy, as he is affectionately known, has been living as a girl for more than a year.
His primary school has even changed the kids’ toilets to gender-neutral Unisex in support of Zach since his diagnosis.
His mother, Theresa Avery, 32, said Zach used to be a ‘normal’ little boy who loved Thomas the Tank Engine, but suddenly at the end of 2010, he started behaving like a girl.
The mother -of-four said: ‘He just turned round to me one day when he was three and said, “Mummy, I’m a girl”. I assumed he was just going through a phase and just left it at that.
‘But then it got serious and he would become upset if anyone referred to him as a boy.
‘He used to cry and try to cut off his willy out of frustration.’
His parents took him to a specialist at Tavistock and Patman Foundation Trust in London.
At first his parents thought he may be autistic, but after several months a child phsychologist diagnosed Zach with GID.
The dedicated specialists explained to them that gender identity disorder is a conflict between a person’s actual physical gender and the gender that person identifies himself or herself as.
Mrs Avery said: ‘They told us that although he had a male body, his brain was telling him he was a girl.’
And Zach’s school – Purfleet Primary in Essex – has even turned their toilet block gender-neutral to support him.
Mrs Avery added: ‘They have changed the toilets for Key Stage 1 pupils into Unisex instead of male/female and they address him as a girl, which is what he wants.
The youngster’s birth certificate registers him as male – the he has been officially diagnosed with GID
‘When he gets a bit older, to Key Stage 2, then obviously the law changes and there will be more difficulties surrounding the bathroom issue, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it – it may be that Zach will use the staff toilets.
‘We explained to the other kids at the school that Zach’s body was that of a boy but in his brain he was a girl. We said Zach was just happier being a girl than a boy.
‘But the other kids haven’t batted an eyelid, they’ve accepted Zach as Zach and there’s been no problems at the school with bullying.
‘The school has been brilliant and really, really supportive.’
When he goes to school, Zach wears a girl’s trouser uniform and black boots with pink trim, which his mother said is female but still neutral.
And she said that although she misses her little boy, the family is very supportive of Zachy.
Mrs Avery said: ‘He just wants to be like a little girl and he’s very happy with his long blonde hair, pink and red bedroom and a wardrobe full of girls clothes.
‘He likes playing with his sister’s old toys but he still loves Dr Who too and playing with his brother.
And we still put some neutral clothes in his wardrobe if he ever decides he wants to wear them.
‘We leave it up to him to decide what he wants to do – if he changes his mind and wants to be a boy again then he does, but if he doesn’t, he doesn’t.
She admitted: ‘I would love to have my son back, but I want him to be happy. If this is the route he wants to take – if this is what makes him happy – then so be it. I would rather him have my full support.