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Post Reply How old should a child be when they are allowed to change genders if they want?
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19 / F
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/18/15
Q: How old should a child be when they are allowed to change genders?

Yay, another controversial topic time. I really like to hear everyone's opinions on here. Unlike most places, people can actually debate and discuss without trash-talking and name-calling most of the time. This topic has been on my mind a while, as I hear more and more stories of transgender children making the news, with articles like this: http://guff.com/glt-transgender-children-headlines. I can't get on Facebook without seeing friends like these kinds of links.

Should a child even be allowed to make a life-changing decision like that? What if a 5 year-old says he or she is a cat or other animal? Or is that completely different? Where are the lines drawn? Should they wait until they are teenagers or adults?

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EDIT: To clarify the question, I'm more specifically asking about gender, but I'd also like to hear your thoughts on sex change, too. Gender has more to do with cross-dressing, or adapting cultural habits of a certain sex, if that makes any sense. Sex change is physically going through a process to change sexes. I apologize for being vague; I wrote this kind of late at night.
Please continue to be respectful of other people's opinions without any name-calling. ☺


Note from mod: Please be respectful of each other and refrain from personal insults and attacks even when you disagree. Also, while conversing please trim your quotes. Usually one level is enough for context; over three levels is unnecessary and makes posts hard to read. --lorreen
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23 / M
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/19/15
A cat isn't a gender. That's the line.
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19 / M / Cali
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/10/16
The cliche "BE YOU" with the God-given body that you have. No arms, no legs? No problem, show how badass you can be in front of the faces of those who only use excuses to be lazy. You're born a male, but your body unconditionally changes into a female? No problem, you can have kids and raise them to treat transexuals like another human being. Unfortunately, it's not that simple, but I sincerely believe that nobody has been born a mistake no one should think that they are.

BUT to answer your question, probs 18 years or so.
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27 / M
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/12/16
I believe it takes quite a bit of worldly experience before you're able to definitively choose and sculpt your identity purposefully. It's hard to pin down an exact age, but I believe expert study on a case-by-case basis should be done to prevent such an enormously burdensome undertaking from happening needlessly. "If they want" is a sh***y reason, if there ever was a sh***y reason. This should be done only when needed. It's not a haircut or a new outfit. It is an identity.

I still think it is best to raise children according to their biological sex. It is undeniable that most of the real world functions this way and that sticking out too much makes it harder to survive. That's just how it is. If you would like to do a complete reform of whatever gender things we have, it will take time and gradual progress. Nothing like this changes overnight. Impatience will not get people to understand.

Children like to pretend. They have overactive imaginations and not as much worldly experience as adults. Their brains are not yet fully developed and they are mostly incapable of making proper judgments about things they do not yet really understand even on a basic level. They don't even know themselves at that point. It would be irresponsible for parents to just spoil their kid and go along with whatever the kid feels like doing. I liked to pretend to be a robot. Doesn't mean I wanted to BE a robot. Even if I did, such a choice would hardly be well-informed. Sort of like getting a tattoo while drunk on your 18th birthday. Come on. Seriously?

Doctors don't just give patients drugs because the patient really likes them. Parents shouldn't let their kids constantly do whatever they want. Constantly enabling a child during the time in which they are so impressionable has a good chance of turning out an irresponsible adult who needs to learn lessons he/she should've learned earlier at a far greater cost.



TBH, even though gender issues do legitimately exist, I do not believe real cases that actually require real attention are of such a frequency and scale that we need to burden society with the additional such frivolous things. I believe an individual ought to be professionally diagnosed before being allowed to rely on these essential self-diagnoses. Dramatic teens and attention-seeking kids are nothing new and it is not in our best interests to keep things too lax. If not for our current generation, then for the future generations. I think the reason it is an issue now is that they have access to powerful communication tools and are basically just putting garbage on blast.

Kids and teens can be super weird. It doesn't mean that it's not just a phase. More often than not, it is.
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/17/15
18/legal adult age. However I really don't believe in transgender I think it's a phenomena having to do with psychosis, thus it may feel really real but the truth is it's not, I think doctors should look deeper into the issue, instead of enabling the patient.
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35 / M
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Posted 3/16/15
I'd even stretch it till 25.

