Kids… Should they get gender affirming surgery, take HRT, etc?

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    • #140384
      Miriya Paris
      SILVER

      This is a hot topic right now, there seems to be very emotional and heated discussion all over the place. I know my feelings on the topic but what are others in the community really thinking?

       

      Miriya

    • #140387
      Elli Snow
      SILVER

      I have mixed feelings about this, some based on history, more on the years I spent in therapy and studying psychology, and more based on personal life experiences.  A lot of it depends on the kids themselves.  Are we talking about the average teen with an average IQ of 100, or are we talking about someone like myself that has scored above the 99th percentile on half a dozen IQ tests?  Historically, 150 years ago the average late teen was probably already married, running their own farm or had completed an apprentice and was working a a journeyman craftsman and raising a family.  Now we seem to think that kids aren’t old enough to learn to drink  responsibly at 18 but they’re responsible enough to go kill for whatever the corporations currently want us to kill.  Do I think it’s okay for young teens to start HRT or SRS, I would say in almost all cases no.  Do I think it’s okay for them to take puberty blockers until they’re old enough and have learned enough about themselves to make a permanent decision regarding HRT and surgery, yes.  Do I think parents should have the final say?  Absolutely not.  I think by the time a kid is 13 or 14, they have enough education and knowledge about themselves to make a decision that is reversable4 or 5 years down the road should they decide against continuing.  I knew I was very different from my male peers by the time I was 6.  Did I know enough when I was 14 to make a permanent decision like SRS, no.  I was 14 in 1967 and I don’t think the word transgender was even in the common vocabulary at that time.  I did know I hated being a male and would have preferred being a girl, but my knowledge back was limited to two different genders and two types of sexuality, hetero and homo.  Granted, things have changed a lot in the last 50 years, but I still don’t think most teens are educated enough, or have had enough time to learn and understand about themselves to make that sort of permanent decision.

       

    • #140399
      Barb
      FREE

      It’s a great pity and shame that most of the above choices are now criminalized in some parts of the world despite the wealth of medical evidence in support of gender affirming care for children and youth.

      Barb

    • #140422

      I think puberty blockers are appropriate for kids until at least 18 years of age. That should allow them sufficient time to really consider the life altering question of surgery. I disagree with any surgery before that age. I also believe the parents should participate in blockers decisions but should also strongly consider the kids needs and desires.

    • #140427
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      This topic seems to be a real hot button for conservatives, but I also think that some misinformation has been spread. They leave the impression that affirmation surgeries have been performed on children. From what I remember, the youngest was 13 and there are very, very few cases like that.

      There is a danger with allowing parents to decide what happens. The granularity of the questions don’t make a distinction between parents being the sole decision makers or sharing the decision with their kid, a therapist and a medical doctor. In theory, yes the parent should be involved, but that can totally block the process for what the kid really needs help. Worse, they could force their kid into conversion therapy, but as we know, that does not work. But, it you took the patents completely out of the loop and the kid started HRT or later started affirmation surgeries, what sort of support would they come home to?

      In general, I do not like the idea of moving forward with transition only based on the person’s consent. There has to be checks and balances. The danger is that if they detransition, based on what it didn’t do for their dysphoria, it becomes easy for conservatives to say that transition should not be allowed because it doesn’t work. The fact that transitioning has helped MANY, MANY people is lost in the smoke and haze. Notice how conservatives trot out Walt Heyer to talk about transitioning/detransitioning. The truth of the matter is that he gamed the system. He lied and distorted what he told his therapist in order to get them to sign off. However, I believe that he should have never transitioned in the first place. It used to be that the bar was living as your target gender for a year. While I think that should be reduced, I think it is a good idea.

      I question waiting until 18 to do any sort of affirmation care. That would mean that the kid would likely have gone through several years of misery. To me, that would be hard to justify. It would likely mean that anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs would be used and I don’t feel that’s a good idea as it doesn’t address the root of the problem. It only puts a band-aid on the symptoms.

    • #140458
      Miriya Paris
      SILVER

      Forgive me everyone this is another of my long drawn out forever responses.

       

      Anyway I finally decided to chime in, actually to be honest I waited to add my thoughts on purpose as I wanted to give others a chance to share before I put in my two cents and might influence anyone.

      As I do have two teen kids who are on the Spectrum, plus I myself am assuming I am on the Spectrum though I do not like the label. I personally think of myself as a human not a government or society generated category. But as life needs comparisons to evolve I get it.

