Sunday, March 07, 2010

Transgender Generalities

While looking at one of my favorite sites for Hentai (which I do both for business and pleasure, this occasion strictly business as I am hunting new girls for Sarah's twitter profile) I ran across this article. It describes a situation where an 8-year old boy has been admitted to the elementary school as a girl after expressing discomfort at being treated as a boy. It's the first instance in this particular school system, though a similar instance did occur in a high school. Each time I read anything about transgender children, I have conflicting feelings.

As some of you may know, my oldest child (Mastermind) is 7, turning in a scant few months. This could easily be my kid, he's pretty eccentric. He likes scarves. He wears his sister's tinkerbell wings around the house sometimes. He even said once that he wished he was a girl. How did I respond?

I didn't freak out and say "Too bad! You're a boy, stop saying things like that!?!"

I also didn't say "Okay, well let's get you some girl clothes and you can grow your hair out. We'll start calling you Tiffany. Want mommy to paint your nails? It'll be sooo cute!"

My personal belief is that a child is too easily influenced to decide such things on their own. Saying that, I believe that any drastic reinforcements, whether positive or negative, can harm the child's true feelings and end up shaming them or leading them to believe that I want them to be a certain way. Basically, I think the door should be left open. If after going through more life experiences and at the very least letting their body and feelings develop naturally he still feels he wishes he were a girl, then we'll take the steps necessary to make him comfortable. Kids too often do things for attention or mimic what they see and hear and I would hate to encourage something that was not heartfelt.

I'm sure there are many differing opinions on this topic and I am not the most well versed person on gender identity, which probably doesn't help things. If you have kids, or assuming you had kids, how would you approach this situation?

2 comments:

Britni TheVadgeWig said...

I'd go with what the kid wanted. Does my boy want to be a princess for Halloween? Fine! Wear my shoes? Okay! Play dress up? Go for it! Most of the time it's a phase. Sometimes, it's not. But I feel like negatively responding to a child who expresses these desires leads to shame and embarrassment over them, and encourages them to either repress them or hide them from you. I wouldn't want to be responsible for creating such a deep sense of shame in my child. I say let them explore, and figure out what they like and what feels right to them for themselves.

sarahbear said...

The same way you do, baby. =)

The kids do what they want. Last month it was tinkerbell wings, this month it's the black sweatshirt he won at school. Though if he doesn't start watching that smart mouth of his we're going to have a problem.

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