Also, Lisa Diamond reported in her book “Sexual Fluidity,” that “more than two-thirds of the women in my sample had changed their identity labels at least once after the first interview. The women who kept the same identity for the whole ten years proved to be the smallest and most atypical group.”
Gender Identity Disorder and Transsexual Issues
Gender identity disorder is a childhood psychiatric disorder in which there is a strong and persistent cross-gender identification with at least four of the following: repeated stated desire to be of the opposite sex; in boys a preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire and, in girls, wearing stereotypical masculine clothing with a rejection of feminine clothing such as skirts; strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex role in play; strong preference for playmates of the opposite sex, and intense desire to participate in games and pastimes of the opposite sex.
Boys who exhibit such symptoms before they enter school are more likely to be unhappy, lonely, and isolated in elementary school. They often suffer from separation anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems and become targets to be victimized by bullies and even pedophiles. Often they experience same- sex attraction in adolescence, and if they engage in homosexual activity, they are more likely than boys who do not to be involved in drug and alcohol abuse or prostitution. They are also at greater risk to attempt suicide, to contract a sexually transmitted disease, or to develop a serious psychological disorder as an adult. A small number of these boys will become transvestites or transsexuals.
A loving and compassionate approach to these troubled children is not to support their difficulty in accepting the goodness of their masculinity or femininity, the approach that is being advocated in the media and by many health professionals who lack expertise in GID, but to offer them and their parents the highly effective treatment that is available.
The following interventions for boys with GID are helpful:
- Increasing quality time for bonding with the father
- Increasing affirmation of the son’s masculine gifts by the father
- Participating in and support for the son’s creative efforts by the father
- Encouraging same-sex friendships and diminishing time with opposite-sex friends
- Coaching the son in the development of athletic confidence and skills if possible
- Slowly diminishing play with opposite-sex toys
- Encouraging the boy to be thankful for his special masculine gifts
- Slowly leading the boy into team play if the athletic abilities and interest improve
- Working at forgiving boys who may have hurt him
- Communicating with other parents whose children have been treated successfully for GID and who have come to appreciate and to embrace the goodness of their masculinity
- Addressing the emotional conflicts in a mother who wants her son to be a girl
- In those with faith, encouraging thankfulness for one’s special God-given masculine gifts.
The following interventions for girls with GID are helpful:
- Encouraging the daughter to appreciate the goodness and beauty of her femininity, including her body
- Encouraging same-sex friendships and activities
- Increasing the mother-child quality time
- Encouraging parental praise of their daughter
- Working with the daughter to forgive peers who have hurt her
- Encouraging pursuit of a balance in athletic activities
- Addressing conflicts in parents who may want her to be a boy
- In those with faith, encouraging thankfulness for one’s special God-given femininity
GID vs. Transgendered Child
Some medical centers are unfortunately going further and providing hormone treatments to GID children whom they label as transgender. A pediatric specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston has recently begun a clinic for boys who feel like girls and girls who want to be boys. He offers his patients, some as young as 7 years, counseling about the “naturalness” of their feelings and hormones to delay the onset of puberty. These drugs stop the natural process of sexual development that would make it more surgically difficult to have a sex alteration later in life.