'It is our normal': Mother of non-binary nine-year-old opens up
PUBLISHED: 12:37 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:34 10 December 2019
A Norfolk mother says her family has a "new normal" after her nine-year-old child decided to waive their birth gender identity.
The mother said she was working to "challenge nervousness" and change the language used at home after her child, born male, decided to identify as non-binary - meaning they do not identify as male or female.
Both mother and child have shared their experiences with teams writing sex and relationships guidance for teachers, to help them support pupils who are questioning their gender identity.
Speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk, the mother said her child had "always been their own person" but began identifying as non-binary after starting middle school.
"When little [they] were very much drawn to tutus and sparkly things. At first school where they didn't have to wear uniform [they] would routinely wear dresses and skirts and since joining middle school doesn't really wish to be identified as male or female and to begin with found that confusing, but now seems fairly comfortable and just will say 'I am just me'," she said.
The child has asked the school not to use male pronouns for them and their mother said a similar transition was taking place at home.
"They recognise that people will get it wrong sometimes but we are all making an effort and I think they really appreciate that," she said.
She told Radio Norfolk that her child's experiences in school - particularly in gender-segregated environments such as sports day or swimming lessons - are set to be used in an online resource for teachers on how to support children questioning their gender identity.
She added: "It is a really good opportunity for schools to think 'some of our policies have been this way for a long time, actually maybe they don't meet everybody's needs'."
The mother said there were challenges to being the parent of a non-binary child.
"It makes me anxious sometimes because I don't want people to be unkind," she said.
"It creates a nervousness in me that I am learning to challenge and make sure I don't project on to anyone.
"Of course as a mother you are very protective of your children and there have been instances where people have questioned my child and why we would let that happen.
"I just think 'I understand it might be challenging for you but they are just who they are and we could work against that but that would cause them massive repression and why would you work against who a person is?' This is just their normal and we love them therefore it is our normal too."