A 12-year-old who is one of Britain’s youngest transgender children has started transitioning – after realising she was born in the ‘wrong body’ aged just THREE.
Ash Lammin is, biologically-speaking, a boy.
But her mum says she insisted that she was a girl as soon as she could speak.
Terri Lammin, 43, said that watching her daughter – who was born Ashton – grow up confused and upset by her body was “heartbreaking”.
She said: “Although she was born male, from the moment she could speak Ash insisted she was a girl.
“By age five, she was asking ‘when is someone going to chop my winky off?’ – and questioning why she had it at all.”
Family photos from Ash’s upbringing therefore mask a very difficult period for the family, who live near Ramsgate in Kent.
In one, Ash is splashing around in a bath, wearing a sparkly mermaid’s swimming costume and looking like an average three-year-old girl – obsessed with pink and wearing a princess dress, the sort of thing that’s usually seen at birthday parties.
But, Terri revealed, the only reason she was wearing her swimming costume in the bath was to hide her body – which had dismayed her from an early age.
Ash says that it has been difficult growing up as a trans girl, but says she feels that she is firmly on the right path.
She said: “The journey is long and it’s still going, but I feel like the sense of victory is there through it all.
“I do feel accepted sometimes, but other times not.
“Not everyone is going to understand and people have to have their own opinions and I understand that. Some people might not like the idea of trans.
“I hope I inspire others but I just hope that love and acceptance comes through everything.”
According to her mum, Ash is the perfect example of a child who has been born in the wrong body.
Now, aged almost 13, she is embarking on a lengthy journey to transition her gender from male to female at an NHS-run clinic – and is one of the youngest in the country to do so.
Ash – who changed her name by deed poll to Ashley when she was eight – will start by taking hormone blockers to halt the onset of puberty.
She has researched the process incessantly – and eventually wants a womb transplant so that she can be a mother when she’s older.
While some critics have accused Terri of taking drastic decisions on behalf of a child who is too young to know better, she points out that Ash will take the blockers until she is 18.
At that point, she herself will decide whether to go ahead with gender reassignment surgery.
If she decides not to go ahead with it, Ash will come off the blocker – and her puberty will kick in just a few years later than her peers.
Terri said: “I never thought it was a phase, Ash was just Ash.
“When she was three she said to me, ‘I’m a boy because you gave me a boy’s name – it’s your fault.’
“I remember feeling horrible, because she blamed me. I personally thought maybe this was what an extremely camp gay man is like as a child.
“I’d never come across it before and I just went along with it. I just thought ‘if he’s happy, well that’s the main thing.'”
But Terri, who has seven other children, said that life became much harder when Ash started at primary school.
She said: “I sent her to school in a boy’s uniform. I felt awful, she didn’t want to wear it and I was making her.
“The school were great. The headmaster at the time said ‘if you think it’s going to make life easier then bring Ash in a girl’s uniform’, so I did.
“I was in a right state. I thought ‘everybody is going to think I’m weird’ – but Ash loved it, she found it easy.
“Before, when I was taking her into school, she was biting me and kicking me, she didn’t want to go in.
“As soon as she put the girl’s uniform on, she wanted to go every day.”
Despite the school’s willingness to help and the kindness of Ash’s classmates, Terri says that other parents were very difficult – leaving her out of social events and complaining that Ash was using the girls’ toilets.
She added: “When Ash was Ashton, she was invited to all the kids’ parties, even though she used to turn up in a princess dress.
“The parents didn’t mind then. But as soon as I let her be Ashley all the time, for a whole year she didn’t get invited to one party.
“The kids were fine; it’s not the children, kids play with anybody. It’s not until an adult comes in and says you shouldn’t do that then it changes.”
When Ash turned 11 and went to secondary school, she became a target for bullies who would throw things at her on the bus and shout ‘tranny’ at her – forcing Terri to take her out of the school after just one term.
Ash is now being home-schooled, and Terri is calling for better education within schools to teach children about transgender people.
She said: “I’d like to see the subject of transgender people included in some lessons, like there are about same-sex families.
“There needs to be more about liking people for who they are, not what they are.”
Ash suffers from anxiety and, her mum said, has openly claimed that she wants to die.
Terri said: “Some days she says ‘I’m so glad I’m me’, but other days she feels terrible. She asks why it has to happen to her and she hates herself.
“I tell her that some people are born with one leg, and they have to deal with it. I question whether it was a chromosome disorder that led to this – I would like to know why it happened.”
“She is so inspirational. She could easily have said ‘I’ll just be a boy’ but she feels so strongly about who she is she accepts the difficulties.
“But it’s a lot for a child to deal with.”