Kevin Van Paassen

Nine-year-old Rose in her bedroom at her parents’ home in Hamilton, Ontario, Wednesday, January 9, 2013.
Rose was born a boy, but always preferred traditionally feminine clothes and toys. By age three, she regularly told her parents that she wished she were a girl. “If I’m a girl I can truly know and be who I want to be,” says Rose, who wears her blond hair shoulder-length, and likes art, music and Dinky cars.
Rose’s mother, Barb (the family requested that their last name not be used), and her husband, Bill, used to hide Rose’s ‘girl’ toys and clothes from visitors. Barb says they feared she would be bullied, and remembers a toy red convertible that Rose’s brother Luke, now 12, adored when he was younger. “It happened to be a Barbie car, and my neighbour said, ‘I cannot believe you would let your son play with that,’” she recalls.
In the summer of last year, with her family’s support, Rose made a full transition to girl’s clothes and a female name. “We want the future to be more diversified and accepting,” says Bill. At the first signs of puberty, Rose plans to take Lupron, a drug that reduces testosterone in males.

Born in Calgary, Kevin Van Paassen graduated from the Journalism Arts program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1997. After moving to Toronto in 1999 he began working for the National Post. After 5 years at the National Post, Van Paassen moved to The Globe and Mail where he was hired as a staff photographer in 2004.
 Based in Toronto, he has photographed various assignments for The Globe and Mail, both domestic and abroad, including stories ranging from Canada’s health care system to the war in Afghanistan and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Van Paassen’s work has appeared in various publications including The Globe and Mail, National Post, Maclean’s, The New York Times, the Boston Herald, Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, and the Calgary Herald.