The Office of the Commissioner for Children
has been following with interest the story of Willa Naylor, the transgender
child whose difficult but successful journey to the free expression and social acceptance of her true gender
identity was recently reported in the press.
It is commendable that throughout this
process Willa received unconditional support not least from her parents and
from a legal framework that allowed her to reconcile her official gender identity
with her inner self. On her part,
Willa’s efforts to share her story with others through the book she published and through her active
involvement in advocacy for the rights of transgender children are admirable.
The Office recognises that the presentation
of the rights of transgender children through a personal story of a particular
transgender child is a very good way to raise positive public awareness about
this very important and topical issue.
However, the Office is concerned about the
risk of a child becoming a symbol of the situation of transgender children.
This can lead to excessive media exposure and attention, and to being idolised
or demonised by different sections of the public in what still is a
This would be harmful to the child and to his or her family, who despite
the positive outcome of the case would still be psychologically vulnerable. It
might also hinder the possibility of the child rediscovering later on in life
his or her original gender identity as his or her own, something that is known to happen in some
Hence, the Office appeals to all media
operators, social activists and the general public to show prudence and
sensitivity in the best interest of the child when covering and reacting to such personal stories of