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to think that these parents shouldn't allow their 8 year old to make such life changing decisions?

(42 Posts)
welshone51 Wed 21-Oct-09 20:11:53

Hi I recently watched a tv programme called aged 8 and wanting a sex change. The programme mainly centered around two American children born male who wanted to become female and who have lived for the past few years as girls, they grew their hair, wore female clothing and played with mainly female toys. Both sets of parents were extremely supportive, sought help for their children and are now allowing their children to live the lives they chose which is IMO commendable up to a point.
Both children have been diagnosed with a condition called Gender dysphoria which means that the children genuinely believe they are/should be the opposite sex. However many gender experts beleive that a lot of these children may grow out of this condition as puberty develops- The thing is some of these children are going to be given drugs called '' puberty blockers'' which can stunt their growth and leave them completely infertile in order for them not to develop physically into women/men, these drugs are permenant and need to be given to children sometimes as young as 9 or 10 before puberty begins. These drugs arent allowed to be given in the uk until a child reaches the age of 16!! Am I being unreasonable to think that it is potentially dangerous to be giving their small children these drugs or am I not seeing the bigger picture!! hmm

fernie3 Wed 21-Oct-09 20:13:33

I think its reasonable to allow them to dress as girls etc BUT unreasonable to allow them to take steps which cannot be reversed.

MuffinToptheMule Wed 21-Oct-09 20:15:51

I watched the programme too and think that it's a very complex issue and there isn't necessarily a right or wrong thing to do. And yes, it could potentially be dangerous but so could allowing the child to develop into a male adult if they feel that they are female.

Biobytes Wed 21-Oct-09 20:20:01

It may be that those are only allowed that late in the UK to allow for the child to may be grow out of the condition, rather than they being dangerous for younger children.

I do not know much about the condition but know a child who has it. I would say that an earlier intervention would make the change easier for the child, at least in terms of facing the world in their new identity, if that is the correct word.

curiositykilled Wed 21-Oct-09 20:24:11

Yeah, I agree. I'm all for the respecting of children's choices and I can see how it might be easier to have a sex change really young but I still think a child is not really capable of making those decisions at that age and a parent should not ever make them for a child. Painful for the child maybe BUT I'd make them wait till they were an adult.

2cats2many Wed 21-Oct-09 20:30:45

I think that the point is that it isn't a 'choice' for the children. I watched the programme too and it seemed clear to me that the children in the doco were in an extraordinary position. They really did feel that they had the wrong bodies- it wasn't just a whim or a phase.

What really drove it home for me was that they were prepared to go to school dressed as either a boy or girl (opposite to their birth sex) and were prepared to put up with all the horrendous bullying, etc, because even that was preferable to being the 'wrong' sex.

curiositykilled Wed 21-Oct-09 20:46:52

It's a choice to have medications and surgeries though. Thats what I meant. A choice that needs to be made at the right time.

Biobytes Wed 21-Oct-09 22:55:04

"What really drove it home for me was that they were prepared to go to school dressed as either a boy or girl (opposite to their birth sex) and were prepared to put up with all the horrendous bullying, etc, because even that was preferable to being the 'wrong' sex."

Yes, I didn't see the documentary but I have seen a child for seven years consistently displaying the behaviour above, it has and continues to be hell but he keeps true to himself, so tutus and fairy wands and everything, despite the bullying.

If it was determined that things could be put right sooner than later, I would say, why not? They are not there by choice.

curiositykilled Thu 22-Oct-09 14:17:00

But the medications and surgeries at such a young age take away fertility. This is an issue completely unrelated to the child's gender identity issue.

DailyMailNameChanger Thu 22-Oct-09 14:18:27

Interesting OP, reads very like the opening to a news article....

pigletmania Thu 22-Oct-09 14:22:50

I saw that programme and was a bit hmm about giving kids drugs to halt puberty so young, it is a huge decision and not one a young child can make, they could change their mind when they are older. I recall that one of the 'girls' favourite toys were as truck. Yes mabey when they are 16 and definitely 18 if they feel the same way

pigletmania Thu 22-Oct-09 14:26:24

Totally, these drugs do take away fertility, this 'girl' was told that by the Dr she said that it was ok but her face said it all really, she look a bit shocked. I think that huge decisions like this should be left for when the child is older, they just looked too young to me.

Evanesence Thu 22-Oct-09 14:27:44

I watched this too and was shocked that such young children were being allowed to make such decisions. What if they change their mind when they're older?? ridiculous.

