Human Interest Mom Opens Up About Raising 5-Year-Old Son Who Is Transgender: 'I Want People to Understand' Children "were born to make their own journey... You will teach them strength in being proud of the person they are," Emily Torrisi says of her son EJ By Joelle Goldstein Joelle Goldstein Instagram Twitter Joelle Goldstein is the Staff Editor of TV for PEOPLE Digital. She has been with the brand for five years, beginning her time as a digital news writer, where she covered everything from entertainment news to crime stories and royal tours. Since then, she has worked as a writer-reporter on the Human Interest team and an associate editor on the TV team. In her current role, Joelle helps oversee all things TV, and enjoys being able to say she has to watch The Kardashians, America's Got Talent, Love Is Blind and Dancing with the Stars for her "work" responsibilities. Prior to joining PEOPLE, Joelle was employed at The Hollywood Reporter, where she was co-nominated at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Magazine Article for feature cover story. She graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor's degree in Television-Radio (and an appearance in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Final Four!) People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 11, 2021 02:25 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Emily Torrisi and her son EJ. Photo: Christina Greenberg/The Littlest Detail Photography EJ Torrisi may be young, but if you ask his mom Emily, she says her son "is exactly who he is meant to be."The 5-year-old child, of Howell, New Jersey, was assigned female at birth, his mom tells PEOPLE. But EJ identifies as male — something Emily, 25, finds to be completely natural after watching him develop over the last few years."Kindergarten is, for sure, a young age for any child to make their own choices, but this isn't like picking a sport, not liking it and moving on. This is my kid's personality," says Emily, who first shared her family's story with the Asbury Park Press newspaper. "You can tell once EJ had a voice to make his own opinion on clothing and how he wanted to look and express himself, his whole attitude changed.""He is happier," she adds. "As a parent, you watch your kids learn and grow every single day and when doing so, you are watching them become their own person. This is the person EJ is becoming. It just fits." In sharing her son's story, Emily hopes that others will become more accepting of transgender children, regardless of their age."I want people to see how young a person can be when they start to feel this way, and it's okay," she says. "I want more people to open their eyes to be accepting or understanding of how a person feels inside. I want people to understand that whether it's a kid or an adult, everyone has feelings and emotions and everyone is entitled to make their own choices." Emily Torrisi and her son EJ. Christina Greenberg/The Littlest Detail Photography Jamie Lee Curtis Reveals Her Youngest Child Is Transgender: I Feel 'Wonder and Pride' EJ Torrisi. Christina Greenberg/The Littlest Detail Photography Pose Star Mj Rodriguez Talks History-Making Emmy Nomination as a Trans Actress: 'It Doesn't Stop Here'Emily says it was very clear that her child identified as male by the time EJ reached pre-school, recalling how "you would start to notice EJ correcting you if you used his birth name." "He would correct you and say, 'It's EJ,' " she adds.Though she was "extremely nervous about schools and peers," Emily says EJ's teacher was incredibly supportive and "let nothing be uncomfortable for him."Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter EJ Torrisi. Christina Greenberg/The Littlest Detail Photography Though she knows not everyone will show that love, Emily says she wouldn't change a thing about letting EJ be himself."Honestly, I wouldn't fully understand it either until I saw it with my own eyes," she says. "But if you're going to hate on what makes a person feel comfortable in their lifetime, then just keep moving. Don't say nasty things, don't make a person question themselves. It's not your skin to live under, it's theirs, and they were born to make their own journey... You will teach them strength in being proud of the person they are.""EJ was born for this and so many people have given him so much love and acceptance. That is a beautiful thing to see and witness," she continues. "The world can get so ugly sometimes... everybody has their own thoughts and beliefs, but you need to just worry about you and your own family, not anybody else." RELATED VIDEO: Meet Devina Keswani: Youngest Sibling, First Grader and Transgender Princess As she looks ahead, Emily is excited to see what the future holds for her son and hopes that he'll stay true to himself along the way. "I hope he follows his dreams and never stops. I hope he continues to stand up for himself," she says. "I hope when something does knock him down, and things will 'cause that's life, that he just reflects on it and keeps moving." "There will always be negativity, there will always be haters," she adds. "But he also will always have a support system and people who love him, and that's what matters." To learn how you can be an ally for people who identify as transgender, visit GLAAD's website here.