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Transgender Kids: Boys Will Be Girls

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If your child longed to be the opposite sex, would you let them "switch teams?"

transgender-child.jpg

Congratulations, it's a girl! Well, at least that's what you thought you had. For parents of transgender children, not everything is what it seems. Some children are wracked with what's called a "gender-identity disorder" and are profoundly depressed and can even become suicidal if they are not allowed to express themselves as the opposite sex.

A recent article in the Atlantic Monthly examines the difficult decision of Tina Simms to allow her son Brandon to live his life as girl. After all, Brandon had expressed a desire to be a 'she' instead of a 'he' almost as soon as he could talk.

In typical transgender fashion, when Brandon was a little boy, he rejected all things "male." He only wanted to play with dolls and preferred dressing up in his mom's clothes. Once, holding his penis between his legs and obscuring it from view, he gleefully told his stunned mother, "Look mom, I'm a girl!"

After years of therapy and family counseling Brandon, now eight years old, has made a complete transformation. He is now called Bridget. He only dresses in feminine clothing, has his ears pierced and is by all accounts the happiest he's ever been -- and his parents fully support his decision. Eventually, as he nears puberty, he will begin receiving puberty blocking hormones.

And he might not even have to wait until his teen years to start treatment. Pediatric specialist Dr. Norman Spack opened a clinic last year in Boston for transgender kids as young as seven. Critics argue it is morally wrong to put a child through that process at such an early age.

Professor of Human Development at Cornell University Ritch Savin-Williams disagrees. "The quicker you are able to intervene hormonally," Savin-Williams told momlogic, "The easier transition from a boy to a girl in terms of physical appearance. By not even allowing the masculine effects of puberty to begin you can prevent years of misery for the child."

Only time will tell if Brandon will eventually make the leap to a total sex change surgery -- most American doctors will not perform a sex reassignment until the age of consent, which is 18.

So how can a parent tell if their child might be struggling with gender identity disorder? Just because a boy plays with a doll, does it mean he's transgender?

"This is not just a boy wanting to dress up like a girl for Halloween," cautions Savin-Williams. "It's about persistence. It's when a child is so miserable that the only thing you can to do to lift the child's spirits is to let them become the opposite sex. And it's also a matter of time. If a child is consistently communicating their gender preference, for over a year to family, it might be time to seek counseling."

But again Savin-Williams suggests not putting off facilitating a child's transformation. "It doesn't make mental health sense for a child to be miserable." Savin-Willimas concludes, "and it's not like the problem is going to just go away."

What do you think? Comment in the momlogic community.


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73 comments so far | Post a comment now
Barb November 1, 2008, 10:06 PM

I’m going to hell because I’m transgendered? Did you receive a personal memo on that? If you believe in hell you obviously believe in the bible. Would you care to point me to the part of the bible where I’m such a disgust to my God I’m a lost soul? Careful now, I’m an ordained minister and I have a fairly good grasp of the bible(s). Do we really frighten you that much?

Those young ones who are trangendered need understanding, support, and love. They need most of all to know it doesn’t have to be a choice between a life of suffering and possible suicide. And I have it on excellent authority, God loves us the same as He loves you.

Morgan November 2, 2008, 5:32 PM

These Christians make me laugh. Ask them why god makes babies with deformities or genetic illnesses, and they’ll tell you it’s because of our “fall from grace” due to Eve’s original sin.

But none of them would begrudge a deformed person from getting plastic surgery to look more normal, or a person with a genetic illness from attempting gene therapy so they could live a more normal life.

It’s only because of the SEXUAL implications that Christians get all worked up over the various treatments for transgenderism. What a bunch of sexually repressed hyppocrites.

NOBODY can know the hell that a transgendered person goes through except another transgendered person. How dare ANYONE invoke god as a reason to stop these poor people from trying to correct a birth defect. You fundamental nut-jobs all make me sick!

bb y November 4, 2008, 7:42 AM

My 4 year old son likes playing with girls, dolls and wearing dress at times he even says that he is a girl. Although, it bothered me so much I did not stop him. He is like this because his father does not spend time with him. From the time he was born up to now he plays with his cousin a lot (a girl) watched girly dvd’s and so on. I also noticed he likes playing with boys and boys stuff but his comfort zone are girls and dolls. I am encouraging him to play with boys a lot and help him to understand boys better. It’s quite hard sometimes but I see he is benefiting from it. He has become more assertive, sporty and adventures. We are the product of our environment, ie parents, teachers, media…etc so If you understand that you have contributed to the situation try to fix it soon. I am doing exactly that.

