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So ... Does this indicate that you CAN be 'born the wrong gender'?

(588 Posts)
Garrick Mon 31-Aug-15 00:28:53

Summary: Twins Alfie and Logan, 4yo, are both boys. Logan has insisted on wearing girly clothes, doing girly things, and that he is a girl since the age of two. His mother, who sounds brilliant, reports him wishing his willy would fall off.

I'm somewhat flummoxed. When I were a lass, little boys like this were described as camp (behind their fathers' backs) and, as far as I know, mostly grew up to be camp and fulfilled their rightful destinies. Rather like Ugly Betty's brother.

But this is what some transwomen say they felt like as children, isn't it? And I have rubbished it because I find it hard to believe in gender as an innate feeling. I'm not sure whether I think little Logan proves me wrong confused

MrsLeighHalfpenny Mon 31-Aug-15 00:30:44

Are they identical twins?

Paintpot22 Mon 31-Aug-15 00:32:22

What the fuck is a girly thing?

The parents are deciding what a girly thing 2 he knows that a willy only belongs to a boy and as he thinks he's a girl he wants it to fall off and to have a vagina instead? At TWO?

Garrick Mon 31-Aug-15 00:35:38

Sorry, title should have said 'wrong sex'. I'm sure you knew that!

No, they don't look identical.

Well, he's four now - and, yes, you've summarised it, Paint. He doesn't appear to have been pressured at all. His mum says he just preferred playing with his sister's old toys than his brother's (so far so normal) but there's a lot more than that. In a lot of ways, she is stereotyping girly behaviour ... but have a look at the article. The child is camp!

Garrick Mon 31-Aug-15 00:47:06

The twins are adorable smile I just don't know whether I need to reframe my ideas about gender or not. Boys can be feminine and girls can be masculine; they are only social constructs anyway.

Hmmm. I've been thrown by the wish not to have a penis. But the child could simply be reflecting other people's impressions, couldn't he. He likes to dance in an Elsa dress and people don't think boys do that ... HE does it, so decides he must be a girl?

In that case, it would be a horrid indictment of social pressures to 'fit' gender.

Sorry, I'm thinking on screen and coming back to my original position grin

MrsLeighHalfpenny Mon 31-Aug-15 00:51:18

If you ask me, he's found a behaviour that gets him a lot of attention, and he's running with it. It'll probably stop when he gets the piss taken out on him when he starts school!

ALassUnparalleled Mon 31-Aug-15 01:00:18

I don't use emoticons but the "lock up your daughters" sweatshirts deserve one of these confused or these hmm.

Why do both children have shaved heads?
Why is she plastering this all over a tabloid newspaper?

Garrick Mon 31-Aug-15 01:10:36

God, I didn't notice that, Lass.

I presume the kids have shaved heads because that's the fashionable style in large swathes of the country. No idea why she's in the Mirror, obvs. Perhaps she wants a new boyfriend and that's why she wore her new short shorts <slaps self for bitchy comment>

You might well be right, MrsLeigh! He certainly is getting attention.

I thought both his mother and the psychologist sounded sensible - I was shocked by her estimate that she'll look into transgender counselling if he's still "being a girl" by the age of eight, but four years is a long time in a child's life.

So this is just a kid who likes dressing up and surprising people, and a newspaper making a story out of some cute pictures?

EBearhug Mon 31-Aug-15 01:14:21

Clothing is genetic and has never changed according to fashion or culture or anything, so obviously.

4yos are just as likely to insist they are a cat or a dog or a horse as they are a boy or a girl. He might just be asserting his difference from his twin. And even if he does turn out to be trans or gay or whatever, he's just 4 now and will change in all sorts of ways by the time he gets to be an adult. The insisting he's not a boy thing may remain constant, or he might have forgotten about it in a couple of years. I don't see how will it help anyone to plaster it all over the papers.

cailindana Mon 31-Aug-15 07:49:27

Why on earth would a little boy's entire life be decided on what he says and does at age four? He doesn't like his willy and he wears dresses. He 4. Women don't wear dresses because of some innate biological or genetic trait. Also dresses do not have magical powers to morph a boy who wears them into a girl.

