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?