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Daddy, I’m going to read you a story, okay? It’s about a little boy who was born. But he was born like a girl.
May 22, 2012 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Transgender at Five - "Tyler was born a girl, but at the age of 2 he began insisting that he was a boy."
posted by desjardins (99 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love these stories where trans kids get a happy ending (for now, at least), though I admit I'd be just as freaked out and scared if it were my kid. In then end I hope I'd be as accepting and loving as the parents in this article. My 12 year old son has suddenly started carrying his Rainbow Dash pony around with him and I have to fight with every fiber of my being not to say something to discourage him, despite being pretty rainbowy myself. And that's just gender identity and one toy! I give these parents real credit.
posted by Biblio at 7:38 AM on May 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


The reactions from their church and from his older sister make me misty-eyed.

Even if, as the article says, kids often outgrow gender dysphoria, I think it's fantastic that the parents are letting Tyler explore this side I him. If your kids were truly miserable on a minute-to-minute basis, why would you force a particular gender expression on them?

Yay for understanding parents.
posted by Phire at 7:38 AM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, hey, there's video. This is why I hate the print versions of articles! You miss out on all the bonus content!
posted by yeoz at 7:49 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with the article that it's comparatively easy now, at a young age. That the real difficulty begins when the body begins to mature into an adult body, and they have to decide how to handle it.
posted by Night_owl at 7:50 AM on May 22, 2012


Forgive my ignorance, but do the biological changes of puberty have any affect on this?
posted by jonmc at 7:53 AM on May 22, 2012


One girl was called Jeanne Marie
Another little girl was called Felicity
Another little girl was Sally Joy
The other was me, and I'm a boy
posted by Nomyte at 7:57 AM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


What do you mean, jonmc? Affect on what?
posted by anya32 at 7:57 AM on May 22, 2012


Gender dysphoria. I'm just curious.
posted by jonmc at 7:59 AM on May 22, 2012


Kathryn wanted to be called “he” right away. And Kathryn wanted to be called Talon, then Isaac, but finally settled on a permanent boy’s name in the fall.

I'm told Optimus remains very happy today.
posted by brain_drain at 8:02 AM on May 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wouldn't it be more accurate to say he was born a boy, and assigned the identity of a girl?
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:07 AM on May 22, 2012


Depends, jonmc. Some kids "grow" out of it, many don't. As far as I know, puberty is not the trigger either way.
posted by lydhre at 8:07 AM on May 22, 2012


Oh. I was more thinking of the biological effects of hormones and stuff like that, but like I said, forgive my ignorance.
posted by jonmc at 8:10 AM on May 22, 2012


Oh. I was more thinking of the biological effects of hormones and stuff like that, but like I said, forgive my ignorance.

The major issue as I understand it is that transitioning is much harder post-puberty than pre-puberty. That's why one of the major debates has crystalized around the question of whether trans kids should be given drugs to delay puberty until they (or their guardians) are "sure" they really want to transition.

It's a tough one, I think, because it goes right to the heart of the messy social paradoxes surrounding childhood.

The right wingers I know have started to direct towards trans people the same vitriol they used to direct towards homosexuals, so I fear for the future.
posted by gerryblog at 8:14 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some kids "grow" out of it, many don't. As far as I know, puberty is not the trigger either way.

Some just "put up" with being their assigned gender and/or go asexual.
posted by tilde at 8:16 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Forgive my ignorance, but do the biological changes of puberty have any affect on this?

Not really, suppressing puberty actually leads to better outcomes in both mental health and in later reassignment surgeries. This paper on the topic is free full text if you want to peruse.

There are a few studies, though, that show many of the children who initially identify as opposite-gender end up coming out as gay later. That may have more to do with society's messed up approach to homosexuality more than anything else though. Regardless, most trans people self-identify pre-puberty, or identify in hindsight post-puberty. Either way, hasn't been linked to the hormonal changes that occur.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:26 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some previous discussions here on childen and gender identity:
A Boy's Life
“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker.
Led by the child who simply knew
posted by melissam at 8:28 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks, panjandrum. Sorry if I derailed anything.
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on May 22, 2012


Wouldn't it be more accurate to say he was born a boy, and assigned the identity of a girl?

Yes. Many trans* people would say (but it is ultimately up to Tyler) that he was assigned a "female gender" or "female sex" at birth, but/and that he identifies as male.
posted by anya32 at 8:29 AM on May 22, 2012


The right wingers I know have started to direct towards trans people the same vitriol they used to direct towards homosexuals, so I fear for the future.

And every sadly this is being used against cis-gendered parents, as well. There have been child custody determinations where parents who were not supportive of their trans* or "gender-varient" children have convinced judges that their former spouses/partners are unfit parents because they do support the gender identity and expression of their children. Judges are buying these arguments.
posted by anya32 at 8:31 AM on May 22, 2012


Someday I want to read an article about this where the a little boy insists he is a girl, but who still loves trucks and Transformers, or a girl who insists she is boy who still loves dolls and ponies. I'm so tired of hearing how a child playing with what our culture views as the other gender's activities is evidence of anything.
posted by melissam at 8:34 AM on May 22, 2012 [55 favorites]


every = very!
posted by anya32 at 8:34 AM on May 22, 2012


This is just an anecdote, but I heard a FTM transgender describe their horror at puberty, because that's when it sunk in that, OMG, I really was born female, I'm getting boobs, I'm getting my period, my childhood assumption that I would grow a penis one day really was false, this is the body I'm stuck with.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:39 AM on May 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


The right wingers I know have started to direct towards trans people the same vitriol they used to direct towards homosexuals, so I fear for the future.

gerryblog, it's not like they didn't hate that much on TS/TG before; it's just that they're vocalizing more as trans folk come out of the closet. I'm not disagreeing with you exactly; just that I don't think much has changed except that coming out = making oneself an easier target (in the brave hope that society will learn not to take aim).


Wouldn't it be more accurate to say he was born a boy, and assigned the identity of a girl?

That may be a wording that pleases the trans people more, but it's far more confusing. "Kathryn was born with female genitalia, but self-identified since at least age 2 as a boy..." would be accurate and clear. There's a fuzzy area in wording at this point, between most-informational and least-offensive to the subject group.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:42 AM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's why one of the major debates has crystalized around the question of whether trans kids should be given drugs to delay puberty until they (or their guardians) are "sure" they really want to transition.

I'm totally in favour of delaying puberty. There are so many benefits if they wish to transition later (transmen are taller, transwomen don't have to deal with lowering of voice, etc), and I haven't heard of any medical/health issues around delaying it.

Indeed, because of our good nutrition (and obesity), puberty is coming earlier for all kids -- I would have been happy to delay mine by 3 or 4 years, and I'm not trans.
posted by jb at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


heard a FTM transgender

For the record, 'transgender' is neither a noun, nor a verb. It's an adjective.
posted by hoyland at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


np, jonmc. Seems like a question that would naturally come up on this kind of topic.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:00 AM on May 22, 2012


Children who see [some child psych] get the Barbies or toy soldiers replaced by puzzles and board games.

<headsmack's advocate>
That seems reasonable and healthy regardless of gender identity. Why not just do that?
</headsmack's advocate>

^^^ and that is why trying to mentally put oneself in the shoes of another parent is a fruitless activity.

I have no idea how I'd handle this. As heartwarming as it is to see parents and community handle it in a supportive and loving way, that kid has (and therefore those parents have) a lot of tough times ahead. There are a lot of ways in which I hope I don't have to deal with tough times with my kid, simply because tough times are tough, and this is one of them.
posted by gurple at 9:01 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, it seems fucked up to me that kids at their gymnastics program have different uniforms at all. Why should any kid be forced to wear a leotard when some kids wear shorts and a t-shirt?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:10 AM on May 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Urgh... the whole two paragraphs about hormone blockers and hormones are sloppy and gross. But this bit:
Only a handful have opted to do so, Spack said.
The Dutch study about hormone blockers that I've dragged out a zillion times in comments here has a sample size of a few dozen. There may be only a handful of kids in the US who have had access to hormone blockers, but that has to do with access more than anything, and it's also not having access to hormone therapy as a teenager.
posted by hoyland at 9:16 AM on May 22, 2012


When I was in a very ordinary public school, one girl insisted from day one on wearing the boy's PE uniform, and she got her way pretty easily; they soon abandoned the rule and the much-hated girls uniforms started to disappear. She didn't have any gender identity issues (she was something of a bombshell, in fact) she just wasn't going to put up with it.

I suspect that the very innocuousness of the reason was why she got her way so easily. If the reason given had been that she identified as a boy it would have been a mess.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:31 AM on May 22, 2012


I would far rather have my child realise that they are trans at three than to struggle with it through their teens or later. Puberty blockers are amazing, especially for MTF kids. Testosterone for post-puberty FTMs can make some amazing changes; estrogen for post-puberty MTFs not so much. If the dysphoria is identified early in life then the more horrifying aspects of puberty can be postponed or averted and the irreversible sex markers (adam's apples, breasts, hair, bone structure) don't necessarily occur, making transition a lot easier. I imagine that there's a lot less depression in trans kids that are able to start transitioning early as well. And puberty blockers are reversible, so I don't see much of a drawback here.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:35 AM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's why one of the major debates has crystalized around the question of whether trans kids should be given drugs to delay puberty until they (or their guardians) are "sure" they really want to transition.

