We believe that all children should be able to grow up and express themselves without being forced into rigid gender role stereotypes (ie pink for girls; blue for boys; the narrow definition of ‘appropriate’ toys and behaviours for girls/boys). It is of major concern that children expressing their individuality outside of these gender stereotypes are pathologised into being “Transgender”. This new trend of diagnosing children with “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID) puts them into a track of unnecessary therapy and medical intervention on healthy bodies. Many of these “Transgender Children” will be put onto hormone blockers before puberty, and fast tracked into irreversible surgeries in their teens, resulting also in a lifetime of hormones to suppress their natural biologies as females or males.
Many non-gender-role-conforming children grow up to be gay or lesbian, others grow up to be heterosexual. Some young transitioners have already discovered that they were not “Transgender” but in fact gay or lesbian, and have gone on to regret the earlier surgeries and treatment as being GID.
Existing research indicates that children with GIDC grow out of gender dysphoria, do not grow up to be transgender, and most of them grow up to be homosexual. Again, no one knows why.
It is alarming that more GID diagnoses of young children are being made. Rather than let the child experiment with his/her unique expression and preferences, these children are being ‘diagnosed’ as being GID and being pushed into accepting these ‘opposite genders’ as a permanent ‘condition’, involving therapists and later medical intervention.
The Tavistock and Patman Foundation Trust, the national body for gender identity disorder, said the number of children diagnosed with the condition had steadily risen from 97 in 2009-10 to 165 so far this academic year, which it said may reflect greater awareness. Only seven children under the age of five were diagnosed last year.
Until shortly before his fourth birthday in December 2010, Zachy, as his mother calls him, was ‘a normal little boy’.
He loved to play with his Thomas the Tank Engine train set alongside his brother Alex.
Suddenly, however, he became obsessed with the children’s TV cartoon character Dora the Explorer, and started to dress in girls’ clothes.
It could well be that Zach Avery may have eventually dropped the new fantasy and obsession with Dora the Explorer as he got older, except now he is diagnosed as GID and will be told, from the young age of five, that he is ‘really a girl in a boy’s body’. Other children at the same age may be obsessed that they are astronauts, firemen, nurses, doctors, ninjas, superman, or even animals – but none of these children will be told that they really are any of those things via regular therapy sessions with child psychologists, nor encouraged to embrace it permanently as ‘their identity’.
Should any of these childhood fantasies be taken seriously as their future identities? If not, then why is the not-uncommon opposite-sex role-play taken as permanent and immutable?
Transgenderism and Intersex Children
Often confused within the issue of “childhood transgenderism” are Intersex children. Frequently the cases of Intersex children are being held up as cases of “Transgender children”, which is incorrect. The term Intersex covers a variety of congential conditions, some are apparent at birth, others are only apparent at puberty.
Previously Intersex babies were operated upon in infancy (primarily those with conditions such as indeterminate genitalia or “micropenis“). The newer trend, which we fully support, being championed by Intersex activists and groups, is not to operate on infants and to let the child decide what treatment (if any) s/he wishes to undertake, at puberty or later. We believe that the only early surgical intervention for Intersex children should be only to correct any urinary tract issues that may exist.
The Tragic Story of David Reimer
Although David (born Bruce) Reimer was not, as far as we know an intersex child, but one who had suffered a botched circumcision at the age of six months. It was then decided by the ‘experts’ at the time that David’s testicles be removed and that he should be raised as a girl called Brenda. This story is unfortunately what happened in many intersex children’s lives in the past – those with indeterminate or small genitalia would be surgically altered at a young age and raised as girls. Many, like David Reimer, would grow up resenting the mutilation to their bodies.
The David Reimer story is a cautionary tale of listening to ‘leading experts’ in gender and early surgery for intersex children. Some of these ‘expert’ theories are indeed questionable and dubious, as in the case of Dr John Money, a sexologist at Johns Hopkins University, who falsified the ‘success’ of David Reimer’s treatment.
The Case of Sally
The case of “Sally”, a 5-alpha-reductase deficiency intersex child is often cited (wrongly) as a transgender case. Although those with the condition can be born with male genitalia, ambiguous genitalia or female genitalia, in Sally’s case she was born with the latter, and her intersex condition was not discovered until the onset of puberty when testes started to descend. Sally with the appearance of female genitalia had been raised as female from birth, and had always considered herself female, even though genetically male. It would understandably be a shock to Sally when male genitalia started to develop at the onset of puberty.
As Sally was under the age of eighteen (fifteen at the time), a hearing for a special medical procedure was undertaken at the Australian Family Court in order to gain permission for the removal of Sally’s testes to halt further development into a male physique. We support the decision to go ahead with the surgery in this case, as Sally was of reasonable age and had always thought of herself as female, even though chromosomally male. Surgery for an intersex condition is correcting a congential physical ambiguity, rather than a transgender case which is surgically and permanently altering healthy body parts.