Wednesday, May 7, 2008

transgender children

I just read a fascinating article on npr.org about two boys who feel that they are really girls and what their parents have done about it. Here is the link:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90247842

These two boys have two different therapists who have widely different approaches to gender identity disorder. Both boys are only 6, but have displayed leanings toward all things feminine. They want to wear girls' clothes, play with girls' toys, etc. It makes me wonder, though: can 6-year-olds really understand gender and identity? That is the question that experts are asking.

One boy's therapist has the parents basically ban all girl toys and even the playing with female friends from their son's life. This seems really extreme. The boy has difficulty with these new rules even up to 10 months after their institution. I cannot imagine forcing my child to play with different friends and toys and banning all the things he likes. Of course, I also cannot imagine having a child who has gender identity disorder.

The other therapist has the family embrace the son and basically treat him as a daughter. The boy goes to kindergarten as a girl; they alter his name and allow him to wear girls' clothes and even refer to him as a "she." This also seems like an extreme approach.

What do you think about all of this? I don't pretend to be an expert on gender issues, especially transgenderism (is that a word) but I do find it interesting. Mostly, though, I feel sad for kids who have to struggle with these types of issues. As if being a kid isn't tough enough.

1 comment:

William said...

Gosh, it takes me back to the film "Ma Vie en Rose". If you haven't seen it, look for it in Blockbuster's Foreign section.

It's heartbreaking...this little boy is exhaustively looking for reasons/evidence to explain his feminine preferences to himself and his parents, like "There was a Y Chromosome that got lost along the way, and I just found another X to make up for it." ...he eventually becomes the pariah of the school and the neighborhood, enduring "burn in hell" graffiti and slander. Because the boy is so likable, and is made so miserable by his family and society, it makes for a very introspective film.

Whatever people's stance is on homosexuality and GLBT politics, such things really give me pause to consider the last frontiers of discrimination today, i.e. through the lens of currently accepted social mores, what are ways that I could be (transparently) discriminated against, and by the same token, how am I in a position to openly discriminate against others, or otherwise invalidate another's identity? I chew on this a lot...

(I really like this talk by Jeffrey Holland...)

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=e5cbba12dc825110VgnVCM100000176f620a____

Love,

Bill