I got flack recently for saying 18, because according the the person who brought it up they say even as a child these kida apparently know when they're of opposite sex.

think part of the problem is that gender and sex are two different things, and people often don't realize it.

gender being cultural, sex being genetic.

I pushed my answer further than what I answered then because, honestly, even at 18 these days, your body and life is still going through so many changes from puberty and and the societal change from being a "child" to being an adult, which you still have little experience at, that, for ANY truly irreversible life decision, I would request that you at least live as an adult for a while...
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30 / M / Empire of Walker
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Posted 3/16/15

serifsansserif wrote:

I'd even stretch it till 25.

I got flack recently for saying 18, because according the the person who brought it up they say even as a child these kida apparently know when they're of opposite sex.

think part of the problem is that gender and sex are two different things, and people often don't realize it.

gender being cultural, sex being genetic.

I pushed my answer further than what I answered then because, honestly, even at 18 these days, your body and life is still going through so many changes from puberty and and the societal change from being a "child" to being an adult, which you still have little experience at, that, for ANY truly irreversible life decision, I would request that you at least live as an adult for a while...


People make bad decisions all the time. Most, not all, of them are unrestricted with an age requirement outside of alcohol and tobacco usage. This seems more like the kind of thing someone would be able to determine at a very wide variety of ages because it's so personal. I would also think that changing your sex in an effort to reflect your gender is going to be much easier to adapt to earlier on.

Thoughts?
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29 / M
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Posted 3/16/15
This requires experience.

I have worked daycare and refuse to share my experiences explicitly.

But I will say that rarely, it can be obvious very early, and suppression doesn't work in modern American society, regardless of the household's opinion.

I think it's ok to tell people what I was told, though. So, I had been instructed not to let a certain boy play with anything pink or read My Little Pony books. This was from the parents of a certain boy that wouldn't play soccer with everybody, because he liked to play Barbie with the girls and pick out the My Little Pony book and other things, which were forbidden by the parents. Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks were good enough, I had no problems following the rules.

If you ask me, it's unavoidable in this case. I don't understand it, but I personally wouldn't try and put it off. That's stifling an existence, no good in my book.

Now for me, explicitly, I've had to get darkly serious with my parents to assure them that I'm not gay, because the girls I tend to find myself with are of a predatory outlook, and I always look like the heartbroken idiot in the end. I don't want my parents to think I'm a heartbroken idiot, let's all agree to that.

Still, I don't think age should be the question, I think understanding your preference should be the question, and there's a lot to teach that most kids don't get a chance to learn.
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35 / M
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Posted 3/16/15

ghostwarrior88 wrote:

People make bad decisions all the time. Most, not all, of them are unrestricted with an age requirement outside of alcohol and tobacco usage. This seems more like the kind of thing someone would be able to determine at a very wide variety of ages because it's so personal. I would also think that changing your sex in an effort to reflect your gender is going to be much easier to adapt to earlier on.

Thoughts?


The other one is that you're not bound by contracts that you sign underage (unless you're emancipated) because you're still a dependant and considered unable to make decisions until you are fully recognized by the state as such. Another example is that your driver's license is not given out until CLOSE to when you reach recognized adult age. A third one is that the court systems recognize you as a minor and often give a more lenient sentence or send you to a specialized facility for minors. A fourth example, is that as a woman you cannot get a tubal ligation until you are of a certain age, or have already had children (my sister is 27 and has three kids, the result of which was being turned down for the procedure twice when she asked). The reason for it is because the procedure carries an extremely low success rate for reversal.

tattoos are another thing that require you to have the consent of your guardian or be of legal age.

So yeah.. There's actually a lot of things that consider you differently because of the severity of the decision and expected maturity level.

Until you are 10-12 you still haven't hit puberty and the sexes are still fairly indistinguishable. From then till 18 (and some might even say your early 20's) your body is still going through the hells of puberty.

