Could the massive explosion in the number of transgender kids be a result of mom’s desire to change their kid’s gender? With no definitive test to determine if someone is or is not transgender, nothing stands in the way of a mom encouraging her son to become a “girl” transgender.
The Dateline NBC story Living a Transgender Childhood about Josie Romero, a nine year old, has haunted me ever since it aired in July 2012. I was dressed as a “girl” by my grandma at the very same age as Joseph was dressed by his mom. I ended up undergoing hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery, name change and birth record change, male to female and my life has been torn to shreds ever since.
The entire story is told in 4 parts with a total of 23 minutes. I’m going to take you through some highlights from the segment and share my reactions. The link to the video is below.
The mom in the Dateline story is committed to guiding her boy, shown at age 9, toward female hormone treatment. She started her son down the transgender road at the age of 6 and changed the boy’s name from Joseph to a female name, Josie.
Dr. Margaret Moon, pediatrician and bio-ethicist from Johns Hopkins medical school, makes clear her concerns about administering hormones to young people. Too bad the mom hadn’t sought her advice for Joseph/Josie.
Starting at Part 2, 2 min. 57 sec.
Dr. Moon says regarding administering cross-gender hormones that doctors should wait until the patient is much older. When female hormones are used on a boy, she says, “The changes are irreversible and hard to justify.” “Well-intentioned people are looking at the same data and coming away with very different ideas.” “There is the potential of over-diagnosis of transgender kids.”
Mom says, “I would rather have a living transgender than a dead son.” Apparently mom is unaware research shows transgenders commit suicide even after hormones, surgery and transitioning. In fact, if your son or daughter uses suicide as a threat to gain approval for a gender change, that should be grounds for NOT providing any cross gender treatment until their deeper issues are discovered and addressed.
Starting at Part 2, 4 min. 30 sec.
Mom took Josie to Dr. Jo Olson, a Los Angeles M.D. who regularly treats transgenders. Olson says they are not mentally ill, but “there is an alignment issue between their internal gender and their body.” I want you to remember Dr. Olson’s comment about the alignment issue. To her credit, Dr. Olson would not provide the hormone treatment mom wanted Josie to have.
Part 2, 7 min. 45 sec.
Dr. Moon again says, “Studies that do exist suggest kids with gender identity problems often grow out of them.” Dr. Moon has concerns about the early diagnosis and early treatment of childhood gender issues. She says, “A lot of those kids who say ‘I’m in the wrong body’ end up by the time they are adolescents actually finding out they are fairly comfortable with their own gender.”
Part 2, 8 min. 45 sec.
Remember Dr. Olson talked about an alignment problem. Josie says to her mother, “Maybe I’m a boy inside and a girl outside,” and mom’s casual response is, “Really?” Josie is demonstrating the alignment problem but could mom be causing it? Mom has decided to change Joseph into Josie. By putting Joseph in a dress, brushing his long hair, not acknowledging that Joseph is a boy and instead reinforcing Josie as a girl, Mom has engaged in causing an alignment problem for Joseph with his birth gender. She is manufacturing a transgender.
As the story progresses, Joseph (living as Josie) starts to show signs of rejecting the persona Josie through expressions of indecision, confusion and concern. Josie/ Joseph desperately seeks mom’s approval to just be a boy.
Part 3, 42 sec.
This confused child asks mom, “Is it true that I’m a boy inside and a girl outside?” I find it disturbing to watch Joseph fighting for his male gender identity. I clearly can see the internal struggle as Joseph is troubled by looking like a girl outside when there is 10 year old boy inside. Keep in mind mom has refused to acknowledge Joseph is really a boy for more than 5 years. The withholding of the truth about a child’s gender is psychologically abusive and should be punished as child abuse.
Starting at Part 3, 54 sec.
For me, the most striking scene in this Dateline story happens here. As mom is combing and braiding this young boy’s long hair, she asks the child, “If you wanted to grow up to be a man, would you tell me”? The kid in a quiet voice haltingly says, yea. Then mom kneels beside the child and says, “If you want to be a man you could.”
The comments from mom are causing the kid’s face to contort. Then the kid drops the bombshell, “Sometimes I think I’m a boy sort of” and now begins a tug-of-war with mom to acknowledge he is really a boy.
The kid appears fearful of mom’s response; the fear is evident to me.
The child’s words to his mom that brought me to tears were: “Would you love me as a boy?”
Mom says, “Of course I would love you no matter what. I always have and always will.”
Joseph moves quickly across the room away from his mom. Mom can see the fear in Joseph/Josie--that same fear that was evident to me. You have to see this part for yourself. The discussion between child and mom is heart-wrenching. A child is asking his mother for guidance and she throws the responsibility back on him to decide which gender he is. There is a moment when she could have affirmed his birth gender but does not.
She says; “I think you’re afraid to tell me what you want.” Then in what sounds like very manipulative sarcasm, mom elevates her voice saying, “What if I were to tell you ‘O, please don’t be a girl’?” Joseph then says; “Then I guess I would be a boy; I don’t know” in a frightened voice. Mom says, “No, honey, I have to listen to you.” She does not tell Joseph he is a boy. She looks scared.
Then Joseph says, “I need to listen to you; you’re my mom. Yeah. What if you said I need to be a boy and you made me. I’d have to.” Mom says, “No, No.”
The stress so thick you can cut it. The child says to mom, “You look like you’re about to cry.” Joseph has asserted his male gender into the exchange and mom is not happy with Joseph evolving as a boy. Mom can see Joseph the boy now and she is scared.
Part 3, 2 min. 40 sec.
Once again we are given commentary from the doctors. Dr. Moon, pediatrician and bio-ethicist from Johns Hopkins medical school, says, “At Joseph’s age they are not sure who they are.” Dr. Olson, who provides treatment for childhood gender disorders, says, “There is no exact science that can determine who is truly transgender. Missing from the data is who is for sure going to become a transgender.”
I know the responses will be all over the place on this but it is important to raise concerns when the studies show most adolescents will grow out of their gender issues. It is criminal to be manufacturing transgender kids just because it is fashionable. As to the case of Josie/ Joseph--only time will tell us the results.
Dateline NBC, July 2012