27 July 2012

Weekly Gratitude

"I'd rather have a transgender daughter than a dead son," says the mother of Josie, a transgender preteen who began taking hormone blockers at age ten to delay the effects of male puberty setting in.

I watched an episode of Dateline this morning that documented Josie's journey and it moved me to tears.  

As a brief outline--Josie was born male.  As a male, Josie would have temper tantrums, sleeplessness, anxiety, and any other array of mental disorders common with children that doctors can look to medications to resolve.  By age four, Josie was on Prozac.  Still with little to no avail at resolving these problems, a routine doctor visit brought to the surface the possibility that Josie may be a transgender child.  Upon coming to this realization, Josie's mother allowed her to begin purchasing girls clothing and playing with girls toys, essentially allowing Josie by age six to begin living as female.  Josie's 'mental disorders' were almost instantaneously resolved.  A few years went by and the onset of puberty became a frightening concept for Josie to handle.  She began examining herself in the mirror on a daily basis, waiting for an Adam's Apple to appear and dreading the day that hair started sprouting on her chest.  After several visits with doctors and nearing ever so closely the onset of male puberty, the doctors provided Josie with an implant in her arm of hormone blockers to delay the onset of puberty.  In a few years, Josie will then be looking at estrogen treatment to move her along the path of undergoing female puberty at the same time as her peers.

Transgender youth is a topic that makes many uncomfortable.  It's been largely overlooked simply because kids go through phases.  When a parent sees their little boy walking out of the room in mom's shoes, or when a parent sees their little girl always wanting to wear dad's work boots--the first thought that springs into motion isn't, "Oh, well--my daughter's a boy."  Kids play dress up. Kids experiment.  It's common, and possible homosexuality is considered before the thought of transgenderism even comes into motion.  That's why a lot of the information and cases out there are so controversial.  Kids change their minds.  For this simple reason alone, sex reassignment surgery isn't available to individuals under eighteen, no matter their certainty in the situation at hand.

I am incredibly grateful that I have always been so completely certain of myself.  I am a woman.  Always have been, always will be.  The fact that so many people go through life not being happy in their bodies but being too afraid to do anything about it makes me nauseous.  The fact that we still live in a time when such things are by the masses looked at as unacceptable makes me wince.  The fact that so many people today are going through this quietly in embarrassment for fear of what others may think makes me want to curl up and weep.

I am so grateful that the people I surround myself with are so accepting and their unwavering support for LGBT issues is overwhelming.  There is no reason that anyone in the human race should live their life in fear of what others may think.  There is no reason that another human being should be ashamed about one of the very things that makes them unique and special.  

Especially in the United States of America, a country that has worked so hard in creating 'equal rights' for all, why does it seem that we are still so far behind?


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