Let Children Be Children- Without Jamming Them Into Gender Roles
April 9, 2015
From Samantha Rea at the Huffington Post:
“As a tween, I was self-conscious about developing. Even now, the word makes me wince. I stopped going swimming at around the age of 11. I didn’t like it, I said. I pulled out of Brownie camp, insisting, “I just don’t want to go.” The truth was, I’d heard you had to wash in a big bin, in front of each other. I was excruciatingly self-conscious about my body, about my breasts. And if you’re imagining I had anything to stop traffic, the answer is no. I was around a bra size 30A.
I wanted to slice off my breasts with a bacon slicer. I didn’t know what a bacon slicer was, but I imagined it would slice off breasts pretty well. Fortunately, I made it through puberty with my breasts intact, but had my parents been less no-nonsense, had they heard of transgender children and had we been living in America today, I might have been given a mastectomy.
Sound far fetched? In Louis Theroux’s documentary, Transgender Kids shown at the weekend, we actually see the mastectomy scars on a teenager. “There’s a little bit of redness,” says Theroux, diplomatically, as we look at the glaring, red scars across the child’s chest. Amaya’s “top only dysphoria” became an issue around the age of 11 or 12 when developing caused, “a little bit of an anxiety issue… in terms of going out in public… the way other people were perceiving me.” This sounds like a normal reaction to developing. You don’t fix awkwardness with an operation.
We meet other children on the programme. Camille, born Sebastian, is a five-year-old who repeatedly uses the word transgender. I wondered – along with many others on Twitter – how a five-year-old had come to use this word. We see Camille in a tiara, applying lipstick and wearing a dress to school. Theroux asks dad Eduardo if perhaps, rather than needing to transition, Camille is still exploring. Eduardo says no, “I don’t think there’s any more exploring.”
We’re introduced to Catch, a 36-year-old female to male transgender, at an appointment to discuss phalloplasty. Catch talks about being at primary school and wanting to wee standing up. We meet Cole, sometimes Crystal, whose friends know what to call him depending on, “what clothes I’m wearing that day, like if I want to wear these kind of clothes I’m a girl, if I wear those kind of clothes I’m a boy.” He says that as Cole, he does: “more things a boy can do.”
As a feminist with a background in gender studies, I believe that gender is culturally constructed – that we need to break down gender stereotypes, rather than reinforce them. This means we need to stop segregating activities, clothes, toys and colours according to gender. Instead of dressing girls in pink and boys in blue, we need to throw away the rule book and, “rid the world of gender rules and regulations.”
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[image added by me-GM]
Filed in Children, Feminism, Gender, Transgender Children
Tags: eugenics, homophobia, human rights crimes against children, louis theroux, medical malpractice, medical trends, medicalized social conformity, reparative therapy for gay children, sex roles, sexism, transgenderism is reparative therapy