Angelina Jolie’s entire family recently stepped out on the red carpet to support the actress’s new movie, Unbroken. The superstar couple’s oldest biological child – daughter named Shiloh – joined brothers Maddox and Pax wearing sharp suits and short haircuts.
Pitt and Jolie have been fairly open over the years about Shiloh’s interest in all things considered masculine. In an interview with Oprah in 2008, Brad Pitt discussed how Shiloh wanted to be called John.
The eight-year-old’s family fully supports her decision to self-identify — from an affinity for suits and ties to shorter hair to the name change.
Jolie told Vanity Fair in a 2010 interview that John has been exploring her identity since the age of three. “She wants to be a boy,” Jolie said. “So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers.”
The Telegraph used the Pitt-Jolie story as an opportunity to educate adults on how to handle a child’s cross-gender explorations. It’s easy to dismiss a child’s tendency to gravitate toward toys and clothing generally assigned to its opposite gender as a phase.
The Telegraph spoke with clinical psychologist Linda Blair who advised parents to not jump to the conclusion their child is trans. “It’s normal for children with older siblings to want to copy them and be like them,” Blair explained. The healthiest and most respectful action a parent can take is to follow the Jolie-Pitt’s example and allow their child to go through a normal human experience exploring their own identity at their own pace and on their own terms.