Saturday, December 02, 2006

Gender Identity Issues in Young Kids

Ann Althouse blogs about a NYT article on young kids with gender identity issues:

How far should you go in supporting him? What if you're the teacher and the parents send him to kindergarten wearing a dress?

Doctors, some of them from the top pediatric hospitals, have begun to advise families to let these children be “who they are” to foster a sense of security and self-esteem. They are motivated, in part, by the high incidence of depression, suicidal feelings and self-mutilation that has been common in past generations of transgender children. Legal trends suggest that schools are now required to respect parents’ decisions....

Cassandra Reese, a first-grade teacher outside Boston, recalled that fellow teachers were unnerved when a young boy showed up in a skirt. “They said, ‘This is not normal,’ and, ‘It’s the parents’ fault,’ ” Ms. Reese
said. “They didn’t see children as sophisticated enough to verbalize their feelings.”

And then there are the parents who think they ought to give hormone treatments to young tomboy girls on the theory that they need to be spared the shocking evidence of femininity that is menstruation.

I think her second commenter says it best:

My concern is for the little boy (5 is little) who goes to school in the dress. I would NOT want to be him. Our culture is not even a little flexible about male gender roles and expectations, the other children will not be kind and understanding about this. Heck many of the adults will freak out all over him.


Should a boy have a right to dress in a skirt? Of course! Will he have a good experience if he does it? Not bloody likely.

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