May 21, 2012

A second-grader's idea for the student newapaper: "How about a story about why people are transgendered?"

Described, in the WaPo, by a mother who was volunteering in her son's class.
I had no idea that the girl’s younger sister was about to officially become her little brother.

The next day, my son came home from school and said: “Mom, you know how you really didn’t know what transgender is? It’s just when you have a boy mind in a girl body. Duh.”...

At a birthday party a few weeks later, I saw the transformation. The 4-year-old’s hair was shorn, the clothes were mini-macho and the child was bouncing and wrestling with the pack....

A week later, the mother e-mailed me, asking whether The Post would be interested in doing a piece on their struggle....
ADDED: Whatever happened to just being a tomboy?

108 comments:

edutcher said...

Oh, Christ, leave your kids alone, lady.

How much brain-washing did our intellectually-constipated Lefty Mommy have to do to achieve that?

When I was young, we didn't even know about that kind of nonsense until we heard the facts of life, and that was around 6th grade.

Scott M said...

Holy shite. What happens when biology doesn't want to cooperate? You know...right around puberty? Will "he" be the only kid in his junior high gym class that has to wear tampons?

Mitchell said...

Playing doctor will never be the same.

Quayle said...

Can someone here help me understand when "I was born that way" is determinative and when it isn't?

Kate Danaher said...

One of my twins, at a preschool "graduation", announced that his life aspiration was to become "a train". I don't plan on having wheels surgically mounted on him any time soon.

Scott M said...

Can someone here help me understand when "I was born that way" is determinative and when it isn't?

How could you possibly be made to understand something whimsical?

Quayle said...

I don't plan on having wheels surgically mounted on him any time soon.

That's because you're an unsupportive and controlling parent, Kate.

You hateful bahn-ophobe!

Lyssa said...

Four years old? How unbelievably disturbing. Child abuse.

If a little girl doesn't want to wear dresses, play with dolls, and have long hair, what's the problem again? Just let her be a tomboy.

Also “boy mind in a girl body”

How on earth does a four year old have a "boy's mind" or a "girl's mind"? You simply can't get there without resting on 1950's era stereotypes about what boys and girls do. Guess what, girls are allowed to play with trucks these days.

AJ Lynch said...

Good for you Kate. In ten years or so, he will learn when you miss one train, another will be by shortly. Though it may actually be a blonde, a brunette or a redhead.

Paddy O said...

Once again why "orienting philosophy" is more appropriate in our era than "religion."

People have all sorts of orienting philosophies that serve the role of religion in their lives, and these orienting philosophies are seen as somehow neutral just because they don't use the word "God."

MadisonMan said...

The 4-year-old’s hair was shorn, the clothes were mini-macho and the child was bouncing and wrestling with the pack

It's not clear to me why the child could not have been wrestling with the pack with long hair and clothes that weren't mini-macho.

Skyler said...

You know what you call a girl with short hair and a boy's name?

A girl.

You know what you call a girl taking hormones to make her appear like a boy?

A girl.

You know what you call a girl who surgically alters herself to appear like a boy?

A girl.

This article just leaves it completely unexplored as to why this family wants to maltreat their daughter.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Deeply disturbing" is right.

I do like reading "the clothes were mini-macho," though. Somebody knows boys from girls.

Too bad, for so many years, it hasn't been the adults,...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Homeschool.

Mike and Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

In the old days, you'd just call a girl like this a tomboy and it was no big deal.

Now, you tell a 4-year-old she actually has this condition, and she somehow really is a boy, and you send her into the boy's room to pee, and you call in the newspapers to watch her get her head shaved? And you teach all the other little children, whose parents have sent them to the government's schools, that this is the way life is, this is the science you will learn?

Madness!

Synova said...

What happened to the Tomboy is that she's not allowed anymore.

Instead of making it more acceptable to be what you are, and like what you like, and define *yourself*... the boxes to fit inside are fewer and smaller.

There is no more "tomboy" box. Girls must be fru-fru or they're not a "girl" inside of their heads and the outside must conform.

It's truly all about conformity, conformity, and more conformity.

Mike and Sue said...

But yet they do not know how to read and write.

edutcher said...

Kate Danaher said...

One of my twins, at a preschool "graduation", announced that his life aspiration was to become "a train". I don't plan on having wheels surgically mounted on him any time soon.

When asked when he was 4, what he wanted for Xmas, The Blonde's youngest nephew said, "Be a horse".