Barb November 4, 2008, 9:43 AM

Playing dress up for boys or girls is not the same as being transgendered. Neither is transgendered a product of environment. A boy wanting to play with dolls doesn’t mean he is transgendered nor does a girl wanting to play football make her a boy.

Our mind designates who and what we are; not what people see when they are looking at what we wear called a body. For those who aren’t inside the boy-girl gender blender and studied it for forty years, I can understand how one might think teaching a child to be a boy or girl might be the same as teaching them how to be a football player or a ballerina.

The views of Dr. John Money who claimed gender was a learned skill not a pre disposed one was used as the sacred guide for many years even after this type of thinking started showing flaws.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer

This is not an endorsement to drag any boy or girl off to the reassignment center because they liked to dress up as or play with the opposite sex. Most careful one must be because a sex change on one who isn’t transgendered can lead to the very things we all hope to avoid. A life of unbelievable suffering or suicide.

Kimmy November 10, 2008, 7:19 PM

We transition to the gender role that suits us, or die by our own hand, simple as that.

And as a good, loving parent, you’ll support your child on this taxing, yet liberating road.

If you’d rather have your child commit suicide out of misery(and half of us does), then I wonder why ‘God’ gave you children at all.

Beside that, it’s good to see so many warm, understanding people out there!

Kimmy

Shenell November 12, 2008, 3:06 PM

Children are the most innocent beings in this world. If a child knows that he is more comfortable in girls cloths, and would rather feel pretty than hansom, then thats all they know. as adults we delve deeper than it actually goes. Let him be a girl, if thats what he wants! Children are individuals just like we are. Just because we’re not comfortable with it, our child should suffer from our own insecurities? What the neighboors are going to say, what “god” is going to say? Well if god felt like that, then he wouldnt put that type of plight on a child. Why would god give you feelings that you cant help and then condenm you for them? I think that it takes a wonderful parent to look past what they want for they’re child and give them the means to love themselves as much as they do. Goos job Mom!

jane November 14, 2008, 3:20 AM

my heart goes out to these children.most of us dont stop to think about how lucky we are to be who God has made us to be and to be accepted by others without condition.i think we should stop being judgemental just bcos we are not in their shoes.

Danisu November 19, 2008, 12:30 AM

For some, it may be easier to understand if you had lived through the total shaming of parents and society around you for being “girly” or “sissy”. Maybe you could empathise if you had been forced by society and family to live as a boy. Truly, though you could have no friends, as you couldn’t make yourself fit in with real boys, and the girls couldn’t accept you as one of their number because of the “plumbing” differences, no matter how your heart ached to belong.
It would have been best if I could have socially transitioned as a child, and had hormone blocking before puberty. I was 50 before I could allow myself to say “to heck with what people say” I am a 6’2” balding girl with a manly face and hair patterns. I could have been more petite, and shaped as a “proper” woman. I do not know, but I suspect I would also have had hair like my mother or sisters.
For anonymous, Regarding how that child feels after puberty: I always knew I was a girl inside, and loathed the maleness of my body. Puberty did not change things at all.

Heidi November 19, 2008, 8:19 AM

Kim Pearson, you rock!!! We need more parents like you in this world, and we need more acceptance of GLTB people. As a lesbian, I understand the fact that these issues are completely in our brains. At 12, I tried to take my life not because I wanted to be a boy but because I knew that I was not like the other kids. I didn’t feel like them, I didn’t think like them, and it is a very isolating situation when you can’t express who you are during you younger years. I am absolutely sure that nature made me this way and I have been aware of this since before I could even remember.
Hopefully, one day all people can open their hearts and minds to the fact that these kids are just being what they were meant to be; themselves. It’s amazing to me how angry people get about GLTB issues. They think that letting GLTB people be themselves is going to turn everyone into GLTB people. Not true, you either are or your not.
It’s a joy to read, that you get that Kim. You are amazing and you should be proud of yourself and your child.
Wishing you and your child much joy and love.

Thank you to the rest of you, who have also opened your hearts to accepting those that are unlike you.

