Is Ten Too Young For A Sex Change?April 20, 2011 No Comments
How young is too young for a sex change?
A ten year old boy has been given permission to start the process to become a girl. The court got involved and has backed the parents decision, but people are still outraged and claiming it is child abuse.
The Australian Family Court has ruled that the boy should be allowed to undergo puberty-suppressing hormone therapy to begin a sex change.
The child’s parents say from the time “Jamie” was a toddler she considered herself a girl, playing with “female” toys and identifying with female movie characters.
While this is a controversial decision it was not one made in haste. Jamie’s parents had previously encouraged her to be more masculine, cutting her hair and providing her with male-oriented toys, but to no avail. Jamie underwent psychiatric treatment in 2007 but continued to identify as a girl.
Judge Linda Dessau, who referred to Jamie as “she” throughout the proceedings, agreed urgent treatment should be allowed, before Jamie began developing a deeper voice, an Adam’s apple or facial hair.
Jamie will now undergo further treatment to become female by the time she is 16 or 17 years old, however the court must reconvene before stage-two estrogen therapy commences.
Jamie is not the first transgender child to be given large-scale media attention.
In 2009 Josie Romero was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. At only 8-years-old Josie insisted she would live the rest of her life as a female, despite being born male. In 2007, 12-year-old Kim was granted access to puberty-suppressing treatment in Germany.
While there is no doubt that people who undergo sex change processes genuinely believe they have been born with the wrong bodies, how young is too young? Does an 8 or 10-year-old child have the mental and emotional capacity to make decisions that will influence them for the rest of their lives?
Transgender advocates argue most transgender and transsexual individuals recognize their desire to live as the other sex from a very early age, and many suggest treatment is an important measure in preventing depression and self-harm in transgender youths.
“We don’t have any patient who has regretted their decision on the treatment,” said Henriette Delemarre-van de Waal of Leiden University Medical Centre, who has helped treat many young people unhappy with their gender.
However puberty-suppressing therapy isn’t a walk in the park. It can be expensive, painful and difficult for families to manage. Furthermore, while most people are happy with the steps they take towards a sex change, others live to regret the decision.
Ultimately this is not about the merits of sex change therapy, nor the legitimacy of the feelings of those involved. This is about whether it is in the best interest of children to allow them to make such decisions.
On one hand, forbidding children from having access to such treatment may lead to depression, social isolation or even suicide, while permitting them to begin the sex change process may start them on a path which they may not always wish to follow.
Either way, the children, parents, doctors and judges involved should be commended for their courage, and shown tolerance and understanding, for the difficult decisions they are required to make.
Contact the author here: email@example.com