This whole article is basically 'boy wears clothes that are different to his twin brother's clothes'
Who cares.

PlaysWellWithOthers Mon 31-Aug-15 07:59:01

Those poor kids.

Regardless of what their mother believes this proves (and it proves fuck all) the internet is forever. Newspapers are forever. And her children will never be able to leave an article written about them at the age of 4 behind them.

A 2 yr old I know told his mother that he didn't want to kill her and eat her bones. If we're going to assume that this 2 yr old's wish for his willy to fall off is indicative of his future life, should we maybe have my friend's child locked away because he's also going to become a cannibal serial killer?

Thefitfatty Mon 31-Aug-15 08:01:48

I've several homosexual and trans friends, including my brother, who've assured me that they knew from a young age (usually 5) that they were more attracted to one sex or the other, or that they felt "different" or "not right." However, they didn't identify it as "gay" or "trans" back then, they simply didn't understand it enough. That being said, to say that the boy is transgender just because he's attracted to all things pink and sparkly is not only sexist its just plain silly. Being a woman is a hell of a lot more than a Frozen dress and a love of ballet slippers. Jeez I know a transwoman who wears khakis and plaid shirts cause she hates heels and "dressy" things. It's an inner feeling and identification, not a gender stereotype.

The boy may be gay, straight, transexual, pansexual, asexual, whatever, and the mother is doing the right thing in supporting him and allowing him to wear what he wants, but it's far to early to apply labels or make assumptions.

Andcake Mon 31-Aug-15 08:11:18

I find it a hard issue to and really struggle with the trans thing ( did anyone else see the trans teen piece in Saturday's times) anyway I don't think I have ever felt particularly male or female I'm just me.
But as a child up until about 9/10 maybe I was v boyish - my parents just let me get on with it and no one went oh she's a boy because she refers certain games or toys.
Ok later on in life I realised men have do many more things going for them in society but hey.
With the trans issue I sometimes feel a bit insulted - how do they know what goes on inside a woman's head - it's almost a weird parady - is caitlin Jenner really braver than so many women struggling every day!
I have no problem with their being an extra 'identity' which is trans - live and let live etc

YonicScrewdriver Mon 31-Aug-15 08:17:41

As I understand it, many little girls have in the past said they wished they had penises and the root of this statement was often because they saw little boys doing things they wanted to do but weren't allowed. Climbing trees and jumping into mud, for example. Incidentally, Garrick, I expect approx the standard % of those girls grew up to be gay/straight.

I wonder if this is the same thing in reverse. I would like to think that children are seeing "boy things" and "girl things" of equal value more than they did in the past and so there may be more equal numbers of boys and girls saying this kind of thing.

But ultimately: yes he may turn out to be trans but it's too soon to be definitive and certainly there seems no reason to name and picture them.

CarriesBucketOfBlood Mon 31-Aug-15 08:21:30

MrsLeighHalfPenny If you ask me, he's found a behaviour that gets him a lot of attention, and he's running with it. It'll probably stop when he gets the piss taken out on him when he starts school!

This is incredibly ignorant. I grew up feeling different and acting different for reasons that I couldn't even express in myself until I was around 15. Once I managed to reconcile it in myself it was just as tough a struggle to reconcile it with others. Some people will never reconcile it in themselves, let alone with others.

I have since heard from numerous nasty people that they 'knew' who I was from a young age because of the way I 'acted'.
I believe young children are utterly incapable of acting in a certain way for long periods of time. If an adult can't do it, then how could a child.