I think part of the debate is informed by kids who are born with atypical anatomy (like partial testes) or with unusual chromosomes like XYY or XXY who were surgically "assigned" as babies. This turned out to be a really bad idea for some of those kids who hit puberty, developed some secondary sex characteristics of the other gender (the one they hadn't been assigned), and wanted to change.

I don't know how many kids who say they're sure before puberty that they're transgendered have ultimately changed their minds, if any--it's such an unusual thing to begin with, it's hard to compile enough data to know. (Not to say that we shouldn't try.) And mightn't the puberty-suppressing drugs/hormone therapies themselves affect a kid's sexual and gender identity?

And, agreed: all or none on the leotards!
posted by homelystar at 9:37 AM on May 22, 2012


Someday I want to read an article about this where the a little boy insists he is a girl, but who still loves trucks and Transformers, or a girl who insists she is boy who still loves dolls and ponies. I'm so tired of hearing how a child playing with what our culture views as the other gender's activities is evidence of anything.

So I've got a theory about this, which may or may not be bullshit. But my suspicion is that trans kids with more "complicated" or less mainstream or stereotypical gender identities are just less likely to figure the whole thing out when they're still in preschool.

Some of this comes from looking at people I know. In particular, one close friend of mine is a pretty femme trans gay man who still sometimes likes to wear dresses, and it took him a long ass time to realize that he did indeed identify as male, even though he grew up in a very trans-friendly environment. I knew him when he was starting to consider transitioning, and there was an awful lot of "but...wait...I can't be male! I like makeup too much! And if I transition, I might have to stop wearing makeup!" He finally got it sorted out, but it took longer than it would have if he'd just felt like "dresses suck, makeup sucks, dolls and ponies suck, I hate all the girl things and I love all the boy things and this is a totally obvious unambiguous decision for me."

For that matter, I'm a cisgendered man, and it took me a long-ass time to really convince myself that I identified as male — for many of the same reasons. There were things about our culture's version of male identity that made me really uncomfortable, and for a long time I was seriously considering transitioning, but eventually I decided it wasn't right for me. So, fuck it — I have long hair and I like painting my nails and I'd rather dance backwards and I'm a dude. But the point is, I didn't have nearly enough perspective or maturity to figure that out back when I was in preschool either — even though I was in a really great community where the ladies who worked at my daycare just let me run around in high heels and my mom lent me a bra so I could go in drag to my high school's Halloween dance and it was all just fine with everyone. It wasn't cultural sexism or oppression or a lack of diverse male role models that kept me from figuring it out. It's just that in my case it was complicated and figuring it out took a lot of time.

So there's been this weird boom of articles lately talking about little kids who are strongly trans-identified.* And you're right that butch (trans-)girls and femme (trans-)boys — or butch (trans-)boys who still like dolls and femme (trans-)girls who still like trucks — are basically missing from the picture. But I don't think this is because the authors of these articles are doing anything to erase or ignore those kids. I suspect rather that it's because those kids aren't gonna work out how to identify until they're much older, and so — without a time machine — these authors can't go and profile them at age five.

*I mean, I love the articles, but it's weird that people transitioning as adults don't grab the public imagination in the same way.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:49 AM on May 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


It's never going to happen in my lifetime...and maybe not even my kids' lifetimes...but I long for the day when boys who want to identify as girls and vice versa...and men who want to dress as women, but still be men in a sexual way or maybe in a totally nonsexual way and women who want to wear men's clothes and have "manly" occupations but like sex with men...or women...or people who just don't want to pick one gender or another, but rather switch back and forth...well, someday I just hope we are all accepted, no matter what we do, what we wear, who we're attracted to and how we roll.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:10 AM on May 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


I love the voice of the child in this story. He's such a wise old man in a little girl's body. It's heartbreaking and beautiful how he reaches out to his father.
“We were in the car; I was driving,” Stephen told me.

Kathryn [the child] was in the back and grabbed a book off the seat.

“Daddy, I’m going to read you a story, okay?” Kathryn said, opening a random book and pretending to read. “It’s about a little boy who was born. But he was born like a girl.”

Stephen nearly slammed the brakes, then listened as the story unfolded about how unhappy the little boy was.
And then later, after his parents have welcomed him as a little boy, but still describe him to people as transgender.
“I’m not transgender,” he fumes when he hears the word, often spoken by his mom as she explains things. “I. Am. A. Boy.”
That just says it all, in a perfectly clear six year old voice.
posted by alms at 10:28 AM on May 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


For that matter, I'm a cisgendered man, and it took me a long-ass time to really convince myself that I identified as male — for many of the same reasons.

Oh lord yes! I only got comfortable being an even somewhat masculine guy (which happens to match the bits I was born with) after doing drag. Go figure. I totally buy your theory that the trans kids we're seeing pop up really early are the super-girly or super-boyish ones, where the contrast clear even in a kid context. Other kids, who might end up butch cis-gendered girls, femmey cis-gendered boys, etc. might take a little longer to figure themselves out as the signals are less clear-cut.

I do fret a bit (mildly) about the puberty delaying drugs, but only b/c I tend to fret about medications and kids in general. If it seemed appropriate for my kid I'd probably consider it, though, while continuing to fret. (Fretting: it's what parents do.)
posted by feckless at 10:33 AM on May 22, 2012


No one's really doing this here (I mean, not much; not enough to warrant commenting on anything specific), but it's kind of interesting to me (because I like picking scabs) that when the topic of transgender children comes up, people confuse gender identity with the culturally assigned trappings of gender fast. Someone mentions a boy who likes pink or a girl who climbs trees or a kid who's interested in the "wrong" toys--all of which are fairly normal parts of kids establishing their personal identities and boundaries, I think. A transgender child may experience some of those things, but there's something else going on. The most common worry I see is, "What if the children aren't really trans, but their parents assume they are because they [random commonplace gender nonconformity]? Oh no!" and I think that question indicates a deep semantic confusion between transient, culturally specific cues and something much more essential and inherent.

Actually, I wonder if the concept of gender identity is even coherent for most people. One of the better ways of explaining it that I've seen is to compare it to a missing limb. Your left arm isn't really a consciously essential part of who you are unless it's gone. If you just woke up one morning and it was gone, you'd suddenly realize how important it is to you. Then you'd live in a panic and try to get it back somehow. It's not a perfect metaphor; you can adjust to living without a left arm. I don't think you can adjust to living as the wrong gender. But it illustrates something I've noticed a lot of: that most people have a really difficult time wrapping their heads around the concept of a gender identity at all. They're too involved in theirs, I guess, to be able to see it as a thing. Instead they confuse it with the details of gender expression--which are all widely varied and culture specific.

Anyway, I saw this story some time ago and my feelings on children transitioning to their appropriate gender or delaying puberty until they're ready are mostly, "Good." It's something that's got to be easier for everybody, and gives the child more life to live, really. While I'm sure it could happen, I don't worry about children transitioning, then later deciding they're not really transgender. It can take time to work out, and that's fine, but people usually have an established gender identity by I think five or six, so I regard the attitude that "Children can't know!" as sort of transphobic. Even if--especially if!--a child isn't completely certain, parents should encourage their kids to talk about it. If you ever reach a point where you've become a barrier to communication and growth, you're failing as a parent.

IMO.
posted by byanyothername at 10:39 AM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


a FTM transgender describe their horror at puberty, because that's when it sunk in that, OMG, I really was born female, I'm getting boobs, I'm getting my period, my childhood assumption that I would grow a penis one day really was false, this is the body I'm stuck with.

That's accurate for me. In every grade school assignment where we had to draw ourselves, I drew myself as a boy. It didn't dawn on me that I was stuck in a girl's body... I just assumed things would sort themselves out. From puberty on out, I pretty much cried myself to sleep each night (I'd also slip little wishes and prayer cards under my matress a lot, begging to wake up a boy the next day), and that's not hyperbole.

(I identified very strongly as trans since at least 4. For the record, I hated wearing girls' clothes but enjoyed making dresses for my Barbies... and then would promptly have them do battle with my Transformers in a little Lego and Tinkertoy city.)
posted by Wossname at 10:39 AM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


My 12 year old son has suddenly started carrying his Rainbow Dash pony around with him and I have to fight with every fiber of my being not to say something to discourage him

No, your instincts are right and you need to take care of that immediately. Rarity is best pony.

I am thirty one years old
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:50 AM on May 22, 2012 [26 favorites]


I hated wearing girls' clothes but enjoyed making dresses for my Barbies... and then would promptly have them do battle with my Transformers in a little Lego and Tinkertoy city.
This is awesome in ways I cannot even begin to describe.
posted by fearnothing at 11:12 AM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


The most common worry I see is, "What if the children aren't really trans, but their parents assume they are because they [random commonplace gender nonconformity]? Oh no!" and I think that question indicates a deep semantic confusion between transient, culturally specific cues and something much more essential and inherent.

