“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

and,

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?

 

“Feeling pretty and delicate, that is clearly female behavioral traits, right?”

A recurring theme on this blog is the relationship between transgender identity and gender roles and stereotypes. We have seen over and over and over again that when trans people talk about how they experience being transgender, they rely heavily, if not exclusively, on gender stereotypes. From wanting to wear specific clothes as toddlers to wanting specific hair cuts as teens, to wanting specific fashion choices as an adult, all kids of superficial things are taken as evidence of some innate identity.

However, since most people agree that gender roles are not actually progressive or good, but actually restrictive and bad, there is also a rush to assure people that being transgender does not actually have anything to do with gender roles or stereotypes:

gender identity doesnt know about gender roles
“Gender identity doesn’t know about gender roles”

Except for when these same stereotypes and roles are used as a direct reason for transitioning:

feeling pretty and delicate
“Feeling pretty and delicate”

But when someone explicitly asks about the connection between stereotypes and transitioning, they are quickly told that the two are never connected:

nothing to do with feminine or masculine
“Nobody transitions so that they can dress a certain way”

So nobody transitions so that they can dress a certain way, except this person, who wants to wear short shorts and knee-high boots, but cannot because they are for girls:

i wanna wear knee high boots
“I wanna wear knee high boots so bad”

Or this person, who wishes to “rock this or that outfit”.

I wish i could rock that outfit
“I wish I too could try to rock this or that outfit”

Or this person, who upon transitioning from male to female looks forward to never having to wear a tie again:

never having to wear a tie
“I am looking forward to never having to wear a tie again”

Or this person, who is looking forward to buying clothes from any store:

buying clothes in any store
“being able to buy clothes in pretty much any store”

Funny how many examples there are of this thing that supposedly doesn’t happen, isn’t it?

“Have you ever identified more with female characters than male ones?”

It’s time for yet another post full of examples of how trans people online use stereotypes as the basis of deciding to be trans. It’s interesting to see that even though proponents of gender identity publicly stress that gender identity has nothing to do with gender stereotypes, when trans people talk among themselves online, their narratives are usually absolutely steeped with the most egregious stereotypes. There is a huge mismatch between the official gender identity doctrine and what trans people tell themselves about their gender identities. Let’s have a look.

First, a person who, upon transitioning to female, finds themselves fitting “nice and snug in a submissive role”.

submissive
“nice and snug in a submissive role”

Then there is this post, entitled What moments make you look back and think ‘How the hell didn’t I realise I’m trans?,  (archive link) which starts out like this:

princess.PNG
loving the princess role

Enjoying to play a female role must mean you’re transgender, boys can’t just like playing female characters!

hating stereotypes
hating gender stereotypes

If you hate stereotypes, you’re trans. Regular ol’ guys can’t hate stereotypes! They can’t enjoy playing with female relatives either.

theater.PNG
loving theater

Loving theater must mean you’re actually a girl.

girl music
“A girl’ collection”

Likewise, certain types of music is only allowed for girls to like.

Then there is a post entitled If I think about being a girl am I transgender? (archive link), in which a poster wants to know if thinking about being a girl means one is a girl. One commenter helpfully posts a list of “signs” of being trans:

feminist.PNG
“were you a really big feminist?”

Signs of transness includes a desire to wear women’s clothing and being a feminist.

What does being a man mean to you? What do you like about being a man? asks a poster in r/ftm (archive link)

act like a woman
“the outside matches the inside”

Note first that this commenter doesn’t want to “act like a woman”. it is not explained what acting what a woman is, but it implies that there is some way that women acts, and that in order to avoid acting this way, you need to become a man. Choosing to not act this way is apparently not an option.

Finally, pay attention to the statement in this screenshot that the outside should “match” the inside. So there are apparently certain “insides” (personalities, presumably), that only match certain bodies. This is not a particularly progressive idea; the thought that only men or only women can have certain personality types is usually regarded as old-fashioned and regressive. But when trans people say it, nobody dares disagree apparently.