      So the question is should kids be allowed to transition before they are adults? This encompasses even taking a single step toward transition even if 100% totality is not allowed under the age of 18. Also a part of the question is should parents get a say in the matter and an unwritten part of the question is who else gets a say? Kids? Government? Psychologist? Etc.? I have always tried to judge people by their views not mine as we are all 100% different on the planet and no one size fits all, least of all mine as I know I do not think like anyone I have ever meet.

      So first who are we talking about, kids meaning under 18 or the government demarcation to adult. Past generations and cultures had different age brackets but as we live in 2023 and in the USA I am considering that group, this means Gen Z, not X, or Y, or Alpha. So any data or assumptions from those generations is completely invalid as we all know were vastly different times in terms of thinking and acceptance. In my generation it was a rite of passage of sorts if you transitioned and this very fact weeded out any non serious folk.

      Gen Z has a totally different mind set or brain wiring then any of the generations before it. Mine and the Boomers were mostly Analog thinkers, meaning we made a system in our logic mind and followed it, to change the system you had to break the old completely and begin anew. Gen Y are the digital thinkers, meaning that view data from the computer thought process of data packets, basically short bursts of many systems at once, thus much more adaptable but still somewhat based in the Analog way of systems thinking. Gen Z are cloud based thinkers, meaning all data is taken in as a cloud of all information, with little bits scattered everywhere where the eventual picture in the mind is formed, basically no system. I think this fact makes them the most creative but also the most lost of Generations, or most easily lead as critical thinking tends to have no logical steps. Sure not all people fit the minds set of their generation but we need a base line so we go with the majority. Also Gen Z is the first generation that has online fully integrated in their evolution as babies and toddlers, ages 1-6, where just about all the morals and mental paths are created for the rest of their life. In this, online is like a reverse TV where TV of my generation was one of ‘look at that person in a fantasy wish I could be like them’, but in reverse it is ‘I am that fantasy person they look at me’. Thus the online handle or alias or identity, as we all know you can pretend to be anything online, has made the sovereignty of a distinct self much more multi faceted. Gen Z them selves are part of the cloud. My guess for Gen Alpha and/or beyond will be a hive mind eventually and loss of individuality will happen as a dominate group of something will figure out how to direct the cloud into their own direction. My thoughts on such are hopefully I will have left this life by then as I will be totally obsolete.

      With the Gen Z of the Western World in their proper frame we can now delve into the question at hand. For one thing almost all of Gen X, and virtually all the Boomers, and a lot of Gen Y do not have a clue as to how Get Z mental structure is, as there is no comparison and the idea of cloud based thinking is alien to them. And for any one who does not take the cloud think into account to make any guesses based on their generational experience with LGBTQ+ of the past is totally wrong. Like all the de-transition data for example, the control groups must be done for Gen Z not any other generation as they are not the same at all. I know this is hard to do, especially for me to get over the concept, all the struggle and shame of my generation, though very personal to me, is meaningless in evaluating Gen Z and should not influence my thoughts on Gen Z at all. They are in a transitional state of Homo-Sapien as a species, and I expect a new type of Human is on the rise in the next millennium, I like to joke; it will be Homo-Mobiles but really it might be Homo-Collective or something. For Gen Z they have been using alternate Identities since like the age of 2 in some cases, by the age of 4 I am sure 95% had an account somewhere where they had an alias and most where some hallow version of self online. This lack of a solid name or even sense of self has lead to their current lost singular self as they come of age and have to question the thing as all teens do, “Who am I?”. As Gender is not sacred online, and sex is a click away, plus the false influencers who put on a show but pretend to be real, this has really lead to a super state of a Gen Z teen of questioning self with the cloud based thinking as a system to do so. Thus we get this huge splattering of identities that seem to change every day. As the cloud forms in their minds they will come to solidify into a form of self. There is no scientific basis as to how long a time frame this questioning process will take as the cloud think is a new concept in history, but from my limited Gen X logic system I am thinking it will take a bit more then the current age of 18, but who really knows.

