Notice little Timmy likes to play with Barbie dolls? Does little Jenny dress up like a NASCAR driver for Halloween (no offense Danica Patrick)? Parents and doctors alike are starting to lean toward sex-changing “treatments” for what is termed as “gender disorders” in alarming numbers. And Dr. Norman Spack, a director of one of the United States’ first gender identity medical clinics, wants to let it all hang out. He believes that more parents need to be aware of the treatments to open the door to more children getting the help they “need.” He wants more pediatricians to know about the problem and be prepared to recommend kids like this be shown all of their available options.
Parents are going for it too. In Los Angeles, an 8-year-old second grade girl insists that she is a boy. Her parents have gone along with it and now recognize her as a boy for all intents and purposes. They are watching her closely for signs of the onset of puberty, because this is the critical moment when treatment can be administered.
Psychiatrists have long recognized that many children pretend to be the opposite sex during childhood for one reason or another. These are not what the treatments are for. There is actually a psychiatric condition labelled “gender identity disorder” where the children seriously believe they are trapped in a body of the wrong sex. Research shows their brains are simply different than the average child, and these differences cause them to be geared more toward the opposite sex. Norman Spack estimates that 1 out of every 10,000 children is born with this condition.
There is all sorts of ethical implications to this growing trend. First of all, children are either making this decision or having it made for them when they are far younger than eighteen. Then, they have to live with the results for the rest of their life. Also, there is a lot of controversy on how the true form of gender identity disorder is diagnosed. Some psychiatrists believe that kids are getting deemed to have this when they are just in a phase they will grow out of. Parents could be jumping the gun and causing even more psychological damage in the long term. After all, the treatment, once administered, is irreversible.
Furthermore, there is a school of thought that parents recognize signs that their child might be homosexual, and they want to commence treatment because they are more comfortable with the sex change than with having a gay child. This, of course, outrages the homosexual community. However, there are many doctors that say that these children have the right to have the option to this treatment if they desire it. Children with true gender identity disorder sometimes go to great measures to try to correct the disorder on their own, including self-mutilation to try to change their sex on their own. They are also very prone to depression, and some even attempt suicide. According to Spack, children that get the sex change see these problems go away and live normal lives as the opposite sex.
So, parents out there, we want to hear what you think?