MARYLAND, July 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Maryland couple is allowing their six-year-old daughter, Kathryn, to live as a boy, and are preparing her for eventual hormone therapy after they say that she demanded the change and it was sanctioned by a psychiatrist.
The Washington Post reports that Kathryn's parents, Jean and Stephen, became worried when, at two years old, Kathryn began telling them she was a boy. When the little girl's mother tried to convince her that she was a girl by showing her pictures of the difference between boys and girls when she was three, the toddler reportedly replied, “When did you change me?”
When Kathryn was five the parents took her to see Michele Angello, a “clinical sexologist” who specializes in “transgender issues” and whose practice “is made up of people who identify as transgender, gender-variant, genderqueer or a variety of other self-identifications.”
Angello told the parents that Kathryn, who had been allowed by this time to call herself Tyler, had “gender dysphoria” and that she should be allowed to live as a boy.
Gender identity disorder (GID) is recognized as a psychiatric condition by the American Psychiatric Association.
The APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was revised in May to replace the term “gender identity disorder” with “gender dysphoria.”
The APA’s manual states that only a very small number of children with gender dysphoria maintain the symptoms into later adolescence or adulthood.
Rather than seek psychological help for their daughter, Jean and Stephen decided to follow Angello's advice, and are encouraging their daughter in her belief that she is a boy.
The parents have started considering things like school enrollment, sports, and bathroom use as their daughter comes to school age. They are also considering finding a doctor who will give their daughter drugs to block her natural progression to womanhood when she approaches puberty.
One such doctor is Norman Spack, co-founder of the Gender Management Services Clinic at Children’s Hospital in Boston and an advocate of early gender changes.
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In 2011, a front-page story in the Boston Globe highlighted Spack's work. The Globe reported on how the endocrinologist had blocked and altered the development of one young boy’s body to match his self-identification as a girl.
Wyatt Maines is the identical twin of brother Jonas – but thanks to the powerful hormone blocking drugs Spack gave the boy starting at age 11, he is now five inches shorter and several pounds lighter than Jonas, sports more feminine features, and goes by the name “Nicole.”
According to the story, “Nicole” planned to begin taking estrogen to develop hips and grow breasts, an irreversible change that will cause permanent sterility. The last stage – what the Globe called the young boy's “final step on her journey to womanhood” – would be surgery to remove his male genitals and create an imitation female-like structure.
Spack was quoted to say that he likes to work with gender-confused children when they are still young and their gender perception is more pliable.
“I bet I could go to any fourth or fifth-grade class, cut the hair of the boys, put earrings on various kids, change their clothing, and we could send all those kids off to the opposite-gender bathrooms and nobody would say boo. We can do wonders if we can get them early,” Spack said.
Sex reassignment therapy, however, remains a highly controversial practice among the psychiatric community.
Dr. Paul McHugh, the chairman of the Johns Hopkins psychiatric department at Johns Hopkins University, famously concluded that to perform such changes on a gender-confused individual was to “cooperate with a mental illness rather than try to cure it.”
Johns Hopkins closed its gender clinic after McHugh found in follow-up evaluations that most transgendered patients’ psychological functioning had not improved.
“We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia,” McHugh wrote in a First Things article titled ‘Surgical Sex.’
Walt Heyer, a former transsexual who embraced his male identity after years of attempting to live as a woman, said attempts to change the biological sex of a child's body was only a temporary fix that didn’t have the child’s best interests in mind.
“They are only looking at the short term ‘solution.’ But in ten, fifteen, twenty years out there is tremendous regret, invariably accompanied by alcoholism, drug addiction, and even suicide attempts,” Heyer, who attempted suicide after his own gender-reassignment surgery, told Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance, a pro-family action organization in Massachusetts.
Sarah Allis Yang of Los Angeles, another former transsexual, has stated in public testimony that she learned to embrace her femininity after 19 years feeling like a man – even though she says her first words as a child were, “I’m a boy.”
“If anyone could claim that they were ‘born this way,’ it was me,” said Yang, who now says she is happily married to a man. “I thought I had no choice but to either get surgery or continue dating women as a man trapped in a girl’s body.
“I became suicidal not because of societal pressures or lack of understanding or acceptance from others, but because I personally didn’t want to live this way, because it was a detrimental and painful lifestyle and no one offered me any other choice or option but to be this way.”
In a straightforward statement to the Canadian government when it was debating a private member’s bill (Bill C-279) earlier this year that would afford special protection to so-called “transgender” men and women, prominent Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Berger said that from a medical and scientific perspective there is no such thing as a “transgendered” person.
Dr. Berger, who is a consulting psychiatrist in Toronto and whose list of credentials establishes him as an expert in the field of mental illness, stated that people who identify themselves as “transgendered” are mentally ill or simply unhappy, and pointed out that hormone therapy and surgery are not appropriate treatments for psychosis or unhappiness.
“The so-called ‘confusion’ about their sexuality that a teenager or adult has is purely psychological,” Dr. Berger stated, adding that cosmetic surgery will not change the chromosomes of a human being.
The Washington Post reports that when Kathryn overhears her mother talk about her change from Kathryn to Tyler, she “fumes” with indignant language uncharacteristic of a 6-year-old, “I’m not transgender, I am a boy.”