Meet the trans girl who came out to her classmates, won over her bullies and became a published author, all before 11
Trans girl AJ Nesbitt, who bravely came out to her classmates at six years old, is sharing her inspirational story with the world, becoming a published author aged 11.
AJ Nesbitt’s mother began realising she was trans when she was three years old.
“She gravitated to ‘traditional’ girls’ toys and other girls,” Audrey Nesbitt, from Greater Toronto, Canada, told PinkNews.
As a kindergartener, AJ would regularly volunteer to dress up as a princess during story time. It was a role she clearly felt a connection with, as she would also demand to be crowned royalty in drama school plays.
When AJ was six and in first grade, she tore her trousers and found a skort in the school lost and found.
“She came home with it and said she was wearing that from now on and that was it,” Audrey recalled. “From that day forward she started to identify as a girl.”
Now 11 years old, AJ is thriving as her true self. She enjoys art classes, tennis, acting, writing and her pet dog Belvedere.
With her busy schedule suddenly curtailed by the pandemic, AJ decided to put her spare time to good use, writing a book based on her formative experiences with her mother.
True You Super You, the first of a planned series, tells the story of how AJ began her journey of truth, coming out to her teachers and classmates, and standing up to her bullies with the help of her best friends: the Sass Pack.
“At first I would get angry and sass back at them,” AJ says of her bullies.
“My mum taught me to try to be honest with them. Instead of yelling back at them and starting a fight, to try to let them know how they are hurting my feelings. I also tried to be honest with my feelings with the teachers so they could help and for the most part they did.”
Like most tweens, AJ’s highest praise is reserved for her friends. Having known each other since junior kindergarten, the Sass Pack has supported AJ throughout her journey.
“They allow me to be myself and cheer me up when I am feeling down about being trans,” AJ says. “I can be myself with them and they stand up for me with bullies.”
Sometimes, sadly, the most small-minded reactions have been from parents. Audrey says that AJ once had a crush on a boy in school, who she shared a tentative first kiss with in the school yard. When the boy’s parents found out, “they put an end to it – it broke her heart”.
Audrey says that despite this, most parents — as well as AJ’s teachers — have “been fantastic”, and for the most part the reaction from family has been a positive one.
“There was some initial push back from a couple of family members who thought I was pushing an agenda,” Audrey said.
“I wasn’t pushing anything. I just wanted AJ to be supported in which ever direction she wanted to go in. When she came home from school in the skort I realised she had no girl clothing in her wardrobe, so I went and bought her a variety of girls clothing and mixed it in with her ‘boy’ clothing and let her choose what she wanted to wear. She led, I followed.”
Even at the tender age of 11, AJ is aware of the big issues which will follow her into later life as a Black trans girl.
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Audrey says that the recent murder of George Floyd “changed something” in her daughter. More than ever she feels her Blackness, and is inspired to be more vocal about both the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBT+ rights.
“My mum has helped in teaching me how to voice how I feel and not being afraid to say what it is I’m feeling no matter how stupid or silly I think it is,” AJ said.
Looking ahead, AJ is hopeful for the future. She wants to act more, write more – with a second book about her struggle with finding appropriate clothing in the works – and when she’s older, find her prince charming.
For Audrey, her biggest wish is that AJ “continues to have a loving, support network around her throughout her life”.
“I hope when she’s older she finds the romantic love she desires, someone that loves her for who she is,” she adds.
“I hope she continues to live her life on her terms and continues to have the courage to confront her fears.”