Transexual Children

It looks like a certain Atlantic writer has a definite agenda.

In a way it’s unfortunate that essay is so long, because it cuts down the number of people who will read it to the end. But it’s really worth reading completely. Thanks for posting it.

And I hesitate to bring it up, because it’s a small part of what’s wrong with Singal’s piece linked above. But so many of these articles with cautionary tales about people who decided not to transition “at the last minute” try to raise this is an example of the problem, when it’s another example of the system working correctly. Despite the mom’s fears, the girl in the article was not going to be put on hormone therapy immediately whether the mom pushed for it or not - she had not been identifying as male consistently, persistently, and insistently. The girl had questions, pursued therapy and medical evaluation, and changed her mind. I ask again, why is this a “concern” for you (OP, not Miller)?

As a parent of a transgender child (now a young adult) who knows many parents of transgender children, I can say with some assurance that parents aren’t rushing to identify their children as transgender, unless their children are very clearly transgender.

It’s not like there are door prizes involved.

Yes, I actually do believe that some parents are jumping on the bandwagon because it makes them feel cool.

Do you have any evidence of this? Do you know any parents of transgender children? Do you know any transgender individuals?

Trust me, having a transgender child doesn’t make a parent feel cool. It makes a parent terrified much of the time–for the child’s safety, for the child’s well-being, for the child’s happiness. My daughter’s life is very difficult because she’s trans, even with a supportive family and community. And you think this makes me feel cool?:smack:

How do you feel about transgender children in general?

Actually, those drugs have been used to treat precocious puberty and certain cancers for a few decades now. There are known side effects, including long term ones. As with all medical treatments the risks and benefits have to be weighed. The notion they’re some sort of new, experimental, never before seen pharmaceutical is, frankly, ludicrous

One of their side effects is that they make suicide a bit less likely.

I couldn’t imagine anyone doing something like this, unless they’re the type who wants to get a reality show out of the whole thing.

(We’re having an extensive discussion about this on another website, about Jazz and some other well-known trans teens.)

Have I ever known any transgendered individuals, or their family members? Yes, I have, although not well; here goes.

One of my high school classmates was on a Discovery Health Channel program in the early 00s called “Changing Sexes.” He was on the f-to-m program, and when he held up his HS graduation picture, I nearly fell off the couch. I had NO IDEA that this cute girl who always had perfect clothes, hair, and makeup was fighting such a secret battle; at the time the show aired, he was recovering from surgery to make a penis he could urinate through, something he felt he needed to really be as complete a man as medical science could do, both then and now. He said the operation took 12 hours (it involved taking skin from his forearm and grafting it into the correct area) and he felt like he’d been hit by a truck when he woke up. However, the grafts took and he waved his hand in front of his body and said, “Everything’s now in harmony.” I hope he continues to do well.

I also have an acquaintance whose young-adult chromosomal son, who also has Asperger’s, has announced that he wants to live as a woman, and was told that after he made this announcement, his mood and behavior improved dramatically. S/he does have wonderful family support, and has even found an SO of sorts in an online forum. I have never met her child (they’re divorced and he lives with his father in another city) but she says she didn’t know her child was capable of being so happy. AFAIK, s/he has had no hormone or surgical therapy, but has taken a female name and wears women’s clothing.

I believe that a lot of the “increase” is nothing more than people being able to verbalize how they’re feeling, know that other people out there are like them, and can do something about it.

I get a monthly injection of one of these, to send me into permanent menopause following my breast cancer diagnosis last year. While I have had no issues with it other than perpetual bruises in my lower abdomen, they do cause terrible side effects in some people, like hot flashes, mood swings, and osteoporosis.

Many years ago, one of my cousins (whom I met once, before this happened) had to take hormone blockers for precocious puberty. She was 6 years old and growing hair in places where it doesn’t belong in 6-year-olds, and was on this therapy for several years.

You are saying this with absolutely no evidence or reason to believe this, so I’m really struggling to give you the benefit of the doubt here. But I’ll make one attempt.

Perhaps you have seen parents who are vociferous in their support of their transgender children and interpret them being proud of their child as them “feeling cool.” Let me assure you that this is extremely far from the actual experience of these parents. Parents who loudly support their child do it because deep down they support their child.

