16-year-old Trinity Neal, from Delaware, U.S, knew that she was living in the wrong body before she had even started primary school.
Born male, Trinty would dress up in her mum’s clothes and adamantly express that she was a girl.
Trinity was then taken to a specialist child therapist who confirmed that she had body dysphoria, but by then Trinity’s mental wellbeing was being impacted.
At four years old, Trinity began socially transitioning into a girl and her family accepted her.
Mum DeShanna bought her a pink dress to mark the occasion, which left Trinity in tears as she finally felt accepted.
‘It made me feel so happy,’ she explained. ‘And mum said I was crying because of my happiness.
‘It wasn’t right for me in that body. It felt awful, I wasn’t even happy. I was always sad and angry.’
When she turned 12, Trinity made history by becoming the first child in Delaware to have their medical transition covered by Medicaid, a state program that offers health insurance coverage for lower-income families.
Although Trinity was initially denied puberty blockers by Medicaid, DeShanna fought for almost a year to get the treatment her daughter needed.
Now, Medicaid will be covering Trinity’s gender confirmation surgery. At 16 years old, she will be one of the youngest in her state to undergo this life-changing surgery.
At the time, it was difficult for DeShanna to come to terms with Trinity’s choice but the therapist helped her see the way.
She was asked: ‘You have to make a decision here. Do you want a happy little girl or a dead little boy?’
Though she came to terms with it, DeShanna wants more mainstream acceptance.
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She added: ‘What makes it harder, it’s not because she’s trans but because I have to fight to make people and society see she’s a person that deserves dignity and respect like anybody else.
‘I would love to see black and brown trans people portrayed in a positive loving life.
‘They’ve been victims of violence, murder – I want to show that our family is a loving family.’
Speaking about her upcoming bottom surgery, Trinity said: ‘I want to actually be a girl, completely, even though I am a girl. I want to have this removed I am tired of it.
‘I want to be myself, I don’t want to be someone I don’t want to be. Because if I get this [surgery] done I can show those people who hate, I will show them that no matter how much you hate us, we will still beat you.
‘We are just all human I don’t know why we have to hate each other, it is not right, we are all supposed to be loved, we all should love ourselves.’
Trinity’s surgeon, Dr Sherman Leis, specialises in transgender surgeries.
He claims that minors undergoing gender confirmation surgery is becoming more common, however, they are still the minority.
According to Dr Leis, before any patient can undergo genital reassignment surgery, they must have been taking hormones for at least one year and be living as their desired gender for three.
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They must also have clearance from two mental health specialists who have been trained to deal with gender dysphoria.
He said: ‘I don’t have one patient that regrets they did the surgery, not even one. That’s absolutely the truth – but I know that overall it’s about an incidence of 1% of patients that regret that they did the surgery.
‘I don’t think there’s another profession in the world, in or out of medicine that has the ability to bring such a profound improvement in a human being’s life as transgender surgery.’