I'd say at least wait until all the chaos has gone on and you have a chance to experience your gender and give it honest consideration.

Yes, you may adjust to it easier when you're younger, but you lack the understanding of what gender is and what your relation to it is.
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35 / M
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Posted 3/16/15

morechunch wrote:

This requires experience.

I have worked daycare and refuse to share my experiences explicitly.

But I will say that rarely, it can be obvious very early, and suppression doesn't work in modern American society, regardless of the household's opinion.

I think it's ok to tell people what I was told, though. So, I had been instructed not to let a certain boy play with anything pink or read My Little Pony books. This was from the parents of a certain boy that wouldn't play soccer with everybody, because he liked to play Barbie with the girls and pick out the My Little Pony book and other things, which were forbidden by the parents. Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks were good enough, I had no problems following the rules.

If you ask me, it's unavoidable in this case. I don't understand it, but I personally wouldn't try and put it off. That's stifling an existence, no good in my book.

Now for me, explicitly, I've had to get darkly serious with my parents to assure them that I'm not gay, because the girls I tend to find myself with are of a predatory outlook, and I always look like the heartbroken idiot in the end. I don't want my parents to think I'm a heartbroken idiot, let's all agree to that.

Still, I don't think age should be the question, I think understanding your preference should be the question, and there's a lot to teach that most kids don't get a chance to learn.


Wheras I think that enforcing gender stereotypes is detrimental to anyone, (and I'm a guy who enjoys very girly things), I think surgery is something that should wait till the person is fully formed.
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/16/15
I think I've just the thing for this thread:

http://admin.associationsonline.com/uploaded_files/140/files/Standards%20of%20Care,%20V7%20Full%20Book.pdf

Start at page ten (that is, the bottom of page 16 of the PDF) and away you go. You'll have my answer.

Edit: It's just the one section, though reading the whole book won't hurt you. Don't let the page count intimidate you.
Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/18/15
If my boy want to be a girl then he can be a girl, if my girl want to be a boy then she can be a boy. Any parent who does't allow their child be who they want to be is a piece of shit who should have their parental rights remove. Denying the child their choice will only lead to unhappiness and trauma.
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Posted 3/16/15
For surgical transitioning, 18 (though good luck finding a doctor to do that at any age, let alone at the age of majority).

The younger the better, otherwise. The reason being is the hormones from puberty can change one's body permanently, so if you alter the hormones to promote the gender you identify with, the less traits of the wrong one will be prominent. Plus learning gender norms and how to act (as horrible as such things are ingrained in society) is a lot easier to do when young than when you're older and are somewhat used to acting the "wrong" way.

I've heard of plenty of transpeople who knew what gender they were as young as 3 or 4, so I see no reason why they should be forced to live as the wrong one longer than they have to. To start on hormone regimes still requires psych consults and whatnot, so it's not like there aren't any safeguards in place. It has to be more than a whim to advance anywhere medically.
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/16/15
This is a very complicated issue because everyone is different. I am a mtf transgender woman, but I am not typical. Most trans-women will tell you they were always this way, even as a child. I was not. I did tend to identify with the strong heroines over the heroes but I always preferred male toys and sports (even though I had no athletic ability).

I think Serif is right in a way. being a girl/boy is very different then being a woman/man. I never felt wrong being a boy, it wasn't till a ways into puberty when I became a man that things were off. While I wish I could undo the effects of puberty, I think knowing what you are is important to.

Just liking girly things doesn't make you a girl. If a boy wants to embrace his feminine side and dress/act like a girl I say let him at home, but in public he is still a boy. Don't prevent him from exploring who he is, but don't let him forget what he was born as either. They are both a part of him and until he is old enough to have fully explored and understand it he should be forced to accept both.

I think 18 is a good age to allow medical treatment. I think you can begin talking about treatment as early as early teens, when you can start to understand what you are doing, maybe even start your therapy; but I think hormones and surgeries need to wait till 18.

I first started thinking about it around early 20s but didn't begin transitioning until early 30s. Waiting sucks but you need to be sure.
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