I really like what you are saying here (and in the rest of your comment). And expanding, I want to point out that for some people (I cannot speak for all, of course), even gender identity can be fluid. I have friends who have, if you will, "transitioned" more than once. Perhaps (there is room for debate about this), the desire to essentialize/boil down identity to categories is a natural human tendency; regardless of the cause, that desire not always allow for the true variability that exists.

This view of gender identity being fixed can also create problems for people - in order to modify "identify documents" to allign with your gender identity, you frequently need medical documentation of surgical procedures, perhaps even a Gender Identity Disorder (GID) diagnosis. You need to, in effect, "prove" that you really want to be the "other gender" to be protected by the law. What happens if your gender identity shifts? Cases regarding people who are trans* have even discussed if someone's new genitals sufficiently resemble/can be "used properly" (if you will) for "penis-vagina" intercourse. Because, if someone really is trans*, they must want to be the "opposite sex" in every way. There has to be a bright-line that can be drawn. Human expression does not work with bright lines, however.
posted by anya32 at 11:12 AM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Washington Post is using the family’s middle names to protect their identity beyond their community...


Why would you specify your anonymizing tactic?

>>My 12 year old son has suddenly started carrying his Rainbow Dash pony around with him and I have to fight with every fiber of my being not to say something to discourage him

>No, your instincts are right and you need to take care of that immediately. Rarity is best pony.

>I am thirty one years old


You misspelled Fluttershy.

Forty-mumble
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:33 AM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


My 12 year old son has suddenly started carrying his Rainbow Dash pony around with him and I have to fight with every fiber of my being not to say something to discourage him, despite being pretty rainbowy myself.

Ah, even if weren't gender-tolerant, you'd have nothing to worry about. Rainbow Dash is actually ridiculously butch, practically a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
posted by ignignokt at 12:17 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think part of the debate is informed by kids who are born with atypical anatomy (like partial testes) or with unusual chromosomes like XYY or XXY who were surgically "assigned" as babies. This turned out to be a really bad idea for some of those kids who hit puberty, developed some secondary sex characteristics of the other gender (the one they hadn't been assigned), and wanted to change.

The technical term is intersex.
There's an award-winning manga about it, IS - Otoko demo Onna demo Nai Sei. "discussion".

It's been turned into j-drama, as well.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:23 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know how many kids who say they're sure before puberty that they're transgendered have ultimately changed their minds, if any

I'm sure there have been cases, but I also think that on the whole we have too much concern for such false positive cases already and probably more harm than good is done by attempting to completely exclude this possibility.

Rarity is best pony.

You misspelled Flutterguy.

Eight years old at heart
posted by MartinWisse at 12:28 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I've got a theory about this, which may or may not be bullshit. But my suspicion is that trans kids with more "complicated" or less mainstream or stereotypical gender identities are just less likely to figure the whole thing out when they're still in preschool.

Yeah, that. And also, I suspect that parents grandparents etc are less likely to take the child's words seriously if their actions are not SUPER BOY or SO MUCH GIRLY IN ONE PLACE.

I didn't feel like a girl, but I wasn't really a boy either. No pink, no army guys, just books and nature and science and drawing. I still remember the episode of Donahue, of all things, about intersexed people, that gave me hope that I could grow up into some other thing. I'm mostly comfortable with my ability to interpret the sex I was born into, now, but I needed to have some life experiences to figure out how I fit into the world. But I'm so glad that this is being talked about and viewed as a potentially-okay way of letting a child grow up.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:54 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This view of gender identity being fixed can also create problems for people - in order to modify "identify documents" to allign with your gender identity, you frequently need medical documentation of surgical procedures, perhaps even a Gender Identity Disorder (GID) diagnosis. You need to, in effect, "prove" that you really want to be the "other gender" to be protected by the law. What happens if your gender identity shifts? Cases regarding people who are trans* have even discussed if someone's new genitals sufficiently resemble/can be "used properly" (if you will) for "penis-vagina" intercourse. Because, if someone really is trans*, they must want to be the "opposite sex" in every way. There has to be a bright-line that can be drawn. Human expression does not work with bright lines, however.

Yes, I completely agree with you. I think the idea that gender identity is permanent, automatic and fixed is potentially just as damaging to real people trying to live their lives as the idea that gender identity is permanent, automatic, fixed and based 100% on genitals (or maybe chromosomes; or maybe just shut up it ain't right when intersexuality and XY women are introduced to the conversation).

At the same time, I think most people have a totally unfounded fear that gender identity is something that's just constantly in flux or deceitful or "just a phase" or something, and that someone will start to transition, then regret it for the rest of their lives. I think this is mostly transphobia, to be honest, because I never see anyone consider that anyone may be transgender, and may be hurt a great deal or permanently disfigured or commit suicide because of the barriers to transition.

Human identity is just about as varied and fluid as it gets. But you know who you are. It's painful and traumatic when the rest of the world tells you you really don't.
posted by byanyothername at 1:46 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


PS I just totally incidentally stumbled over this response to the article by the father of a transgender girl in the Huffington Post:

Age 5 Is Not too Early to Learn Your Child Might Be Transgender

It's short, but powerful.
When Wyatt started talking, he unknowingly described his symptoms and I tried my best to ignore them, but he would not let me. When he was 4 I was working on our farmhouse bathroom. I am still proud of my work: concrete countertop, antique claw foot tub, pedestal sink and a border of antique fishing lures. Wyatt came into the bathroom to watch me work. I was in my glory; my son was helping me, he had his toy hammer, pretending to work along side of me. I thought it was a special moment between father and son. He looked up at me, very serious and said, "Daddy I hate my boy parts. When do they go away?" The look in his eyes was one of sincere, innocent pain. I picked him up and hugged him. I kissed the tears away in both of his eyes. I kissed his nose and lips, while fighting back my own tears. I whispered in his ear that everything was going to be okay and that I loved him very much. I continued to hug him, placed his head on my shoulder and began to cry. Where one twin goes, the other follows. The next thing I knew, his brother was latched onto my leg, saying "What is the matter daddy?" I picked him up in my other arm and slid down the wall to the floor, hugging them both, thinking that if I did not start listening to my wife and my children, everything was not going to be okay.
posted by byanyothername at 1:59 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someday I want to read an article about this where the a little boy insists he is a girl, but who still loves trucks and Transformers, or a girl who insists she is boy who still loves dolls and ponies. I'm so tired of hearing how a child playing with what our culture views as the other gender's activities is evidence of anything.

I realize I'm probably the odd man out here, but I think for me, this would worry me in something like that, especially for girls who just aren't comfortable with the stereotypical "girl stuff."

When I was a kid, I insisted I wanted to be a boy instead, that I wished I'd been born a boy, etc. etc. It wasn't because I was secretly transgendered- it was because I hated how I was treated in this ultimately sexist society. It was because I hated being talked to in cutesy tones or given dolls and frilly dresses and expected to be quiet and ladylike and all of that stuff I absolutely hated. Because the boys got the cool toys, and the cool games. I remember going to the tiny-person version of the Girl Scouts (the Brownies, memory says?) and being really sad at how awful it was, and mad that I couldn't go to the Boy Scouts instead, because they were so much cooler and better.

Now I'm an adult, cisgendered female and I am really happy in my gender, now that I am old enough to realize that it doesn't have to mean what the stereotypes say. That I could be a woman that likes building things, or playing with guns, or working out, or whatever, as a child, I had thought was all boy.

And I wonder: what if someone had told me at that age I was transgendered? What if someone had told me, when I was a kid, that I could dress and act like a boy, and they were going to give me chemicals to make sure I didn't become more like a girl? I think I would have taken them, because I hated being treated as inferior so much. But it wouldn't have been the right answer for me.

Anyway, this is why some of this stuff makes me really uncomfortable and curious, especially when it's accompanied by so much culturally gendered activity as a signifier of "gender dysphoria."
posted by corb at 2:06 PM on May 22, 2012 [16 favorites]


Also, on a sidenote, if they had given me those hormones under the mistaken impression that I was transgendered, I now would not have my really amazing kid.

I think allowing kids to live as whatever gender they choose is fine, but when it comes to hormone blockers...that's a lot of responsibility and permanent damage, and I'm not sure how cool I am with it. It reminds me of those people who kept their severely disabled kid permanently under puberty, so that she'd never be "confused."
posted by corb at 2:08 PM on May 22, 2012


corb, everything I've read says that hormone blockers are reversible.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:18 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, hormone blockers delay puberty. It's when you give some hormones that you start making permanent changes.

Also

I think allowing kids to live as whatever gender they choose is fine, but when it comes to hormone blockers...that's a lot of responsibility and permanent damage, and I'm not sure how cool I am with it.

No is giving kids hormone blockers because they play with toys that are typically associated with kids of the other sex. Kids who are identified as potentially trans are like the kids in the article. It's about their deep identity. It's not about ponies versus hammers.
posted by alms at 2:26 PM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]



"Someday I want to read an article about this where the a little boy insists he is a girl, but who still loves trucks and Transformers, or a girl who insists she is boy who still loves dolls and ponies. I'm so tired of hearing how a child playing with what our culture views as the other gender's activities is evidence of anything."
When I was a kid, I insisted I wanted to be a boy instead, that I wished I'd been born a boy, etc. etc. It wasn't because I was secretly transgendered- it was because I hated how I was treated in this ultimately sexist society. It was because I hated being talked to in cutesy tones or given dolls and frilly dresses and expected to be quiet and ladylike and all of that stuff I absolutely hated. Because the boys got the cool toys, and the cool games. I remember going to the tiny-person version of the Girl Scouts (the Brownies, memory says?) and being really sad at how awful it was, and mad that I couldn't go to the Boy Scouts instead, because they were so much cooler and better.


