When a Child Says She's Trans
June 18, 2018 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Hormones? Surgery? The choices are fraught—and there are no easy answers. "Claire is a 14-year-old girl with short auburn hair and a broad smile. She lives outside Philadelphia with her mother and father, both professional scientists. Claire can come across as an introvert, but she quickly opens up, and what seemed like shyness reveals itself to be quiet self-assuredness. Like many kids her age, she is a bit overscheduled. During the course of the evening I spent with Claire and her mother, Heather—these aren’t their real names—theater, guitar, and track tryouts all came up. We also discussed the fact that, until recently, she wasn’t certain she was a girl."

Sixth grade had been difficult for her. She’d struggled to make friends and experienced both anxiety and depression. “I didn’t have any self-confidence at all,” she told me. “I thought there was something wrong with me.” Claire, who was 12 at the time, also felt uncomfortable in her body in a way she couldn’t quite describe. She acknowledged that part of it had to do with puberty, but she felt it was more than the usual preteen woes. “At first, I started eating less,” she said, “but that didn’t really help.”

Around this time, Claire started watching YouTube videos made by transgender young people. She was particularly fascinated by MilesChronicles, the channel of Miles McKenna, a charismatic 22-year-old. His 1 million subscribers have followed along as he came out as a trans boy, went on testosterone, got a double mastectomy, and transformed into a happy, healthy young man. Claire had discovered the videos by accident, or rather by algorithm: They’d showed up in her “recommended” stream. They gave a name to Claire’s discomfort. She began to wonder whether she was transgender, meaning her internal gender identity didn’t match the sex she had been assigned at birth. “Maybe the reason I’m uncomfortable with my body is I’m supposed to be a guy,” she thought at the time.
posted by bookman117 (2 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: The internet is kinda brimming with critical feelings about this piece and I don't particularly think MeFi is gonna be better for having to go through that same process from scratch here. Let's skip it. -- cortex

Maybe we don’t need Jesse Singal’s trans ~skepticism~ on the front page?
posted by griphus at 11:33 AM on June 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

Oh good, Jesse Signal is writing about trans issues again. Maybe he actually reached out to a medical professional or an adult trans person or did any rigorous research whatsoever this time?

Narrator: He did not.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:36 AM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

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