'I don't care what people think': 11-year-old on her gender transition
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Eleven-year-old Aria Baker says she is the "happiest she's ever been".
After years of depression, thought to be caused by body dysmorphia, the Norwich youngster is finally comfortable in her own skin thanks to beginning her gender transition.
Aria - born Josh - says she has never felt better adding she wants to dedicate the years ahead to inspiring and supporting others in her position.
Kayleigh Baker, mum of the Marlpit secondary-school pupil, said: "She was very unhappy during her childhood.
"She suffered from depression. She did not feel comfortable in her own body."
Miss Baker explained that for years she tried to make her daughter happy, but that “no matter how hard we tried to get her to do things, she never wanted to”.
In July Aria told her mother that she was transgender.
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Kayleigh said: "Aria is now growing her hair, wearing female clothes and is the happiest I have ever seen her.”
Aria added: “I never felt comfortable in my body as a boy, I always felt like there was a part of me missing but when I came out as transgender, I finally felt whole.
“It felt like that’s who I was always supposed to be.”
Aria dreams of a bright future where she can help others to be unapologetically themselves.
To do this, she has plans on taking to the screen with a career in YouTube.
However, she is happy taking life one step at a time and in her own way.
She said: “I don’t care what people think of me, if they’re calling me names, they must be insecure themselves.
"I’m living my life how I want to, no one can bring me down with nasty comments, their opinions are invalid to me.”
Her message to others who are having a similar struggle was to be as open as possible.
She said: "Talk to someone about how you feel, it took me a long time but when I told my mum I felt so much relief and now I have so much support to be who I want to be.
“I wish I had done it ages ago. People have reacted a lot better than I thought.
"Give people a chance to help you.”
And Aria's mother believes it is her responsibility to encourage Aria to be who she wants to be.
She said: “I brought her into this world so it is my job to support her through it.”
She added: “Her confidence has shown me how brave she is, she truly is an inspiration and I am so proud to be able to say she is my daughter.”
The government predicts that there are approximately 200,000 - 500,000 trans people in the UK.
Since the Gender Recognition Act came into force in 2004, 4,910 trans people have been issued a Gender Recognition Certificate.
The act will not however change the legal rights of children, the minimum age for gender recognition is 18.
Nicholas Baker - who is not related to Aria - has supported the youth on her journey.
The 27-year-old, originally from Murrow in Cambridgeshire has lived in Norwich for nine years.
He has also recently begun his transition.
He explained that he never felt comfortable as a female and tried to dress ultra-feminine to hide it.
However, he always felt like he was wearing a costume.
He said: “I never realised there was an alternative until I got to know people in Norwich’s vibrant queer scene.”
Mr Baker said the support of a trans friend was immeasurable, adding: “Hearing his story helped make my own clearer to me”
He said: “The same way my sister knows she is a cisgender woman, I know I’m a non-binary guy.”
Mr Baker added that the facilities in the county needed to be improved, as he was on the waiting list for two years.
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