“I hide my meds in my saxophone case” – self medding advice to minors

On reddit, a website where kids as young as 13 are allowed, and many are even younger, anonymous people, often adults, give minors tips on how to obtain prescription-only medication illegally, and hide it from their parents.

In this post, a 15 year old asks for advice, saying that “I have came out to my mom and she does not support me and thinks I should just stay how I was born.”

estrogen is cheap
“estradiol is pretty cheap”

“Estradiol is pretty cheap,” chimes in a 44 year old adult, and provides a link to various online pharmacies where this medication can be bought. Estradiol is a medication that can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, especially if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, if you smoke, or if you are overweight. It is also recommended to get blood tests and physical check-ups while taking this medication, none of which a 15 year old would necessarily have access to.

In this post, reddit users are giving tips to minors on how to hide from their parents that they are taking DIY hormones (“do it yourself”, meaning without a prescription) (archived post)

DIY tips
tips for minors who wish to take prescription medications behind their parents’ backs

The advice comes complete with dosage advice.

In this post, a 16 year old is uncertain about starting hormones:

I am 16 and not getting any younger. I would rather get hormones sooner than later if I’m going to get them at all, and I don’t feel equipped to make that decision at 16. However, I am worried that I won’t be able to make the decision until post-puberty, which would be disadvantageous.

What is the way out of this dilemma?

One of the replies is this:

why not

“Why would you not be equipped to make that decision at 16?” this poster asks, and continues:

you wont regret it
“It’s almost completely certain you won’t regret it”

Another poster chimes in:

youll pass worse
“you’ll pass worse”

Finally, the poster is convinced:

getting aas
“I’m going to go bother some people about AAs”

The commenters have successfully convinced this young teen to get anti-androgens. The most common one is spirolactone, which can have side effects like  uneven heart rate, severe skin reactions, numbness, muscle weakness, vomiting, shallow breathing and confusion.

The dangers of stereotypes

We’ve had a few of these posts here at Transgenderreality, but it seems like it’s impossible to run out of material, so it’s time for another one. People who want to transition to live as the other sex very often have a narrow view of what this means, they seem to look at people as collections of stereotypes, and if you fit one set of stereotypes, that must be the category for you.

Here’s an article about a teenager who identifies as a girl.

“I had always known something was different,” she said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “I was always more feminine and always wanted to play dress-up. When I was 5 I knew I was supposed to be a girl.”

Because boys can’t play dress-up, apparently.

This article offers advice on how to “feel like a girl”.

I grew my hair!

This was the easiest and cheapest way to progress in my transition because it cost no money at all and I could do it without even thinking. (Of course, I realize that not every girl wants to grow out her hair, but this was something I wanted to do.) Caring for your hair with nourishing treatments and oils can help to make it grow, but the best part about this extra hair care is that I was able to give myself some self-care, too.

“Growing long hair made me feel like a girl, even though not all girls have long hair, but when I do it, it makes me feel girly!”

I practiced wearing makeup

Firstly, let me say that no, you don’t have to wear makeup to be a woman. But if makeup is something you want to use, it does take some practice! I’ve realized that this waiting time is the perfect opportunity to perfect the craft. One way to start learning the basics is to look up “morning routine” videos, where makeup artists show you their daily makeup routine.

“I wore makeup to feel more like a woman, even though not all women wear makeup, but when I do it, it makes me feel like a woman”

It couldn’t be more clear that the author is transitioning to a stereotypical view of what women are. Even acknowledging that not all women have long hair or wear makeup. So why exactly does having these things make him feel more “girly”? Why doesn’t short hair make him feel “girlier”?

This article tells the story of a child who liked to imitate his mother and play with barbies.

“I would see her doing little things like tightening her shirt around her waist and calling it a dress and saying ‘Mommy I’m wearing a dress just like you,’ or wearing my high heels around the house,” Gilleylen said.

Lots of kids dabble in dress-up, even boys, which is how Mazy appeared at birth and was being raised. But for Mazy,  it was real.

So this child is like lots of kids, only different because for her, it’s different. Somehow.

