They’re only 9 years old, but these kids from around the world offer keen insight into how gender shapes destiny.
National Geographic started a firestorm last month by announcing their January 2017 issue would feature Gender issues, and feature a 9-year-old transgender (male-to-female) on the cover. In the link above is the main online article, and here is the link to their explanation for putting a transgender child on the cover:
I don’t know how things would have turned out had I grown up in a world that is more open to gender spectrum. When I grew up, all the model we had were Boy George and some book about a man that went into the hospital for a surgery and they got him mixed up with another patient and gave him a sex change. I remember finding the book on a shelf in a store and reading it out of sheer curiosity when I was less than 10 years old. At the time, I didn’t even know such things could be done.
I recall at the age of 10, playing with my fantasies a bit to where I could become a girl, and what boys at my school I might be interested in, but I never could see myself being interested in boys at all. The lines between sexual orientation and transgender were definitely blurred for me; I didn’t realize until much later that I could have feminine feelings AND be sexually attracted to females at the same time. The understanding that there were lots of couples comprised of same sex partners was completely foreign to me at that age as well. Perhaps I was naive, but I didn’t know what homosexuality was until I was in Jr. High School.
In my late teen years, my hormones were in full swing and all directed toward the “adult baby” world. Once in awhile, “sissy” ideas would enter that world, and I would consider it, but it didn’t. At the same time, being a baby boy didn’t really fit either. I was also experiencing severe bouts of guilt at the time, and would frequently fall into the binge/purge cycle – buying a bunch of paraphernalia, then becoming guilty and throwing it all out and vowing never to do it again, the desire arising very shortly thereafter and starting the cycle over again. At some point in my late 20s I learned to accept myself, perceived that God was not concerned about what kind of underwear (or diapers) I was wearing, and beat that cycle for good.
It was also in my 20s that I finally stumbled across “adult little girls”. I’ve explained in past blog posts how I came to learn, so I won’t go into all that again, except to say that it helped everything fall into place – finally – and led to me being able to say I am well-adjusted and comfortable with myself at this point.
But all that leads me back to wondering. The child in question is 9. Had I been introduced to such ideas at 9, would I have been able to handle it? Would it have led to me being better adjusted at a young age, or worsened things? Every teenager experiences questions as to who they are – is it really fair to heap this on them? I never physically transitioned and would not want to, even if I could go back, but had I learned of this then, would I have thought that was naturally what one was supposed to do? I believe I would have.
Some who do this as kids definitely seem better adjusted. I have even featured a few in this blog. Far more, however, end in tragedy. It is hard to conclude why that came about – some suggest it is the bullying; others suggest it is because transitioning was not the conclusion for which they hoped, and when it failed to deliver, they saw no further option.
Some say it should not be permitted for kids to do this until they are old enough to understand and choose for themselves. In some cases I think this insults the person who has been dealing with these issues through their childhood, and in addition I can see the benefit of starting early if one is going to transition – that way the physical changes the body goes through in adolescence can be modified. In other cases, however, it may be quite true that the youth really doesn’t understand himself/herself enough to make such a life-altering decision. It is difficult to decide on such issues.