Ohio mom shares story of 7-year-old transgender daughter: ‘She was always Elizabeth’

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SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (ABC NEWS/WRIC) — Katie Flesch spoke with ABC News to share the story behind her seven-year-old transgender daughter Elizabeth, who she described as a “typical little girl.”

She said that Elizabeth enjoys bowling, animals and likes to pick flowers for her family.

“She is one of the most amazing people that I know and that’s including children and adults,” Flesch said about her daughter. “She is so empathetic and just compassionate towards everybody. I am truly honored and blessed and lucky that she is mine.”

Flesch said that she feels like she was given a platform to educate others about the transgender community, while advocating for her daughter.

She said she wants her daughter to know that she shouldn’t be ashamed of who she is and should never hide her true self.

Elizabeth was born in 2009 as Landon along with her twin brother Logan.

Flesch said that from the time Elizabeth was a toddler, she just had this feeling that “something was different” about her child; even citing that the twins were complete opposites.

As Elizabeth got a little older, she had a preference for the colors, pink and purple, and preferred playing with girls’ toys.

However, Flesch at the time didn’t think of this as any indication that Elizabeth was transgender.

“It doesn’t mean anything, but it was just the way she would, would move and dance everywhere,” Flesch said. “We’d be bowling, she’d throw her ball and do a pirouette — silly things like that.”

When it came time for the kids to go to kindergarten, Flesch let the kids pick their own school supplies. Elizabeth chose pink shoes and a Hello Kitty backpack.

“When she started first grade, she started insisting that she was a girl,” Flesch recalled. “Even when she started doing that, I questioned it. For four years basically, I thought she was going through a phase.”

Elizabeth was taken to two different psychologists who both diagnosed her as having gender dysphoria — “strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned biological sex.”

According to Psychology Today, Elizabeth was transgender.

After this, Flesch shared the information with Elizabeth’s school principal saying at the time “Landon prefers to be identified as a girl and if the class is separated by boys and girls, she should be with the girls.”

Elizabeth’s teachers and principal were accepting, and Elizabeth began fully embracing her true self as a girl. Her parents have said that the transition started off smoothly by first making sure Elizabeth was comfortable wearing what she wanted.

According to ABC News, Elizabeth chose a new name after Emily Elizabeth — the blonde-haired character from the children’s book series, “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

Currently at school, Elizabeth is using the bathroom in the nurse’s office, and this helps with making her transition go smoothly without the other students or parents becoming uncomfortable.

She also uses the faculty bathroom which gives her time to check in with the staff who ensure that things continue going alright.

“Transgender people just want to have the same rights and freedom as everybody else,” Flesch said. “If it came to a point where Elizabeth wanted to use the girls’ bathroom, then she should have the same rights as every other girl, but she’s OK using the faculty bathroom and I’m OK with it as long as she is.”

Elizabeth has been embraced by her peers and she and her twin brother are just as close as they were before.

Flesch said that in regards to naysayers, Elizabeth is brave and stands up for herself and never wavers.

“When she started first grade, she started insisting that she was a girl,” Flesch recalled. “Even when she started doing that, I questioned it. For four years basically, I thought she was going through a phase.”

Susan Maasch, the executive director of the Trans Youth Equality Foundation in Portland, Maine, told ABC News that education on the transgender community is key for loved ones to gain a better understanding.

Maasch said that supportive families have a positive impact on the lives of transgender youth.

Elizabeth has become active in the transgender community. Most recently she attended a transgender youth symposium in Columbus, OH and she even has a mentor who is a transgender high school student.

“It’s not a new thing, but it’s been taboo for so long and people are just feeling comfortable coming out,” Flesch added. “Parents have been advocating and helping their child live a life that is authentic. When she was born, we thought that we had a boy, but we didn’t — we had a girl. We just didn’t know until she asserted that to us. I know now that she always was Elizabeth, but I didn’t always know.”

“Transgender people just want to have the same rights and freedom as everybody else,” Flesch said

Flesch concluded, “I hope the world will gain a little more compassion and come together in accepting a really wonderful community of people.”Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.

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