When people from across the spectrum - friends, family, strangers - tell you “it’s just a phase” or much, much worse, you tend to get louder in your support. When your child can’t go to the bathroom at school, you get louder. When your child admits they are feeling suicidal because everyone is telling them they are defective or a freak, you get really fucking loud in telling them they are good and have value no matter what gender they decide on.

It has nothing to do with feeling cool, and it’s offensive to say that when you know so little about the subject.

What like being gay? Society is changing and is more accepting, thats it.

Contrary to what some may believe, puberty blockers HAVE been indeed found to have long term effects – and not always positive ones.

I am NOT saying this as an anti-trans person – I think most Dopers know me better than that Buut I can understand why a parent would be concerned about putting a child on such a drug. Puberty blockers also are not just prescribed if a teenager is diagnosed as being trans – they’re also for cases of precocious puberty. And I would expect those parents to be just as cautious.

I don’t think it’s fair to paint people who might be a wee bit skeptical about them as anti-trans. You can totally support your kid while being worried like, “hey, how will these drugs affect them in the future?” Are there childdren who begin to transition without them, necessarily?

(I had a year’s worth of tests before I went on freaking Ritalin, for fuck’s sake.)

I know quite a few transgender adults, I don’t know any transgender children. I would like to see any child grow up as happy and as healthy as possible. I suspect my grandson may be transgender and he is my favorite grandchild. I have suspected this since he was about 14 and he is 23 now. I have no problem with it. I do have a problem when parents are too eager to accept that a child is transgender at a very young age and start steering the child in that direction.

I had a close friend who committed suicide at 32 years old. He identified as transgender from a very young age. He committed suicide after he has started the medical process. He decided he made a mistake. His story was a tragedy, his parents abandon he and his older sister when she was 12 and he was 6. He started working as a prostitute at 6 years old and I imagine it messed him up mentally.

OK, so you’re a wee bit skeptical. That’s fine. Now what’s the next step - what should be the result of that skepticism?

Does it mean restricting access to these drugs to make sure someone who later settles on cis doesn’t suffer any side effects? If so, then I urge you to read the essay linked by Miller above, which explains this much better than I can.

Or does it just mean make sure there is a lot of thought that takes place before starting a child on them, to determine if the possible side effects are outweighed by the benefit? Then no problem, because this already happens.

I think as a parent myself, I would also be concerned that a “phase” might be misidentified as something more permanent. As others have pointed out though there is (or seems to be, I’d like to read more about it) a careful process for handling transgender feelings.

I know that among the gay men of my friendship and acquaintance, their are coming out stories that range from “I knew when I was 4 and my first (unrequited) crush was at age 8” to “I realized in my 50s.” So we shouldn’t discount a young person’s experience of themselves.

Honestly? I don’t know what I would do. Granted, I’m not a parent, so it’s just an intellectual question for me.

I think Gay boys are much easier to positively identify than transsexual children in a lot of cases. I knew my nephew was gay at age 2. My wide used to always tell me why do I say that? I could just tell. He finally came out in his twenties. My other nephew was pretty clear by age 6. I have a gay niece and she was always a tom boy, she dated boys until her early twenties and then came out.

This is an interesting person/story, though it isn’t fully told (at least as I understand it) in the Wiki:

Here’s another:

The story about Greer (born Greg) that I’ve heard from people who knew them (as Greg) was that the parents were more comfortable with the idea of a trans son than a gay son, so they gladly paid for the surgery. Greer later regretted it; they had a complicated identity.

I’m NOT criticizing any young person who wants to transition; but I thought this would be of interest as a point of history.

Caution goes in both directions. There are risks that come with taking any medication, especially one that fiddles with hormones. But there are also risks that are associated with being transgender and stuck with a (post-puberty) body that doesn’t match your self-image.

The article miller linked to upthread (I’m relinking right here for convenience) addresses this issue nicely:

She also notes that the decision to take these drugs is never a casual one:

Serrano’s article is very well-written; I would encourage everyone participating in this thread to read it.