“We tried to make this kid be a boy”

In an article about a child who wants to be a boy, the parents talk about how the child “began taking on names commonly used for boys during playtime and displayed ‘male role modeling’.” They talk about how the child was happy when allowed to wear “boy clothes”. They talk about taking their child to a pediatrician and then to a psychologist.

Their pediatrician recommended visiting with a child psychologist who, after a three-hour evaluation, determined the child was gender variant. The psychologist explained it could be a phase or the child could later affirm a male identity — either way, she recommended that Ann support him by letting him play and dress as he wanted.

Then two years later:

When Ben turned 7, the child psychologist formally determined Ben was transgender.

This is eyebrow-raising (or should be), because according to research, most children who are “gender dysphoric” go on to become regular adults satisfied with their biological sex. From the WPATH  (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) guidelines: (note: link goes to a pdf file)

most cases of childhood gender dsyphoria do not persist into adulthood


Gender variance in childhood is normal. Risks of a GI-Childhood diagnosis include: Stigmatizing children with a diagnostic label when there is no disorder; diagnosis can become iatrogenic, instilling a sense in the child that “there is something wrong with me”; and a poor predictive value – 80% of children diagnosed with GID do not continue to have GID of adolescence or adulthood.

4 out of 5 children who experience gender identity disorder do not persist. They grow up to become well-functioning adults. Often, they grow up to be gay or lesbian. Furthermore, as the WPATH document points out, giving children a diagnostic label can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What is even more worrying is that so often these diagnoses are given to children that have been heavily policed by their parents regarding how they are allowed to express themselves. This story of a conservatively religious parent is a good example:

For Shappley and her family, it all began with a hair bow.

“I want a bow like Daisy,” her then-three-year-old son Joseph Paul begged of her. Shappley knew the big red bow, ponytails and princess dresses were things almost every little girl wished for. However, these weren’t for a daughter — Shappley reminded herself these were the requests of her son.

So a child with a penis asks for a hair bow. Instead of just letting the child wear a hair bow and not making a huge deal out of it, the parents tell him he can’t have them because they are for girls. They make him do “boy stuff”:

His desire to dress in little girl’s clothes is a secret Shappley has kept from the outside world since Joseph was just a toddler. As an infant, she put him in blue clothes. As a toddler, she made him do what shes says is ‘typical boy stuff,’ like fishing, playing football with his siblings and throwing little boy’s birthday parties.

“We tried to make this kid be a boy,” said Shappley. Still, Joseph kept seeking out what the girls had and, by the age of three, he was telling everyone he was a girl.

Of course the kid is telling people he’s a girl! You’ve been telling him that the thing he wants, that his female peers have, are only for girls. Why wouldn’t he try to get access to the pretty bows by saying he’s a girl? Three year old children do typically not have a good understanding of what it means to be a boy or a girl, most commonly understanding the terms by using stereotypes.

Shappley sought out more help, turning to pastors and her faith. Her hope was that her young boy would act like one.

The mother is hoping her child will “act like a boy”. What do  boys act like? Why does this child have to act in a certain way?

“So Christians are not gay, OK, that’s the mindset that I had.”

Having a gay child would of course be difficult for a person belonging to a religion in which being gay is seen as wrong. And children who strongly identify with the opposite sex in childhood do often grow into homosexual adults. This mother will now have a straight daughter.

Parents and children like these are now wildly popular in the news, there’s hardly a week or even a day without a story like this, a documentary, a reality show. How easy will it be for these children to change their minds, as 4 out of 5 of them will, statistically? How easy is it to change your mind about being the opposite sex when your parents have campaigned for your right to use the opposite bathroom and changing room at school? When your parents have spent money to sue the school district? When your entire family makes money and is famous from your transness?


15 thoughts on ““We tried to make this kid be a boy”

  1. This helps highlight one of the reasons the DSM-5 is in serious need of revision – particularly re kids – because the following makes no allowance for strict stereotypical bias of parents, caregivers or therapist re “the gender others would assign him or her”. Kids should be excluded from this “diagnosis”.

