Transgender children: Are we right to encourage them?

Aug 2, 2015 by     Comments Off on Transgender children: Are we right to encourage them?    Posted under: Opinions

While people are still fighting to legalize gay marriages, we find the battle for recognition of the transgender community to be even stronger. While the transgender people were previously invisible in our society and gender dysphoria was never so common; with the emergence of social media and the cyber world, it has become prevalent as more and more people have been made aware about it. Today-in the age of Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox- immense support causes more and more cases to surface.

I will not debate on how right or wrong it is or if it should be accepted or condemned. My focus is more towards the people who might think that their children are transgender and what makes them sure. Also, if their support for them has rationalized to the point that every child’s claim of being a transgender is accepted rather than investigated? What if there is another reason for them to feel that way? What if their confusion exists simply because it’s accepted and if so, they may make a choice that they would later regret?

A boy Joey who later changed his name to Josie aged 11 wanted to be a girl and had asked his parents to have hormone blockers. At an early age as that, one is not sure of anything and to encourage such a big life change at that age is questionable. The child’s doctor did well to stop the parents till their son was old enough to be sure of his decision. Later on, the child during a casual conversation with his mother explained how he really felt about the change. His reply was that of an unsure 11-year-old to his equally perplexed mother, that if he was a girl she would be happy, and if he remained a boy his dad would be pleased. This comment shocked the mother when she realized that her fortification for her son instead led him to believe that it was in fact his mother that preferred the transformation.

At an early age when a child starts wanting to dress up as one of the opposite gender, parents feel that their child may be confused about his/her identity. They fail to realize that children often like to dress like their siblings not because they want to be the opposite gender, but they simply want to look like them.

Ruby Rose from the series ‘Orange is the new Black’ who is now against gender reassignment surgery shares how she herself was once confused and the support she received, rather than making her think about her feelings, made her feel as if she needed the surgery. After watching a documentary on TV at the age of 5, she was at the point that she started to save money for surgery but later realized she didn’t want to be a boy but simply preferred a masculine style. After a wardrobe change she was again comfortable in her own skin. If she, herself, hadn’t realized that she may have made the wrong and an irreversible choice. How many other kids like her might exist?

David Batty in his article for the guardian writes in his study about gender reassignment surgery that a fifth of people in USA alone regret having gender reassignment surgery while 18 percent attempt suicide after getting a gender reassignment surgery. In the five-year study conducted out of 727 people who had gender reassignment surgery, 495 people dropped out of the study which could be due to dissatisfaction or even suicide. People comment that a child knows if he/she is a transgender but the study proves that no one is completely sure. Parents shouldn’t be making these decisions for their children but should accept the hardship for the time being and wait for the child to grow up and choose for himself. To just accept what a child says or feels without really understanding the situation and helping others understand it does no good.

I am not against the family supporting their loved one that is if he or she makes such a decision. However, I am against the people who accept it without knowing the facts and without talking to their child to try and understand the situation better. By accepting, we make the mistake of not solving an actual problem that might exist.

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