Trigger warning: This post mentions gender identity disorder and suicide. It may be triggering for some readers.
The first words in a child’s life are simple.
It’s usually a single word; easy to say; and probably mispronounced.
This wasn’t the case, however, for Georgie Stone.
Her first words were “Mum, I want a vagina.”
Georgie Stone recalls the moment she knew she was meant to be a girl with her Mum, Rebekah, and Mia Freedman on No Filter. Post continues after audio…
Georgie Stone is a 16 year-old transgender girl.
That’s pretty amazing in itself: the courage to openly identify as transgender; the self-assurance in terms of who she really is; and the persistence in overcoming stereotypes and pre-conceptions she’d be faced with on a daily basis.
But Georgie is so much more than that.
She publicly came out in 2015 – at just 15-years-old – and in doing so became an advocate for transgender children. Not only in the media, but also in the legal system.
While most teens spend their weekends playing sport and staring at screens, Georgie dedicates her time to shattering glass ceilings for transgender children trailing behind her... following in her profound footsteps.
In 2011, at just 10 years old, Georgie became the youngest person in Australia to be granted permission to access hormone blockers (the first stage of medical treatment for transgender children).
Instead of discussing with her family whether or not the blockers were appropriate, they were forced to put their plea to a judge.
Following the case - and a later appeal - transgender children in Australia no longer have to go through the Family Court to gain access to hormone blockers. Parental and medical consent is still required but approval of a judge is not.
Georgie and her Mum, Rebekah, are now trying to do the same in terms of access to cross-sex hormone therapy.
Australia is currently the only country in the world in which transgender children must apply for the therapy - once again through the Family Court.
The process is a lengthy one: emotionally traumatic and painfully expensive. Rather than making an informed decision with the help of loved ones, they apply for the decision to be made for them.
Georgie was forced through the awful court process in 2015, when her testosterone levels suddenly went "through the roof".
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In her No Filter interview with Mia Freedman, Georgie said of the legal process: "It was taking a long time, and I was distressed at the things that were happening in my body".
She couldn't bare the thought of transgender children after her having to do the same.
As she writes on her website, Transcend, "...going through court, all three times, were amongst the darkest times in my life."
"It should have been my choice, whether I needed treatment or not. But that right was taken from me. That is wrong, and it needs to change."
For her advocation of trans rights and upheaval of the legal process, Georgie was named one of the 25 LGBTI Australians to watch in 2017.
Georgie featured on an episode of Australian Story in August 2016 in which she discusses all aspects of her life: being born with a penis she never wanted; her relationship with twin brother Harry; the startlingly different responses from her Mum and Dad; and her struggle with the legal system to avoid irreversible male puberty.
Georgie's experience as a transgender toddler and child, however, is the most unique part of her story.
George and Harry Stone were born twin boys. They were born happy and healthy and still are. I use the past tense, however, because from an unbelievably young age - he could barely talk - George began to identify as Georgie.
"Around about two [years old], I could see a different way of expressing themselves between Georgie and Harry," Rebekah, Georgie's Mum told Mia Freedman.
They were given the same toys, but interpreted them in different ways: Buzz Lightyear became Miranova - the female space ranger; Tonka Trucks took on female characteristics and carried Barbies.
Georgie was open with her family from a young age. "One of the first words I remember saying was 'Mum, I want a vagina'. I was 2-and-a-half."
As Georgie matured, she approached puberty. And with puberty looming, things became pretty urgent.
If Georgie went through male puberty, that was it. Game over. The hormonal surge, and physical changes that come as a result, would be irreversible. She expressed her concerns to Rebekah:
"Please don't let me grow a beard... please don't let my voice break."
"If my voice had broken it wouldn't have been able to go back."
The daunting thought of male puberty was too much for Georgie to handle.
By that point, she defined herself as Georgie. She was Georgie... regardless of her male biology.
Puberty would've forced her to take on a persona that wasn't her own... it would've been a life sentence.
Avoiding male puberty wasn't just a preference. It was a matter of life or death: "I knew if that happened, I would've killed myself".
Georgie's case made it through the Family Court quickly.
She was granted access to hormone blockers, and to cross-sex hormone therapy.
She could've taken it and ran. Accepted the hormones and moved on with her life, satisfied with the fact she could now be who she was always meant to: she could now be Georgie and, physically, nothing would stop her. No deep voice. No facial hair.
But run away she did not.
"Everything has fallen into place. I am turning into the young woman I’ve always wanted to be."
Georgie was intent on tearing down the inextricable link between gender and legality. It wasn't right. It wasn't good enough for transgender Australian children following in her footsteps.
It didn't take her long to effect change.
She's already removed the legal step for trans children and their families seeking out hormone blockers (step one of transgender treatment). And she's well on the way towards doing the same for step two of the treatment: cross-sex hormone therapy.
In 2016, she was awarded LGTBI Person of the Year at the third annual community awards in Melbourne... and she's still in high school.
At 16-years-old, Georgie Stone's achieved more than most of us could hope to in an entire lifetime.
You can listen to Mia Freedman's full interview with Georgie Stone and her Mum, Rebekah here:
You can find Transcend, Georgie and Rebekah's website, here.
If you or your family are experiencing difficulties, please contact Lifeline Australia or Qlife, Australia's first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI).