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Op-ED

Ayanna Kindell 

English for Science 

Prof. Grove 

3/11/20 

The Effects of Children Transitioning 

Transitioning can be a very hard or pleasant time in a person’s life. Transitioning from male to female, female to male, or any other gender preference is the process of lifestyle, medication, and surgical changes to the body and mind in order to be the gender you perceive yourself to be an agenda you want others to see you as. We have all heard stories of people transitioning in their early twenties or late teens but recently it has become a national debate on whether children are prepubescent or a little older transitioning and the effects it can have on their social health, their physical health and their mental health. In today’s society, there are already negative comments about people transitioning and undergoing surgery but children taking hormone blockers, changing their hair styles, undergoing surgery as young as birth seems to have a lot of backlash. Thankfully, there are many articles with scientific evidence to help us decide whether or not children should be able to transition . When a child decides to transition, the first part, which is the easiest part would be choosing a new name, changing their pronouns and wearing a tire to fit what they want to be seen as. This may seem easy but children who do this are often bullied and they are called derogatory names by their peers because children are not yet as accepting as the world is, they only know what their parents have taught them and what their parents allow the media to show them. If they see a boy wearing pigtails and a pink dress they could call him names such as “pansy” or call him “a bitch”. There are many articles of children reporting bullying for years and still showing negative effects as a teen and an adult. Really, the abuse could start at home. There are parents who will not accept their child as a transgender and believe that abuse is the way to “ beat” the gay out of them or make them realize that being transgender is wrong. In fact there are conversion camps that still exist with the sole purpose of trying to make teens or young adults heterosexual by any means possible. These camps are usually described by the victims as torture and disrespectful. The next step in transitioning would be medicating their bodies and taking puberty blockers. These medications block or suppress the body’s natural production of estrogen or testosterone which will undoubtedly stop any physical changes that come with puberty. This allows the parents and child to not only decide whether they truly want to proceed with this lifealtering decision, but also makes it easier if they want to transition because they will not have the anatomy of the undesired gender which makes it easy to surgically enhance their natural bodies into the body that they want to have or perceive themselves to be. Doctors who use medications to suppress puberty say that these allow children to face their gender dysmorphia. They claim that this allows them to “ explore and settle on their gender identity” (Boghani). I believe this is helpful because a child may not know what gender they want to conform to at 7 but puberty is just around the corner for a child that age. These pills allow them to truly explore their gender and sexuality. They may not even want to be transgender they may want to be non binary. “The danger of letting children transition gender too early” by Leyla Sanai Expresses the dangers of allowing children to transition at a very young age as young as 3 years old. She describes the psychological abuse that they may face when they are sent to school in the opposite genders clothing, despite the teacher Telling the parents not to do this, or changing the name on their passport. A couple in the United Kingdom had five children biological and three Fostered. Three of the five kids of that couple expressed confusion with their gender. The child who had their name legally changed from a male name to a female’s name Express Suicidal Thoughts saying that they did not want to live anymore. She later backs her claim of the dangers with “‘Social’ transitioning – allowing children to adopt the clothes, names, and social identity of the opposite gender – is not as invasive and potentially irreversible as ‘medical’ transition, which involves hormones and surgery. In the UK, children have to be 17 before they can legally be started on hormone treatment, but hormone blockers can be administered from puberty onwards. Some children enter puberty before they reach their teens’ ‘ (Sanai). She claims that this could cause puberty early on. Like I stated before, social transitioning with changing your clothes and picking a new name is the easiest part and Sanai says that this is the least traumatic part. With her writing, their name has to be changed and they have to adopt a new social identity. They have to play sports with others, establish a social setting, and with this there will be psychological and social implications if they change their mind. If the child chooses to detransition it will be just as painful as transitioning because they were known as a girl, transitioned into a boy most of their youth, and now want to be seen as a girl again. The initial transition was possibly difficult due to people not accepting them, but now it’ll be harder because they have already gone through the puberty blockers, hormones, a new wardrobe, and no one knows them as their previous name. She puts the number of children changing their mind about being the wrong gender as high as 60 to 80% once they reach their adulthood and claims that most children diagnosed with suspected gender dysmorphia do change their mind which is the cause for such a high percentage of regret. The mental health of transgender teenagers and kids are also up for discussion. Before anything mental health is a priority for health officials because that can affect your physical health. Many studies show that “transgender adolescents and adults who are open about their transition have consistently reported dramatically elevated rate of anxiety, depression, and suicidality among transgender people. These elevated rates of psycho psychopathology are likely the result of years of prejudice,discrimination and stigma” (Pediatrics). “The bottom line is we don’t really know how sex hormones impact any adolescent’s brain development,” Dr. Lisa Simons, a pediatrician at Lurie Children’s, told FRONTLINE (Boghani). This leads to my next point of young research. Despite transitioning or even wearing clothes typically assigned to a different gender, there is not a lot of research on this topic. Especially concerning the medicational aspect of this. Newer medication is continuously coming out and the long-lasting effects with this research are not known. With that being said, different reports come out, some in favor of the medication and some opposing the medication but we do not have proven facts of a 20-year case or older because of this essentially new road in the medical field. This is in contrast to the Vox article which claims that these effects are irreversible. They depict “It’s possible that many prepubescent transgender children will, in fact, change their minds about transitioning medically” (Turban). He also says that scientists do not have great research on this topic yet. Thankfully interventions that transitional doctors recommend are “ completely safe and reversible”. He also claims that medical guidelines advise that children who have not reached puberty should not be offered any hormonal interventions. Lastly he claims that a child should be able to socially transition if they want to. I believe that is the best thing to do for a prepubescent child because if a child has a strong urge to transition then they should be allowed to. I believe that if the child wants to First socially transition, then dress differently, they should be given the chance to because this is their time to really consider if they want to make a permanent change to their body or not. The permanent change would be a sex change performed on their genitals and taking hormones to fit the body they want to be in. I believe children should be able to take hormones once they get to the age where they start hitting puberty. From personal experience hormonal shots do alter the body and will block your estrogen or testosterone, and side effects will occur but once off the four your body will change back. on the contrast, I believe that a sex change surgery is a very drastic decision and should not be done until 16 or 18 because this child could go through doubts of wanting to be a different gender, or may want to completely stop their sex change and I don’t believe that general surgery is reversible. If possible you will not have the same general as you wanted had you stayed the gender you were born into. Below, I linked a video of three people who publicly admitted to regretting their sex change. all three of them went through what I would call body dysmorphia at a young age and all transition at a very young age. They are now much older in life and want their original sex back this is one of the main argument in denying a sex change to an adolescent because there are people who regret their sex change and can do nothing about it. they all had surgery performed on their genitalia and now cannot enjoy your life. One man now admits that he can no longer enjoy sex because his vaginal cavity is too shallow. this is a perfect example for doctors to use when they claim that children should not be allowed to have a sex change. i truly believe that this is an An example why children should not be able to have a sex change but I wouldn’t they they should be denied one. it is up to the owner of the body to make decisions for themselves and if they later regret it then that is something that they would have to deal with. It is not up to me or another doctor to “ save them from regret”. In continuence, with new medical advances we may be able to preserve this person’s original gender in preparence for them wanting to change their sex. In conclusion I believe children should be able to transition at any age, despite the hardships that come along with a sex change. There are many hardships in the journey to transition from any gender to another, so I do not believe it is fair for anyone to impose their beliefs on another person. I have to go on the journey alone just as I or anyone else must endeavor on our own journey and want to be alone in it. It’s their decision not up to me or any other doctor which is why I believe that at any age a child with the ability to make conscious decisions should be able to transition. 

Works Cited

 Olson, Kristina R., et al. “Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities.” American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Mar. 2016, pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/137/3/e20153223. “Pediatrician: Transgender ideology causing child abuse.” 

Fox New, 27 July 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncl3ZFitt84 Soh, Debra W. “Why Transgender Kids Should Wait to Transition.” Pacific Standard, 1 Sept. 2015, psmag.com/social-justice/why-transgender-kids-should-wait-to-transition. 

Turban, Jack. “It’s Okay to Let Your Transgender Kid Transition – Even If They Might Change Their Mind in the Future.” Vox, Vox, 23 Oct. 2018, www.vox.com/2018/10/22/18009020/transgender-children-teens-transition-detransitionpuberty-blocking-medication. “When Transgender Kids Transition, Medical Risks Are Both Known and Unknown.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/when-transgender-kidstransition-medical-risks-are-both-known-and-unknown/. “I Want My Sex Back: Transgender people who regretted changing sex (RT Documentary).”RT, RT 10 Sep. 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pxxBQm114k

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