A year after their middle child came out as a transgender girl, an Ottawa family is talking publicly about the transition and the shock and relief that came with it.

Alexis Knox was born a boy, but is now a 12-year-old transgender girl. She came out to her parents, Amanda and Mark Knox, and her two brothers, beginning last year with an email to her father.

"I was pretty scared. I didn't know what to say, or what to do," Alexis told Hallie Cotnam on Ottawa Morning.

"With email, you can type out and erase, and you can type it out in a new way. You can just kind of get it all out in the perfect way. I just didn't know what else to do. I knew I didn't want to live my life that way."

Mark said when he got the email he was shocked, but not surprised.

'I'm happier. I'm not just sitting in my room playing Minecraft eight hours a day, every day.' - Alexis Knox

"She says, 'More than anything, I feel like a girl. I want to be a girl," he recalled.

"After I got over the initial reaction to it, it was a special day. We gained a daughter."

Since then, there have been adjustments. Alexis is on hormones to arrest puberty and the family is home-schooling her while she adjusts to her new life.

Knox describes the last year since coming out to her family as "definitely more challenging" but says it's also better than it used to be.

"I'm happier. I'm not just sitting in my room playing Minecraft eight hours a day, every day," says Alexis.

Now the family prepares for the next challenge: letting people outside their close circle understand the transition Alexis is going through.

In a post on her blog, Amanda Knox introduced her readers to Alexis, and said her daughter wanted to be more public and advocate for herself.