So yes, let's all laugh at the possibility of a child being bullied in school and write off their self expression as attention seeking. This case is obviously very similar to all those hundreds of other well known people who pretended to be LGBT for attention.

chickenfuckingpox Mon 31-Aug-15 08:34:12

im always cynical about people who put this in the papers i think its wrong my dd was always up trees in boys clothing she is not a lesbian as far as she is aware and at 15 she is comfortable in her own body so not trans ether? if i had labeled her at an early age i would be backtracking massively several times by now she went from tree climbing to barbie playing to trees again and hanging around with her "lesbian" friends (all but one changed there mind) today she is going out for coffee with a boy who apparently used to be straight but then had a boyfriend used to fancy her but is now her best friend

confusion is a natural state of mind you just go with the flow not call the newspapers!

chickenfuckingpox Mon 31-Aug-15 08:35:16

i think the mom found a way to get attention and this will not be good for the children

CocoEnglishChanel91 Mon 31-Aug-15 08:49:30

To say "I've never questioned my gender so I can't see how someone else could have" is very presumptuous and a little arrogant.
The brain is organic matter. Every day people are born with 11 toes, holes in hearts, eyes and ears that did not form correctly.
There is no guarantee all brains will be as society expects.
In fact all men have had a sex change - they just don't know it. All foetuses start out as female, and in the ones that are to be boys, changes start to occur. But what if those changes only go so far and then cut out? The hormonal spin cycle misfires? The testosterone or oestrogen doesn't quite reach where it should?
The latest science shows that the brains of transsexual people are much closer in areas of development to the gender they identify with.
These people have been around since records began, and I find it very sad that in general society dismisses it as "a phase" or something they will grow out of.
Finally being trans has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality. It is not an extreme form of gay or lesbian. It's about people finding peace in their heads by becoming who they are.
This thread shows there is still a long way to go with public understanding.

scallopsrgreat Mon 31-Aug-15 08:54:58

So you think there are male and female brains Coco?

There is no evidence for that. The 'latest science' doesn't show that at all.

PosterEh Mon 31-Aug-15 08:59:10

I can't understand why you think the mother is sensible when she agreed to this being in the paper.

BertieBotts Mon 31-Aug-15 08:59:13

I think that a lot of kids go through a stage of trying out different things and to our adult minds that might look like gender roles. At two, children don't have an awareness that biologically boys grow up to be men and girls grow up to be women. But because of our culture they are aware of there being two "clubs" if you like and so they choose one. Most will happily take the group they are told they are a part of, but some will think, wait, but I like the look of that one. That's normal imo and parents can act in one of three ways: they can be quitecritical and attempt to persuade or force their child to conform, they can genuinely be indifferent, or they can - and I do think there is a danger of this - see it as a novelty or badge of their superior liberal parenting and run with it a bit too much, in quite the same way as some people seek out gay or black friends so that they can prove how liberal they are, rather than just because they have a friend who happens to be gay or whatever. Does that make sense? Accepting your child is always good but parading them as a badge of mc honour makes their identity more about you than about themselves, and its sad because its meant well.

HamaTime Mon 31-Aug-15 09:06:18

Meh. I used to put a plastic incredible hulk down my pants to make a penis but I wasn't a boy. I was a kid who in a kid-like black and white way thought enjoying 'boys' activities must mean I was really a boy. I wasn't, I was a girl who liked insects. I grew up to be a woman with a keen interest in natural history who wears plaid shirts and brogues.

I think the mother would be better off telling her son there is more than one way to be a boy.

VashtaNerada Mon 31-Aug-15 09:54:53

Aside from the questionable decision to stick her kids in the paper, I think the mum is being fairly sensible. She's letting him dress and play how he wants, but isn't making any longterm decisions on name, pronouns, medical intervention etc. Kids are generally quite fickle but if he continues to persistently and emphatically insist he is a girl for his whole childhood then it would be wrong of his parents not to support him with that.
I personally don't believe in male or female brains and don't understand the trans experience in any scientific sense - but it's a real phenomenon and it's no skin off my nose if someone wants to change their gender.

VeryPunny Mon 31-Aug-15 10:01:28

It could also be that an identical twin is searching for something to differentiate him from his twin, especially if he has been shoehorned into identical clothing etc.

As a kid, I was fascinated with penises. Pretended to have one by tying string round my waist in various ways. Was I trans? Absolutely not. Did I want to be a boy? Nope. No grown up did anything beyond a slightly bemused smile and eventually the fad passed. I grew up in a very female orientated family and life (all girls' school from age 5) so it may be a reflection of that.

CocoEnglishChanel91 Mon 31-Aug-15 10:32:40

Scallop you need to read up more before making emphatic statements like the one above. Start here:

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