"The story that I get is that 'I've known since I was real little, but everybody laughed or nobody paid any attention,'" Hites said.

The therapist said transgendered children insist they are the opposite sex, consistently.

"It?s like they arrive here with one biology but the mental set is counter to that," Hites said.

The 8-year-old?s favorite color is aqua. Her favorite toy: American Girl Dolls. And right now she?s reading a Junie B. Jones book that made her giggle when she talked about the plot.

Pink and aqua barrettes held her shoulder-length layered hair out of her face, while she drew chalk pictures of clouds on the pavement.

When her mother announced that the child would be allowed to pierce her ears next week, the girl screeched and had a huge smile on her face.

"You?ve waited long enough to live as a girl," the mother said.

The mother is on a mission to educate the community and encourage churches to open a dialog about diversity and acceptance of all people.

She recently waged an e-mail campaign to urge her church members to place an empty envelope in the collection basket on Mother?s Day weekend. She said she wanted to send a message to the church that church members can have a voice and that they shouldn?t just blindly follow the flock.

"Just take the time to listen. It is different. It?s something most people have never heard of, but it doesn?t make it scary or pathological," she said.