I got him a few cowboys on horses and he was fine.

PS He was born with the same problem the Gibb twins had, but was able to have it fixed when he was 5 days old.

Sometimes it helps to be born just at the right time.

Lyssa said...

I'm wondering what "mini-macho" clothing is for a 4 year old - I'm envisioning the types of parents who think that it's "cute" to dress their pre-school boys up like street thugs, in baggy jerseys and those shorts that come down to the ankles (why the "I borrowed my clothing from a walrus" look says "tough", I'll never know).

How about you just dress the kid in jeans or shorts and a neutral t-shirt, like 90% of the other kids, be they boys and girls?

Synova said...

Also I think that when there was less freedom about what you wore, and normal clothes were more of a uniform, clothing was actually less defining. You didn't chose it, so it couldn't say anything about you.

PatCA said...

This is smothering mothering. Parenting was less lethal to kids when moms would shoo you outside and say "be home by 5".

This mother is very destructive. She approached the paper about writing about her! I guess she's hoping for a reality show too.

n.n said...

Perhaps they wanted a boy. It's interesting that they will neither recognize nor accept a normal variability from the average.

The individuals and cooperatives behind these campaigns, do not want tolerance but normalization. They desire to breed identity confusion.

In any case, it's difficult to profit from a mutable behavior. They cannot construct a viable business model based on advocacy for a transient event.

Michael said...

Madness! exclaims the professor. And where, dear lady, do you think these ideas came from? What world view has overcome formerly right thinking people?

SGT Ted said...

This is the PC sexualization of children in that adult notions and knowledge of adolescent sexual development, regardless of orientation, are being projected onto beings that cannot make those decisions consciously, much less become informed of them until their brains develope for 6-7 more years.

For liberals who claim they are more nuanced and science minded that us teabagging racists, they sure don't seem to tell the difference between a 14 year old and a 4 year old.

People who think like that are PC crackpots.

prairie wind said...

I didn't let my kids determine what to have for dinner when they were four, let alone let them determine their sex.

Scott M said...

People who think like that are PC crackpots

Why repeat yourself?

ndspinelli said...

There are still tomboys. You see them playing sports. I've coached tomboys and they're delightful to coach.

ricpic said...

It's more important to these mothers to be withit than to raise a sane child. These mothers are truly mothers.

Shanna said...

There is no more "tomboy" box.

How very sad. Just let the kid play however she wants without trying to make her into something she's not. Madness indeed.

Sofa King said...

"Tomboy" is not a protected class. Criticize the mother all you want; I suspect she's doing the smart thing for parents nowadays: do whatever it takes to get your child into a protected class. It's a more important factor to life success in this culture than education, hard work, or ambition.

Scott M said...

Criticize the mother all you want; I suspect she's doing the smart thing for parents nowadays: do whatever it takes to get your child into a protected class.

Ah, irony. I see what you did there. And here, I was about to go all riot...

Kit said...

In the old days, you'd just call a girl like this a tomboy and it was no big deal.

Actually, it kind of was, especially with the other girls...and the mom's of the girls.

dbp said...

The thing about a tomboy is that she can outgrow it, or not. Either way is fine but there is flexibility to take the path she chooses.

The problem with this parent's choice is that they have placed their kid on a track. She is on her way to hormone therapy and surgery eventually. The parents are making a choice now which will make it more difficult to alter later.

Everything must fit into its box now, where it will stay. Even if it turns out to be the wrong one.

AllieOop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RonF said...

Why the heck can't the kid just play the way she wants to play without worrying about whether it's "gender appropriate"? If the kid is a girl and wants to wrestle with the boys in the ball pit rather than play with dolls, so what? Why can't she do it in a dress with long hair? I thought getting away from sex stereotypes was the whole point?!

Quayle said...

We're not quite there, but we're very close!

Approaching a society in which we are all totally and absolutely free!

Free from all constraints. Free from all external limits. Free from the anachronistic norms of yesteryear!

Come on, sing with me! Free! Free! Free! FREE! FREE!

(Except that I absolutely must keep my 3:00 PM appointment with my therapist or she charges me for the time anyway.)

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

Also, if you have any advice on how to get rid of this depressing unsettled feeling I seem to always have, I'd be open to that.

AllieOop said...

