The point of this thread is to ask the ethical questions that always get bandied about when discussing young people with gender identity disorder. When can they know? When can we reasonably say this person is transgendered, and not just going through a "phase?"
I'm of the camp that believes that children presenting with resolve that they are indeed transgendered are in the best position to know whether or not it's a permanent or passing feeling. I'm making this thread because NPR did the second of a two-part piece on children diagnosed as having GID. I didn't hear yesterday's, but today I was brought to tears as I was driving home from work. It was about a young boy named Armand that, at age 10, was accepted by her parents and family as a female named Violet. The story was very moving, what with the father's family being not only accepting, but encouraging, and proud of the father's decision and acceptance. It was all very heartwarming, but then two examples were brought up afterwards about GID in children and the "treatment" of it.
The first example was some clinic that had treated a handful of GID cases in children for about the past few decades. Apparently, they had required that the children live as their biology dictated, and reported that, after treatment, or rather lack thereof, 80% of the children-come-adults had decided to stick with their biological sex. The second example was some clinic in Europe that was doing research with hormone blockers, and said that 100% of children treated continued life transgendered. It wasn't specified if the children, in addition to receiving hormone blockers to prevent puberty, also received replacement hormone treatment to induce opposite sex puberty.
Now, here's the thing. Hormone blockers apparently carry no risk of infertility. They can be used to delay puberty almost indefinitely, according to one of the researchers interviewed for the program. The researcher stated his own misgivings about early diagnosis, and said that hormone blockers were a great was to delay the final decision. That's pretty nifty. However, replacement hormone treatment in addition to hormone blockers apparently do
result in infertility, but the benefits are obvious, in that biological boys will develop as girls, and vise versa.
Now, the question is, when is it safe to say that this individual, this child, is of the maturity level to decide that they are definitely male or female? The father from the piece said something that seems pretty obvious, "when did you decide you were a boy?" If you ask me, there's absolutely no concious decision there for the great majority of transgendered individuals, if for any at all. They just are, as any cisgendered person just is. But the two aforementioned examples result in conflicting data. Naturally, I'd question the first example's treatment course, and would be much more interested in seeing a study about 80% that supposedly chose their biological sex over their previously held transgendered sex. Likewise for the 100% that chose their transgendered identity, but I have this feeling that they're much more adjusted individuals today.
So, how do we approach this? Hormone blockers seem like a really good answer, albeit temporary, to this problem, if it even exists. To me, it seems like the clinic in the first example is little more than an ex-gay kind of organization for GID, but that may be exceedingly harsh. I'm going to look up the broadcast and see if I can't find the names of the clinics, and then hopefully be able to find out about their practices with regards to the children they treat.
Anyways, the unifying, on-topic question: at what age can a child reasonably decide that they are transgendered? Any research about children that are diagnosed accurately
as transgendered but later revert to their biological gender would be greatly appreciate.