idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
There are 3 major issues I had with gbaji's post:
1. He assumes that to be transgendered is to be transsexual. This is absolutely not the case, and it is actually one of the biggest political (and social) obstacles faced by trans peoples. Most trans people never take hormone supplements or undergo sexual reassignment surgery.
I made no such assumption. However, it can be argued that the parents in the article *did*. How the hell do you diagnose a gender identity issue at age 3?
2. He assumes that gender identity is the same as preference for "masculine" or "feminine" practices. Gender identity is WAY deeper than that. Anyone who assumes that their little boy is a little girl because he likes putting on dresses or playing with barbies is a frickin' moron.
So you agree with me that the parents were frickin' morons? You're kinda making my point for me here.
First of all, children learn to associate practices with a gender identity over time.
Yes. Over time. Do you see how taking your child to a gender clinic at age three because he's wearing dresses is a bad idea?
Their own gender identity is a much deeper concept--they have one, yeah, but the most important thing is to let them explore it freely.
Therapy at that age is incredibly unlikely to do that, and far more likely to impose the assumption of a transgender condition which the clinic is biased to see and act on.
3. He assumes that gender identity isn't always in flux.
No, I didn't. The parents who responded to their boy wearing dresses by thinking "OMG! Our child might be transgender, let's take him to a clinic to be told it's ok to want to be a girl" instead of the far more rational "it's probably a phase". Which, if you'd actually read my earlier posts was what I was saying from the start.
Gender identity itself is something obtained from social scenarios. Are there basic psychological differences between male and female brains? Yes. And they will influence what end of a spectrum most males/females end up at. But what those ends look like, and how far apart they are, is entirely determined by society. It's a learned behavior.
Yes. We learn gender roles as we develop. And we learn most of that stuff *after* the age of 3. And guess what? Going to a transgender clinic is also going to change how that child learns gender roles and will influence that child's ultimate gender identity.
I think what you're failing to get is that I fully accept that society does tend to teach/pressure children to adopt gender roles based on their sex. The difference is that I see that in the overwhelming majority of cases this is going to derive a better result for the person than to introduce a counter education teaching the child different gender roles (which is essentially what such a clinic will do). I'll point out again that societal norms are norms for a reason. It's what most of the society is comfortable with. Deliberately teaching a child to adopt a gender identity at odds with that norm is just leaping pain and suffering on said child.
If a child sticks with a different gender role on their own despite pressures otherwise *then* you can go down the transgender therapy route. But there's no way in hell anyone's honestly making that determination at age 3. It would be questionable to make that determination at age 10 IMO.
Furthermore, gender identity is always fluid for everyone--plenty of people transition back and forth between identities, precisely because there isn't any intrinsic identity to their biology. Most of them end up settling somewhere eventually. But that's not universally true. The notion that the child is being forced to choose between two opposing gender identities is just not true.
Of course they are. And it's naive to insist otherwise. For good or bad we *do* force such choices on people. Pressures to conform to gender roles are all around us all the time. And while we may rail against such pressure, the reality is that most people conform and most people are happier because of it
. That may suck and all, but that's the reality of the world we live in.
gbaji was worried that a child would be pressured into another identity.
What other purpose could such therapy serve? Think about it.
For any good clinic, this isn't possible--the program would be set up in a distinctly non-hetero (or homo)normative way. Their goal is to provide a safe space where the child can naturally allow their gender identity to form without having to deal with heteronormative pressures since, realistically, the chances of the child ending up in a heteronormative identity are slim.
Huh? Given that somewhere near 99.9% of all people end up with a heteronomative identity, I'd say that the odds of a 3 year old boy, even one who likes to wear dresses at that age, ending up heteronormative are incredibly high. They are high unless you send him to such a clinic
. That's not to say that the parents didn't get incredibly lucky and happen to completely misdiagnose their child's dress wearing in a way which matched a reality they couldn't possibly know about their child at that age and said child really was transgender and the clinic helped save said child from a life of feeling like he/she is in the wrong body.
But the odds are that they just used the clinic to turn their otherwise normal child into a transexual with all the attendant social negatives that will cause over his/her lifetime. Because as you say, gender identity is largely learned behavior. Age three is certainly young enough to teach a child to adopt any gender identity you want to teach them. And I share a healthy skepticism about a clinic dedicated to teaching people to accept different gender roles being very likely to conclude that any child brought to them isn't a transexual.