The father of a transgender boy aged just four says people are reluctant to address him in the gender he’s now living in.
Matthew Stubbings, and wife Klara Jeynes, both 44, from Doncaster, say their son Stormy, who was born a twin and assigned female gender at birth, first began showing signs of identifying as male at just 18-months-old.
Stormy’s father says his son ‘hated pigtails and dresses’ or even ‘pretty shoes’, and at the age of two-and-a-half told his family: ‘I’m not a girl, I think I’m a boy’.
However, he says the family have faced a struggle getting some adults to accept Stormy’s decision – as many who they encounter still insist on calling him a girl.
Father-of-two Matthew Stubbings, from Doncaster, says his transgender son Stormy, four, has never identified as female despite being assigned that gender at birth (Pictured Stormy in a recent photograph)
Dad Matthew, a Highway Maintenance Manager, says his son knew as soon as he could talk that he wanted to express that he was a boy and not a girl
Stormy, born Emerald, was assigned the female gender at birth, but has now been referred to the Tavistock gender clinic in London
Twins: Stormy’s mother, Klara Jeynes, with her son Arlo, left, and trans son Stormy, right, pictured when she was living as a female toddler
Matthew, a divisional manager of a highways maintenances company, told his story in a post on LinkedIn, urging people to ‘accept others for who they are in life’, sharing a photo of Stormy with a new short and spiky haircut.
In his post, the South Yorkshire dad said: ‘This is one of my sons. A bright, happy boy who loves his life.
‘What many people don’t know is that when he was born he was ‘sexed’ as a girl. His gender identity, what’s in his head, doesn’t match his physical sex.
‘I am so proud that he knows who he is and isn’t constrained by societal norms and prejudices. We can all learn something from this small boy and I learn every day. Everyone is different.’
He added in the post: ‘We all need accept that people are different and not try to force those around us to fit into a box that suits us.
‘Accepting people for who they are is the only way to encourage innovation, embrace growth and harness the best in everyone. I have permission from my son to post this. He is proud of who he is.’
Sharing photos on LinkedIn of Stormy’s new haircut, dad Matthew said ‘nine times out of 10’, his son will say he’s a boy
His dad’s emotive post has seen hundreds of positive comments about Stormy’s story
The twins pictured as babies, with Arlo wearing traditional boys clothes and Stormy, left, dressed in garments considered more female
By the age of two-and-a-half, Stormy had made clear to her parents that she thought she was a boy and asked to stop wearing pigtails
The LinkedIn post received almost 300 reactions and dozens of comments from people heaping on praise for the ‘inspirational’ note.
Matthew said: ‘I decided to post about Stormy because I’m exceptionally proud of him.
‘He’d just had his hair cut and he was really proud of his hair. Stormy has never been a girl. He has never verbally expressed to us that he’s a girl.
‘We’ve explained to him and his brother what different genders are, [that] non-binary is a thing and you can be that, but he’s said ‘I’m not a girl, I think I’m a boy’. He’s never been a girl.
At some point, I can’t remember when, Stormy just said he was a boy. I can’t remember the moment when we first asked him, or if he just said it one day…
Stormy’s father Matthew Stubbings
‘There are times, strange enough, when he says he’s non-binary, whether his understanding of that is correct, I don’t know, but primarily, nine times out of 10, he’ll say he’s a boy.
‘We’re accepting who Stormy is. He’s got a referral to the Tavistock gender clinic.
‘We went to the GP to explain what the situation was and got a referral. We got a reply from Tavistock in Leeds to say he’s registered with them, but they don’t seem to do anything until they’re 10, or they start puberty. Whichever comes first.
‘I can’t stress how important I think it is to accept people for who they are. It’s so important in life.
‘It’s not the first time I’ve posted things [online] that’s related to understanding others. I have previously posted a couple of things about trans awareness and gender awareness.
‘I’m taken aback by the number of people I don’t know who’ve sent me messages about it and posted nice things – and people I do know.’
Matthew says many adults have struggled to accept that their trans son is no longer living as a female and some even insist on calling him a girl
Double trouble: the family say that Stormy is keen to look just like his twin brother (Pictured: Stormy, right, with Arlo, left)
According to his dad, little Stormy first started showing signs of gender dysphoria before he could even speak, eager to wear boys clothing like his twin Arlo.