That was exactly my point- I hate the idea that girls or boys who are not gender normative, who want to be the other sex, that these are considered symptoms of a "disorder." I was a non-gender normative girl and I dressed like a boy and played with "boy toys", but I never said I was a boy inside or anything like that. Though I've always felt like there is a "boy" part of my brain, I still identify as a woman. That's the point I was making- this should be based on internalized identity, not conformity to our society's gender norms. Even traits of biological masculinization in women and the opposite of men should not be taken as evidence for transsexualism because the vast majority of people with these traits are NOT transexuals.
posted by melissam at 2:40 PM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm sure there have been cases, but I also think that on the whole we have too much concern for such false positive cases already and probably more harm than good is done by attempting to completely exclude this possibility.

I know this is a word some people at MetaFilter don't like, but this is also a pretty direct example of how privilege works. Cisgender is imagined to be the default and unmarked norm; transgender is seen as the deviation. So we become overly concerned about the possibility that someone might later regret their transition, and cause more suffering than necessary in the process.
posted by gerryblog at 3:40 PM on May 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I've seen it pointed out before that the entire medical system in place to supposedly help trans* people isn't really there to help trans* people improve their lives, it's there to keep confused cis* people from making A Terrible Mistake. Hence all the gatekeeping etc
posted by titus n. owl at 3:44 PM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


someday I just hope we are all accepted, no matter what we do, what we wear, who we're attracted to and how we roll.

Free to Be ... You and Me!

“What do you do when your toddler daughter’s first sentence is that she’s a boy? What will happen when your preschool son insists on wearing a dress to school?

As others have said, those seem like two hugely different concepts. One is what you wear; the other is what you "are."

Children who see him get the Barbies or toy soldiers replaced by puzzles and board games. His theory is that kids should be allowed to grow into a gender and not be categorized.

Amen. These kids seems to have a lot of stress about gender. I wonder if how seriously their parents take gender affects their dysphoria.

should be based on internalized identity, not conformity to our society's gender norms

But what is gender outside of social norms?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:58 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I wonder: what if someone had told me at that age I was transgendered? What if someone had told me, when I was a kid, that I could dress and act like a boy, and they were going to give me chemicals to make sure I didn't become more like a girl? I think I would have taken them, because I hated being treated as inferior so much. But it wouldn't have been the right answer for me.

The fundamental point is that no one would have told you you're trans. It's simply not going to happen. Theoretically possible? Yes. But, in reality, everyone's too busy wringing their hands over the idea that they could be wrong to actually be wrong or to notice all the trans kids.
posted by hoyland at 4:05 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't feel like a girl, but I wasn't really a boy either. No pink, no army guys, just books and nature and science and drawing. I still remember the episode of Donahue, of all things, about intersexed people, that gave me hope that I could grow up into some other thing. I'm mostly comfortable with my ability to interpret the sex I was born into, now, but I needed to have some life experiences to figure out how I fit into the world. But I'm so glad that this is being talked about and viewed as a potentially-okay way of letting a child grow up.

tchemgrrl: I have a very similar story, down to clearly remembering that same episode of Donahue. I am much more comfortable in my own skin now, but even then I never really felt or thought or said that I was a boy, but I certainly recognized that there was a dichotomy that I did not fit into and so it seemed logical that if I sucked at being a girl, and it pretty much sucked to be a girl where I grew up, then I should be a boy. That show was for me an awakening to the idea there is not necessarily a simple dichotomy of biological sex or gender presentation.

I think I might be a very different person today if I hadn't spent so much time worried about what was wrong with me rather than recognizing that it was the world around me that was pretty screwed up, starting with understanding that the world does not have to be a simple dichotomy between male and female in which boys get all the good stuff and girls get all the boring stuff.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:28 PM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Shit. It took me a long time to compose that, and in the meantime the conversation has moved on. Let me clarify that I really am not saying "oh no, what if I had been told I was trans*?" I'm saying that my life would have been easier growing up today, when many more different kinds of gender identity are recognized, including the opportunity to transition for kids for whom it is appropriate, as well as bronies and having the Women's World Cup team as role models, and lots of stay at home dads, and women scientists who go out and talk to little girls about science.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:36 PM on May 22, 2012


...Right. What hoyland and hydropsyche just said. Feeling uncomfortable with gender roles, or more comfortable with "Other" gender roles, is not the same as feeling like you are the "other" gender and that your body is going in the wrong direction. Again, it's like window dressing and the rooms beyond.

Also, while HRT for MTF folks can result in sterility, that takes time and I've been under the impression that HRT for FTM folks doesn't affect a person's ability to reproduce. You already have all the ova your body will produce, and your periods will resume if you discontinue the hormones. So, yeah. Really, if you're not trans but somehow end up on HRT, you'll likely feel uncomfortable or "wrong" about it in some way before any permanent changes have occurred. Fears over "permanent damage" done through HRT are common, but not really realistic unless you went through puberty in a week. If anything, beginning HRT is a fairly good litmus test for how a person really feels about transitioning.
posted by byanyothername at 4:40 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


But what is gender outside of social norms?

In the articles I've read about trans kids, it is not about social norms. It is about kids asking things like "when will my penis go away. I'm a girl," or "when will I be getting my penis? I'm a boy and boys have penises, so when will mine arrive?"

Sorry, but that's not about social norms.

Sure, these kids want to dress certain ways, and they want to play certain ways, but they also talk eloquently about their identity, and when they do that they don't derive their identity from certain behaviors they want to engage in, certain toys they want to use. It's about who they are.
posted by alms at 4:44 PM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is probably self-centered of me, and definitely more of a product of my own insecurities than of anything else, but reading articles like this has always really...shell shocked me. I'm not bothered by the kid identifying a certain way, or by the idea of him transitioning, but as someone who doesn't identify with any gender, and as someone who doesn't consider gender an important part of my life in any way, shape or form, it's always shocking to see how normalized the idea of it is, and the steps that people are willing to go through in order to fulfill it. I feel like there's this huge cultural and emotional rift between myself and the rest of the world.
posted by jumelle at 5:04 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


If it takes an article like this to make you think that gender roles are deeply important to society and identity, then you surely haven't been paying attention.

I don't know about being across a rift, though. You can always hang out with the cis people who deny it all even as they conform down to the bone. There are plenty of those.
posted by fleacircus at 5:50 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


For a lot of trans people like me, had we been able to transition as kids, we would've been spared immense amounts of suffering. Demanding that everyone wait until adulthood before transitioning is... insensitive.
posted by jiawen at 7:37 PM on May 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yes, hormone blockers delay puberty. It's when you give some hormones that you start making permanent changes.

I'm actually curious about this...are there any studies or evidence about what happens after hormone blockers are removed? Do people grow to their anticipated post-puberty height, or with secondary sex characteristics in place at the levels that they would have been?

So we become overly concerned about the possibility that someone might later regret their transition, and cause more suffering than necessary in the process.

What is overly concerned? How much is too much? I hear what you're saying about trans being considered the deviation, but isn't it a normal thing whenever anyone's taking a radically altering course of action to deeply consider whether it's actually right for them?

For a lot of trans people like me, had we been able to transition as kids, we would've been spared immense amounts of suffering. Demanding that everyone wait until adulthood before transitioning is... insensitive.

Sure, no, definitely, I can see that. But would waiting until adulthood before beginning to take heavy doses of chemicals that significantly alter your structure really be? I think I'm just concerned about the choices that adults can choose to make for children that can deeply alter them.
posted by corb at 10:44 PM on May 22, 2012


Corb, you might just want to read the paper panjandrum so thoughfully provided earlier in this thread, it would've answered a lot of your questions already. (And not made you look like you're concern trolling)

Anyway, there seem to be two main reasons why people regret physically transitioning to their prefered gender:

1) Their transitioning is a failure and they're still percieved as the wrong gender by their environment and the pain and suffering they went through to transition no longer seem worth it.
2) They're not really transgendered and are now stuck in the wrong gender

Reason 1 is much more common than reason 2 and the older and more physically mature you are when transitioning, the more at risk you are for this. Yet all the safety measures built into the transitioning process (psychiatric examinations, real life tests, waiting periods etc) are aimed at preventing reason 2, often perversely making reason 1 more likely.

The crux in all this is puberty: transition before it is much more easier than after it, yet on the whole we are loath to allow people not yet legally adult to make such big life altering decisions and generally inclined to take them less seriously anyway.

Which is where puberty blockers come in. That's the compromise between allowing a twelve year old to transition (and perhaps run a greater risk of #2) and waiting until they are of a legal age (and certainly run the risk of #1). Instead you delay puberty so transition will remain easier, while winning time to make sure transition is necessary and truly wanted.

