Charlie Lowthian-Rickert, transgender tween, says she wants 'justice and peace'
Legislation will 'improve our future so that we can live a more accepting, more joyful life'
Unlike most tweens, 10-year-old Charlie Lowthian-Rickert is avidly following the federal government's proposed legislation that would guarantee legal protection to transgender Canadians.
That's because she has a much bigger stake in the bill passing than most kids. Charlie is transgender, born biologically male, but identifying as a girl.
"This [bill] basically protects transgender and two-spirit and queer people, gender queer, gender fluid, from hate propaganda, crimes, assaults, rapes, stuff like that," she told CBC News Network's Carole MacNeil.
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"I'm feeling really happy that this law is passing, probably," she said.
Charlie spoke to a crowd of reporters today on Parliament Hill about what the legislation will mean for herself and other trans kids.
"It will improve our future so that we can live a more accepting, more joyful life ... I feel much safer," she said.
'This was not a phase'
By age two, Charlie's favourite colour was pink, and she wanted to dress up in high heels and have fairy wings. As a three-year-old sitting in the tub at bath time, Charlie asked, "Will my penis ever disappear? When will it shrink?"
After that, Charlie's mother, Anne Lowthian, told The Canadian Press in a 2015 interview, the family "realized this wasn't a passing thing."
"This was not a phase. This was a part of who she was."
At age four, Charlie began preschool in a rural eastern Ontario community dressed as a boy, but wearing nail polish and pink and purple clothes. She told teachers she was really a girl.
It wasn't well-accepted.
School administrators ostracized her, making her eat lunch alone, Charlie's mother said. Other students would punch and bite her, calling her "girlish boy."
In the first grade, now living full-time as a girl, Charlie remembers being jumped by an older boy.
"I was sitting in the sand and he jumped on me and I basically couldn't breathe … It was hard noticing that that could actually happen to a person just because of their gender."
The kid who bullied her eventually told Charlie that he was just paranoid about what she could do to him.
"He basically thought that I could have been a monster," she said. "He didn't know what being transgender was or anything like that until I actually taught him about it later on."
'I can live my life by who I want to be'
Weighing in on the "bathroom wars" currently rocking certain U.S. states, Charlie said fears that trans people or those pretending to be trans will attack women in bathrooms are unfounded.
"It's actually the exact opposite. [Transgender people are] the ones getting assaulted and raped… So if I went into the boys' washroom, then it would have been pretty bad."
Charlie thinks that those who oppose transgender rights are just uninformed.
"Transphobic people don't have enough information about who we really are," she said. "They don't know that we're the exact same as them."
To Charlie, it's all pretty simple.
"I just feel as if I'm in the right body now... I can live my life by who I want to be and not just be trapped in that place where I can't get out and free myself."
'I want justice and peace'
When Charlie grows up, she wants to be an activist for transgender rights, which might involve a stint as a politician.
"I think I'm getting pretty used to the media, and I think I could eventually be a good speechmaker or be a good member of Parliament," she said. "What I'm trying to do is raise awareness for transgender people."
Charlie said that once equality is achieved for transgender people, she'll move on to fighting for other causes.
"What I want in the world is justice. I want justice and peace," she said.
With files from The Canadian Press