A Brazilian girl was placed with a foster family when it was discovered her mother raised her as a boy for two years before an aunt discovered the truth, a Brazilian news program has reported.
The mother named her female baby Samuel and managed to erase the “female” check box on her birth certificate at the hospital, then checking the “male” box, R7 Noticias said. After the baby was discharged, the mother registered “Samuel” as a boy at a municipal office in the central Brazilian city of Senador Canedo.
For two years the mother dressed her daughter in boy’s clothes and cut her hair short, convincing family members, including the child’s father, that the girl was a boy. A suspicious aunt uncovered the ruse when she peeked in the child’s diaper, the station said.
The British tabloids are having a field day with the gender-bending story. “I didn’t suspect a thing,” the paternal grandmother is quoted as saying in a Daily Mail translation. “For me, he was a boy. Why would I think anything different?”
The grandmother added, “It was a huge shock for everyone. Now I have to get used to the fact I don’t have a grandson any more, I have a granddaughter.”
The mother said she hid her daughter’s sex because the mother was abused as a child and hoped that the girl could avoid the same fate by being a boy, The Telegraph said.
The municipal office that accepted the false registration could also face charges, R7 said.
Masquerading girls as boys isn’t so far-fetched, according to a 2010 New York Times article. In Afghanistan, families sometimes disguise girls because of societal and economic pressure to have boys, the Times reported, noting that the practice has endured across class boundaries and through wars and administration changes.