Olivia Purdie, 11, does not identify as being a girl or a boy. Source: Four Corners
Olivia Purdie, 11, does not identify as being a girl or a boy. Source: Four Corners

Child who wants to block puberty

Children as young as 11 are delaying puberty and have opened up about their experiences of identifying as neither a boy or a girl.

Olivia Purdie, 11, was one of a number of children who appeared on ABC's Four Corners last night to talk about life as a non-binary person.

"I am non-binary, which means I have no gender. I am just me," Olivia said.

"The world basically revolves around boxes and those two boxes are a male and a female box.

"People try to duct tape the box so then you'll stay like that. But I cut the duct tape and opened up into my own box."

Olivia has gender dysphoria and her mother Jane Russo said she became very stressed about growing breasts.

Olivia is now on puberty blockers, which are injections that have stopped her developing female characteristics including growing breasts and menstruating, and will probably stay on them until she is 16 years old.

"I have five years to think about this. There's no rush with this. No point in rushing anyway," Olivia said.

However, the injections do leave Olivia at risk of lower bone density and developing osteoporosis as and adult but Ms Russo believes the risk was worth it, to address Olivia's mental health and wellbeing.

Olivia Purdie, 11, does not identify as being a girl or a boy. Source: Four Corners
Olivia Purdie, 11, does not identify as being a girl or a boy. Source: Four Corners

Olivia's psychiatrist Georgie Swift said not allowing someone to get the treatments could result in significant mental health problems.

"Their number of suicide attempts are less, their deliberate self-harm is less, and their general wellbeing is improved," Dr Swift said.

Ms Russo said if she was to disregard Olivia's thoughts and feelings she would "lose my child".

"By saying 'this is a fad', that 'this is child abuse' … it's actually not the reality," she said.

"Because the reality is, I could have no child if I didn't respond to what I was hearing from my child. The need to go onto puberty blockers is actually saving Olivia's life, because Olivia can be what Olivia wants to be."

Audrey Mason-Hyde, 14, went to the same primary school as Olivia and is also gender non-binary but said she does not feel the need to change her body.

"I think a lot of people do identify as non-binary and want to change their body to fit what they see as the ideal body," Audrey said.

"I think that is great, amazing, go for it. But I also think you don't need to change your body to be valid as a non-binary person.

"And I love my body the way it is."

Audrey Mason-Hyde, 14, identifies as a non-binary person. Source: Four Corners/ABC
Audrey Mason-Hyde, 14, identifies as a non-binary person. Source: Four Corners/ABC

NSW numbers continue to drop

NSW numbers continue to drop

NSW records one new case of coronavirus, concern about low testing numbers

BOM: Strong winds, dry weather, fire danger then hazardous surf

Premium Content BOM: Strong winds, dry weather, fire danger then hazardous...

SPRING on the Northern Rivers combines cool winds, dry conditions, possible rain...

Tragic ride-on mower death

Premium Content Tragic ride-on mower death

FORENSIC officers attended a Northern Rivers property after family found a man dead...