In this exclusive interview and on the eve of his surgery to have his breasts removed, he tells Woman's Day he has no regrets.
Looking at Patrick Mitchell now, you’d have no idea what an emotional rollercoaster he has been on since he made the decision to transition into a girl at 12 years old.
Now, just two years later, the high school student is about to have an operation to remove excess breast tissue in what will be the final stage of his extraordinary transition – back to being a boy.
“I was experiencing discomfort in my gender… but that’s no longer the case,” explains Patrick, who nevertheless has no regrets about the past two years.
This very unusual journey began when Patrick was just seven years old and visiting a friend’s house, and the topic of trans people came up.
“It was the first time I’d heard the phrase ‘trans’, and because I’d always identified with girls I thought, well, this makes sense, I probably am a girl,” he says.
“I was always more feminine and liked baking, gymnastics and fashion – my superhero name was Organza Man.”
Even so, it wasn’t until he was 12 years old and refused to return to school because of severe bullying that he discussed any of this with his family.
“When everyone went to sleep I’d stay up late researching trans people and potential surgeries that I could have to make me look more feminine,” he says.
“It was so hard to wake up every morning and see something new on my body, or that I’d grown. It was so depressing – I hated looking in the mirror. I didn’t know who the person staring back at me was.”
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Seeing him struggling, mum Alison decided to home school Patrick and broached the subject of transgender with him.
“I’d seen a story on TV about transgender people,” says Alison.
“I said to Patrick, ‘I’m not saying this is you but I think we should speak to somebody about it.'"
“I hadn’t even finished the sentence and he had the biggest smile on his face – I hadn’t seen him smile for months.”
Shortly after, Patrick met with doctors who diagnosed him with gender dysphoria, a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.
As puberty approached, Patrick began transitioning to a woman.
In the beginning of 2017 however, Patrick started to have a change of heart when a female tutor referred to him as “one of the girls” during a lesson.
“I began to realise I was actually comfortable in my body. Every day I just felt better,” Patrick says.
“I wasn’t nervous to tell Mum of my decision – she’d been so open and supportive of me in my transition.”
In fact, to his devoted mum, he is one of the bravest boys in the world. Even though his decision to transition back to a boy initially surprised her, she was also inspired by Patrick’s courage.
“I felt my heart sing in that exchange,” says Alison. “That moment between parent and child when you know it’s taken every drop of courage for that child to speak up… I didn’t know what the coming days would bring, but I knew his thoughts had caught up with his body.
For the full story on Patrick's incredible journey, get the new issue of Woman's Day - on sale tomorrow!