5 year old transgender child

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Mububban, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    This may be blocked outside of Australia, but this story tells the story of Emma, who was born a boy but knew all her life she felt like a girl.

    http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8674056



    I appreciate the honesty that the parents have in this. They are still mourning the loss of their son, at the same time as having to help their daughter through life. It's so good though to see that the (separated) parents are both able to put their child's needs first.

    If that was my child, I would be petrified for them because we as adults know just how horrible other people can be to each other. As I was watching this story I just knew that some people watching the same thing would be thinking it's disgusting, it's unnatural, it's just a phase etc. At least this child hasn't had to deal with hatred from within her own family. Previously I was on the fence about kids being transgender, but I know someone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery, and they've never been happier. For the first time in their life they aren't just going through the motions but are simply living their life, free and happy. I'm sure not all cases would be this clear, there would statistically be some that are a phase or confusion or something else, but watching this story I didn't get any vibe from the child that they were anything but a girl. I wish this family all the best.
     
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    This is one of those topics wherein my views have progressed as I've gotten older.

    I think for now it's not so bad, it will become much more difficult when the child enters her teen years. And you're right, I didn't get the feeling that kid was meant to be anything except a girl.
     
  3. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    I am glad they can't have the surgery until 18, a friend found this link which I haven't checked out yet:


    Once you chop and change there really is no going back, so as much as it can cause anguish, I think keeping that final hurdle is a necessary evil for most as it's an irreversible one.
     
  4. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, you probably made a lot of bad decisions like I did as a teenager... but at least one of them wasn't "hey mum and dad, I want to have my penis chopped off".:D

    Though when I was a youngster I did have a close call with an overturned lawnmower.
     
  5. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    I've always had a weird stance towards transgender surgery, in general at any age. I can't shake the idea that ingrained in their genetic code it is still XY or XX. How do people clear their consciousness of that genetic brand? That and the idea of going to such lengths to change oneself for only yourself kind of rubs me wrong too. Also gender labels being mostly artificial and cultural, like clothes and roles.

    Maybe it is just because I've come to terms with the monster I am and I'm kind of a fatalist, but people can do whatever they want with themselves though if it makes them happy no matter how futile it can seem, happiness and having an identity are worth the risk.

    I'm pro the kid deciding what she wants though, along with the surgery embargo until a later date because kids still go through tons of chemical changes and cognitive growth that could go any way.
     
  6. olivia_the_lamb

    olivia_the_lamb Moderator Staff Member

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    I posted that TED talk a while back on my facebook. It was great. Watch it ASAP.
     
  7. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    I can't help but feel that the parents view this in the completely wrong way. They never lost their son... the kid is right in front of you, hello??.. It's still the same person and still have the same personality and attributes. Except, the kid is a girl and wants to play after those genderroles instead. I never felt like I lost my sister. I never lost anything. I don't view people as genders.. oh thats a penis or thats a vagina... it's a person. And they don't die if they happen to 'change their gender'.
     
  8. Stormborn

    Stormborn Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you. They never lost their child, It's their child no matter if the child feels like a girl or a boy.

    People fixate so much on gender. I don't see the point.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  9. olivia_the_lamb

    olivia_the_lamb Moderator Staff Member

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    I completely agree, but this is the parent's way of coping... at least they aren't disowning the child. I wish teh whole world could be as open minded as we are, but this is a good step toward that.
     
  10. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    Of course they do need some cred for being accepting and understanding, supporting the child instead of doing the opposite. And yeah, I wish so too.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    A part of me wonders if the gender identity when pre-teenage/young adult is more driven by the divide in roles/dress/interests/toys/focus which is almost enforced by society upon boys and girls. Even though its a LOT weaker than it used to be in many western nations it is still a powerful thing. And yet we can see that these divisions are often not actual, but just exaggerations to the extreme and that in reality most people walk the middleground between them.

    I suspect this might explain some (not all) younger kids who feel that they must be a boy/girl to be interested in certain things or dress a certain way (and when it comes to dress codes girls have an advantage in that they can dress how they wish - whilst boys cannot dress in girls clothes in the same way socially). It might explain why they then slip back again when in their older years. I also back the view that surgery shouldn't be allowed till they are older (heck I doubt you could perform such surgery on a growing person without causing huge problems as they grow up - although I'm aware that some children have had operations like boob jobs when very young as part of the whole "prom/miss world queen" thing which is a bigger thing in some areas of America)
     
  12. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    I think you're absolutely right Em. Those parents haven't lost their child at all but they might grieve for losing their expectations for that child's life. Right or wrong, all parents have hopes and dreams for their children. Most can't help imagining what kind of person their child will grow up to be and that maybe one day they might have grandchildren to play with for example. I give those parents kudos for abandoning those expectations in the interest of their child's well-being. I can't begrudge them grieving for the loss of them though.