As for the non believers, I know it’s hard for you to understand if you haven’t experienced it for yourself and I know it frightens everything you hold to be true in your mind but put yourself in the shoes of others. Perhaps if you could walk in their shoes for a moment, you might understand the magnitude of the situation that they face. I would suggest some open hearted research. Read what the kids, the teens, and the adults have to say. A good place to start is YouTube, Barbara Walters did a series on Transgender kids that scratches at the surface of what these parents are face with on a daily basis. You can also search “transgender kids” on YouTube and Google.
These kids are not confused and they don’t have a disorder in my mind, they know exactly who are and it has nothing to do with genitalia. It is hard wired into their brains. Gender issues are found throughout nature and are not just a human phenomenon.

Hoping that tomorrow will be a kinder place for everyone.

Stacy November 24, 2008, 5:27 PM

Hello everyone, I see it like this. Some people mentioned that Not true, Your god is not perfect. There is meany kinds of defects in this world. Do you think children with down syndrom choose to be like that, what about all the canser kids, do they choose to be like that.You choose what to wear for the day, you choose what to eat for lunch, you choose what to watch on TV.You do not choose to be Transgender, Gay, Blind, limbless etc. Non of us choose to be like this. We are all born in different ways. Did you know that Angels are Genderless. Hummm, how intresting is that. I think we need to give our minds a bath and start the scrubbin, stop the hating and start the lovin.
-Stacy, 36yr MTF/TG/TS
Cheers

Kim Pearson November 25, 2008, 4:59 AM

Thank you Heidi. The 20/20 video clips as well as many others are available on the TYFA website. Our motto is “Understanding Through Education”, check it out www.imatyfa.org

silvia November 28, 2008, 5:56 AM

well after reading people that said it’s sick I’m so heartbroken and sad… my 6 years old boy is transgender, he is the most sweet boy but he feels he is a girl… you think it’s easy on him or us?? Do you have any idea what this kids go thru? Do you know how many attempt suicide as early as 13 years old?? Then don’t judge what we do…. life is only one and i will do all what is in my power to make my kid happy, even let him live like a girl.
He did not ask to be born this way.. This is just HIM/HER

Honey January 1, 2009, 4:59 PM

Just like to contribute that, as a TS woman in her 40’s,,divorced with two lovely grown up children,I’m successful & happy because I transitioned a few years aog. From the age of four, I knew I was different and id’d with girls, but sensed that I would incur disapproval if I expressed this. This led to years of yearning secretly about needing to be a girl and subesequent very unhappy teenage years with hidden depression,anger and sadness. I eventually married ‘cos it was ‘expected’ of me, and it was only gathering courage many years later that enabed me to be the person I really was and take that horrid mask off. How wonderful it would have been-especially at age about twelve-to have been given the opportunity to start on the road of transition. Yes, by all means,medical and associated practitioners-and supportive parents- need to think carefully about the physiological risks regarding their childs’ treatment-but imtantly the very real mental health risks which may arise from surpressing or. even worse, punishing their childs’ behaviour. This behaviour is likely a function of their mind,(psychophysiological development) which in turn is ‘programmed’ according to whatever mechanism dictates gender. Please, let your child be who he or she really is and allow them to live for themselves, and not for you-if you don’t they may end up very damaged and perhaps hating you as part of that process. If you really love someone, then you will let them live their own lives, as thay are entitled to do.

Josh January 13, 2009, 6:25 PM

I have a comment for both sides of the discussion.

To you religious zealots who feel it is your place to judge or discriminate against others because of your beliefs, a) The bible was written by Men, I mean that as Men in the term Male and as in Man/humankind. Don’t you feel mistakes could have been made by these men in interpretation of God’s word? b) it really is NOT your place to judge. Read Luke 6:37 - “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned” … “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own…”

These are the words from your own biblical text on which you judge others from. Now you tell me, will you be comfortable facing God knowing you have judged others against his will? It says in many other parts of the bible that judgement is not your place but His. Think about that next time you tell others how to live by God.

For the transgendered or those who are defenders of transgender rights(I’m with you by the way, as with the rights of all!) Be understanding when people misuse pronouns or misspeak in regards to a transgendered person. I doubt anyone could deny it is a subject that’s a tad confusing sometimes even to the most educated of people.

And to the parents who are doing their damnedest to do what’s best for their kids, RIGHT ON!!! It’s exactly what we need in this goofy world!

Steven Roddy October 15, 2009, 9:13 PM

I don’t understand it but hey if the shoe fits wear it.

