Transgender kids: Have we gone too far?

Transgender kids: Have we gone too far?
Image: a katz / Shutterstock.com

What happens when your son tells you he’s really a girl?

Twenty years ago, you probably would have crossed your fingers and tried to wait it out. Today, you might buy him a whole new wardrobe, find someone to prescribe hormone blockers, and help him live as a girl. Maybe he’ll even become a celebrity. A recent Maclean’s magazine cover, posing that very question, featured a lovely 11-year-old with long, flowing locks and enormous eyes. His name used to be Oliver.

Suddenly transgender kids are everywhere – in the news, on Dr. Phil and in your neighbourhood. School boards have developed detailed transgender policies. Clinics to treat transgender kids have sprung up. A condition that used to be vanishingly rare, perhaps one in 10,000 children or less, now seems common. In a random sampling of 6th- to 8th-graders in San Francisco, kids were asked if they identified as male, female or transgendered – 1.3 per cent checked off the transgendered box.

But for kids, especially younger ones, the issue is much more problematic. Gender confusion is often temporary.

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