    It's unbelievable how much societal pressure is put on boys (and their parents BTW) to form a societally acceptable gender identity (at least here - I'm not sure if that's the case everywhere). When my son decided to grow his hair long, you wouldn't believe what a big deal that was for some people. Everybody commented on it - relatives, strangers, friends, acquaintances, kids at school. One person even made a comment in a derogatory fashion that he was going to make somebody a good "wife" one day. As his parents, we heard many "suggestions" (some subtle, some not) that we should forbid him to grow his hair - as if there was something wrong with him that he wanted to grow it and we'd better fix that before it got out of hand. Seriously?!?!?!?
    I feel terrible for kids who don't fit neatly into society's gender moulds... whether they're transgendered or not, they get crapped on by a lot of people. :mad:
     
  13. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Aye and most of those gender identifying things are simply shifts in fashion - heck at one time pink was a very macho man colour not a girls colour.

    It reminds me of another aspect of growing up that can be confusing for kids which is emotional aspects where they are taught not to "show their emotions" which is supposed to teach them to control emotional outbursts to the proper time; however because the only part of things that gets taught are the times "not" to show emotion it gives the impression that they have to somehow repress all emotion all the time. Seemingly this gets hit on boys a lot more than girls and to show emotion is one of those "girly" things.

    Once you're an adult and look back at it its all 100% sillyness and simply an extension of parental views often taken to extreme - its not designed to be mean but its darn confusing.

    The hair thing is interesting, we don't have as much stigma in the UK however the fashion is very much for short not long heir on guys. Schools do have limits too on how long you can grow your hair but otherwise most people don't mind. You can get the girly comments if you grow your hair REALLY long and doubly more if one were to styalise it like a girl; but otherwise most wouldn't care. I'm actually surprised that its such a major deal in Canada, but I'd say if he wants it long let it be long. Heck I get some ribbing for my beard and growing it long is -- well lets just say that despite having Santa, Gandalf and Dumbledor long beards still don't get the respect they deserve (not that mie has had hte chance to get that long yet.....)
     
  14. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    I have to disagree. I hate to sound like a snooty know it all, this sounds so bad typing it, but….."as a parent myself" I understand what they mean. You can't just flip a switch that easily, there will be at least some small part of you that misses one person when another comes along. And from what the report showed, the boy and the girl are quite different.

    At least the parents have the love in them to still love their child no matter what.

    SJ summed that up far better that I just did :D As soon as you hold that baby, even when you find out you're expecting, you start to form ideas, dreams, expectations. One of the hardest things about parenting is not then imposing those things onto your children, trying to let them choose their own path in life whilst wishing they would just do what you wanted them to do :D I tip my hat to those parents, especially because they are separated which usually causes lots of problems.
     
  15. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    I can understand that familymembers have hopes and dreams for their child, but I don't see anything that actually goes away just because of a genderchange. If someone expected their son to follow in dads footsteps and be a firefighter and have kids and all.. Why cant the kid do that as a girl and also have kids? Most transgendered people have biological kids, adopt, inseminate, egg donations, surrogacy etc. If that person still wants a child, it will have a child, and the dreams of the parent wont be smashed. My brother still wants biological kids, and if he and his boyfriend gets a child, my brother will be the one carrying it in his womb.

    As a familymember that actually has the exact fenomenon in my family and has gone through it, I can say that I still stand by what I said in my previous post. Neither me, my mom or my dad felt disappointed or like we lost anything or anything like that when we realized that my sister was a brother. I still have the exact same hopes and dreams and expectations for him to be honest. Even to get to be an aunt, exactly like my mom now still expects to be a grandmother, nothing has changed. And my brother is not another person, he is the exact same person. Just with less boobs and more hair ;)
     
  16. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    I'm very glad for your family and your brother that they didn't have any disappointment over failed expectations for him. I think that's fabulous. :)

    Unfortunately, I don't think all families can claim the same. Right or wrong, people feel what they feel about these issues and there's just no getting around that. Feelings aren't always rational. Also, I think that acceptance does not have to depend on an absence of disappointment for failed expectations. Acceptance means to love and support somebody regardless of whether you feel disappointment over those failed expectations or not. I'd also view those emotions of disappointment simply as something the person who feels them brought upon themselves. They're not a bad reflection of anyone else. That disappointment is the problem of the person who feels it, and it's their problem to deal with. Once they deal with it, they'll see that they haven't really lost anything at all, as you've pointed out.
    Nobody's perfect and I can't judge those parents for being less than perfect either. They've accepted their child for who she is and done what's in her best interest. In my opinion that's good parenting. I'm guessing Mub and I feel about the same on that issue.