(N.B. In all this we should always keep in mind that there's more to being transgendered/genderqueer than wanting to have the full transition from FTM or MTF, with some/many transgendered people never going through the full transition, not feeling it necessary. Gender is not a binary.)

posted by MartinWisse at 3:02 AM on May 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


>If it takes an article like this to make you think that gender roles are deeply important to society and identity, then you surely haven't been paying attention.

I said 'gender,' not 'gender roles.' Those two are somewhat different from one another.

Growing up, I was always under the assumption that everyone was acting because it was convenient for them, or because it was tradition. I wasn't aware that there was any particular sense of attachment or identity accompanying that.
posted by jumelle at 6:54 AM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


But would waiting until adulthood before beginning to take heavy doses of chemicals that significantly alter your structure really be? I think I'm just concerned about the choices that adults can choose to make for children that can deeply alter them.

So 1.5% of the general population have attempted suicide. Restrict that to trans people and it jumps to 41%. Basically, the consequence of forcing kids to wait is dead kids. (For data tied more directly to access to transition, Sweden found an alarmingly high rate of suicide among trans women denied breast implants. For context, trans women often experience significantly less breast growth than non-trans women, though, of course, that's not universal.) Additionally, it's worth noting that there's little controversy around using hormone blockers for children whose puberty starts incredibly early.

Growing up, I was always under the assumption that everyone was acting because it was convenient for them, or because it was tradition. I wasn't aware that there was any particular sense of attachment or identity accompanying that.

Some people experience gender this way. Not everyone does. Certainly I know someone who got told as a kid he was a boy and has carried on his merry way without giving it a second thought, but it's nothing more than some label he was given. On the other hand, I have an 'am a boy' and an 'am not a girl' sense. For a different example--I have little sense of having a sexual orientation, which I understand is not the case for most people. I observe a trend and label it, but, in my head, it's nothing more than a trend. The cliche is that straight people will never get asked how they know they're straight, but I've asked friends because it's mind-boggling to me that this is something they understand about themselves.
posted by hoyland at 8:57 AM on May 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


corb: "Sure, no, definitely, I can see that. But would waiting until adulthood before beginning to take heavy doses of chemicals that significantly alter your structure really be? I think I'm just concerned about the choices that adults can choose to make for children that can deeply alter them."

It's possible that a kid might get identified as trans who wasn't, sure. But there are already such huge barriers in place that I think your caution is unwarranted. People don't undergo medical transition on a whim, and even if they wanted to, medical professionals wouldn't let it happen anyway. Also: waiting til adulthood is allowing most of the damage to be done before taking action.
posted by jiawen at 10:38 AM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the articles I've read about trans kids, it is not about social norms. It is about kids asking things like "when will my penis go away. I'm a girl," or "when will I be getting my penis? I'm a boy and boys have penises, so when will mine arrive?"

Forgive my ignorance, but isn't there a difference between wanted to dress, act, and be perceived as the other *gender* and altering genitalia to be the other *sex*?

In the case of the main person in the article, Kathryn/Tyler, shouldn't the title and focus be "Transsexual at Five"

I guess it just seems like two very different use cases to me, i.e. a boy who wants to wear dresses vs. a boy who wants to remove his penis, and articles like this one don't help my confusion.

(N.B. In all this we should always keep in mind that there's more to being transgendered/genderqueer than wanting to have the full transition from FTM or MTF, with some/many transgendered people never going through the full transition, not feeling it necessary. Gender is not a binary.)

OK, so I guess I'm just wrong here. I would think that anyone who want to go through "full transition" (i.e. modifying their bodies) would be a transsexual (whether or not they are also transgender.), and that most transgendered people didn't want to "fully transition." (I'm not sure what "fully" means either, I guess ...) I suppose none of this stuff is binary....
posted by mrgrimm at 10:53 AM on May 23, 2012


Transgendered is an umbrella term that includes transsexuals.
posted by desjardins at 12:10 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, so I guess I'm just wrong here. I would think that anyone who want to go through "full transition" (i.e. modifying their bodies) would be a transsexual (whether or not they are also transgender.), and that most transgendered people didn't want to "fully transition." (I'm not sure what "fully" means either, I guess ...) I suppose none of this stuff is binary....

This is basically why everyone has resorted to saying 'trans' or 'trans*' (if they like wildcards). As a general rule, 'transgender' is an umbrella term, including people who call themselves 'transsexual' and, in principle, people who aren't binary identified, but they get shoved out from under the umbrella with some frequency. Though I could find you transsexual people who are very insistent they are transsexual, but not transgender.
posted by hoyland at 1:10 PM on May 23, 2012


I favorited the comment, but this part bears repeating: So 1.5% of the general population have attempted suicide. Restrict that to trans people and it jumps to 41%. Basically, the consequence of forcing kids to wait is dead kids.

Puberty blockers, hormones, and transitioning are a matter of life and death.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:51 PM on May 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think there are any quick and dirty definitions of transsexual and transgender that people actually agree on: they can be used as synonyms, subsets or even markers of political positions.

In my own experience transgender has largely replaced transsexual as the "acceptable" term and they both mean more or less the same thing ie people who are born biologically male or female but are mentally the opposite gender, with the reason being that "gender" is a more precise/fitting term than sexuality, which is more about who you fancy.

I also like the term genderqueer as an umbrella term for anybody who doesn't want to fit in the rigid boy/girl pattern society expects them in: non gendered, intersexed, transsexual/gendered undsoweiter.

As with all such things, there are no terms that nobody will be offended by and it's always best to take your lead from how people identify themselves. Even "tranny", which is largely seen as offensive by most trans people, has its defenders, especially in the first generation of out trans people/activists.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:34 PM on May 23, 2012


Growing up, I was always under the assumption that everyone was acting because it was convenient for them, or because it was tradition. I wasn't aware that there was any particular sense of attachment or identity accompanying that.

Some people experience gender this way. Not everyone does. Certainly I know someone who got told as a kid he was a boy and has carried on his merry way without giving it a second thought, but it's nothing more than some label he was given. On the other hand, I have an 'am a boy' and an 'am not a girl' sense.


I'll provide another outlying data point. I would say I have, over time, come to have a strong 'am female' sense, but, like corb & mellisam above, I was really confused as a child by how I was both a girl, but also had no interest in most aspects of the female gender *role*; I assumed people's expressions of their gender roles were 'acting out of tradition.' I was definitely lucky in my very open-minded, hippie upbringing; I didn't feel a need to read my preferred gender-role-characteristics into my gender identity, and I also didn't have any self-doubt when I realized that I was bisexual and most people just weren't.

I guess the data point provided is, I grew up in an environment where a trans* kid would have been accepted, no problems, and even though I was as butch as could be (to the point of spending a lot of my spare time in middle school deliberately cross-dressing in public, putting my hair in my hat, and enjoying people assuming I was a boy) my nebulawindphone-esque worries about whether I was really, definitely female didn't start until well after puberty. My experience tells me not to worry about false positives.
posted by C. K. Dexter Haven at 3:03 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I said 'gender,' not 'gender roles.' Those two are somewhat different from one another.

Oh, I misunderstood, and sorry for my jerky comment.
posted by fleacircus at 5:05 PM on May 23, 2012


Just dropping Mom, I Need to be a Girl into the thread, for folks who want a longer account of a early transition.
posted by Z303 at 3:16 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Corb, you might just want to read the paper panjandrum so thoughfully provided earlier in this thread, it would've answered a lot of your questions already. (And not made you look like you're concern trolling)

Um, no, I read that paper, and it did not answer my questions, because it addresses the issue of people who continue with their treatment, not with people who stop it and want to return to their original gender. Also, way to attack people, not ideas, dude.

If anyone has any actual data of how the progression of puberty occurs after removing hormone blockers, I would be really curious to see it. (Also, does it continue on a regular pace? Would said child then still physically be a child in their later years? What do children on extended hormone blockers look like? How does this /actually work/?)

Basically, the consequence of forcing kids to wait is dead kids.
Yeah, but is that a consequence of forcing a later biological transition, or is that a consequence of our shitty current culture that treats trans people like shit?
posted by corb at 6:56 AM on May 24, 2012


Um, no, I read that paper, and it did not answer my questions, because it addresses the issue of people who continue with their treatment, not with people who stop it and want to return to their original gender.

There's a reason it didn't answer your question: there aren't any such people. The barriers to access hormone blockers and medical transition before 18 are so high that there hasn't been a 'false positive'. There's a key sentence in that paper:
Until now, no patients who started treatment before 18 years have regretted their choice for SR [sex reassignment].
(The 'until now' is an English error. They mean 'as of yet' or 'to date'. Aside from that being clear from the paper, there are some other language errors, particularly misused commas/relative clauses)

Yeah, but is that a consequence of forcing a later biological transition, or is that a consequence of our shitty current culture that treats trans people like shit?

