Transgender boy walks with pride

By Amy Maas

Transgender boy's journey to be filmed

Andrew Guy, Ben Brockwell-Jones and Beccy Jones at the Auckland Pride Festival. Photo / Stephen McNicholl
Andrew Guy, Ben Brockwell-Jones and Beccy Jones at the Auckland Pride Festival. Photo / Stephen McNicholl

The parents of a seven-year-old transgender boy are in discussions with an independent film maker to chart the next decade of their child's life as he undergoes medical changes.

Born into a girl's body, Ben Brockwell-Jones' story hit the headlines last year after his parents Wes and Rebecca Jones made a controversial decision to start a process which would culminate in medically stopping the onset of female puberty.

Last night, little Ben walked in the Pride Parade. Ben was a guest on the Israeli Embassy float, which faced political protest last night. Pink-clad protesters blocked the parade route and raised banners criticising "Israeli apartheid". Four protesters were removed by security.

But Ben was walking behind the float, so safely avoided protesters.

The 7-year-old has been been living and attending school as a boy for more than a year after telling his parents he was not the little girl born to them.

He will start undergoing pyschological assessments as early as June in order to "kick-start" the process of receiving the drugs which will only be prescribed if he is found to be mentally stable and once doctors are able to determine when he will start puberty.

The child is adamant he wants his progress charted on film and, his mother says, to receive the life-altering drugs.

"Even though I'm a real little kid I can make up my own mind. I'm little but I can speak for myself if I want to," said Ben. "I want to help others. One reason I do it is because it's fun and I like it and another reason is to help other people."

Rebecca Jones said a deal with a local production company to chart the extraordinary journey fell flat when funding was rejected by New Zealand on Air because it was "an unknown journey".

They were later approached by an independent Australian film-maker who will spend years filming the child as he takes puberty blockers, testosterone treatment, and finally - if he decides he wants to - undergoes surgery to forever alter his body.

Ben said he wants to start his own group for transgender youth when he is older.

"Like maybe we could like come out to the beach, come out to the park ... to get to know each other face-to-face. To support one another and to have fun as well," he said. "I could do it now, but no-one will really listen to me."

- Herald on Sunday

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