It would appear, according to a British study, that tomboys grow up to be lesbians oly 31 percent of the time. Until the child hits puberty, it's probably a very bad idea to "push" an identity on the child that doesn't conform to the child's biological sex. I do believe the child born with it's sexual identity, but it would be irresponsible at the very least to "run with" any hunches about the sexual identity of a child of such a young age.

Tomboys likelier to grow into lesbians?

Genes help determine a woman's sexual orientation

Scott M said...

And if you have any advise on how to get rid of this depressing unsettled feeling I seem to always have, I'd be most appreciative.

Ignore blogs and all forms of news (internet, TV, newspaper) and then settle down with a hardback copy of Watership Downs.

That'll even ya right out. Completely devoid of unsettled feelings.

AllieOop said...

It's always a bad idea to push sexual identity on a child no matter what age. Best to wait until the child is mature enough to have his or her own voice.

Marshal said...

"This article just leaves it completely unexplored as to why this family wants to maltreat their daughter.

5/21/12 10:22 AM"

If you substituted "maltreat" this is exactly the right point. There is absolutely nothing described which would exclude the all the other options of life including being a girl who plays rough and limiting the diagnosis to transgender. Equally plausible would be that it's easier for the parents to pretend they have a boy than it is to explain their girl plays rough. I certainly hope something important is omitted. Otherwise you have to conclude the paper's cheerleading is advancing the political narrative rather than the interests of the child.

I'm also reminded of a similar article a decade or so ago that turned out to be a hoax.

Quayle said...

AllieOop states and cites to
Genes help determine a woman's sexual orientation.


And that would really be something if it weren't that scientists are now finding (and actually have known for some time) that behavior alters genes - your behavior and others' toward you.

It is called epigenetics.

In other words, for example, the way your mother treats you can cause certain genes to be turned on and off.

Now let's have a discussion of the genetic basis for 'who you are.'

Steel Turman said...

Munchausen Syndrome with a side of moonbat.

Andy R. said...

Now, you tell a 4-year-old she actually has this condition, and she somehow really is a boy, and you send her into the boy's room to pee, and you call in the newspapers to watch her get her head shaved?

Do you think there is such a thing as being transgender? If so, how early can people realize that about themselves?

I'm wondering what the Althouse approved cut-off line is for when it's ok for a person to be transgender.

EMD said...

A week later, the mother e-mailed me, asking whether The Post would be interested in doing a piece on their struggle....


No shit. Imagine that.

EMD said...

I'm wondering what the Althouse approved cut-off line is for when it's ok for a person to be transgender.

Hint: Andy doesn't have kids.

Scott M said...

I'm wondering what the Althouse approved cut-off line is for when it's ok for a person to be transgender.

I'm wondering at what age Andy thinks it's okay for a parent to force a child into the opposite gender. 4?

Alex said...

I thought all 4 year olds wore the same t-shirt and pants. What the fuck is going on here?

Scott M said...

I thought all 4 year olds wore the same t-shirt and pants. What the fuck is going on here?

As the father of two daughters and two sons, all I can say to that is LOL.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm wondering what the Althouse approved cut-off line is for when it's ok for a person to be transgender.

Reasonable question. "At the age of consent" is about as good an answer as we're likely to find.

Bruce Hayden said...

(why the "I borrowed my clothing from a walrus" look says "tough", I'll never know).

One explanation I have heard is that it is a result of a prison culture - in some prisons, the prisoners don't get belts, and so their pants are always falling down. Then, when they get out, they keep doing it that way. And, then, everyone emulates them. Silly, if true, but, I think, plausible.

MayBee said...

Genderhausen By Proxy syndrome.

MayBee said...

Do you think there is such a thing as being transgender? If so, how early can people realize that about themselves?

Four year olds still occasionally poop their pants. Their self-awareness is not especially high.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Whatever happened to just being a tomboy?

True. Instead of allowing kids the freedom to be who they are, individuals with unique talents and skills, the trend now seems to be pigeonholing and forcing children to conform to artificial standards. Worse than the 50's ever were.

Boys are like "this" so if you are like "that" then you must be a boy's mind in a girl's body. Why can't you just be a girl or boy who enjoys activities and be left alone instead of being forced into gender reassignment. Gaah.

When I was a kid, my toys were chemistry sets, erector sets, wood working tools, paints and art stuff. I think I had a doll or two, but don't really remember being much interested in playing with dolls. I was more interested in helping my father rebuild the engine in his MG convertible. Taking the engine apart, cleaning the components. I learned how to gap spark plugs when I was 8 years old.