People report things like thoughts of performing surgery on themselves or wishing they'd get cancer so they could have a mastectomy. I think it's hard to dismiss those feelings as a purely cultural byproduct.
posted by hoyland at 7:19 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hmm... it's conceivable that sentence leaves room for some to opt-out. I should really just bookmark this damn study I'm thinking of, where every patient eventually transitioned, regardless of whether they were approved for hormone blockers or hormones early. This study (which is irritatingly pay-walled, though I have access) gives a summary of the studies coming out of the Netherlands. The most relevant bit seems to be the following.
Several key conclusions can be drawn from these three studies of adolescents with GID:

-For the adolescents recommended for early SRS, there was virtually no evidence of regret, suggesting that the intervention was effective. For adolescents recommended for puberty-blocking hormonal therapy, there was also evidence of improvement in general psychologic problems at follow-up and certainly no evidence of deterioration in psychological well-being.

-For the adolescents not recommended for early SRS, the majority of patients were apparently content with this clinical decision (Smith et al., 2001), but such information was not reported on in the earlier study by Cohen-Kettenis and van Goozen (1997).

-In the study by de Vries et al. (2010b), it should be noted that the absence of a comparison group of GID adolescents who were not placed on hormonal blockers makes it difficult to fully evaluate the specificity of this treatment in reducing general behavioral and emotional problems (it is conceivable, for example, that a trial of supportive therapy without any type of biomedical intervention might have been equally effective).
I've been digging around trying to see if I can find any data on adolescents approved for hormone blockers who later don't transition and I honestly can't find a reference to it ever happening. To be honest, it surprises me that it hasn't happened at least once. However, I do have the impression that the Dutch are rather conservative in approving people for treatment and they're producing most of the studies, which may be why.
posted by hoyland at 7:43 AM on May 24, 2012


Yeah, but is that a consequence of forcing a later biological transition, or is that a consequence of our shitty current culture that treats trans people like shit?

Both, but I mean being trans isn't about wanting to adopt the cultural norms of the "other" gender. There are very strong elements of self concept, body image, identity and physiology.

I'm very tired and sleep deprived, so forgive my rudeness, but your posts in this thread look to me like the fairly standard reactionary attitude of "grasping for reasons to 'disapprove' of or disprove trans people." Please read the stuff people are linking, and try to research the topic more.

Allow me to fall back on the tired/sleep deprived angle and reiterate one of the salient points in a totally personal way: I'm a trans woman whose life has been very difficult because of that. I did know what my gender identity was as a child but of course, having no exposure to trans people or anything relating to them aside from harmful (often factually incorrect) stereotypes, it took me until my teen years to figure this out. I talked about my gender identity with my parents. With my friends. None of them reacted violently or in an overtly negative way, but none of them ever knew what to do about it. My parents blew it off as childhood weirdness and forgot about it.

I didn't, because it's my lived experience. I am now--as a legal adult, in my twenties--trying to undergo gender transition but it is very fucking difficult to do in the United States. Your fear of someone undergoing transition on a whim and then regretting it is frankly offensive in how privileged and untrue it is. I can't--as a legal adult--find a doctor or a therapist to help me with my transition. The standard attitude is, "I don't know anything about that so find someone else." Great! But. There is no one else. Physicians don't adopt this attitude about anything else. If something is beyond their scope, they'll at least be able to refer you to someone who can help.

So, I am finally undergoing HRT, but the wrong hormones have already done too much damage to my body. I'm lucky to be androgynous in some ways, but I am and always will be physically disfigured. It's not a matter of being "attractive" or pining after the same unrealistic standards of beauty as other women. I will never appear normal; I will always be perceived as "wrong," somehow. Even if I weren't, an entirely wasted lifetime forced into living as the wrong gender has fucked me up emotionally enough that there always will be something wrong with me. Having adults who were knowledgeable, accepting, supportive and able to help me as a child would have saved me an immeasurable amount of physical and psychological trauma.

Instead, I am this and I go through every day with the knowledge that my life is going to end either at my own hands or violently at the hands of another. Not today. I hope not tomorrow. But that is the central fact of my existence. Part of it surely is negative social attitudes, but I consider the idea that "if gender roles were all universal then trans people wouldn't need to be trans people!" to be one of those.
posted by byanyothername at 4:14 PM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm very tired and sleep deprived, so forgive my rudeness, but your posts in this thread look to me like the fairly standard reactionary attitude of "grasping for reasons to 'disapprove' of or disprove trans people." Please read the stuff people are linking, and try to research the topic more.

This is fairly frustrating, because I feel like my concerns around biologically impacting children in major ways are being completely dismissed, and I'm being accused (not just by you) of disapproving of transfolk. I don't, in any way. I helped spearhead trans anti-discrimination and proper identification and accomodations in the organization I work for. I'm very aware of how difficult it is to transition-I'm currently helping a friend pay for hormones, because her health insurance doesn't cover them at all. If you are an adult, over the age of 18, I thoroughly support and encourage anyone who wants to making a full transition, and wish it weren't so expensive. But I do have serious concerns about body modification of children. I have read the pieces expressed, but they don't address any of my questions or thoughts.

We don't let children get plastic surgery, even when they feel it's important for identity, or they feel that they are disfigured. We don't let them get tattoos, or body piercings, which are fairly minor pieces of body modification. No matter what they feel or what they want, we don't allow it. We simply don't let children make even these minor body modification choices.

So yes, I ask about what the impact is on children, because I am always concerned about the impacts on children. I want to know if it's truly reversible, and if when reversed, if children are able to attain their full growth, and how long it takes. Apparently there are no studies on that-which is fine, but I'm curious as to what would be anticipated from other pieces of data.

Your fear of someone undergoing transition on a whim and then regretting it is frankly offensive in how privileged and untrue it is.

You are reading something in that does not exist. I'm not saying that I think adults undergo transition on a whim and then regret it. I'm saying that I think children, whose brains aren't fully finished developing, may not make the best decisions, and I am concerned that they may not be able to understand the permanent implications of things that, at least for one gender, cause infertility.

Part of it surely is negative social attitudes, but I consider the idea that "if gender roles were all universal then trans people wouldn't need to be trans people!" to be one of those.

I don't think anyone is saying that if gender roles were universal, trans people wouldn't need to be trans. I do think people are saying that because of problematic stereotypical gender roles, people who want to switch gender roles might be confused with those people who are trans. And well-meaning, very nice people with little understanding of what trans means might in fact misidentify children-children who are incredibly vulnerable, and if someone tells them "this is the solution to your problem," they might go for it whether or not it actually /is/.
posted by corb at 8:09 PM on May 24, 2012


We don't let children get plastic surgery, even when they feel it's important for identity, or they feel that they are disfigured. We don't let them get tattoos, or body piercings, which are fairly minor pieces of body modification. No matter what they feel or what they want, we don't allow it. We simply don't let children make even these minor body modification choices.

It sounds like you are equating transgenderism to cosmetic body modification but that can't be what you meant...

Anyway, we do let children get surgery to correct disfigurements and impairments. Correcting cleft lips is the first thing that comes to mind. I forget what it's called, but children with really short legs can have them "stretched." There's a huge debate about cochlear implants.

I got my ears pierced at age 11 (I'm 37 now) and I've seen teenagers today with lip and nose piercings. My niece has a tattoo at age 16 (I wasn't fully on board with that because it's ugly, but I had no say).

All the trans people I've known - and I'm sure all of them in this thread - knew from a very young age that they were trans, or at least "different," so I don't know why you're not trusting that. Especially in the absence of evidence that anyone - one child - later regretted their decision.

And well-meaning, very nice people with little understanding of what trans means might in fact misidentify children-children who are incredibly vulnerable, and if someone tells them "this is the solution to your problem," they might go for it whether or not it actually /is/.

This is pretty much the definition of concern trolling here.
posted by desjardins at 8:37 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I helped spearhead trans anti-discrimination and proper identification and accomodations in the organization I work for. I'm very aware of how difficult it is to transition-I'm currently helping a friend pay for hormones, because her health insurance doesn't cover them at all.

You're pulling 'I have trans friends,' which isn't worth the effort you spent to type it. I'm really tempted to drag your friend into this as a rhetorical device, but I won't. I'll just say think about your friend while you wring your hands here.

We don't let children get plastic surgery, even when they feel it's important for identity, or they feel that they are disfigured. We don't let them get tattoos, or body piercings, which are fairly minor pieces of body modification. No matter what they feel or what they want, we don't allow it. We simply don't let children make even these minor body modification choices.

This is all kinds of false. Let's start with tattoos and piercings. In Britain there are no age restrictions on piercings, other than nipples and genitals. (I didn't both googling for tattoos.) In the US, it varies from no restrictions, to parental consent/presence, to no way in hell other than piercing earlobes. I'm pretty sure the New York Times style section will tell us cosmetic surgery for minors is a thing. When it comes to trans people, there are surgeons who will work with minors. They're few and far between and they'll do things like require additional referral letters, but some trans youth do have surgery.

I'm saying that I think children, whose brains aren't fully finished developing, may not make the best decisions, and I am concerned that they may not be able to understand the permanent implications of things that, at least for one gender, cause infertility.

I'm calling bullshit on the infertility thing. Seriously, that's the worst thing you can come up with? A sixteen or seventeen year old (the age when people who've had hormone blockers would start cross-sex hormones) is capable of understanding implications for their fertility. Besides, people are more than their ability to procreate. I can't help but hear echoes of what women who haven't had children are told when they want a hysterectomy (say if they have endometriosis that won't quit). They get told they'll regret not having children or that they don't know that they don't want kids. (Or perhaps they want(ed) kids, but it's a sacrifice they're willing to make.)