Mazy felt she couldn’t tell anyone at school about her dozens of dolls, including a rotating cast of Barbies, with their assorted clothes, cars and a multi-story house. She didn’t dare mention her female superhero costumes.

This is sad. So tightly are children being gender-policed now, that a male child has to be ashamed of liking things that are “for girls”.

This article tells the story of a child who at 2 years old felt that his sense of himself didn’t match his physical body”, which is extraordinary, as most 2 year olds:

  • are not potty trained
  • do not understand the difference between men and women
  • do not understand that your physical characteristics are permanent.

As a toddler, Jacqueline started insisting she was a boy and rejecting any clothing, colors or accessories typically associated with girls. Sarah and Pete started calling their child Jackie — a gender neutral name — and purchasing girl’s clothing in gender-neutral colors. That still didn’t satisfy Jacq Kai, who felt anxious and would often cry at his reflection in the mirror because he looked too much like a girl. Allowing Jacq Kai to get his hair cut like a boy when he was about 3-and-a-half years old was a milestone for the family and left him “jubilant,” Sarah said.

There are tell-tale signs of strict gender policing by the supposedly progressive family here. “Girl’s clothing in gender-neutral colors”? Why not get the kid “boy clothes”, and make sure to state in no uncertain terms that clothes and colors don’t really have a “gender”? “Allowing” the kid a short hair cut after what seems like quite a struggle? It’s hair. Let the kid cut it.

The article talks about the kid being allowed to “express his true identity”, which presumably means being allowed to wear clothes and playing with toys associated with the sex this kid wants to be (it couldn’t really mean anything else, since two year olds aren’t being medically transitioned since they are nowhere near reaching puberty). Which is great! All kids should be able to do this, since gender roles are bad and limiting. However, the parents should be doing this *anyway*. They should tell this kid she can do what she want, wear what she wants, but that she is female and that she will be a woman when she grows up – a woman with short hair and masculine clothes if that’s what she wants, but still a woman.

What they are doing now, is actually *reinforcing* the view that certain things, behaviors, toys etc are associated with your sex. They are telling this kid that now that she’s a boy, she can do these things that she couldn’t previously. And what’s more, they’re setting this kid up for massive disappointment when puberty hits and it turns out that your biological sex isn’t changeable like a hairstyle is.

There will be more of these posts forthcoming.

Lie to them to get HRT. Give them the good old narrative

Previous posts on this blog have revealed what goes on out in the open on reddit’s community “asktransgender”: Young teens being talked into going on hormones, and getting tips on how to obtain these medications illegally:

A magical pill to bypass suffering: how teens are persuaded to start transition

“You’ll be miserable and unhappy with your body for the rest of your life”

“OMFG I HAVE WAITED SO LONG”. Teen goes from questioning to taking hormones in three months

“I’ve given plenty of trans girls shots from my supply”: creepy behavior in the trans community

Today they are at it again. A 14 year old, who came out as transgender in November last year is being taken to a gender clinic and wants to get on hormones as soon as possible. (archived link)

So I’m having my appointment at a transgender clinic tomorrow, and I realized I’m sick of waiting. I just want to get on HRT asap. But I’m worried that they might make me wait longer is I say something that is not very “trans”. So should I be completely honest with them about how I feel, or give them a few of the answers they want? I mean it’s a good clinic, they understand transgender people pretty darn well, but I’m getting impatient. I just want to start HRT asap.

One person advises honesty. The rest?

shade the truth
“shade the truth a bit”
get a story ready in your head
“Get a story ready in your head”
lie if you think it will help
“lie if you think it will help”

lie to them
“Lie to the[m] to get HRT. Give them the good old narrative”
So there we have it. The kid has just turned 14, and adults are giving advice on how to act in order to get on hormones as soon as possible.

Parents whose children think they are trans: Get them off reddit. It’s toxic for them.

 

Like to wear comfortable clothes? Dislike sexism? Change your sex!