This didn't cause my parents any angst or try to suggest that I'm not a 'real' girl. They just bought the stuff and said "Don't make a mess, or you will have to clean it up yourself."

Why do adults today try to make childhood so hard and not any fun?

MayBee said...

I have a theory that all the engineers pairing off and having kids is resulting in more Aspergers.

Artistic people pairing off and having kids results in more transgender kids.

They are each the extreme expression of the parent's traits.

prairie wind said...

I'm also reminded of a similar article a decade or so ago that turned out to be a hoax.

I'm guessing 'hoax', too.

Petunia said...

Tyler's not transgendered. She's a tomboy. And the mom's an attention whore.

Andy R. said...

"At the age of consent" is about as good an answer as we're likely to find.

So with any kind of mental or physical medical issue a child is facing, should we wait until they are 18 to intervene? Or just for transgender people?

And we should make all transgender people go through puberty of what might be the wrong gender for them? And make it that much more difficult to transition later? Or it's ok to block or delay puberty for people that are under 18?

Jane said...

I have recent experience with a 4 year old (he's five as of two weeks ago). There is no possible way for a child that young to understand that there's a difference between preferring typically-boy activities and clothing styles, and really being a boy. Four year olds think, among other things, that they grow once per year, on their birthday. They really don't have a firm grasp on the difference between boys and girls, other than long-vs.-short hair. They may or may not understand what it means for girls to become women and boys to become men.

It is ironic that the need to transgenderize this child comes out of a narrowing of categories: you like cars and trucks, you're clearly a boy.

Why not just cut the hair, buy t-shirts with monster trucks, and call it a day? Why the new name and pronoun?

Lyssa said...

Andy, can you explain how there is a "boy's mind" and a "girl's mind" without applying stereotypes about what boys and girls can do.

Am I really a male because I am my home's breadwinner? Bear in mind that not that long ago, my profession was not open to women. Am I a male because I like muscle cars, because I went through a stage where I thought skirts were gross, because I think that Sex and the City is idiotic, because I more often identify with males in conversations?

Or am I just an individual, who has some traits that may be generally more common among males than females?

AllieOop said...

Andy, we shouldn't "make" them be a gender or orientation they do not identify with at any age. Over the years it will become far more apparent what the child trulyidentifies with. By the time they hit puberty I think it will be very apparent and the child will be able to verbalize pretty accurately which path they are going to take as an adult, unless the parents shame him/ her into remaining silent.

Amartel said...

"Why do adults today try to make childhood so hard and not any fun?"

A lot of "adults" today never actually grew up and they treat their children like toys, toys that reflect their own angst and anxieties. If you've ever seen a little kid pop the head off a Barbie or GI Joe, or conduct "surgery" on Stretch Armstrong (etc.)- this is the equivalent of that. Except these are children, not toys. And this is child abuse, not play.

Shanna said...

And we should make all transgender people go through puberty of what might be the wrong gender for them?

They are going to go through the puberty they are genetically designed to go through, regardless of what you think.

Andy R. said...

Andy, can you explain how there is a "boy's mind" and a "girl's mind" without applying stereotypes about what boys and girls can do.

Well, I'm cisgender, so I have the experience of my mind telling me I'm a boy and I also have boy parts. Other people report their mind telling them they are one gender and their parts not matching. Many people have written about this online, if you are interested in what it is like for someone's mind not to match their body.

Ann seems to be saying that 4 is too young for people to assert that their mind doesn't match their body. I'm wondering at what age she thinks we should respect people's decisions in this area. Or maybe other 4 year olds can be transgender, but Ann just doesn't think this particular kid is having that experience.

Andy R. said...

They are going to go through the puberty they are genetically designed to go through, regardless of what you think.

You should google "puberty blocker" because this comment makes it sound like you don't know what you are talking about.

Sofa King said...

Criticize the mother all you want; I suspect she's doing the smart thing for parents nowadays: do whatever it takes to get your child into a protected class.

Ah, irony. I see what you did there. And here, I was about to go all riot...


Ha, ha, only serious. Get your kid in a protected class, and they can take advantage of myriad AA programs, support resources, and of course, the constant threat of a lawsuit hanging over the head of their educators and employers, should they be allowed to fail. If as a parent you don't do this, your kid will be at the bottom of every list, and you have to pray you can either instill them with enough basic human dignity to be able to accept their lack of status with grace and courage, or you have to earn enough money to buy their way into success.