Robert January 23, 2010, 3:05 AM

I am a transgendered male. I think and act more feminine then masculine. I now have a supportive family after 3 suicide attrempts. I still get depressed about this, but have learned to live with it. I’ve liked wearing dresses and skirts since I was 11. I could communicate with females better then males. I have been told it is because of my nurturing nature. Today, as an adult, I still prefer my skirts over pants or shorts. Support your children. If your boys want to wear dresses or skirts, LET THEM. If your girls like jeans, boxers and flannel shirts, LET THEM wear it. To much emphasis is placed upon gender and clothing, NOT THE REAL PERSON IN THEM.

Colleen January 29, 2010, 9:21 PM

First off, I am a Christian and don’t feel this needs to come down to bashing God and Jesus as people have a tendency to do. I am also a preschool teacher and I have working with many children aged four and five. I am familiar with what is typical development for children of this age. Over the years I have known two children that were definitely not comfortable with their gender. I never felt this was something the parents created in the child. It was just who the child was and how the child was created. I think we need to accept people as they are. When you see a child that crosses the gender lines at such a young age, how can you not understand that it is biological? I don’t know if God planned this or if something happened in utero but there is a definite issue biologically.

Jeff Andrew February 3, 2010, 8:39 PM

We should learn to accept and respect each other for who we truly are. All of us. Some straight men do not even feel free to cry or hug other men. They keep repressed feelings that they cannot let out. This is part of the reason why some do die early.

Although they are allowed a little more freedom, some women today still watch their behavior, so it does not step out too much of their feminine role. They do this, even if they do not possess a high degree of femininity, being conscious of every move they make. Some of this is done at an unconscious level, because they learned this as a requirement to belong in society. Some women feel the need to be very thin, even if their bone structure begs for a little more flesh on them. We all need to belong. In doing what is expected of us, sometimes we lose our individuality and our own very spirit.

Who are we then, to condemn others because they are different than us? Who are we to expect others to be like us. Who are we to push our religion on people and worse, to the point where they are no longer free to be who they are.

We have no right, to the contrary, they are more deserving and more courageous than most of us, because they dared to stand up for who they are. Many of us could not even do that much on lesser counts. We need to start claiming the right to be true to ourselves.

In addition, what gives us the right to impose on others. Maybe we envy the freedom that they have claimed for themselves. Why couldn’t we do the same for ourselves. We had to go by the rules, why can’t they do it too? Ah but, “the truth shall set us free.”

We need to be who God made us to be, whoever that would be. What is the big issue, if for some unknown reason, some people feel from the bottom of their hearts that they are transgender, or gay, or bi, or straight? We, as part of society, are wrong, by not accommodating, and by creating a hostile environment to some minorities. Didn’t God said to love one another?

Many in the GBLT community have done just that, by putting up with so many of us for so long, and as a minority, they have been more patient, and yes more tolerant than us, as some of them do not understand why we are straight, or why we must insist in being somebody that we are not, or pressure them, sometimes even threaten them with the promise of hell. Telling them that they must change and be who they are not, so they can be loved by God, and accepted by humanity. How are we then, going to demand of them to love one another, if they are not even allowed to love themselves, because we pushed them to bury their true selves? What meaning does salvation have, if we have already killed their spirits, and pushed many of them to addictions, and even suicide.

I do not understand the phobia with, “the other.” If we attribute it to our religion, then we should not push religion unto anybody. Live and let live. Everybody is responsible for their own soul in front of God, and some self righteous teachers will have it worse than most of us, for hurting all of these innocent people, and even children. For, what have they done? Are we 100% sure to condemn them in judgement? You know, I would not want to be judged with such a harsh stick.

If it is because in our own understanding of theology, we consider ourselves to be 100% correct, that would then be extremely arrogant, as we are all imperfect beings. Every one of us was created by God, and none of us is better than the next. In addition, in the Christian tradition, we are all saved through faith and grace so, “nobody can boast.” Furthermore, what happens with those who are not religious, do we strip them from their rights?

Many children understand who they are (gender wise), very early in life, before the pressures of society place a huge burden on them, and before they bend over backwards to please us by not being true to themselves, thereby getting lost within the “help,” that seems to mostly help us. We are truly, the ones with the problem, because it is “taboo,” because it is “against God,” etc. Fact is, we do not know everything, and we should love and respect our fellow human being, regardless of what we think. Let God do the judging, we are not prepared for that.

