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Let Not Children Become Symbols

Data tal-Pubblikazzjoni: Ġun 03, 2016

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 controversial issue.

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 cases.

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 children.​