Sofa King said...

Ann seems to be saying that 4 is too young for people to assert that their mind doesn't match their body

No, she's not. She's saying that 4 is too young for someone to placed in a box labeled "TRANSGENDERED PERSON" and have this fact memorialized in the Washington Post.

MayBee said...


Well, I'm cisgender, so I have the experience of my mind telling me I'm a boy and I also have boy parts.


But perhaps you just assume your mind tells you you're a boy because you have boy parts. In reality, whatever thoughts you have are your thoughts, not belonging to a gender.

Portia said...

I have a daughter who when in high school wanted to play baseball, not softball. But, that meant she would have to play on the boys team because boys play baseball, girls softball. That was fine with her. She was never a tomboy and she is now married with 3 children (all boys) and they all play baseball now.

Lyssa said...

MayBee said: But perhaps you just assume your mind tells you you're a boy because you have boy parts. In reality, whatever thoughts you have are your thoughts, not belonging to a gender.

Exactly. How do you know that your thoughts are any different than my thoughts? What are a "boy's thoughts" and how on earth would you know how they differ from a girl's thoughts?

Nathan Alexander said...

There's no such thing as transgender.

There are only gradations of permanence in playing dress up.


...I am still considering writing a murder mystery where the detectives get confused because genetic markers left at the scene indicate a reality not reflected in anyone's official record of official grievance/identity groups.

Shanna said...

You should google "puberty blocker" because this comment makes it sound like you don't know what you are talking about.

I'm glad I didn't know about that, because it seems like child abuse. And insane.

WTF is wrong with people? How can you know what you are 'supposed' to be, unless you let nature take it's course.

Shanna said...

Andy, do you honestly, really think 12 year olds should be making decisions to 'stunt the development of sexual organs'?

What are a "boy's thoughts" and how on earth would you know how they differ from a girl's thoughts?

This.

Quayle said...

They are going to go through the puberty they are genetically designed to go through, regardless of what you think.

Yes, yes, because, remember, to the left biology, genetics, and evolution are everything!

Except when they aren't.

marylynn said...

Where in the world did these incompetent parents find doctors willing to do this to the child? If I spank my child i can be reported for abuse, but if i have my child surgically altered its A-OK ????

carrie said...

It's not trendy to have a girl who is a plain old tomboy.

ndspinelli said...

Remember the pre-PC days when gender meant written word use and sex meant...well, sex male/female. Maybe that's when everything got ALL FUCKED UP!!

Bryan C said...

"Everything must fit into its box now, where it will stay. Even if it turns out to be the wrong one."

People are just furniture to be rearranged to suit the feng shui of collectivist thought. Furniture doesn't react, disagree, or argue. Furniture stays where it's put. It's better for everyone that way.

Andy R. said...

There is this outdated view of sexuality that has largely been abandoned except among fringe groups on the religious right that says that your anatomy determines who you are attracted to. So if you have a penis therefore you want to sleep with women, because that's what nature intended. Now days, most people have come to realize that there is actually a sexuality that exists in our minds that governs who we are attracted to and it's not determined by whether we have a penis or vagina.

A similar evolution is occurring with how we think about gender. It used to be, that if you had a penis or vagina then that meant that of course your brain would tell you that you were the gender that matched those parts. Most people have now accepted that sometimes the brain tells you that you are one gender and your body parts can be another gender. I don't think this is actually particularly controversial among people not driven by anti-trans bigotry.

Among well-educated people, are we just quibbling around what age it makes sense to give weight to a person's view that they are transgender? Maybe four years old is too young for someone to know they are transgender, but waiting until they are 18 to take any steps seems unnecessarily old.

Are people arguing that the state should intervene to prevent a child and their parents from making decisions about how the child wants to live before the child turns 18?

Marshal said...

It's nice of Andy to admit his only concern about an article describing parents prematurely forcing children into irrevocable sex decisions is the impact on his political beliefs and therefore on him. Imean, we all know, but it's nice for him to put it out for the casual readers to see.

EMD said...

Andy is a one-issue commenter, apparently.

I really want to know what he thinks of high-speed trains.

traditionalguy said...

Where are they going to find female swimmers, basketball players and softball players.

All of the good ones are declaring themselves 1/32 male and demanding free surgery to remove the 31/32s female markers.

EMD said...

