I don’t know exactly what you put in the word encouraging, if it is actively pushing a child towards transitioning, letting the child experiment with gender on their own will or not actively stop the child from doing so. I am neither in favour of the first, nor the last alternative and it is true that most children are too immature to understand the full consequences of a decision to transition between genders. Undeniably most children eventually end up identifying with the gender assigned at birth as adults, but what about those few that don’t? Do we really do them a favour pushing them through a puberty they later will spend tenths of thousands of dollars undoing, still ending up with some unwanted irreversible changes pointing them out to themselves and others, or alternatively realise they have no possibility to undo, effectively forcing them to live in a role they never will be fully comfortable with?
I was born in a time when gender issues were considered as mental illness and merely unheard of among the general population. Yet, already at the age of five or six I knew I had the soul of a girl inside me. However, in my total ignorance I had no idea that something like transitioning even existed and believed only divine intervention could make me become a true girl, so I never even mentioned my thoughts to my parents or anyone else though I never stopped dreaming of becoming her. At twelve I began secretly wearing my mother’s old skirts and dresses to visualise the girl inside me, something that continued all through my life.
It was getting Parkinson’s disease at 47, that finally brought the woman out in the open. Still family obligations stopped me from pursuing a transition and now close to 11 years later I am forced to admit I really don’t have the possibility to fully become her, partly because of my own medical situation and more so because my wife couldn’t deal with it and maintaining separate places would make us both suffer economically. Still I feel I must do something to remain sane and so just started the tedious task of pouring money into permanent hair removal of my face – and still I have very sparse hair comparing to most born male.