Is it okay to encourage a child who chooses to be transexual?

I was watching our local 5 o’ clock news, happy that the weather forecast for the rest of the week is supposed to be pleasant, glad that abusive teachers are getting cracked down on, sad that people are still dying. Right before the commercial break the anchor said “Stay tuned. Coming up, the story of an eight year old boy who has chosen to be a girl”. My jaw dropped.

Yup. It’s true. An eight year old boy has decided that he wants to be a girl. I saw the story on the news. I kept pinching myself in hopes I was just having a bad dream… but I knew I wasn’t dreaming. This boy has chosen to be a girl and is being encouraged by his parents. He is no longer the son of his mother and father. He is now their daughter. They call him “her” and asked the local Catholic school if he could attend as a girl. Thank God they were told “HELL NO”! Although I’m sure there will eventually be a legal case over the situation and likely, someday soon, prepubescent transgenders will have these rights.

Please don’t get me wrong… I agree that anyone has the right to choose how to live his or her life, regardless of my beliefs and whether or not I think they are making a bad choice, because I myself have made plenty of bad choices and I choose to do what I want to do regardless of what other people think… but I’m an adult now, and when I made the wrong choices as a child I was punished and taught to learn from my mistake… or if I wanted to do something I wasn’t quite old enough to do I had to wait a few more years until I was 4" taller so I could ride the big kid rides at the state fair.

Now I’m not going to rant and riot about how I believe this child should undergo serious therapy, or at least needs to have an adult with a fully developed frontal lobe sit down and explain to HIM that HE is NOT a girl and nothing HE can do and nothing HE chooses to believe will make HIM a girl. Look down your pants, kid… you got testicles and a penis? You’re a boy. Do you have a vagina and ovaries? No? Tough luck, son. Maybe you’ll have the right stuff in another life. I don’t care what you feel like you are on the inside… 'cause what you’ve physically got on the outside and what you physically lack on the inside is what makes you a man or a woman.

I could go on about all the things I believe are wrong with this situation (and transgenders in general) but I don’t want to offend anyone (anymore than I may have already… or will) and what you choose to do is all up to you. However, I will say this… no matter what a transgendered person does to be the opposite sex they were born as, they will ALWAYS and FOREVER be a male if they were born a male or a female if they were born a female (that pregnant man that was all over the media not so long ago was absolute BULLSHIT… you’re not foolin’ me 'cause I know for a fact that men don’t have fallopian tubes)!

What I want to discuss is this… is it okay that this boy be allowed to make this decision at such a young age? Should this child be raised like the boy HE is or should HE be treated like the girl HE wants to be? Is it a good thing that HIS parents are encouraging their son’s desire to be a girl? Would it be wrong for HIS parents to tell their son "you’re a boy and nothing can be done to make you a natural girl and need to accept the cards you’ve been dealt and live your life as a boy "? Would it be mentally and emotionally damaging for HIS parents to teach HIM that HE is NOT a girl? If HIS parents didn’t allow their son to be a girl should HE be taken from them and put with a family who would allow such a foolish brat to have HIS way and live life as an eight year old transgender?

If HE were my child, I wouldn’t love HIM any less, I wouldn’t treat HIM any differently… but I would NEVER accept HIM as a HER. HE would always be my son and I would neither consider HIM nor believe HIM to be my daughter for any reason, nor would I EVER call HIM a HER! If my son still wanted to be a woman when he turned 18, I wouldn’t stop him from making that decision as a legal adult… but as long as he lived under my roof and was under 18 I would raise him as a boy. I don’t care how much he hated the GI-Joes and footballs and Tonka trunks he received as Christmas and birthday gifts… there is NO way I would give into his foolishness and get him a pink tutu and Barbie dolls (although I did play with Barbies when I was a child, it was only when my cousin Jennifer came over… and I used my 12" GI-Joe figure to kick Ken’s flamboyant plastic ass when he walked in on Joe and Barbie makin’ out in her hot tub).

I do not believe that this child should be allowed or encouraged to make this kind of decision at such a young age. I believe this child should be told “If you want to be a girl then that’s your choice… when you’re a legal adult… until then you better get used to going pee-pee standing up”. I mean seriously… if this boy is allowed to make this kind of decision at such a young and foolish age, then fuck it and just go the whole nine. Take him to a plastic surgeon and let him get his pecker cut in half and have it made into a mangina. Then take the kid out for a drink, buy him a pack of cigarettes and let him smoke 'em, and then rent him a few pornos (gay or hetero, let him choose).

Transgender issues are somewhat complicated. Ideally the child should see professionals and experts in gender identity to determine what the best course of action is. I have one friend who is transgendered -no, that doesn’t make me an expert or anything- and it is hard for her parents who still wish they had their son.

You know, without all the male posturing and overcompensation, this would actually be a fascinating question.

Yeah, but it’s hard to see through the panic testosterone.

