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Kids facing an identity crisis; PICK OF THE DAY kids on the edge: the gender clinic Channel 4, 10pm.

Byline: today's tv With Sara Wallis

WHEN Ashton was just three years old, he told his mum that he wanted to be a girl and asked when doctors would change his body.

"When you're somebody else you just don't feel right," says 'Ash', now eight and living as a girl.

Ash is just one of the young patients who has been referred to the Tavistock and Portman's Gender Identity Development Service.

It's the country's only NHS-run gender clinic for children with gender dysphoria - a profound distress caused by feeling they've been born into the wrong body.

This compelling and sometimes heartbreaking series goes behind the doors of the Tavistock for the first time, as parents and doctors struggle to understand "Should they be a boy or a girl?" And it's a question that seems to be arising more often with transgender awareness - 10 years ago the clinic had around 40 referrals, last year it was 1,400.

Ash, a regular visitor to the clinic, has just moved to a new primary school where her friends don't know she was born a boy. She's scared to tell them the truth in case she is bullied again.

"I got called she-male," says Ash, who had a breakdown and suicidal thoughts at the age of seven, leading to her mum moving the family 100 miles away.

Another Tavistock patient is 11-year-old Matt, born Matilda, who has wanted to dress and live as a boy since the age of six. But his autism and communication problems make it tough for the gender team to know the best course of action.

Matt wants hormone blocking drugs to stop him becoming a woman, but his mum Rachel must grapple with giving consent and losing her daughter.

"You just want your child to be happy," she says. "But it's not that easy."

CAPTION(S):

Matt, above, and Ash want gender reassignment because they have always believed they were born in the wrong body

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 16, 2016
Words:326
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