If one waits too long to start hormones on these kids, they lose a chance of a lifetime to grow up as they truly feel inside. It becomes harder to reverse certain changes. Who are we to shatter their dreams, their life, and their future. Haven’t we already done enough by marginalizing them in every aspect of society? It is us that have to change and learn how to love, support and accept our neighbor, regardless of our own personal opinions or beliefs, as they have their own version too. Many things we truly do not know, and we have to be humble about this.

Kids tend to be very honest about what they feel, and who they are, we must support them, we must let them lead. Gender, and being male or female, should not be more important than who they are inside. Their energy needs expression, else they die inside.

The physical, should never be more important than the spiritual, and male or female, we are first human beings.
Let us stop being so silly, and may a child lead the way to justice and fairness, since we obviously, got lost along the way.





























Jeff Andrew February 3, 2010, 8:48 PM

Many in the GBLT community have done just that, by putting up with so many of us for so long, and as a minority, they have been more patient, and yes more tolerant than us, as some of them do not understand why we are straight, or why we must insist in being somebody that we are not, or pressure them, sometimes even threaten them with the promise of hell. Telling them that they must change and be who they are not, so they can be loved by God, and accepted by humanity. How are we then, going to demand of them to love one another, if they are not even allowed to love themselves, because we pushed them to bury their true selves? What meaning does salvation have, if we have already killed their spirits, and pushed many of them to addictions, and even suicide.

I do not understand the phobia with, “the other.” If we attribute it to our religion, then we should not push religion unto anybody. Live and let live. Everybody is responsible for their own soul in front of God, and some self righteous teachers will have it worse than most of us, for hurting all of these innocent people, and even children. For, what have they done? Are we 100% sure to condemn them in judgement? You know, I would not want to be judged with such a harsh stick.

If it is because in our own understanding of theology, we consider ourselves to be 100% correct, that would then be extremely arrogant, as we are all imperfect beings. Every one of us was created by God, and none of us is better than the next. In addition, in the Christian tradition, we are all saved through faith and grace so, “nobody can boast.” Furthermore, what happens with those who are not religious, do we strip them from their rights?

Many children understand who they are (gender wise), very early in life, before the pressures of society place a huge burden on them, and before they bend over backwards to please us by not being true to themselves, thereby getting lost within the “help,” that seems to mostly help us. We are truly, the ones with the problem, because it is “taboo,” because it is “against God,” etc. Fact is, we do not know everything, and we should love and respect our fellow human being, regardless of what we think. Let God do the judging, we are not prepared for that.

If one waits too long to start hormones on these kids, they lose a chance of a lifetime to grow up as they truly feel inside. It becomes harder to reverse certain changes. Who are we to shatter their dreams, their life, and their future. Haven’t we already done enough by marginalizing them in every aspect of society? It is us that have to change and learn how to love, support and accept our neighbor, regardless of our own personal opinions or beliefs, as they have their own version too. Many things we truly do not know, and we have to be humble about this.

Kids tend to be very honest about what they feel, and who they are, we must support them, we must let them lead. Gender, and being male or female, should not be more important than who they are inside. Their energy needs expression, else they die inside.

The physical, should never be more important than the spiritual, and male or female, we are first human beings.
Let us stop being so silly, and may a child lead the way to justice and fairness, since we obviously, got lost along the way.

di February 7, 2010, 6:25 AM

my dear little one I wont you to know you are not alone I to are like you. God loves you very much he has made us different than other people. your guardian angel is always whatching over you, May God bless you and keep you safe.
As for my beloved christian brothers & sisters remember what our dear Lord said in MATTHEW 19 Ver 11-12
11 But he replied, ‘It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. 12 There are eunuchs born so from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by human agency and there are eunuchs who have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.
and through the prophet Isaiah - Chapter 56

3 No foreigner adhering to Yahweh should say, ‘Yahweh will utterly exclude me from his people.’ No eunuch should say, ‘Look, I am a dried-up tree.’ 4 For Yahweh says this: To the eunuchs who observe my Sabbaths and choose to do my good pleasure and cling to my covenant, 5 I shall give them in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I shall give them an everlasting name that will never be effaced.
1 Samuel 16:7:
“… the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
Ecclesiastes 11:5:
“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
Zechariah 12:1:
“The LORD … forms the spirit of man within him …”
John 7:24:
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
May God bless you all Di


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