Keira Bell of the United Kingdom told BBC News she was a tomboy as a child — and the sense she needed to transition to a male occurred gradually as she read about it online.
Bell soon sought the assistance of medicine at age 16, went to a clinic, and after three appointments lasting an hour each she was prescribed puberty blockers, the outlet said.
A year later Bell told the BBC she was prescribed the male hormone testosterone, which developed male characteristics like facial hair and a deep voice — and three years ago, she got her breasts removed.
"Initially I felt very relieved and happy about things," Bell told the outlet. "But I think as the years go on you start to feel less and less enthusiastic or even happy about things."
In the end, she decided to stop taking cross-sex hormones last year. Now at 23, Bell noted to the BBC that she accepts her sex as a female — but she's also angry about what happened to her.
'I should have been challenged'
"I was allowed to run with this idea that I had, almost like a fantasy, as a teenager," Bell told the outlet, adding that "it has affected me in the long run as an adult. I'm very young. I've only just stepped into adulthood, and I have to deal with this kind of burden or radical difference — in comparison to others at least."
More than that, she told the BBC that others should have pushed back against her decision.
"I should have been challenged on the proposals or the claims that I was making for myself," Bell told the outlet. "And I think that would have made a big difference as well. If I was just challenged on the things I was saying."
See you in court
Now Bell is taking legal action against the National Health Service gender clinic, and a judge cleared the way for a full hearing of the case against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, the BBC said.
Lawyers will argue that children cannot give informed consent to treatment delaying puberty or helping them to transition, the outlet added.
The clinic based in Hampstead, northwest London — which runs the UK's only gender-identity development service — told the BBC it welcomed an examination of the evidence. But former clinic staff at the clinic have said teens who want to change their genders are given puberty blockers without adequate assessment or psychological work, the outlet added.
Bell herself admitted to the BBC that when she went to clinic years ago, she would say "it was saving me from suicidal ideation and depression in general and at the time I felt it relieved all those mental health issues I was feeling, alongside gender dysphoria."
In addition, Bell told the outlet that if she had felt more accepted by society as a teen, she might not have wanted to change her gender — though she added she wouldn't have wanted to listen to challengers of her transgender desires.
"I feel I could say anything to my 16-year-old self, and I might not necessarily listen at that time," Bell added to the BBC. "And that's the point of this case, when you are that young you don't really want to listen. So I think it's up to these institutions, like the Tavistock, to step in and make children reconsider what they are saying, because it is a life-altering path."