As a child, Georgie Stone loved typical ‘little-girl’ things: dress-ups, picking flowers, ballet. She grew her hair long, wore tulle and insisted that the world knew she was a girl. Except, she wasn’t. Georgie was born a boy, George.
“Everyone was calling me a boy, because I was a boy,” says Georgie. “There was always something inside that wasn’t right. It just felt wrong.”
Now a 16-year-old girl, Georgie is an inspiring advocate for transgender teens, and is determined to change crippling legislation that demands children go to the Family Court for permission to take ‘puberty-blocking’ hormones. Going through the courts is a long and painful process for families often racing against time before puberty kicks in.
When her testosterone levels rose at 10, Georgie applied for the court order to access puberty blockers, which would stop her face from ‘masculinising’, her voice from deepening and her facial hair from growing. At 11, she became the youngest person in Australia to be granted permission from the courts.
“I would have killed myself if my voice had broken,” she revealed on ABC's 'Australian Story' Monday night.
A year after marrying, Georgie’s parents Greg and Bec discovered they were pregnant with twins. “We had two beautiful boys, Harry and George – or so we thought,” recalls Greg, an actor, who admits to struggling with raising a transgender child. While Harry always dressed up as a fireman or superhero, Georgie donned princess costumes. “I love my daughter to the moon and back… She has made me a better person. I’m grateful for it all. I was very fearful back then, I’m not anymore.”
“His struggle is completely understandable,” says Georgie, whose confidence compassion belies her years. “He was probably the last in my immediate family to understand, but once he did he was completely on board.”
Having been through the courts, the Stone family are campaigning for it to be easier for transgender children, who are often suicidal, to get the medical help they need. “Australia is the only jurisdiction in the world where transgender children have to go to court for treatment,” explains Bec. “Doctors always follow the advice of the Court, so the process is lengthy, expensive and deeply distressing.”
Melbourne lawyer Paul Boers has taken on eight pro bono cases this year. “If [transgender children] don’t get treatment, well, they’re in trouble, so I guess I do the cases for humanitarian reasons. But I don’t have the resources to do them all,” he says. Boers claims that the court “just rubber stamps” the recommendations of the teenagers’ treating specialists. “My hope is that sooner rather than later there’s going to be an end to this madness having to go the Family Court,” he says.
Georgie’s school principal describes her as “extraordinary advocate.”
“I’m hoping that by seeing my story, [viewers] will see a happy, free 16-year-old girl who has come out the other side,” says Georgie.