By Hannah Crocker
You’d never guess this teenagers secret – she used to be a BOY.
Pretty 17-year-old Ellie Wilkinson was born Mitch, but as she grew up she realised she was different to other boys.
While other lads played with Action Man or had a kick-about, Ellie was happiest playing with Barbie and hanging out with girls.
But the older she got, the more her parents noticed something wasn’t right – and despite her worried mum asking if she wanted to be a girl, Ellie couldn’t find the courage to admit it until she was 15.
After coming out to her immediate family, she watched an episode of the Kardashians with Bruce transitioning to Caitlyn – and she finally found the courage to go public with her new identity.
Ellie has spent the past year living as a woman, and she’ll be starting hormone therapy in June – before having an operation when she turns 18 in October to make the change permanent.
Ellie, a business administration apprentice from Lincoln, said: “Ever since I was very small, I knew something wasn’t right – but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
“As I got older, I started to realise I was different and I understood the difference between genders.
“That’s when I realised I wasn’t a boy.
“I saw other boys my age playing football and things like that, but I just wanted to sit inside with the girls and play with Barbies and dolls.
“I never had a Barbie of my own, but I used to play with my older sister’s all the time.
“My mum often asked me as I was growing up if I wanted to be a girl, but I always said no.
“One day, I decided I didn’t want to lie anymore.”
Ellie came out to her parents in May 2015, when she was 15, who took her to see her GP and a therapist.
After going to a gender clinic, she started transitioning in December 2015 – first dressing as a girl at home, before eventually coming out to her classmates.
Ellie has been living as a girl for just over a year now, and can’t wait until she turns 18 to start the surgery process.
Ellie, who has a 20-year-old sister as well as two older half siblings aged 31 and 32, said: “My mum and dad have been so supportive – I really couldn’t wish for a better family.
“My mum wasn’t surprised at all – I think she’d known for a long time, and we love going shopping together now.
“It was a bit harder for my dad – he was in the army and he’s very traditional, and I don’t think he understood it at first.
“But since he’s started learning more he’s been really supportive.
“I think he’s enjoying having another daughter, and now everyone understands me more I think it’s brought the family closer together.
“I’ve definitely learnt who my real friends are though.
“It was a tough process – coming out at school was especially hard.
“One Friday a letter was sent home saying a transgender Year 11 would be coming in on Monday – the letter didn’t say who, but everyone knew it was me.
“When I walked in on the Monday as a girl, I was prepared for the worst.
“Some of the kids did think it would be funny to start picking on me.
“After GCSEs I went to college, but I soon dropped out because I was bullied so badly.
“People would call me my old name, shout about me being a man, ask about my genitals.
“At one time I had 20 lads surrounding me shouting abuse, and it gave me really bad anxiety.
“After that, I started to get quite depressed.”
But Ellie’s mum had heard from a friend about Bruce Jenner’s transformation to Caitlyn, and told Ellie about an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians that featured Caitlyn’s change.
After watching it, Ellie become hooked on the reality TV sensation.
She said: “As soon as I watched the Kardashians, it was like something just clicked.
“I felt a connection with them, and watching Caitlyn going through what I was going through helped as well.
“After a couple of episodes, I was completely hooked on them.
“They’re all so different and they’ve got such entertaining personalities, I think they’re great.
“I’ve definitely taken a lot of inspiration from the Kardashians with my make-up – they’ve very fashionable women and I would watch them to help define my own style.
“I have huge lips, and people are always comparing them to Kylie Jenner’s.
“I use a wig for my hair, and I love to experiment with different colours and styles like Kylie does.”