The tot also showed interest in firefighters and police officers, while becoming distressed by his pigtails, leading his parents to have some ‘fairly grown up’ chats with him about his identity.
Matthew said: ‘[When it started] Stormy would have been two, just before.
‘We did the things that people do. Dressed his brother is boy clothes and gave Stormy pigtails.
‘He got to the point where his hair started getting longer and he didn’t want his pigtails anymore. We took them out.
‘He didn’t like wearing dresses anymore and it got to the point where unless he was wearing stereotypical boys clothes, he wasn’t happy.
The twins at birth, wrapped in traditional blue and pink – the family say it was only when Stormy began to talk that he could verbalise how he viewed his gender
Stormy as a baby; her parents say she was just 18-months-old when she started to identify as male
Difficulty: The family say they’ve had to sign up Stormy to school using his ‘dead name’, something which has been stressful for them
‘He refused to wear pretty shoes. It got to the point where he was upset about being forced to wear them.
‘He likes being a firefighter and police officer, but they’re actually things girls can do too. His friends are all boys. They’ve always been all boys.’
By the time he was three years old, Matthew and Klara noticed Stormy was beginning to understand more about his gender, with their son confidently announcing he was a boy.
The couple spent a long time trying to clarify if Stormy was certain he was not a girl, but by his third birthday, they accepted their child’s identity.
Stormy now lives completely as a boy – with his nursery recognising him as male, and all of his friends addressing him as a boy, say the family
His decision: his parents say Stormy ‘knows his gender is for him to decide, not us’
Matthew said: ‘When he started to speak, around two and a half, where he understood the context of what he was saying, he was very clear he wasn’t a girl.
‘At some point, I can’t remember when, Stormy just said he was a boy. I can’t remember the moment when we first asked him, or if he just said it one day.
‘We had a conversation with him, which is difficult, when it was around his third birthday.
WHAT IS THE TAVISTOCK CLINIC?
The Tavistock, formally known as the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), is Britain’s biggest transgender clinic for children.
Over the past five years it has seen almost 11,500 children with ‘gender dysphoria’ – meaning a distressing mismatch between their birth sex and the person they feel they are.
The number referred annually has risen from 97 in 2009 to 2,728 in 2019.
After a landmark case in December 2019, judges tuled that the NHS would have to apply for a court order every time it wanted to prescribe puberty blockers to ‘gender dysphoric’ children under 16.
‘We asked ‘are you just not a girl, or are you a boy?’ Both myself and my wife have fairly grown up conversations quite regularly about his gender.
‘He knows his gender is for him to decide, not us. It was maybe 12 months ago that we accepted he wasn’t a girl.’
When Stormy and Arlo started nursery at around one, the little lad had not started transitioning, but as the years went on and Stormy began to live as a boy full-time, Matthew claims adults struggled to come to terms with the change.
Matthew said: ‘We’ve had problems with adults. He now lives as a boy, goes to nursery as a boy, all his friends know he’s a boy. I could talk for 35 minutes about the problems I have with adults accepting how he lives his life.
‘Adults have on many occasions insisted on calling him a girl. It was really difficult for them to accept he’s not called Emerald anymore, he’s Stormy, and he’s not a girl, he’s a boy.
‘It’s really difficult. It’s hard. It’s hard with people who know the situation. To people who see him in the street, he’s a boy, no problem.’
Although Matthew insists Stormy isn’t worried about starting school in September, he claims he has his own concerns about how the youngster will cope in bathrooms or PE changing rooms.
Hey brother: The twins are super close, say their parents and says brother Arlo doesn’t mind his sibling changing gender ‘at all’
Matthew and Klara have also been forced to sign the tot up for school under his ‘dead name’, meaning they worry about facing the same challenges as they have with staff currently.
Matthew said: ‘I’m really for people being inclusive of others. I’m not just talking about gender diversity; I’m talking about people understanding those around them. It’s really important to me.
‘Stormy’s fortunate that society is changing. I’m worried because they start reception in September and I’m worried about toilets, changing for PE. That does worry me. Stormy’s not worried. He’s fine with it and his brother doesn’t mind either.
‘The sad thing is that wherever he goes to school, he’s always registered under his birth name. His birth certificate is his birth name, so wherever you fill in forms to go somewhere, you have to use their birth names and prove who they are with their birth certificate.
‘I have a little fear that the school will have an issue with it. I just hope people in schools are more professional and more open to it.’