‘Don’t push tomboys to think they’re transsexuals’

A 28-year-old woman has used her own experience to urge misguided ‘progressives’ not to take tomboy behaviour as evidence for being a transsexual.

Ailsa Leslie grew up in a Scottish village in the early 1990s, but wrote that if she was a child now she might have been labelled as having “gender dysphoria”.

Leslie wondered what “damage could have been inflicted on my impressionable childhood self” if someone had said that she might have been “in the ‘wrong body'”.


Leslie wrote that the condition of believing you have the body of the opposite sex “must be taken seriously”, but can be a phase children grow out of.

“I am living proof that what feels normal to a child at the age of five, eight or ten does not set the pattern for what comes next”, she wrote.

More often than not, she continued, a “perfectly adapted, happy and confident child will emerge” after experiencing such feelings.

Letters home

Writing in the Daily Mail, Leslie explained that as a child she embraced playing with Meccano, building a treehouse and catching tadpoles in a pond.

… there were no ‘concerned’ letters home from school, or referrals to child psychologists

Writing about her sister Isla, Ailsa said: “We must have been a rare sight for anyone passing through our little world — they’d have assumed that blonde Isla and her boyish sidekick were brother and sister.”

However, there were no ‘concerned’ letters home from school, or referrals to child psychologists.

Glittery jeans

Later, when Leslie went to secondary school hormones ‘took charge’ of her body, and “sorted out my differences in the way nature always intended — not on a psychologist’s couch, but in my bloodstream”.

“I grew my hair. My father came with me when I bought my first pair of glittery jeans and my mother gave me a set of hair straighteners to tackle those unruly curls”, she explained.

Leslie now says she may have children of her own in the future, and is confident her time as a tomboy was simply a passing phase.

Respect, not endorsement

In January, MPs called for a move towards “self-declaration” of gender, an ‘X’ option for passports and 16 and 17-year-olds to be allowed to apply for gender recognition.

However, The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert challenged the ideas, saying that people who believe they are trapped in the wrong body should have respect and friendship but not endorsement.

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