A 19 year old woman posts to reddit’s community “asktransgender”:

So I’m 19 right now and identify as female. Ever since I was younger I’ve always leaned towards the masculine side. I’ve always worn boys clothes, for as long as I can remember. When I was maybe 10/11, I would wear boxers and I felt very comfortable in them. When I reached 7th or 8th grade, I tried to start wearing female clothes. I never felt comfortable in girls underwear or shirts (I do usually wear girls jeans). When I was in 5th grade (elementary school) or maybe a little younger, I tried pushing for my parents to start calling me Joey after one of my favorite tv characters.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve recently come out as gay. I always wear boys clothes. I got a haircut and feel ten times more comfortable with it. She/her pronouns sort of make me uncomfortable, but I get embarrassed when people say he/him infront of my friends. I really lean towards the name Nick. I’ve always been big into video games and I’ll always make a male character, etc.

Recently I’ve been introduced to the Trans community and I’ve been watching a lot of videos on transitions so now I’m sort of confused with everything.

Some replies:

your experience is typical
“Your experience sounds fairly typical of trans people”

And:

textbook trans
“You’re textbook trans”

Preferring comfortable clothes and short hair means you should change your sex.

Another poster asks “am I actually a man?“:

I was assigned female at birth. However, I have never been comfortable living as a woman. Even as a young child, like in kindergarten, I hated wearing dresses and would throw tantrums if forced to. Eventually my parents stopped. My first boyfriend called me “secret Asian man” in fact because I have so many masculine traits– I am good at science and math, I like driving, I like fixing things, I like video games and am extremely good at them (better than most men), I play a very masculine instrument, etc, etc.

If you didn’t see me or know my name but were just told about me and my interests, you would think I was a man. I also HATE how being a woman is so limiting. I have been subjected to sexist discrimination, harassment, assault, the lot of it. I am fucking sick to death of it and I KNOW if I had been assigned male at birth, I would never have experienced it. I just lost a very good job because my boss wanted to sleep with me and I rebuffed him, which caused him to retaliate against me and when I complained, I was fired. I HATE living in this female body and I want a male one. I am just scared of coming out, honestly. Scared of what my family and friends will say. I feel like I would have to move to another city to truly be able to start over.

Hating dresses, being good at science, and playing a “very masculine instrument”  – as if no women can do these things.

Top rated reply:

not cis
“trans with doubts doesn’t equal cis”

The poster further explains that part of what makes her dislike “being a woman” is the harassment she received for having unshaven legs:

leg hair

When disliking harassment and preferring certain styles of hair and clothing is making people “question their gender” to the extent that they ask other people for advice about it, that says a lot about the narrow gender roles people are feeling confined by. Furthermore, it seems to be a wide consensus in the online trans communities that the act of questioning your gender itself means that you are trans. This sentiment is very pervasive.

Transcript from 00.30: “so first off, if you guys questioned it, um, you probably are transgender”

few and far between
Enter a caption

According to the poster in the screenshot above, if you’re questioning that very likely means you are trans.

cis people don't question
“cis people don’t usually question their gender”

On the webpage of a “gender therapist”, the following advice is offered:

The first thing I want to talk about is the question of “How do I know I’m transgender?” being very, very big in and of itself and breaking it down in bits and pieces.

Let’s talk about how, if someone is even asking themselves that question it probably means, at the very least, they are feeling uncomfortable with their current gender role. So more than likely, the answer to that question (“Am I transgender?”) is “yes.”

If people are even asking the question, it means that more than likely they are transgender, according to this gender therapist.

We have seen this in previous posts here as well.

So we have people growing up steeped in narrow gender roles, questioning their gender, and being told that the very act of questioning means they are transgender. Combine that with medical transition many places being trivially easy to obtain, and you have a situation where people are doing irreversible changes to their bodies on very flimsy grounds.

questioning to full time in 9 montsh
“questioning to fulltime in 9 months”
fast
“from questioning in may to hrt in september”
super fast
“why wait?”
month and a half
“got my prescription within a month and a half”
medium fast
“questioning in June, Spiro and E in january”

Sexist gender roles + confused young people + the notion that questioning means you are trans + easy access to hormones = a rush of people modifying their bodies in rather extreme ways in order to fit in.