The dad of a four-year-old trans boy claims adults struggle to accept his son is male – as many still insist on calling him a girl.
Matthew Stubbings, 44, says Stormy, who was assigned female at birth, first began showing signs of being a boy aged 18 months, as he always hated pigtails, dresses and pretty shoes.
He says that by the age of just three, Stormy, formerly known as Emerald, was able to say “I’m not a girl, I think I’m a boy” to both himself and his mum Klara Jeynes, 44.
But the tot’s dad added that they have had a hard time getting some adults to accept Stormy’s decision – as many who they encounter still insist on calling him a girl.
The divisional manager of a highways maintenances company recently posted a heartwarming tribute to his son on LinkedIn and shared a photo of Stormy rocking his new short and spiky haircut.
Matthew, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, 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.
“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.
His post on LinkedIn received almost 300 reactions and dozens of comments from people heaping on praise for the ‘inspirational’ message.
Matthew added: “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.
“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.”
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 in 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.
“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.
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.
“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 says 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.
“[There have been many instances of adults who] didn’t accept it and 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.
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.”