The Age 30 April 2015
It takes guts for any grade five student to make a speech in front of their entire school.
But imagine what it is like to stand up – for the first time – and tell your fellow students and teachers the most important, most private thing you know.
That you were born Molly, but are actually Ollie, a young transgender boy.
And you would like to be the school’s wellbeing captain next year, because you know what it feels like to be on the outer.
To have kids ask you why you are using the girls’ toilets, because you look like a boy. And boys say you can’t use their toilet, because you’re a girl.
How did Oliver feel? He was nervous, really, really nervous. “I used to think I was the only one like me,” he says in a quiet voice.
Afterwards, teachers at East Bentleigh Primary School told him they were so proud. Some cried. The kids were OK too, no teasing. And he got the wellbeing gig.
Ollie, now 12, has been a patient at the Royal Children’s Hospital’s gender dysphoria clinic for the past two years.
The clinic, the only one in Australia, treats children between the ages of five and 18 and has experienced a huge growth in demand since it was established in 2003 by Associate Professor Campbell Paul, a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
From two patients in 2003, it has grown to 104 in 2014, with more expected this year.