So yes, I ask about what the impact is on children, because I am always concerned about the impacts on children. I want to know if it's truly reversible, and if when reversed, if children are able to attain their full growth, and how long it takes. Apparently there are no studies on that-which is fine, but I'm curious as to what would be anticipated from other pieces of data.

The only other place hormone blockers are used is in children with so-called precocious puberty. This page alludes to some of what is known in that department. Why are you so concerned about growth, anyway? I don't see how it's something that can really be known. People could, perhaps, be compared with siblings, but that's the only idea I've got. We're talking about stupidly small sample sizes of trans youth in any case. We can look at children with precocious puberty, but part of the point of putting them on hormone blockers is that their growth would otherwise be fucked with. We do know that FTM people whose growth plates haven't fused can grow when they start testosterone. One would assume that the reverse effect is seen in MTF people (not that they shrink, but that hormones might impede some growth they would have otherwise had).

And well-meaning, very nice people with little understanding of what trans means might in fact misidentify children-children who are incredibly vulnerable, and if someone tells them "this is the solution to your problem," they might go for it whether or not it actually /is/.

How can we convince you this isn't happening? I mean, we can't, it's a negative that's pretty darn impossible to prove. You seem to have at least a passing familiarity with the hoops trans people have to jump through to transition. Multiply that by a factor of, I don't know, three, at least. Did you notice that the studies talk about not approving between a third and half the sample for treatment (hormone blockers, hormones, surgery, as applicable)? They overwhelmingly get false negatives, not false positives. Note also that the UCSF page I linked to above says that 100% of gender variant/transgender adolescents go on to be transgender adults.
posted by hoyland at 9:03 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Um, no, I read that paper, and it did not answer my questions, because it addresses the issue of people who continue with their treatment, not with people who stop it and want to return to their original gender. Also, way to attack people, not ideas, dude.

I should've been harsher in my original comment, as you keep pulling those faux naive goalpost moving stunts. As somebody upthread already said, that was in the study too; there weren't any.

Your attitude is that it's better for a hundred trans children not to get the opportunity to transition in the best possible way because it might mean that one of them may regret it later, even though there's no evidence whatsoever that this has ever happened and despite the huge number of measures already in place to ensure it won't happen.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:09 AM on May 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


corb, are you pro-choice? (if not, just stop reading because I don't want to turn this into an abortion discussion.)

If you are, do you feel that minors should be able to get abortions (either with or without parental consent)? I mean, it's a major decision that some girls might regret. It's a far more important decision than getting a navel piercing yet we let minors make that decision (at least for now; who knows with our political climate).
posted by desjardins at 6:26 AM on May 25, 2012


Corb, I apologize. I did put words in your mouth, and there was nothing to warrant that. It was lazy of me. It isn't uncommon, though, for someone in a discussion of trans issues to express a higher priority of concern over things that are significantly less likely to happen than tangible, commonplace sufferings and frustrations of trans people.

I typed out a longish reply, but I'm keeping it on my back burner because I don't think it adds a lot to the conversation and I feel like I'll start repeating myself too much soon. Basically, it's normal to be a bit more concerned about any medical intervention when children are the patients, and I actually agree that children and teenagers likely won't fully comprehend the reproductive consequences of HRT (although I'm 99% sure 100% of trans people* will be able to accept and live with this loss, and consider childhood transition infinitely preferable to the alternatives). There are a lot of valid concerns and things to take into consideration.

But. Transition takes time enough for everyone involved to figure out what's best before Irreparable Consequences can happen, I think, and there's already too much emphasis on hypothetical concerns to the degree that they do real harm to extant people. That's worth considering, and most often gets drowned out in favor of What Ifs.

* Really, trans women. Trans men still have their reproductive capabilities, but their transition and identity will likely make their feelings and anatomy more complex.
posted by byanyothername at 10:21 AM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Trans men still have their reproductive capabilities, but their transition and identity will likely make their feelings and anatomy more complex.

For clarification, trans men are generally told to assume their reproductive capabilities will be compromised. But, of course, that's not the case for everyone and trans men do give birth now and again.
posted by hoyland at 11:41 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyway, we do let children get surgery to correct disfigurements and impairments. Correcting cleft lips is the first thing that comes to mind. I forget what it's called, but children with really short legs can have them "stretched."

Yes, this is true: children with obvious, visible, physical impairments and disfigurements do often get surgery. Some of this is okay - some of it is highly problematic. For example, I'm particularly thinking of intersex surgery, which was initially performed almost universally on children, gender determination made by doctor and parents and the child "fixed" to comply. Intersex advocates recommend a more delayed approach.

This is pretty much the definition of concern trolling here.

No, this is the definition of why well meaning people who agree on most of the same points can't get anything done, because there's constantly ideological purity testing to make sure even actual allies agree with every single point that another person may raise.

I'm calling bullshit on the infertility thing. Seriously, that's the worst thing you can come up with? A sixteen or seventeen year old (the age when people who've had hormone blockers would start cross-sex hormones) is capable of understanding implications for their fertility.

Yes, I do think infertility is a very real concern, and I do not think teenagers are fully capable of understanding the implications of it. I know when I was a teenager, I certainly wouldn't have cared one way or the other, because the notion of having children was so alien. As an adult, I'm really happy to have a child, and would be devastated if I found out I was now infertile and incapable of having more. You don't seem to value reproduction - which is cool, but other people's mileage may vary.

The only other place hormone blockers are used is in children with so-called precocious puberty. This page alludes to some of what is known in that department.

Thanks, that actually is useful - and does apply to some of my questions. It says that of the children presenting with gender issues:
Here's what the limited research shows: most gender variant natal boys will go on to be gay adolescents and adults, and unpublished data reveals 50% of gender variant natal girls will go on to become transgender adolescent and adult men.
Which actually doesn't mean that most children with gender issues turn out to be transgendered. It does go on to say that most teenagers with "gender variance" do in fact turn out to be transgendered:
However, what the research also shows is that adolescents who present with gender variance, or a transgender identity go on to be transgender older adolescents and adults 100% of the time. Again, the data is small, but supports the notion that gender constancy is certainly in place in adolescence.


But the concern I have is also restated here, saying:

However, one of the flaws in this thinking is this: if we assume that gender constancy is set in place in adolescence, and not earlier, how do we know then that the presence of pubertal hormones is not playing a role in that process? Therefore, are we not blocking that process from moving forward by providing hormone blockers?

However, that link is in fact useful in terms of what the effects on fertility have been in terms of children who come off hormone blockers later, so thank you, even if you were being kind of a jerk about it.
posted by corb at 12:08 PM on May 25, 2012


Corb, I apologize. I did put words in your mouth, and there was nothing to warrant that. It was lazy of me. It isn't uncommon, though, for someone in a discussion of trans issues to express a higher priority of concern over things that are significantly less likely to happen than tangible, commonplace sufferings and frustrations of trans people.

Thank you, I do appreciate that. And I can understand how that would be frustrating. I certainly didn't mean to belittle those sufferings, which from my own limited experience, I do know are intense and awful. I do think it's a really hard thing - and I think that trans kids have it even harder than everyone else, because children (and especially adolescents) are vicious and cruel.

I want there to be a way to alleviate those sufferings and frustrations-for transfolk, and for the genderqueer, and for the asexual and intersexed and pretty much anybody, of any body or gender presentation, who doesn't fit into the accepted standard. I just wish there was more time for children to kind of explore those things on their own, without adults pigeonholing them. Some of the things I want are apparatuses we don't have yet. I want trans kids to have the ability to harvest eggs or sperm before they cross, and store them, in case they do decide later they want bio-kids of their own.

I also wonder at the ease with which people accept trans infertility as completely acceptable. I think a lot of people are doing it from good reasons, in terms of "these are the tradeoffs that get made" but I wonder at the ease with which /doctors/ accept this. Is anyone encouraging folk to store eggs and sperm? Serious question. I haven't heard of it, if so.

I'll be the first to admit that right now, the amount of people falsely identifying their kids as trans is so staggeringly low as to be nonexistent. But that first article really rubbed me the wrong way, because it sounded like it was completely possible there was just a lot of genderqueer going on, and maybe these parents, who had so thoroughly accepted stereotypes around gender, might not really know the difference.
posted by corb at 12:38 PM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which actually doesn't mean that most children with gender issues turn out to be transgendered.

No one actually said it did. 'Gender variant' means something different than 'transgender' (as suggested by the sentence you quoted) and we're actually pretty good at distinguishing the two by puberty. Well, we don't have to be good at it, kids do it for themselves. Access to hormone blockers is arguably a great solution for resolving the edge cases. (And enables clearly trans kids to wait, just in case they were a false positive.) There's also some controversy about the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder in Children (GIDC), which is what is identifying these gender variant kids. At best, it's a broad brush and, at worst, a backdoor way of justifying trying to stop kids growing up to be gay. This page has a decided position on the issue, but it does list the diagnostic criteria. (Also, be advised that if you Google on this issue, you get a lot of Kenneth Zucker hits, and he is a figure of some controversy.)

