This transgender child convinced a whole country to change their laws

December 26, 2016
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An extraordinary transgender child has changed the laws of a whole country.

The story of Willa Naylor, 8, was so powerful that it convinced legislators to change the law.

The transgender child is from Malta, which now has the most progressive trans legislation of anywhere in the world.

It’s now passed the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act thanks to one little girl’s effort.

The Bill was dedicated to Willa on its passing.

She told ABC Malta: “I remember that there was these pink sparkly shoes and I was put into them.

“My mother’s friend was with us and she said it wasn’t good for a boy to say that he wants pink shoes.”

Her mother Bex Naylor said Willa chose girls’ toys and clothing as soon as she could walk and talk.

“I thought I was raising a boy so I would tell her, ‘oh no pick the boys’ things’, and I feel bad about it now but we just didn’t really understand,” she said.

“She couldn’t socialise with kids, she spent years at school not even speaking to other children.

“Doctors were telling me she had selective muteness.

“We had a lot of years of not knowing what the problem was.”

Her father said that learning his child was trans was tough.

“It is kind of a grieving process. You have to let go of what you thought it was and all the little pet names.

“I would often say ‘son’, like an endearment, and it’s all those little things that have to go.

“And it was hard, but then we saw how happy she was.”

But Willa was only able to be herself at home.

At school, legislation meant that she had to go there as a boy, and the school couldn’t change what she was registered as.

They needed the government to change the rules so she could be recognised as a girl legally and at school

“We met with ministers in the end and actually the minister that was in charge of putting through this new legislation granted [Willa] permission to go to school as a girl,” Willa’s mother said.

“There has been children in this country that get to be themselves on the weekend and then put on the uniform of the other gender on Monday morning.

“That’s awful. I felt like I was killing my child every time I had to do that, put on that boy’s uniform during that time.”

Their campaign was so successful that the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act was passed into law, and new guidance for schools issued.

Malta now has the most trans-friendly laws of anywhere in the world.

More: Malta, Trans

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