I don’t have the time for an in-depth response, but very briefly, human sexual differentiation isn’t nearly as clear or error-free process as I believe you think it is.

In reality, it is possible for XY fetuses to be born with genitals that look for all the world like vaginas, XX fetuses to be born with genitals that look for all the world like penises, and there’s every shade of ambiguous genitalia in between. In these cases, the doctors and families don’t know that the “real” sex of the child is, and the current approach is to wait for a few years until the child can express a strong belief either way before carrying out surgery.

So, given all of the mismatches between genetic sex and external genitalia, why do you believe it’s impossible for someone to develop with a “mental” or neurological sex different from the phenotypic sex of their external genitalia? If you concede that possibility, shouldn’t we have compassion towards those that feel their external sex doesn’t match their internal sex, and facilitate the transition of their external sex to their internal sex to reduce the psychological burden of their unhappiness with their external sex?

According to the experience available to medical professionals and counselors, people that feel a strong desire to switch sexes from their phenotypic sex to their “mental” sex generally do better and are satisfied with the transition on a long-term basis.

If this 8 year old were my child and this were a consistent and strongly felt desire, I wouldn’t permit them surgery or any other permanent changes yet, but I’d be happy to let them dress and behave as they felt appropriate and do what they needed to begin a full transition to that sex.

Lacunae, you do realize that a great deal of gender identity is hardwired into the brain, right? And to have a fully successful transformation it’s ideal for it to start before puberty? And that untreated gender identity disorder is one of the more deadly psychological diseases, with an depressingly high proportion of them ending in suicide?

Deciding to do nothing isn’t a passive decision that offloads moral responsibility; if you wait until s/he is an “adult,” by that time puberty has come and precluded any real chance at someone making a complete recovery. The decision as to which sex a kid should become is a permanent, life-altering one, regardless of which way is decided.

Well, let’s take for granted that this isn’t just a passing whim. This boy wishes he were a girl now, and when he’s a teenager he’s going to wish he were a girl, and when he’s a man he’ll wish he were a woman.

So what next? Therapy isn’t going to make him want to be a man. We can refuse to to refer to him by feminine pronouns or a feminine name. We can refuse to allow him to play with girl toys or wear girl clothes when he is a minor.

But we’re not going to change the fact that he’ll always be unhappy being male. Given that, the alternative is to let him live his life as though he were female. You can argue that he can’t really become female, and you have a point there. All the surgeries in the world won’t make him identical to a genetic female.

But what’s wrong with allowing him to wear girl’s clothes or play with girl toys? No matter what you want, he’s going to grow up to be an effeminate person, whether he’s allowed to present himself as a female or not. If he’s going to wear dresses and lipstick when he turns 18, why try to stop him now? If he’s going to present himself as female for the rest of his life he’ll have a much easier time of doing so if he has medical intervention before he goes through puberty. Then he’ll look feminine, and even if you think he won’t be a real female he’ll at least look female.

If the parents freaked out and harshly punished him for acting effeminate, he’ll stop acting effeminate in front of his parents, but he’ll still be miserable, and once he reaches 18 he’ll be able to make his own choices, barring financial or emotional blackmail from his parents. And where do you think transsexual prostitutes come from, anyway? They come from kids who had parents who couldn’t accept their transsexuality and were kicked out of their families. Would you rather have a son who you love and support even though he dresses and acts like a girl, or a son who runs away from home and lives on the streets because you refuse to allow him to live as a girl?

How are those two things related? Why should your genitals determine how others relate to how people treat you and act towards you?

And if your child expressed a preference for one toy over another, you would choose to give your child the non-preferred option? Why should some children be allowed to play with some toys, and other children are allowed to play with other toys?

Well, I agree with the OP on one thing. The kid should be in therapy.

Of course, odds are he already is, and is doing this under the advice of his therapist. But, hey, don’t let that get in the way of your gender panic.

What does your belief have to do with anything? There are solid, predictable biological indicators of transsexualism in the hypothalamus. You can’t just believe real hard and make biology go away.

What really chaps my ass is this…

This child is a male. He was born a male… yet because he BELIEVES (because he believes he is a girl on the inside) he is accepted as a female.

This just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know what’s more insane… the fact that this child believes he is a she, or the fact that there are people who accept him as a her and for the sake of the transgender believe it! This natural born male can legally become a female because of what he believes!

Yet a Christian (or anyone who claims to have a higher, supernatural authority), regardless of what he or she believes, is mocked and ridiculed by non-believers and the Christian is told by the non-believer that their beliefs are foolish and that there is no God and that they are wasting their time trying to convert people and take them to Heaven.

My point and question is… If someone is going to accept, as truth (or at least play along), that a male can legally become a female (vice-versa) simply because of what the transgender believes to be absolutely true on the inside… why won’t a non-believer accept as truth (or at least play along) that Jesus and the Word of God and Heaven and Hell and etc. is accepted as absolute truth, on the inside, by the Christian?

