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Monday, October 17, 2011

Tommy or Tammy

This is a pretty loaded story. I have to admit, this is a tough one for me to figure out. Basically an 11 year old biological boy is being given medication to delay puberty so he will have more time to decide his gender. My immediate reaction was giving hormone delaying drugs to an 11 year old kid sounds pretty messed up. But I had to take it with a grain of salt since I know nothing about this drug in terms of how damaging or beneficial it could be. I definitely don't agree with the analogy that it's like "performing liposuction on an anorexic child." That doesn't even make sense. Also interesting that the boy having lesbian parents is introduced immediately.

It sounds like the kid has several issues going on at the same time (threatening self mutilation of genitals, speech impediment, gender identity disorder…). Just not sure adding medication to the mix is a hot idea.

Thoughts? Would love to hear from people who have similar personal experiences.


  1. Consider the story is on the Fox News site and that it quotes Keith Ablow (who has famously said parents shouldn't let their kids watch Chaz Bono on DWTS because it might cause them to become transgender) and take its tone with as many grains of salt necessary.

  2. I support letting children explore their gender identity, but I don't think drugs should ever be involved ESPECIALLY because we don't know how it's going to affect him/her.

  3. I agree with D_T_Le. I don't think the anorexia example fits because it implies that gender confusion is a sickness but I would definitely compare it to giving a 14-year-old girl breast implants. We have arbitrary age minimums on dangerous things for a reason.

  4. I have many conflicting thoughts about this.

    The one which comes up stronger is what an horrible coincidence to have a transgender child raised by a lesbian couple. Because even if it's a legitimate case that deserved these drastic measures, there will always be the ghost of possible influence from his parents.

  5. Fox News actually ripped off a CNN report for this article and played up the fearmongering and the fact that the parents are lesbians.

    If you read the CNN report, ( interviews doctors who work with transgender kids and also Tammy's parents. It talks about how Tammy's parents were initially very confused and kept trying to convince her she was a boy.

    The Fox story shows a picture of Tommy and hides pictures of Tammy under a cut. Fox News's story does not follow AP journalistic standards and refers to Tammy as Tommy and uses the pronoun "he.

    Fox News's Sources are:
    The director of education and training for Gender Spectrum

    The Vatican's advisor on sexual matters

    Fox's official health editor

    A plastic surgeon who does transgender facial therapy (which "coincidentally" the treatment would eliminate the need for)

    A person who goes on anti-LGBT sites sharing his "ex-transgender" story

    The other Fox health guy who said parents should not let kids watch Chaz Bono dance with the stars.

    I think it's safe to say that one article actually quotes people who are familiar with transgender medicine and transgender issues, and the other doesn't.

    As dangerous as this treatment might be (and the researchers who specialize in transgender issues don't think it is) the plastic surgery necessary to remove secondary sex characteristics is even more traumatic and dangerous.

    Good reading here:

  6. The article should be taken with a grain of salt. It's biased, misinformed, and uses incorrect terminology.

    Despite our cultural socialization that children remain so until they reach the legal age of adulthood, 18, our bodies reach adulthood at puberty. It sounds to me that Tammy's parents are simply allowing her to delay the onset of those more permanent changes. Good parents encourage their children to explore their own identities and create supportive environments to foster that discovery.