8-year-old's journey becomes beacon of hope in Argentina
The case sparked debate in conservative Argentina about how to best raise children who identify themselves with the opposite sex.
In this Sept. 29, 2015 photo, Luana poses for a picture at her home in Merlo, Argentina. Luana had to fight to be a girl. The 8-year-old was born a boy, and struggled with a world that insisted that this was what she must be. Then, in 2013, she became the youngest person to take advantage of a progressive Argentine law that allows people to identify their own gender for legal purposes. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this Sept. 29, 2015 photo, Luana, who was born a boy and named Manuel, sits with her identical twin bother Elias outside their home in Merlo, Argentina. âIâve always been a girl,â said Luana, flashing a smile at Elias. He nods. âIf you gave Luana all my toys it would not make any difference,â Elias said. âShe still wouldnât be a boy.â (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this Sept. 29, 2015 photo, Luana, front, and her twin bother Elias play outside their home in Merlo, Argentina. Luana, who was born a boy named Manuel, lives as a girl, and has become an international symbol of progress in the transgender community. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this Sept. 29, 2015 photo, Luana poses for a portrait with her dolls at her home in Merlo, Argentina. When Luana and her identical twin brother were 3, a team of psychologists and doctors prescribed a regimen of Ã¬male reinforcementÃ® for Manuel, who lives as a girl. He would only be allowed to play with male toys like action figures and wear boysÃ clothes. The color pink was prohibited, as were cartoons with female protagonists. When he was five Manuel started calling himself Luana. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this Sept. 29, 2015 photo, Luana dances in her room wearing a costume dress from the Elsa character in the Frozen cartoon at her home in Merlo, Argentina. By the time Luana, born Manuel, was 2, he was rejecting pants and insisting on wearing dresses. The struggles were so exhausting that sometimes his mother Gabriela Mansilla simply consented. âPeople in the neighborhood would call me âthe crazy lady who dresses up her kid,ââ said Mansilla. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this Sept. 29, 2015 photo, Luana plays with her dolls at her home in Merlo, Argentina. Luana, born a boy and named Manuel, remembers a lady in a toy store who told her the doll she had picked out was "for girls." And in daycare, when the children had to line up, the teachers forced her to go with the boys. "Everybody told me, "No. Get in the line for boys," said Luana, whose two front teeth are coming in. "I didn't listen." (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)