    “For a person to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, there must be a marked difference between the individual’s expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her, and it must continue for at least six months. In children, the desire to be of the other gender must be present and verbalized. This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

    (From American Psychiatric Association Gender Dysphoria Fact Sheet: http://www.dsm5.org/documents/gender%20dysphoria%20fact%20sheet.pdf)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. That statistic, “80% of children diagnosed with GID do not continue to have GID of adolescence or adulthood”, is kinda sad actually. Meaning, most of us just grit our teeth and conform, once we’ve well understood the expectations.


    • It’s not sad at all. People who don’t trans don’t necessarily conform to anything. The belief that they do is flawed, because it’s trans who conform to stereotypes in order to align internal thinking with physical appearance. Body mutilation in order to live a delusion is sad.

      80% of people diagnosed with GID too young, learn their feelings are normal, get past the stage of believing they are born in the wrong body, ignore expectations, accept who they are, and realise they do not need to transition in order to conform to stereotypes. I think it’s great. The totally unnecessary transing of anyone who ticks a few arbitrary boxes is not great.

      Liked by 5 people

      • “People who don’t trans don’t necessarily conform to anything. ”

        True but many do. They conform to the stereotypes attributed to their sex. It’s difficult to believe a woman who spends an hour a day applying make-up and who endures wearing high heals and uncomfortable clothing is not conforming.


        • By your example, you appear to be making the assumption that the female portion of the 80% of kids diagnosed with GID who do not continue to have GID of adolescence or adulthood then grow up to conform to those extremes, whereas it’s unlikely to be the case.

          Liked by 2 people

        • It is TRANS who spend an hr a day on make up and trots around in high heels. It is TRANS conforming to these stereotypes. The fact that people do NOT trans does not mean they go to the opposite extreme. Most real women do not do these things. Most real women wear comfortable clothes and shoes and wear little or no make up, unless it is a special occasion.

          Liked by 3 people

    • No, it means people stop the narcissistic attention seeking and realize that being a productive citizen is more important than being a rank narcissist. Do you think kids should be pushed to continue a transgender identity, long after they realize that they just went through a phase, and it doesn’t fit? Should they continue with the trans BS just to save face? Reality is, that during adolescence we try many things on, and most don’t fit us. We should not be forced to continue that which doesn’t fit, all so some pervy adult males can get their sexual fetishes validated. I also agree with Sylvie’s thinking. Trans are the conformists. They think they must mutilate themselves to conform to sexist stereotypes. Few people tick off all the boxes of gender stereotypes and it doesn’t make them trans. I think it is great that people come to accept themselves as they are! More power to them! Can’t be something you’re not. Surgery can not alter reality. Every chromosome betrays the lie, and tells the world your real sex. Of course, they can tell already. Trannies never pass.

      Liked by 3 people

      • “Trannies never pass…”
        Sometimes some trans-people can pass quite well as the opposite sex, *because* they try to follow stereotypes to achieve it, along with the usual “medical procedures”.
        The entire thing is socially constructed, I find it difficult to think that it’s really about sex.
        It’s the “visible social gender” that this ‘dysphoria” is all about: the use of pronouns, clothing, behavior, etc.
        It’s totally illogical to use hormones and surgery to “treat” a problem like this, but that’s exactly what is done to keep the stereotypes alive.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe there is some teeth gritting involved but I think most people just find a more neutral expression that they can live with.


    • The statistics also show that of those 80%, the majority grow up to be gay or lesbian adults– not exactly what most would consider conformity, especially if we’re talking about butch lesbians or nelly gay men.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. “Transgender children experience a disconnect between their sex, which is based on their anatomy, and their gender, which includes behaviors, roles and activities, experts say…”
    (from http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/27/us/colorado-transgender-girl-school/)
    What part of “behaviors, roles and activities” is not a social construct? What part of it is not purely psychological, i.e., defined by personality and abilities of the person?
    If it is both psychological problem and a socially constructed one, then why attempt to change the physical body *of the individual* to solve it?
    Just because changing society and prejudices is more difficult? … Not a good reason, in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

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