Gender identity development is a hugely complicated process, I can't begin to imagine the inner conflict a child must feel when experiencing gender dysphoria (the mismatch of the child's biological sex and their gender identity). A couple of weeks ago I spent a sunny but chilly afternoon with Kai (above) and his wonderful mum Rachel. Kai was born female and for the first few years of his life was known to his family as Kaia. Kai began gender identifying as a boy from a very early age. Now aged 10, Kai lives his life as a boy and has chosen to undergo hormone treatment to halt puberty and halt his development into a woman.
I'd watched the brilliant and very interesting Louis Theroux documentary on transgender children a few days before meeting Kai. Some critics argue that kids at this age are too young to make up their mind on such life changing decisions. A few hours spent in Kai's company and anyone would be hard pressed to argue that Kai was anything but a very happy little boy. Something that he wasn't until he openly identified his entire life as a boy.
He was a very cool kid and I love the portrait above, one of my favourites of the year so far.