I know when I was a teenager, I certainly wouldn't have cared one way or the other, because the notion of having children was so alien. As an adult, I'm really happy to have a child, and would be devastated if I found out I was now infertile and incapable of having more.

Again, though, this is what people who don't want to have kids get told. 'Oh, if only you had children, you'd think differently.' Sooner or later, though, we'll get data on this. Same issues with sample size, but eventually people who transitioned as youth will reach the age where their peers are procreating.

Is anyone encouraging folk to store eggs and sperm? Serious question. I haven't heard of it, if so.

I do know that it gets discussed. Like most things transition-related, cost is an enormous barrier. I'd also hazard that some people would find collecting said material more trauma than it's worth to them.

I really do think you're placing way too much emphasis on biological children. I'm sure they're awesome and everything, but they're not the end all and be all. (It's also worth noting that people understand transition will most likely remove the possibility of biological children for them. This is presumably a very different experience of infertility than for those people who discover they're infertile while trying to have kids.)

For example, I'm particularly thinking of intersex surgery, which was initially performed almost universally on children, gender determination made by doctor and parents and the child "fixed" to comply. Intersex advocates recommend a more delayed approach.

Do you not appreciate the irony of saying that children with obvious intersex conditions should be allowed to determine their gender, but that other children shouldn't? Particularly when not all intersex conditions are apparent at birth.

Additionally, I have a big problem with equating 'corrective' genital surgery on infants with transition. It's almost hilariously offensive. In fact, I'm not even sure what to say.

But the concern I have is also restated here, saying:
However, one of the flaws in this thinking is this: if we assume that gender constancy is set in place in adolescence, and not earlier, how do we know then that the presence of pubertal hormones is not playing a role in that process? Therefore, are we not blocking that process from moving forward by providing hormone blockers?
From my layman's perspective, I think this can be done by looking at what becomes of the kids not approved for treatment or those presenting as trans to doctors who won't prescribe hormone blockers. If you want to go digging, an explanation should be in earlier studies on the subject. Generally people write down why they decided to try novel new idea X. The idea of experimenting with hormone blockers was a carefully considered one. There's a lot of caution involved. It's not like there are a bunch of doctors engaged in a conspiracy to make kids transition.

I'm perfectly happy to be a jerk about this issue. Seriously.
posted by hoyland at 2:05 PM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's also some controversy about the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder in Children (GIDC), which is what is identifying these gender variant kids. At best, it's a broad brush and, at worst, a backdoor way of justifying trying to stop kids growing up to be gay. This page has a decided position on the issue, but it does list the diagnostic criteria.

Ah, thank you. I was assuming since that was a positive site that they would have had a better method of identifying gender variance. Because that diagnostic criteria is the most flamingly idiotic thing I've ever seen. I think under that I would definitely have been diagnosed, if my parents had ever brought me in to see a doctor.

I really do think you're placing way too much emphasis on biological children. I'm sure they're awesome and everything, but they're not the end all and be all. (It's also worth noting that people understand transition will most likely remove the possibility of biological children for them. This is presumably a very different experience of infertility than for those people who discover they're infertile while trying to have kids.)

Yeah, I will concede that most of my experience about transfolk and bio-kids is with people around my age, where youth transitioning was not even a thing. It is also specific to a cultural area where people tend to have kids early, so these folk generally transitioned after they had at least one child, which they seem to be really happy with.


Do you not appreciate the irony of saying that children with obvious intersex conditions should be allowed to determine their gender, but that other children shouldn't? Particularly when not all intersex conditions are apparent at birth.


Oh no, don't get me wrong, I think that all children should be able to determine their gender! I just have issues with certain types of corrective medication or surgery for the young. For what it's worth, this also applies to things like the "precocious puberty" referenced above. (And in fact, some of the reasons stated in the wikipedia entry on it made me want to vomit.)

From my layman's perspective, I think this can be done by looking at what becomes of the kids not approved for treatment or those presenting as trans to doctors who won't prescribe hormone blockers.

Possibly, but I think this would be difficult to measure as it would be a self-selecting set of individuals who would come forward.

I'm perfectly happy to be a jerk about this issue. Seriously.
Because, you know, that's not to be had anywhere else on the internet, definitely have to come to Metafilter for that.
posted by corb at 2:41 PM on May 25, 2012


It is also specific to a cultural area where people tend to have kids early, so these folk generally transitioned after they had at least one child, which they seem to be really happy with.

I was going to mention something along these lines. I'll disclaim this by saying I really don't have a lot of anecdata in this area. I don't think being happy with your existing children is the same as 'would have been unhappy if they weren't a possibility'. A parent is really unlikely to say 'Yes, I'd trade [actually existing] little Johnny to have transitioned ten years earlier.' But that same person might have felt a hypothetical little Johnny was a fair trade off for transition and be happy with that decision ten years down the line. On the other hand, there are certainly people who know they're trans and will postpone hormones to have children (this option being more appealing to those who are ready to have children).

I just have issues with certain types of corrective medication or surgery for the young. For what it's worth, this also applies to things like the "precocious puberty" referenced above.

I'm confused by what you mean by this. Not treating precocious puberty, as I understand it, is generally not good for the kid. (I've probably read about what you've read on the subject.) Using hormone blockers in that circumstance doesn't seem to have long term negative effects. That UCSF page talks about a loss of bone density that rebounds after the blockers are stopped. Performing surgery on intersex infants is dubious ethically, but, on top of that, isn't even particularly useful, since it turns out randomly assigning a gender to the infant doesn't work all that well (which is why trans and intersex issues overlap in places). These seem like very different things to me.

Possibly, but I think this would be difficult to measure as it would be a self-selecting set of individuals who would come forward.

I don't know that it would be that bad because researchers (with a clinic) don't exactly have to go looking for trans people--they'll be writing them prescriptions. I don't know how it's done, but the studies on things like outcomes of SRS try to trace all patients of surgeon X between some dates and manage to find most of them. It seems like there would be two options: use your current patients as a sample or make a cohort of youth who came through some clinic and trace them. (Actually, I might ask in general this on AskMe if I remember--I used my question for the week last night.)

What I was trying to say with that jerk comment was that I'm not trying to be a jerk, but this is an issue where I'm okay with coming off that way if I'm incensed.
posted by hoyland at 4:01 PM on May 25, 2012


For clarification, trans men are generally told to assume their reproductive capabilities will be compromised. But, of course, that's not the case for everyone and trans men do give birth now and again.

Oops. I completely screwed up there. I had thought it was way more common for trans men to retain their reproductive abilities than it apparently is. Google tells me I was wrong. Scratch that footnote.

I also wonder at the ease with which people accept trans infertility as completely acceptable. I think a lot of people are doing it from good reasons, in terms of "these are the tradeoffs that get made" but I wonder at the ease with which /doctors/ accept this. Is anyone encouraging folk to store eggs and sperm? Serious question. I haven't heard of it, if so.

My own personal experience is that doctors don't know anything about transgender people and will likely not even be aware of reproductive issues. That anecdata might not be fair or representative, but it does kind of fit together with what others have told me. Treatment of trans people is still very much a frontier.
posted by byanyothername at 4:04 PM on May 25, 2012


My own personal experience is that doctors don't know anything about transgender people and will likely not even be aware of reproductive issues. That anecdata might not be fair or representative, but it does kind of fit together with what others have told me. Treatment of trans people is still very much a frontier.

Yeah, it's worth noting that I'm quite possibly collecting anecdata from the opposite end of the spectrum to byanyothername--I've only really lived places where there are established resources and infrastructure for trans people. My anecdata will skew towards being overly optimistic about quality and accessibility of services.
posted by hoyland at 5:24 PM on May 25, 2012


I'm confused by what you mean by this. Not treating precocious puberty, as I understand it, is generally not good for the kid. (I've probably read about what you've read on the subject.)

I was looking at the reasons for "treating" precocious puberty, and it mostly seemed to focus around how adults would be sexually attracted to the children. I think I mostly just found it really offensive to then alter the children so that adults wouldn't be sexually attracted to them. It seemed like a weird sort of victim-blaming. It didn't seem medically necessary at all. So maybe you have read more than me on the subject!
posted by corb at 2:01 PM on May 29, 2012


Can you please provide links to whatever you were reading that stated that the reason precious puberty gets treated is so kids aren't sexy to grownups because that's really weird to me and was never brought up when my little brother was being seen by his doctor about his heightened testosterone levels at the age of seven
posted by titus n. owl at 12:02 PM on May 30, 2012


Sure, I was first reading the general wikipedia article for precocious puberty that said girls were at more risk for non-pedophilic sexual abuse, the cite referenced there was: “Imagine being eight or nine years old and having men hit on you because you have breasts.”

I completely accept that there may be more valid reasons and am interested in hearing them. I based my feelings on a cursory review of the subject.
posted by corb at 12:11 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


and another article on parenting trans kids: 'Why Parents of Transgender Children Are Faced With a Difficult Decision'

The Genderbread Person talked about in the article for folks who haven't seen it before.
posted by Z303 at 5:45 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


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