Tacoma boy: 'I am transgender, I've thought that since I was three'

TACOMA, Wash. -- A sixth grader from Tacoma is featured in the latest issue of Time Magazine sharing with the world something that he kept from even the closest of classmates.

The 11-year-old spoke about living life as a transgender boy.

Life can be lonely for a middle schooler with a secret.

"I sort of kept to myself," said Mac Davis.

His teachers in Tacoma know, but most of his classmates don't know that the athletic Mac was born Lisa Mackenzie Davis, the youngest of three girls.

"Even though I have the girl parts, I don't feel like that," Mac said.

Mac said he has known since he was a toddler in pig tails and pink clothes that his gender didn't match his assigned sex.

"I am transgender, I've thought that since I was three," he said.

Mac asked for boy clothes and GI Joes, and his mom, Jamie Davis, said she didn't give it much thought at the time.

"He told me he felt like he was a boy trapped in a girl's body," she said. "I have an extreme tom boy here, no it was a whole different playing field."

But the more Mac continued living as Lisa, the more depressed he became.

"I was sad all the time cause I didn't feel like I was acceptable to everybody, like I feel like I wasn't even human, I feel like I was an alien in fact," he said.

Mac said he was teased terribly, and he'd go to his room and cry in his pillow. The school bathrooms became battlegrounds.

"I would go inside the girls bathrooms and some people would say, 'Pull down your pants, you're a boy, show us that you're a girl,'" he said.

At 6-years old, Lisa came home after a day of bullying and found a blade in a drawer.

"Don't worry about it mom, I'm going to end everybody's misery," he thought at the time.

Jamie believes he was ready to slit his wrists. A month later she convinced her youngest child to open up.

"(He said) 'I don't want to talk to you because you're not gonna love me anymore,'" Jamie said. "I'm like, 'There's nothing you could tell me that could make me stop loving you, did you break a car window?'"

That's when Lisa transitioned into Mac and the weight and sadness lifted.

"I was scared out of my mind," Jamie said. "I started crying, my arms couldn't get around him fast enough."

Mac's dad, Josh Davis, is a military man who was deployed and confused when Mac came out to his mother.

"It wasn't so accepting for me as it was for Jamie," he said. "Took me a long time to call Mac even the pronoun he, it was hard for me to say."

Josh struggled with acceptance, and some relatives still dismiss Mac's change as a phase.

"It's definitely not a phase, a phase does not go on for more than a year," Mac said.

Rose Davis lost her little sister, but gained a brother who enjoys the same sports she does.

"I thought that she was a little cuckoo at first, but she started dressing like a boy just doing things like a boy so I like figured she really wants to do this, so why don't I just treat her like a boy?" Rose said.

Mac's family informed Bryant Montessori's staff to get everyone on board.

"The question was posed to all of those teachers, do you have any concerns? Is this a problem for you? All of them said, 'No, we want to do what's best for the student to make sure it's successful for him,'" said principal Dr. Sandra Lindsay Brown.

Mac's school doesn't have organized sports, but he's earned spots on teams at Jason Lee Middle School.

"He was able to have his own bathroom," said Jason Lee principal Christine Brandt.

As Mac matures, it will become harder to hide his gender. He and his mom are now looking into hormone blockers to suppress his development. He also wants to have surgery some day.

Dad's not 100 percent on board, but he gets closer with each day.

"I'm becoming the problem, not part of the solution," Josh said.

Mac says the support he gets from his family and his school gives him confidence -- enough to share his secret with Time Magazine and a few friends.

"It's gonna get out sometime," he said.

He hopes when it does that people will accept him living as a boy in a girl's body.

"It feels better because I feel like now I'm accepting myself," he said.

Mac said when he gets older he wants to play baseball or basketball in the big leagues, but he doesn't know of any transgender role models in sports.