Among well-educated people, are we just quibbling around what age it makes sense to give weight to a person's view that they are transgender? Maybe four years old is too young for someone to know they are transgender, but waiting until they are 18 to take any steps seems unnecessarily old.

Perhaps there isn't a 'line" but and evolution, so to speak. But I can say by reading the article that 4 is clearly too young and the parents' motives are transparent, and to an extent, disgusting.

MayBee said...


A similar evolution is occurring with how we think about gender. It used to be, that if you had a penis or vagina then that meant that of course your brain would tell you that you were the gender that matched those parts.


Would these same people get up and walk out if Larry Summers said it's possible women aren't as adept at science as men??

Synova said...

The hormonal upset of puberty also seems an unwise time to declare firm conviction about identity, since puberty pretty much defines identity crisis.

I would feel differently about it if, like a science fiction novel, a person could simply change their sex at will. But I suspect that even if we could, a whole lot of people would spend time either way and carry on just fine, identity-wise. We'd probably stop thinking that it even mattered.

Since that's not possible, it seems horribly cruel for our society to abandon the effort to try to help people like, or at least accept, what they are and who they are, and how they were made.

I think that in the future we'll look back on this with the same horror as the "experiments" where small children had a different gender assigned or tomboys were forced to wear dresses for fear they were lesbians.

Lyssa said...

Andy said: sometimes the brain tells you that you are one gender and your body parts can be another gender.

Once again, though, what is the brain telling the person that means that they are another gender? If the brain is telling you that you have a penis when you actually have a vagina, then the brain is just as screwed up as the brain of a person who believes that they are Napoleon. If the brain is telling you that you should have the opposite sex organs from what you have, why? If we can go into whatever profession we want, spend time on whatever hobbies we want, and screw whoever we want, regardless of sex organs, what exactly does the brain want? To look different?

I think that I ought to have big boobs, but you don't see me demanding that they let me model for Victoria's Secret with my barely A-cups.

Amartel said...

Andy R. is one of these "adults" that never grew up, never even got past the polymorphously perverse stage.

Banshee said...

Considering that people aren't allowed to drive before they're 16, sign legal papers or vote before they're 18, or drink before they're 21, I think they shouldn't be allowed to make any permanent drug-related or surgery-related sexual reassignment decisions until they've at least reached the legal majority.

But there's a clear case for never, because we don't let other folks with psychological perception issues cut themselves up. Nor do we let depressives kill themselves, even though the perception that they'd be better off dead usually starts from early childhood or even earliest memory. Nor do we let people with animal torture, pyro, and bedwetting issues torture animals and start fires to their hearts' content. So why should transgender people be privileged and/or mistreated in this way?

Pookie Number 2 said...

I don't think this is actually particularly controversial among people not driven by anti-trans bigotry.

Well, you've proven repeatedly that you're incapable of questioning the latest sitcom-informing weltaunschaung.

So that fact that, as you put it, you don't think, which explains why your conclusions represent only your own ignorant perspectives, is hardly news at all. But thanks for keeping us posted!

Shanna said...

Since that's not possible, it seems horribly cruel for our society to abandon the effort to try to help people like, or at least accept, what they are and who they are, and how they were made.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Matthew Sablan said...

"We also opted not to publish details about where the family lives, goes to church and school."

-- And the Post failed, unless Petula Dvorak is a pseudonym.

Rusty said...

Andy R. said...
There is this outdated view of sexuality that has largely been abandoned except among fringe groups on the religious right that says that your anatomy determines who you are attracted to. So if you have a penis therefore you want to sleep with women, because that's what nature intended. Now days, most people have come to realize that there is actually a sexuality that exists in our minds that governs who we are attracted to and it's not determined by whether we have a penis or vagina.

A similar evolution is occurring with how we think about gender. It used to be, that if you had a penis or vagina then that meant that of course your brain would tell you that you were the gender that matched those parts. Most people have now accepted that sometimes the brain tells you that you are one gender and your body parts can be another gender. I don't think this is actually particularly controversial among people not driven by anti-trans bigotry.

Among well-educated people, are we just quibbling around what age it makes sense to give weight to a person's view that they are transgender? Maybe four years old is too young for someone to know they are transgender, but waiting until they are 18 to take any steps seems unnecessarily old.

Are people arguing that the state should intervene to prevent a child and their parents from making decisions about how the child wants to live before the child turns 18?


You memorized that real well.

dbp said...

If your mind says you are one sex and your organs are from the other, then this looks like a literal disorder.

Two obvious solutions: Change the organs to match the mind. Or change the mind to match the anatomy.

One of these strikes me as far easier than the other.

R. Chatt said...

I would agree that in this case it seems the parents and school are over anxious to identify and solve the child's dilemma according to the "latest trend" by calling Tyler transgender. They want to feel good about themselves, up to date, or even advancing the curve. Mostly however, they want to help their child have a happy life.

The idea they seem to have is that Tyler doesn't have to be different, she/he is transgendered and can be made to appear and feel normal using the miracles of modern medicine. Instead of having to grow up dealing with issues of being "different" or a misfit the problem is solved, nipped in the bud as they say.

The overwhelming conclusion of the comments I've read here is that it's OK to be a misfit or different, and people should accept themselves as they are. That is, as long as they don't make a fuss about being rejected, discriminated against or mocked or make a nuisance of themselves by getting together with other misfits and forming a group that demands being accepted with respect and treated equally under the law. Then they are unnatural and wrong.

It's no wonder to me that faced with the choices modern medicine offers a parent might prefer that their child change their gender identity and not grow up to feel like a misfit or be a homosexual. For real world consequences of being different see research on income disparity for LBGT -- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons & Socioeconomic Status

Synova said...

It ought to be okay to be different.

But thank you for agreeing with the quite obvious fact that the greater part of the new "acceptance" is to make everyone NOT different.

Like I said... ever smaller and ever more specific boxes.

And fewer boxes.

But you've got to decide which one you want to be in and then make yourself FIT.

When I was younger, we worried about working at removing the heavy pressure to conform. All I see now is that this has been abandoned entirely.

Beau said...

In the old days, you'd just call a girl like this a tomboy and it was no big deal.

No matter how often the matter of transgender is presented people still get it wrong. A girl who is a tomboy, is just that. A girl with boy interests, boy play, boy dress etc, a tomboy. A male child in a female child's body is not that at all. It's quite possible for a transgendered child presenting as female when male, to not be a tomboy at all.

It happens, and if you are the child unlucky enough to be born with a non matching body to your inner knowing of who you are it's a complete mindfuck. Being a tomboy is for girls, being a tomboy for a transgendered kid is trying to superficially match up the inner and the external.

I was a tomboy. I wasn't trying to be a boy, I just liked the things boys did over the things girls did. Yet, I was a girl and wanted to be one. I didn't want a boy's body. A transgendered child desperately wants their body to match their psyche.

Marshal said...

"No matter how often the matter of transgender is presented people still get it wrong. A girl who is a tomboy, is just that. A girl with boy interests, boy play, boy dress etc, a tomboy. A male child in a female child's body is not that at all. It's quite possible for a transgendered child presenting as female when male, to not be a tomboy at all."

Can you list one single fact from the article which excludes the possibility the child in question is merely a tomboy? Then lets next consider whether any four year old can grasp the difference between interests and self sufficiently to express which one they feel

The one conclusion we can reach is that those using the opportunity to preen are carefully avoiding the facts.

Nathan Alexander said...

Pretty much everyone feels uncomfortable and dissatisfied with themselves at many points of their lives.

There is a mature, intelligent way to handle it (learn, know, accept, and love yourself as you are), and the liberal way.

The first way takes effort, and means delaying gratification. The liberal lets you get what you want now, make someone else pay for it, and blame society if you find out the change doesn't make you any happier.

Why are liberals so enamored with permanent adolescence?!?!?

Dave said...

Wow - who ARE you people? This self-reinforcing blog really seems to enjoy judging and condemning - but no one's sharing any real information.

Have you never known a little boy who preferred playing with dolls and girls or a little girl who preferred rough and tumble play with boys. Many gay men share stories of playing with their Barbie as a little boy, but real transgendered folks experience gender identity issues that can be overwhelming especially for a child.

Callously dismissing this as PC nonsense might make you feel comfortable, but the child is already struggling with difficult issues. And it's nothing new -
Are you aware that many societies recognize these children as special and allow them to embrace these identities?

Chastity Bono was a tomboy - but that little girl grew up deeply conflicted until she was able to become Chaz.

Despite what you may believe, there isn't a bright line between male and female. There are always people whose chromosones or genitalia or gender identity don't match up perfectly. I can't believe I'm writing this in 2012.