      Also as mentioned the Gen Z is still a Homo-???/Sapien with the same genetic structure as us, even if their minds are wired totally differently. This means the basic animal instinct we were all born with is still there for now anyway, they are messing with DNA so I expect this to change eventually. This means there is a distinct set of phases of growing up, given these are not set by age or years alive but in phases of growth; Helpless Baby, Toddler, Child, pre-Teen, Teen, Young Adult, Adult, Smart Adult, Elder, Helpless Elder. Each phase has a basic set of growth to them both in body and mind, as we are talking nothing of Young Adult and beyond, we wont look at those phases at all in the answering of this question. And really Helpless Baby, and Toddler are almost completely under the care of someone else and they tend not to think much about identity at these phases, they just are, we will also not go into much here other then the someone who is caring for them has 100% control of all their mental foundations. Thus the care person is 100% responsible for what happens to the Helpless Babies and Toddlers in all future endeavors till the time they are Helpless Adults. Personally I think it is a shame when someone runs amok and destroys their life because of bad upbringing, they must have had real crappy parents and those parents hopefully have remorse even if they do not have accountability. With that aside we really are looking at the Child, Teen and pre-Teen phases of human growth. We all know and every generation back to the dawn of Humanity that these phases of growth has a solidifying of Identity or place in the world they are moving into part to them, as well as the physical change to Young Adult that we call puberty. Hormones change drastically at these times, and Hormones effect the mental and emotional self, personally I think this is what leads to all the questioning every human has.

      Back to the real question at hand; should a non Gen Z limit the exploration of a Gen Z, I think not, it is how we all grew up and it is how they should grow up. Why would we try and alter the human growth cycles unless we are trying to destroy the fact they are human? However if that exploration they are doing causes self harm that is when someone needs to step in and say, “No”, parents are still there till the Young Adult phase for a reason. Just as our parents said no to drugs as they cause serous bodily harm. SRS, HRT, gender affirming surgery cause serious bodily harm by their very nature, these for sure are a no go decision for a non developed mind to make. And for a clueless adult or government system to make the decision for them is also a big “no no”, unless it is a “1984” type thing, best to wait till they are able to make up their own minds with a bit of wisdom behind them. I have not seen decent studies on the other chemical alternative of Hormone Blockers but in my day and age they messed you up physically, just look at Michael Jackson as an example, and to think of it they are altering your hormones so would they not just put off that growth phase both physically and mentally? The other parts of the question like changing names and presentation should be a yep in my eyes, we where allowed to self explore in our way or did it anyway with style and stuff, why can’t they. So as painful as it seems, let them try on what they want and change names as they want, changes genders daily, sexuality, etc. Somewhere in the future they will gain enough wisdom to settle into what really is for them as individuals. Sure some will do SRS, HRT, surgery and other self harming things, just as some of us did drugs, drove too fast, etc that killed and mutilated our selves out of existence, survival of the smartest as they say, it is all part of evolution.

       

       

      Miriya

    • #140965
      Anonymous

      Hi there, yes this is a really big discussion at the minute. I’m all for kids expressing themselves and questioning gender boundaries and roles, it should be supported but the parents have to be in charge of the narrative.

      • #141206
        Elli Snow
        SILVER

        I am curious what you mean by parents should be in charge of the narrative.  What part do you think they should be in charge of, and what part should be left to the decision of the child?

        Personally, I think the only thing parents should have a veto on is surgery, and I don’t think any teen has enough growth or experience to make a good choice at that age.  The brain isn’t fully developed until somewhere in the early 20s.  We don’t consider 18 years old people responsible enough or educated enough to consume alcohol.

        I don’t have any issue with a kid deciding he would rather wear dresses or she would rather dress like and hang out with the boys.  I don’t have an issue with HRT for either MtF or FtM, because it’s something like 95%+ reversible should they decide not to continue, and about 2% of those that start HRT decide not to continue it.

        However, surgery is a whole different bag of worms, and I think anyone considering it should have some real life experience away from schools and cliques before making an decision that’s can’t be undone.  Would I stop my 18 year old child from getting SRS at that age?  No, but I would try my most eloquent best to encourage them to wait a couple years.  Learn more about the real world and how they feel about it before making a choice that can’t be reversed.  Learning to deal with and appreciate delayed gratification is something I wish I had known at 20 instead of not learning it and understand it’s benefits until I was past 50.  This is one of those things I thing should be taught in school, along with rational thinking,  learning how to do research and learning to recognize when someone is feeding you a line of bull, but we don’t seem to teach any of these things any more.

        • #141207
          DeeAnn Hopings
          AMBASSADOR

          Note that you can enlist in any branch of the US military at 17 years of age.

          • #141217
            Miriya Paris
            SILVER

            And we think the government has kids best interests in mind do we?