    @Overread: I think here in the "new world" we have the traditional image of the "Marlborough man"/Western cowboy/hockey/football player to idolize.... could be why gender stereotyping for boys here seems to be so severe...?
    I can't stand it honestly. I have a kid who doesn't like and who won't wear clothing with superheroes/dinosaurs/camouflage/skulls etc. on it. Gender stereotyping is so bad here that I find it next to impossible to buy basic things like pyjamas for him... because they're all plastered with Superman and Spiderman for boys and the girls stuff is Tinkerbell and Disney Princess which he doesn't like either. Even things like bicycles are ridiculous too. Bikes for boys are clearly for boys and all the girls bikes are pink or purple with baskets and streamers hanging from the handlebars. They even have pink soccer cleats for girls. Buying non-gender-specific stuff for kids is getting harder and harder all the time. :p
    I think the emotional gender stereotyping is easing off a little here. In general, people seem to be more accepting of boys showing emotions compared to when I was a kid for example. The behavioural expectations of boys as a gender stereotype are still rampant though. If your boy doesn't engage in boisterous / rambunctious play, play contact team sports or doesn't want to dress up as batman/superman/spiderman for halloween... well there must be something wrong with them, right? *rolls eyes*
     
  17. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    You know, this is an interesting topic :)

    It appears that transgender is a bit of a fad syndrome. As some might know, every generation has a few. Now, to be clear, I am not transgender myself, and I have no interest in children. I simply have no idea at what level of sincerity I need to judge such remarks from kids, especially so young.

    However, assuming there is a genetic component (or even predisposition in early development), that component can assumed to have occurred at equal rates as in the past few hundred years. With symptoms like these, I am always left wondering why they didn't surface before (at least - in this quantity). The two questions that immediately follow is why it does now, and, really, what changed?

    As to that, I think the case SJ presented, her son growing his hair, might hint at an answer. A trend I recognise in most Western countries is that children are taking a much more central position in the family. When I was young, I got a hairdo regardless of my opinion, I got dressed, went to school, and, generally, had a life controlled and organised around the life my parents had. Not that I didn't had one, I simply wasn't encouraged to have my own opinion in every-day matters. And there really was little room to persuade my parents of something that went against their predecided judgement. Being a girl, for one, simply would be completely out of the question. Not that my parents love me, but us kids took a secondary position on the family, and we knew it.

    As I see my sister raise her kids, I recognise they get a say in a lot of things, much more so than we used to be. They get to be part of decision making, even at a very early age. If my nephew, for instance, would decide he'd be a girl, that would be totally on the table, I am quite sure of it. Even though the child might not exactly know what gender and gender roles mean. Accepting that, I also wonder whether it would be a good idea to tag along with such desires. Truly, I have no idea at all... though the TEDtalk might have shed some light on that...
     
  18. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Tur interesting thing to point out on kids becoming more central in family choices and decisions. I'd argue that its a good thing in general, but that it can also backfire very badly - parents still need to have some control/influence/direction over their kids least they only raise "wild animals" ;).

    In everything there is a balance and I think after the balance swings way out to ultra freedom it will reign in again and hopefully settle at a sane point.

    SJ - I agree esp for girls the commercial marketing machine is possibly the most dinosaur of modern views in many ways. Parents, kids and society at large I think is moving on; however the marketing machine is slower to adapt to this change in some market segments (likely also prompted by the fact that big change = cost for them). Still things are indeed changing for the better.
     
  19. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Genes are funny things. They may be present in the genetic code but they aren't always expressed. The environment of the modern world is significantly different from what it was hundreds of years ago.... who knows what genes it has "turned on" in the current population?

    This is a good point Tur and I've noticed the same thing. Family dynamics have really changed in the last generation or so and it seems that children are given a lot more autonomy than they used to have, in one sense anyway. By that I mean that they have more say in their day to day activities, appearance etc.

    I've also noticed a disturbing trend toward keeping them as dependent as possible for longer. Very few are given responsibilities around the house or are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves. They aren't taught to respect their own things or how to look after themselves. Their parents do everything for them, regardless of whether the child can do those things or not. I knew kids on my floor in university residence that didn't know how to do their own laundry at 18 years of age.... seriously?!?!?!?!


    sooooo true!
     
  20. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    I put part of that down to a problem between school and home - schools don't really teach any home skills, life skills or anything along those lines at all. Those that do its often in the form of one or two lessons on the subject once at a random point in the students time at the school. As such they are instructed (and the tickbox can be ticked) but they are never taught - I put this down to a lot of problems kids have when going independent because the schools expect the parents and vis versa to have taught the content.
    So you have kids who never know how to pay a bill - sort out utilities - tax (both what taxes are out there and how to pay) - budget a household - wash laundry - change a plug (we were taught this - in physics - once - I think it maybe came up on the exam but that was it; no further teaching, no reinforcement of the lesson)

    ps - modern washing machines are a nightmare - 1000000s of controls and buttons and options! I just want colours - whites - strong - that's all one needs to wash with ;)
     
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