I would certainly consider myself to be one of those people who has an opinion on everything. And if you’ve read even just a few of my posts here on Life360, I’m sure you probably agree. But recently I came across a news story that left me really unsure of how exactly I felt about it.
A couple in California has been giving their 11-year-old son hormone blockers to prevent the onset of puberty, so that he has time to decide whether or not he wants to switch his gender. The boy began taking GnRH hormone inhibitors over the summer and will continue to do so until he is 14 or 15 years old, when he can determine which gender he wants to be, FoxNews.com reports.
Timmy, who prefers to go by the name Tammy, has been identifying himself as a girl since he was three. The hormone-suppressant, implanted in his upper left arm, will postpone the 11-year-old developing broad shoulders, deep voice and facial hair. This will allow him to explore the “female” identity before puberty. He began the transition to a girl around age 8 when he started dressing in girl’s clothes.
Psychiatrists diagnosed Tommy with gender identity disorder, which is what ultimately led to the decision to try the hormone therapy. But even just allowing Tommy to be Tammy and dress as a girl made a huge difference in the life of a boy who had resorted to threatening self-mutilation.
“He was in his own world just completely detached and that was a problem we always had — getting Thomas to participate in life,’ one of Timmy’s mothers, Pauline Moreno told the Mail. “What we saw emerge when Tammy was allowed to be Tammy is, ‘Whoa!’ It was an immediate transformation. She was so giggly and she was now interacting she was now making it a point to defend herself.”
Proponents of the treatment are blasting the couple though, some even calling it child abuse. But statistics show though that 50 per cent of transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday. So these moms have no qualms about letting the child be who he really is, with no regrets. And I get that.
As I read a number of articles on this family it was pretty clear to me that these moms are just taking what could certainly be considered drastic measures to accept and love their child, unconditionally. That is not exactly abuse in my book.
But, at the same time I look back on my own childhood and puberty and the early teens years and I shudder. Puberty is a confusing, mucky, and challenging time for every child whether they are gay, straight, or transgender, and trying to figure out who they are as a person, not just as a gender, is hard enough as it is. And I think many people find when they come out of adolescence and puberty that they aren’t exactly who they thought they were. Which is nature’s way.
I cant help but wonder if by not letting nature take it’s course with Timmy, he might not ultimately be more confused about life then he would be without the help of hormones. Do any of us truly know who we are or what we want at 11 years old?
Here is a boy, who may ultimately decide he’s a girl, who is being raised in a loving accepting atmosphere. His family will welcome him with open and loving arms whoever he turns out to be. But at the same time, most of the people I know who are gay or transgender say they knew from birth who they were. So are these moms helping their child avoid more pain by allowing him to make this change now, especially if he does truly know in his heart that he is a girl?
What do you think? Is this kind of therapy opening a whole new world for transgender children and teens, a more accepting and open world? Or are these parents too quick to act?
And if your child were convinced he was a girl, to the point of threatening to hurt himself, what would you do?
No easy answers on this one, but a gentle reminder that our job as parents is to love our children no matter what. Like I said before, I’m not sure how I feel about this, only that I hope whatever happens nature is somehow able to take her course and that little Tommy or Tammy is able to happily grow up and be whoever he or she was meant to be.