Friday, October 17, 2008

Article about Transgender kids

In the November 2008 issue of The Atlantic there was an extensive 5-page article title "A Boy's Life" about transgender children. I was impressed by the thoroughness of the article. It discussed various viewpoints concerning transgender kids, from doctors in the Netherlands who first started giving puberty-blocking hormones to pre-teens, to a therapist in Canada who works with families to get their kids to identify with their birth gender. It’s tough, because with kids it’s hard to tell. When I was younger I wanted to be a boy, almost all of my friends were boys, I dressed mostly in boyish clothes and was proud when someone asked me if I was a boy or a girl. But, in middle school and then in highschool I started acting more “girlish,” and I so completely love being a woman I could not imagine anything different. But, if I had been asked at age 11 whether I would want puberty-blocking hormones, I might have said yes. Maybe not, but it would be a possibility. I cannot imagine growing up as a boy, though. My femininity is so sacred and wonderful and beautiful to me, I would not change anything about it for the world.
Many kids go through similar phases, and sometimes it is difficult to tell whether the child is gay, transgender, or just more comfortable acting like the opposite sex at that point in their life. Thus, there is quite a bit of discussion about what is best to do for children. Many parents are pretty adamant about letting their child go to school and act like the opposite sex in every way, while others try therapy to “fix” the “problem.” For “truly” transgender people, the earlier they can be comfortable identifying with their inner gender, the easier it will be for them to be socially accepted. But, overly encouraging kids who act like the other sex and offering puberty-blocking hormones can even further confuse the child.
The article interviewed mostly the parents of transgender children, but also various therapists and scholars in the field, and I think it is a pretty comprehensive article which discusses the different attitudes toward transgender children.

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