          • #141221
            DeeAnn Hopings
            AMBASSADOR

            Just pointing out the inconsistency. If it is possible to die in defense of the country, then why is the minimum age for drinking, voting, etc. higher? It suggests that the minimum age for the military should be higher.

          • #142015
            Elli Snow
            SILVER

            I agree.  I think the minimum age to enlist should be much higher.  I also think the minimum age to drive should be higher than the drinking age.  I would much rather see my children learn to drink responsibly before they start driving.

          • #141347
            Elli Snow
            SILVER

            DeeAnn, you can only enlist in the US armed forces at 17 with parental permission.

             

          • #141349
            DeeAnn Hopings
            AMBASSADOR

            The point is that you can be in harm’s way at 17. How you got there is not significant.

    • #140984
      Lauren Mugnaia
      AMBASSADOR

      I haven’t read any of the other replies, as this is my initial response to the question. They’re my thoughts and opinions and I’m sure we will all have our own.

      I knew for certain, at a very young age, 3 years old, that I was supposed to be a girl. I am a trans woman and also an intersex female. Hormone blockers would have been wonderful for me if they’d been available.

      Decent loving parents would probably want their child to wait a while before doing HRT and surgeries, just to make sure they are certain about making a life altering move, and then have their parental approval. Hormone blockers provide that time to make serious considerations as they’re reversible and not permanent. Some HRT is also reversible whereas most SRS is permanent.

      Most kids under 18 who identify with a specific gender will already be going by a name they’ve chosen and use preferred pronouns.

      Hugs,

      Ms. Lauren M

      • #141208
        Elli Snow
        SILVER

        I look at this from a couple very different points of view.  I, too, knew before I got to 1st grade that I would rather be a girl than a boy.  I was more interested in the things they did and were interested in than I was in the things boys did and were interested in.  The closest I ever got to mentioning it to anyone was on a shopping trip with my mother when I decided I wanted a pink shirt and rainbow colored tutu when I was about 5.  This wish was quickly shot down, because it as 1958 and little boys just didn’t do things like that back then.  She was an educated women and was well aware of the cost of being outside of the cis community.  Transgender wasn’t even a word then, nor was the concept of the different types of sexual attraction.  Back then there were two accepted sexes, and two accepted sexual attractions, hetero and homo.  If you want to read some real horror stories, read about how homosexual people were treated by the government and society.  Besides being completely illegal back then, conviction generally meant a long stay at a very unpleasant psychiatric hospital where huge doses of mind and libido altering drugs were administered along with lots of the darling of psychiatrists back then, electroshock therapy.  Transport that same little child and his/her parents 50 years forward, and I think both my parents would have been fine with it.  As I grew older, I would have been expected to to a lot of reading and research on my choices, but that is because I came from a family of educators and researchers, and being both self aware and understanding consequences were important.  I suspect they would have gone along with HRT, but not SRS.  Like most 18 year olds, I was full of myself and thought my parents were completely out of touch with reality.  It took me until I was about 25 or 26 before I started to understand just how much more my  parents knew of and understood the real world than I did.  Mind you, my parents for their time were very supportive of everything I or my brothers chose to do, even when they knew it would end in disaster, because they knew we learned from experience then more than from the wisdom of our elders.  However, they were there to help pick up the pieces and make sure we learned the lessons we has set before ourselves.

    • #141033
      Michelle Lawson
      MANAGING AMBASSADOR

      So, you are absolutely correct that this is one hot potato. A topic that probably shouldn’t have a cookbook, cookie cutter, resolution. I think a case could be made for each of these possibilities. I’m sure that some kids should not venture past the gender ID stage as they may need more help, time, and knowledge. Still others, changing their name could be of help in their finding their own path forward.

      Some may be in a situation where parental understanding and knowledge is an absolute necessity. Some may be quite the opposite. Both of which require ample time, knowledge, and understanding to fully vet. And further more may be best served to wait until they are adults.

      As for the surgery and medication camps; with all that entails, I’d be inclined to think a very slow, careful, and stepped approach would be the best path forward. Because, at least for the surgery side of the equation, once the scapel makes contact, it is a done deal.

      I think, that of all these possibilities, the scariest is the one not talked about; the pushing the child into that because of predetermined outcomes envisaged by the ‘adults in the room’. These are children, who by their very age and definition, do not have the advantage of years of like, knowledge, and experience. Looking to us for guidance, do we not owe it to them to partner with them to make the best decisions. There is no absolute right or wrong answer or approach, but we had all make sure we do our best for them, or we will do the worst for all.

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