As a child, Lindsay Leigh Bentley desperately wanted to be a boy. She refused to wear dresses and adored going hunting with her dad. She loved sticks, guns, motorcycles and monsters. She chopped the hair off her Barbies. Her parents had to cut her own hair short because she refused to let them brush it. Her best friends were boys. In childhood pictures, she looks fierce, and tough as nails.
These days, her worried parents would probably hustle her off to the nearest gender-identity clinic. But Lindsay grew up in a more backward age, when such things did not exist. So she had to struggle on as best she could. Her parents let her be herself. Today she is a (strikingly feminine) wife and mother who still loves hunting and football. “Had my parents decided, at age 5, that I was a boy, I can not imagine the confusion that I would have experienced during my teen years,” she writes on her blog.
Ms. Bentley decided to tell her story after Ryland Whittington, age 6, became a child celebrity this spring. Ryland, too, was desperate to be a boy. After consulting a therapist, Ryland’s parents cut her hair, began to call her “he,” and informed their friends and family that their daughter was now their son. They made a video showing Ryland’s transformation into a little man in a suit. It went viral.