It just doesn’t make sense to me. I know my mind is feeble compared to most (if not all) of the others who read and post on this website… but I have an exceptionally hard time wrapping my mind around this conundrum.

Just because someone doesn’t want to offend what the transgender believes to be true, they give into the transgender’s foolish desire and accept, as a truth, that he is a she or she is a he… yet no one cares if they offend a Christian… and no matter what a Christian says or believes is the truth, a non-believer just will not accept it as truth.

If it is true that this child has some kind of gender dysphoria, and this isn’t a temporary phase, consider this:

Slice open the hypothalamus of a heterosexual male. You will find it is speckled, as with a five o’clock shadow. Homosexual male: same.

Slice open the hypothalamus of a heterosexual female. You will find it is clean and clear. No speckles. Transsexual male: same.

There is programming in the brain, Lacunae, which you apparently are unaware of. I will find photographs of it for you online later tonight. It is real. Gender dysphoria is a real biological condition with predictable and moreover highly visible effects on a developing brain. You can’t wish it away.

That said: the only way to be sure of this is to cut open the hypothalamus. Needless to say, this is not an effective tool for diagnosing a living person. Does this particular boy have this condition? It’s impossible to say. Maybe yes, maybe no. Our tools are not good enough yet to diagnose his condition with 100% certainty.

Here’s some questions to consider:

  1. What is male? What is female? Are they essential categories that exist in a strict binary, or are things more ambiguous?

  2. Suppose, with technology in the future, it becomes possible to transplant people’s brains into other bodies. One day a brain in a female person gets put into a body socially designated as male. Does that person become male in every sense? Even though the brain developed as, can be identified as, and still thinks as a female?

  3. You say someone is male if they have a penis and female if they have a vagina and a pair of ovaries. What, however, if they have neither? Or both?

  4. Of course, you can say “Well, let’s just define malehood as having a Y chromosome. Ahah! That clears everything up.” That, however, is not dispositive. Consider androgen insensitivity. In that disorder, androgen receptors (such as those that work with testosterone) malfunction, and the neural pathways, gonads, and secondary sex characteristics develop exactly as a “regular” female would (indeed, XY females with androgen insensitivity have a incidence of homosexuality that’s lower than XX females).

So, sex and gender are very complicated, and you can have variations on it in all directions. It’s not something you can force on someone; the myth of infinite flexibility in gender through environmental influences has long been debunked. If you have a female person with a female brain, no matter how much you make her play with G.I. Joes and wear boy clothes, she will always be female. Nothing you can do about it, except be supportive and love her.

I don’t speak for everyone, but I could give a rat’s ass what you accept as truth, absolute truth, or any other truth. It’s when you try and force others to abide by the rules of your truth where we have a problem. If the transgendered were in the majority and attempted to force others to switch genders, I’d have the same problem with them.

Even if there were no cause for mismatch between external genitalia and psychological gender, and this were just a matter of preference like choosing a favorite ice cream, why should we care at all whether someone lives as a man or a woman? And where do you draw the line about acceptable malleability of gender identity? Why is it OK for a woman to wear pants, cut her hair short, have a boy’s name, but not OK to be referred to by male gender pronouns? Seems pretty arbitrary to me. Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff, and I’m going up to the hillside to make myself fat.

This site is about fighting ignorance, not promoting it.

Now, if they were talking about employing transgender surgery on a prepubescent child, I would have really strong reservations, (although I would want the discussion to be directed by medical and psychological professionals). However, anyone in 2009 who still thinks that the sole determinant of a person’s gender is the plumbing that can be observed from the outside is simply too uninformed about the situation to be permitted a serious voice in the discussion.

You might want to go do some research on the issue before you engage in this discussion. (You might very well come to the same ultimate decision, but at least you would have an informed opinion rather than an uninformed opinion.)

Also, Christian kids who are teased about their faith tend not to commit suicide.

Let me get this clear. Because some atheists make fun of your religion, you’re rejecting the entire concept of transgenderism.

Can you explain to me how that makes any sense? What’s the connection between atheism and being transgendered? Apparently, this kid, in addition to being trans, is also a Catholic. So, odds are she isn’t going to make fun of you for believing in Jesus. Why are you going to make fun of her for believing she’s a girl?

Thank god he’s not your kid. :rolleyes:

NO one here has insulted you for being a Christian. However, it doesn’t mean you should remain ignorant as to science and medicine.

And if you ARE a Christian - how about the Golden Rule? Do you like to be told you’re deluded? No? Then why would you treat someone else the same way?

I suggest you read up on transgenderism.


ETA: (Yes, I know said child indentifies as a girl. But since the OP will probably not recognize my argument that way, I chose to use the masculine pronoun)

This interests me; when you say transgender surgery, are you just saying slicing and dicing the dangly bits? How would you respond to hormone therapy being used on a child on the verge of puberty? Supervised and directed by responsible, qualified, and cautious professionals, of course.