We definitely need more Willa’s in the world. For those who don’t know, Willa is a trans* activist in Malta. And she’s seven (if I’m not mistaken) years old.
Yeah. She’s 7, and she’s making change on our little island.
Willa is an out trans girl, and she fought her school to allow her to wear the girls’ uniform, and not the boys’. She won.
She then realised that there are other trans* children – and she wanted to help them too. And so she was part of the group which pushed forward the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics act, a law that not only gives trans* and intersex people freedom to be themselves, but has also placed Malta as the leading country in LGBTQ+ legislation.
So now Willa has written a picture book for children, explaining her journey. Her aim is for parents to read it and understand trans children more, and for trans children to realise that they are really not alone in their feelings.
But on our little island, we are so used to the idea that children being passive and without opinions, that when a child outright defy this description, we freak out. But in reality, children DO have opinions, and they are far from passive…if given the space to express themselves.
So people were complaining that Willa is being abused of since she is in the Media. These same people fail to realise that by sharing and commenting on Willa’s articles in the press, she is even more in the limelight. Secondly, she is in the media because she wants to be. I’ve seen her speak at conferences and at debates – she loves it and she wants to do it. Speaking to the media is not going to ruin her childhood. With that logic, there shouldn’t be any child actors. At least Willa is trying to spread a message.
But apart from all this, we need more Willa’s because children like Willa are activists – and when they grow up, they’ll become even bigger activists. And this world needs more activists – people who will fight to make the world a better place.
And why does it have to be children, then? Because children, too have a voice. Because we say that we care about the best interests of the child, but do we really try to ask children for their own opinions about their lives? About what benefits them?
Usually, when a child feels that they are of another gender, and try to express the gender they feel inside, they will be silenced. Willa shows parents that it is OK to let your child express their gender in their own way. And if you’re worried that your child may be wrong, then that’s OK too. Because you know what’s going to happen if Willa later on feels as though she’s actually a boy? Well, absolutely nothing. But at least she’ll trust her parents enough to be honest with them.