Kids who are confused about gender can now delay puberty while they make up their minds. But is it a good idea?
So far my kids appear to be normal, in so far as any reasonably acceptable description of a normal child in their respective age groups goes. So when I came across this article by Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph
, I was both alarmed and quite put out. He talks about a 'puberty
blocker' (as in medication) now being available to children as young as 12, to allow them to decide whether to have a sex change.’
I was alarmed that this kinda thing actually happens in children as young as 12, and put out that I was so naïve as to think that it does not happen! Then of course it made me think how we as parents take our ‘normal’ kids’ development for granted, until something goes wrong.
My oldest daughter Hannah just turned 11, and I had this scary vision of having to deal with something like this. Can you imagine the trauma and mental anguish a child has to go through to come to terms with the condition?
And then how do we react to this as parents? I guess like all challenges you’d have to go through the different stages, denial, anger, etc and hopefully it ends in acceptance and supporting your child.
I’m sure that this kind of thing (Gender Identity Disorder (GID) – a rare psychiatric condition where a person is born one sex feels they are another), has happened since the beginning of time. And now, thanks to the advances in medicine, we are able to intervene.
And where does this slot into the moral or even religious debate? Should we be interfering? Should just stand aside and watch our kids develop into sexually confused
adults and notch it up to God’s will?
It’s an interesting debate, because on the one hand you’d be loathe to interfere with nature’s design, including its flaws, on the other hand, we have been given the ability to develop ‘cures’ for these flaws. So I find myself leaning towards intervention.The importance of openness
There are very few things that a parent is able to resist to help a child in need. The idea of one of my kids developing a physical body in one direction and an emotional constitution in another is a very serious matter, and one I hope neither you nor I actually have to face. But we have to talk about these things, and share them to avoid ignorance.
According to The Telegraph’s article, ‘the Tavistock and Portman clinic is currently the only place in Britain where under-18s with GID and their relatives can access specialist psychotherapy. The 22-year-old service, which received 127 GID referrals this year, helps families avoid common, traps such the temptation to keep their child's condition secret.’
I wonder if we have similar facilities here in South Africa? There are surely few things more challenging for a parent than having to deal with a child battling with Gender Identity Disorder; hopefully these new interventions will make the process less traumatic for all concerned.If your child was unsure of his or her gender identity, would you delay puberty?