At What Age Should Trans Kids Be Allowed to Transition? We Asked, You Answered
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because trans people are here to stay.
Last week, we asked: Should children be allowed to select their own gender?You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity.
Merisa Fairchild, Los Angeles
The very fact that trans identities are considered to be a subject where any person, regardless of lived experience or, indeed, even passing familiarity with the subject, is allowed to weigh in is itself the problem. The question being asked starts with the premise that cis (non-trans) identities are more natural and good than trans ones. The question is not whether parents “should allow children to choose their own gender” because trans people will choose to eventually transition. The question is whether or not to subject them to years of traumatic experiences and permanent distortion of their bodies via natal puberty in the hopes of converting them to ”normality” … or not.
So a kid supposedly doesn’t have enough maturity to vote until they’re 18, but they have the maturity to truly decide that they want permanent, life-altering hormones? Pure idiocy on the part of parents to think that way. Such child abuse will wreak havoc in so many lives. It makes me shudder.
One does not choose one’s gender; it chooses them. My transgender son always knew that he was not the girl he was born biologically, but there was very little support for him 40-odd years ago. He didn’t get the opportunity to physical transition until last year but is now living his authentic life. I’m so very proud of him.
Jason C. Padgett, Beaverton, Oregon
No, children are not cognitively developed enough to grasp who they are and the ramifications of cosmetic surgery. We don’t let children vote, get tattoos or many other things. So why would we let them choose something they don’t fully understand?
Cassandra Hyler, New Castle, Delaware
I agree with the use of androgen blockers to delay puberty until the person has time to fully decide. But if they have known for many years which gender they are, have lived as that gender for many years and feel sound in their decision, then starting the process of hormone therapy at the age of normal puberty is perfectly appropriate. As for surgery, hormone therapy should be used for many, many years first — then surgery, taken in stages after much consideration. Full reassignment surgery should probably be delayed until after the age of 18.
Ken Vickery, Ocklawaha, Florida
As a baby, what did you think you were? You didn’t. Who told you you were a boy or a girl? Your mom, dad, relatives and society. Only an individual person can know what gender he/she is. Society can give him/her the options, but only the individual can decide for himself/herself how they want to live out his/her life.
I guess we should just let them be who they want to be and not make a big deal about it. However, surgery at a young age … I don’t know, perhaps that should wait till the child is an adult and has explored life as both male and female and is really sure (or perhaps changes their mind and wishes to remain gender fluid). I mean, why does one have to choose; why can’t people be both if they choose?
I’m a perfect example of this. I grew up being one of the boys: dressing like them, playing the same games. I even played football in high school. But as a child, nobody asked me if I wanted to be a boy or a girl; I never really even thought about it. The only time I ever actually had to think about it was when a kid younger than me couldn’t tell. My parents let me do what I wanted and never once said a word about my gender. They just made sure that I was safe, and eventually, I ended up growing into my femininity. I do believe if I would have been pushed in a different direction, that would have drastically changed my life, and I’m glad that didn’t happen. Let kids be kids. They don’t care.
Cyn Stern, San Mateo, California
Isn’t the real problem that gender roles are so restrictive? And nonconformity (especially for XY children) leads to bullying. I can relate to this issue personally because, although I never wanted to be a boy or grow up to be a man, I did not want to conform to the gender expectations for women, and that made it very hard on me while growing up.
I will grant you that feeling that you were “born into the wrong body” is a very real issue. But it’s mostly a separate issue from oppressing kids by making them conform to strict gender roles. Trans kids seem to embrace rigid, traditional gender roles — they just crave to live the life of the opposite gender. And their medical care backs this up: They are required to take on the entire stereotypical role of the gender of their choice or they don’t get hormone therapy. I have always felt troubled by this. If society were freer, I wonder how many people who identify as trans now might have been happy to live their lives as, say, typically feminine men or typically masculine women rather than putting themselves through drastic surgeries. Maybe some, maybe none? I truly do not know.