ESSEX, March 5, 2012 ( – Jill Recknell is mourning the loss of her grandson, despite the fact that he is alive and well. It’s just that, according to five-year-old Zach Avery and his parents, he’s not her grandson anymore. He’s her granddaughter.

Zach’s family, who live in England, says that he was a normal boy up until last year, when he became obsessed with the cartoon character Dora the Explorer and started dressing in girl’s clothing.

“He just turned round to me one day and said, ‘Mummy, I’m a girl,’” Theresa Avery, Zach’s mother, told the Daily Mail, when the family went public last month with Zach’s story. “I assumed he was just going through a phase and left it at that. But then it got serious and he would become upset if anyone referred to him as a boy.”


After a psychologist diagnosed him with “Gender Identity Disorder,” the family has asked everyone to treat him as a girl.

Theresa and her husband Darren say Zach’s school has been “really supportive.” They have told his fellow classmates that their son has the body of a boy, but the brain of a girl. The school created gender-neutral lavatories for him, and the family hopes he will be able to use the staff toilets when he gets older.

But Recknell, Zach’s maternal grandmother, says she cannot get on board.

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“I’d rather see him kicking a football than parading in a pink dress,” she told People. “He was born a boy. It says so on his birth certificate.”

The situation, she says, has made many of the normally joyous aspects of being a grandparent painful for her.

“Grandmothers love seeing photos of their grandchildren growing up but I could never bear to look at a picture of Zach pushing a pram or cuddling a Barbie,” Recknell told the news service. 

Gift-giving occasions are particularly difficult, she confided: “I could never bring myself to send a doll or girl’s clothing – it would seem so wrong.”

“The whole situation is heartbreaking for me to be honest and has left me in tears,” added the grandmother of seven.

Recknell is not the only family member with reservations. Her son, Jay, says that his nephew’s transformation has divided the family and raised concerns about Zach’s parent’s decision to go public.

According to the Daily Mail, the Averys are now negotiating with a tabloid newspaper to sell Zach’s story to them.

Zach’s story comes amidst reports that the number of young children being labeled “transgendered” is on the rise, with clinics even catering to such children and providing “treatment” that can involve being administered puberty-blocking drugs to stop the onset of puberty, and subsequent “hormone therapy” to help the child look like the opposite sex.

In one famous case reported on last year, a seven-year-old boy who now says he is a girl was allowed to join the Girl Scouts.


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