Some inadequate producer for BBC Radio 4 thought it would be a good idea to devote 23.46 minutes to a 10 year old girl who believes she is a non-binary individual who would prefer to be more of a boy. He or she was wrong. Ten minutes of the interview was interesting; one had to admire the child’s vocabulary, self-confidence and loquacity, but then it became boring and repetitive.
Girls wanting to be boys is nothing new. Many girls have always wanted to be boys. Enid Blyton knew this, which is why George was the most popular character in The Famous Five books. Malcolm Saville created Peter, short for Petronella. The wonderful thing about all those children’s books of the 40s and 50s was that they allowed girls to be and do things which seemed impossible in real life. Those were the days! There was no preaching in those books, no messages, no secret agenda—just page-turning story telling. Parents were always absent for some good reason, giving the children freedom and independence, but looking back I realise that parental influence and school discipline were always there in the background, which stopped these stories turning into The Lord of the Flies.
I was lucky enough to go to a single sex school so we all got to play the drums and the trumpet and take as many boys parts in plays as we wished. My daughter, in a mixed school, was once Cinderella but I got to be Peter Pan. We also had crushes on staff or other girls—and finally grew up.
There were two comments that worried me in the interview with Leo and his mother (and his younger brother who kept saying ‘she’ and having to apologise) . There was a reference to a transgender cousin and Mother mentioned the possibility of hormone treatment. Am I alone in thinking hormone treatment for pre-puberty children is akin to child abuse?