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March calendar kid: Navigating childhood with family and friends

Published by , on Mar 9, 2018

Eleven-year-old Hazel loves Minecraft, scootering and playing outside. She’s also a black belt in tae kwon do.

Assigned male at birth, Hazel (named Lachlan at the time) was the youngest of four boys. As she grew older, she didn’t identify with this assigned sex. To Hazel, she was a girl. By the end of her second grade year, she and her parents reached an important milestone in ensuring that the rest of the world saw her the same way.

Hazelanddad“We assisted her in changing her name, began referring to her with her preferred pronouns, supported her in acting and dressing in a manner consistent with her identified gender, discouraged the use of her old name and continued to treat her as an active and healthy child,” said Hazel’s dad, Scott. “And we encouraged others to do the same.”

Hazel’s uncle has been one of her fiercest advocates. Her brothers have been supportive, protective and proud of their younger sister along the way as well, even helping her choose her new name.

“She discussed her name with her mom and me and her three brothers. We made a list of potential names. Hazel was the first one we gave a test run and it stuck,” added Dad.

“Family support is so important,” said Susan W. Jones, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist at CHoR’s Virginia Treatment Center for Children. “Parents and caregivers play a key role in ensuring that their children feel safe, loved and supported. Family acceptance also protects LGBTQ kids against depression, suicidality and substance abuse.”

Finding encouragement in the community and health care settings is important as well. Following the recommendation of family friends, Hazel and her parents became involved with Side by Side, a support group for parents of transgender and gender expansive youth. It’s through this group that they l20171214 164046earned about Dr. Jones, whom they describe as incredibly supportive. Hazel also has an upcoming appointment with an endocrinologist, who can address hormone management and provide coordinated care with Dr. Jones. This team specializes not only in medical care, but in meeting children exactly where they are to offer knowledge and support now and moving forward.

As she prepares to start middle school next year with a wonderful group of friends her family calls her “entourage,” Hazel is signed up for all honors courses. And, although her photo was featured with an article about food selectivity in the 2018 Tid*Bits calendar, Hazel is actually quite an adventurous eater. Most recently she tried (and liked!) dolmades at a Greek restaurant, but Dad likes to think his homemade spaghetti is still his daughter’s favorite.

Learn more about how CHoR partners with families like Hazel’s to make sure that all kids come first.

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