Go watch a film and get a sense of what people go through maybe "Albert Nobbs" or "Boys don't Cry" or even better "Ma Vie en Rose" (a sweet French movie about a little boy who insists he's a girl) and maybe entertain the idea that you don't know enough about someone to condemn them just because of an article posted on a blog.

Synova said...

Oh fer pities sake Dave...

The whole POINT is that you can't possibly know what is going on inside the head of a 4 year old... and neither can the 4 year old... (Or 14 year old!) the POINT is that there ISN'T a bright line between male and female and most adult people who are not screwed up know that very well.

Reassigning a child is saying that there is a bright line and a child is on one side or the other of that bright line... and also that the adult knows without a doubt which side that is when they make a life decision for their child.

Beau said...

Can you list one single fact from the article which excludes the possibility the child in question is merely a tomboy?

'I am a boy.'

Then lets next consider whether any four year old can grasp the difference between interests and self sufficiently to express which one they feel

It's not about interests. It's about self identification. If you didn't have an internal alarm going off about yourself at that age it's because there was no internal disconnect about what felt right about yourself.

My husband knew by the time he became fully self aware about 2 or so. The only way he could express his concern at that age was to say 'I am a boy'.

Beau said...

The whole POINT is that you can't possibly know what is going on inside the head of a 4 year old... and neither can the 4 year old... (Or 14 year old!) the POINT is that there ISN'T a bright line between male and female and most adult people who are not screwed up know that very well.

Yikes. I hope you're not an educator.

Reassigning a child is saying that there is a bright line and a child is on one side or the other of that bright line... and also that the adult knows without a doubt which side that is when they make a life decision for their child.

The parents have a very healthy attitude about what will determine their child's future leaving the door open for whatever the child decides for themselves as an adult. What better plan than that?

Dave said...

"Synova said...
Oh fer pities sake Dave...

The whole POINT is that you can't possibly know what is going on inside the head of a 4 year old... and neither can the 4 year old... (Or 14 year old!) the POINT is that there ISN'T a bright line between male and female and most adult people who are not screwed up know that very well."

I have no idea what that means. So - if you encounter a child who manifests behaviors which suggest say severe Autism at age 4 - just wait it out? Ignore it because there's no way of knowing what's going on in their head? How about a clinically depressed 14 year old? Just ignore it and until they "snap out of it"? Children dealing with gender identification issues can become so distraught that they are in danger of becoming suicidal. They can also become targets of attack and even murder. But, what the hell - they deserve it, right?

There is real information available about these issues - but you have to actually make an effort to become informed. But perhaps it's more fun to mock and dismiss the pain of others - laugh at their struggles -and if some kid kills himself or is killed - the world's overpopulated and we don't need anymore of those sorts of people anyway!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Most people have now accepted that sometimes the brain tells you that you are one gender and your body parts can be another gender. I don't think this is actually particularly controversial among people not driven by anti-trans bigotry.

The recipient of the 2012 Pauline Kael Memorial Award for Distinguished Coccooning is as good as settled.

Pookie Number 2 said...

But perhaps it's more fun to mock and dismiss the pain of others - laugh at their struggles -and if some kid kills himself or is killed - the world's overpopulated and we don't need anymore of those sorts of people anyway!

The fact that you have to falsify the arguments of your opponents seems to imply that the actual arguments themselves have merit. I don't think anyone is mocking people with these troubles - they are clearly psychologically troubled, and they deserve sympathy and treatment. (We mock Andy not for his own psychological disorder, but because he's such as perpetual douchebag.)

What people disagree with is parents seeking to validate their own politically correct "with-it-ness" regardless of the damage that it may cause their children.

Will this girl end up living as a boy when she's old enough? Possibly.

Does it do her any favors to lock her into this identity when she's four? That seems incredibly unlikely.

Do they seem horrificallt self-centered and shallow by publicizing their private concerns? Oh, yes indeed.

Dave said...

Pookie - I was responding to posts that compared this issue to a child wanting to be "a train" and the characterization of the mother as "PC" or an "intellectually-constipated Lefty" as well as the "what's wrong with just being a tomboy?"

I don't know the specifics of this case, but gender identification issues are very real and sometimes parents working with professionals who have expertise in these matters come to the conclusion that the child's stated gender identity should be affirmed. It can be very painful for a parent to adjust to this. Clearly no one who posted here has had to deal with this sort of issue, so a little tolerance might be a more appropriate response rather than condemnation of the mother.