Morloth Thu 22-Oct-09 14:46:40

But their bodies are going to make the decision for them if they are not given the puberty blockers.

I have no idea what I would do and I pray I never have to find out cause it looks like there isn't a "right" thing to do.

Emprexia Thu 22-Oct-09 15:07:32

I see this from the otherside.

I know someone who is male and currently on the long road towards gender reassignment.. he wishes he'd been able to do this before puberty instead of trying to live a 'normal' male life.

welshone51 Thu 22-Oct-09 15:16:57

A newspaper article!!! no this is my own work honest!! I just watched the programme and it interested me! I am a genuine Mumsnetter and have been for a while!

DailyMailNameChanger Thu 22-Oct-09 15:34:35

Welshone, I didn't say you weren't but, tbf, so are lots of journos. Perhaps you should consider a career change? grin

Jux Thu 22-Oct-09 15:41:49

I too know someone finally going through gender reassignment, after marrying and having 3 children in an effort to conform to society's and his (now her) family's expectations.

She would much rather have had the choice made by her parents when she was that young.

Blu Thu 22-Oct-09 15:48:12

The puberty-blocker drugs weren't being given until about 14, though, were they? And the decision was taken to not start the drugs for the girl who looked shocked.

I suspewct that many mnay hours of consultation with a wide range of professionals including counsellora and psychologists go into something like that - way beynd what we saw on the programme. They did all look very 'sorted' and clear - not as if they were acting on a whim or phase.

SolidGhoulBrass Thu 22-Oct-09 15:50:06

YABU, and ignorant in the truest sense of the word. You evidenly don't know much, if anything, about trans people and gender dysphoria, which is a fairly rare but utterly miserable condition to be in. Gender dysphoric people feel completely wrong in their own bodies, every day of their lives, until they can be reassigned. It;s not just a matter of little girls wanting to play football, or little boys liking to wear tutus, it's about hating your own body (untreated gender dysphorics tend to have a lot of self-harm issues, severe depression and substance abuse problems).

CheerfulYank Thu 22-Oct-09 16:04:58

I do not think you are BU. I have a friend who was born female and is now a male, and he is a he in every sense of the word. I am fine with this (not that it's any of my business of course) and I would be fine if my DS decided this was right for him when he is an adult.

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a boy, because boys got to play with trucks and footballs and grow up and shave. (Yes, that is the sum total of my reasons!) Now, though, as a grown up, straight woman, I couldn't be more glad to not be a man!

I wouldn't support children getting tatoos or anything else permanent (and I know that's a poor analogy so don't flame me) until they are adults. I realize that these children feel they are in the wrong bodies and might very well feel that way for their whole lives, but then again, they might not.
Let them do it after puberty.

welshone51 Thu 22-Oct-09 16:12:21

Solid I dont beleive I am an ignorant person and I apologise if I have come across as
such. I have never experienced the condition directly and can only go on what some of the gender experts have said regarding children with this condition and the fact that they may change their mind in the future. I think it is very honourable how supportive their parents have been and how brave these children are but find it inconceivable that these children may be given drugs which have irreversable effects on them now and in the future. I tried to make this post as sensitive as I could but can appreciate that I have never had to deal with this complex issue day in day out!

Daily mail- Thanks I was a nursery teacher now a stay at home mum but maybe I should think of a different career.

Blu- It is my opinion that these drugs needed to be given before puberty started in many cases unless the programme was misinformed or I got confused blush

pigletmania Thu 22-Oct-09 16:15:23

He he cheerfulyank when i was a little girl i wanted to be a boy for the same reasons as well as having a willy and standing up to pee grin, i am now happy as a woman centuries later lol.

curiositykilled Thu 22-Oct-09 16:16:03

The fertility issue is not anything to do with the gender dysphoria. Children (younger then 18) shouldn't be allowed to choose about their fertility for the rest of their lives, especially children who haven't been through puberty IMO. Someone else (doesn't matter if it's their parents) shouldn't be allowed to choose for them either.

I think it is an intervention, an intervention which may help but it's effects - particularly the infertility side effects need more investigation. Lets not forget that if the parents are inclined towards the drugs then the children are unlikely to feel forced to live life in the wrong body.

curiositykilled Thu 22-Oct-09 16:22:12

welshone - you are correct about the drugs, they need to be given just at the onset of puberty. The main benefit is halting puberty so that hormones can be given later on to affect bone changes and easier transition between male and female and vice versa i.e. female children will experience changes in their jaws and male children will not get a more manly jawline e.t.c.

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