Eight years ago California Congressman Mike Honda’s daughter Michelle gave birth to a biological son, but, according to Michelle, her child “very early on” insisted she was a girl.
“She chose her name when she was very young — it just felt right to her,” Michelle told NBC News correspondent Kate Snow of her transgender daughter Malisa. “She was 2 or 3 years old.”
Malisa’s story first went viral when Rep. Mike Honda tweeted about his granddaughter back in February. "As a proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild," the Democrat wrote, "I hope she can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied."
"She wanted the princess gowns and the princess heels and the tiaras and the wands — she had them all," Michelle told NBC during a sit-down interview. Everything clicked one Halloween, Michelle said, when a friend gave Malisa a wig. “She put it on and she started posing and she thought, ‘This matches,'” the proud mom explains.
When NBC’s Kate Snow asked little Malisa herself how she felt with the wig on, the now 8-year-old told her: “I saw the person who I really was.”
Although any decisions about surgery are years away, her parents will have to soon decide whether she’ll take hormone blockers to delay puberty. “We are definitely not going to jump the gun and rush into anything,” said Malisa’s dad, Travis Phillips; her mom added Malisa has a team of doctors and therapists to help guide them through the transition.
Malisa, for her part, said: “Just let your child or friends be who they are.”
Watch the video above to see more of Malisa’s story.