Emma Hayes is 12 years old. She likes makeup, and she’s starting to be interested in boys.
For any parent of a teenager, the approach of puberty is a daunting time. But for Emma’s parents, it’s taken on a whole new meaning.
That’s because Emma was born a boy — although “Ronan”, as she was then known, is now a figment of the past.
Speaking to 60 Minutes‘ Karl Stefanovic, Emma and her family reflected on how their family ended up here. When Emma was only four, her mother found her in her room with a knife attempting to cut off her own penis.
“She just didn’t want it there. Didn’t think it belonged there,” says her mother.
At age eight, Emma was diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, and with the diagnosis came relief for her family. The Emma her parents know now is “totally different” to their tortured son.
“She can be who she wants to be,” her mother observes.
And, acknowledging the high suicide rates of Gender Dysphoric children, they're both hugely relieved with the way things have turned out.
"I couldn't see a future for Emma if we forced her to be Ronan," her father told 60 Minutes.
"I don't think she would be coping," agrees her mother.
"There are some times when you sit back and go, 'What would Ronan be like now?' Even though Emma's an awesome kid, I can't fault her... it's a weird feeling, I can't explain it."
Now, Emma has started high school. At first, some kids picked on her, saying things like "you're a boy". It made her feel sad, but her parents have decided the best policy is to ignore the bullying.