Yesterday, I saw a rather intriguing documentary on Frontline titled ‘Growing Up Trans.’ It dealt with what it meant for young children dealing with gender dysphoria to grow up “trans” and the very difficult decisions they had to make with their families to transition. For many of these parents who had to deal with the mental health condition of their children, they felt they were choosing “the lesser of two evils,” in deciding to put their children through blockers, hormones and finally gender reassignment surgery.
For me, it was sobering to watch children have to make such great life decisions. If we agree that a child’s brain does not completely form until eighteen (18), how do we then entrust our children with such incredible life decisions like a gender reassignment surgery?
Most of us will agree that what we thought we knew about ourselves or the self awareness we thought we had as children or even teenagers comes nothing close to our self awareness as adults. So, again, why do we have our children making these incredibly tough and very complex decisions?
There are several other questions that came to mind and I pose them below to you and hope it is thought provoking. I strongly believe that our children are our future and we must individually and collectively as a society ask and take on these complex issues for they will shape what our future looks like and that of our children.
1. What does it mean to be a woman or man in a constructed body?
When a child has never experienced puberty but says he or she feels like a “girl” or “boy” or “woman” or “man?” What does that really mean? What does it mean to be something you have never truly experienced?
Is being a woman or a man then the constructed stereotypes of what society says men or women are? If so, what impact psychologically will these have on our children?
2. What does it mean to be a woman?
I have a very hard time wrapping my head around and accepting that there is a certain way women “feel.” Maybe it is because my entire life, I have always said, “don’t place me in a category because I am a girl/woman. Don’t stereotype me based on my gender.”
I fail to see how stereotypes coming from the trans community on what it means to be a woman are any different. It is particularly bothersome when a person who used to be formally a man plays on stereotypes of gender identities.
So, I pose the question to you, especially if you are a woman. What exactly does it mean to be a woman? Should we have two categories of women: a) natural women (biologically born women); and b) trans women? Are puberty blockers/blockers, lifelong hormonal treatment, and gender reassignment surgery all it takes to be a woman in 21st century America?
3. Should we expect more from the medical community in approach and solutions for persons with gender dysphoria?
I am appalled that society is not screaming about the high rate of suicide among trans people after gender reassignment surgery. Statistics quoted are as high as 51%! If we really care, shouldn’t we be concerned as a society? I think often we confuse two issues together. The discrimination the trans community suffers, versus the need to have extreme cosmetic procedures that mask but do not alter the underlying DNA of the individual going through gender reassignment surgery.
I simply refuse to accept and believe that the solution is to cut up our children and then give them life long hormonal replacement so what they feel inside match the external. There are other solutions and it is incumbent upon the medical community to employ extensive research, innovation and testing to find results that do not destroy our future, our children, before they even begin.
4. What exactly is the obligation of the legal justice system in protecting persons suffering from gender dysphoria?
This is where I address my fellow legal colleagues. I am of the opinion that as lawyers we must innovate, break the box and come up with creative thinking that protects the disadvantaged in our society. I find often that unlike those gone before us, many of us are not as willing to think outside the box or even get rid of the box to come up with public policy and rules that solve today’s 21st century problems.
What exactly are our solutions to these changing times? What do we bring to the table? From the court clerk attorneys that work side by side with the Justices of the Supreme Court, forwarding research to help them make decisions that affect an entire country, to the small lawyer in that small town advocating daily for his/her client, we all have a part to play.
Several questions we must ask with respect to gender dysphoria. From a policy standpoint, do we want to insist on and enact laws that say a person must have reassignment surgery to be identified as a woman? If the answer is yes, how does that ultimately impact our healthcare and legal justice system? Are we creating revolving doors in our mental health institutions, our criminal justice system and our delinquency and dependency court system for these persons because of the solutions we advance? What impact will that have on our profession and our society within the next 10years? Like our colleagues in the medical field, we too must undertake the necessary research, innovate and creatively come up with solutions that go beyond putting a band aid on a large wound.
Watch the Frontline Documentary
For more information on the impact of sex change, visit: