The term transgender first emerged in the mid-eighties to define a category of gender disorder that was not covered by those that already existed. There were two general categories gay and transvestites, but we know that gender disorders are much broader than that, having transvestites, transvestites, intersexist, crossdressers, among others.
The great difference between transgender people in relation to other gender disorders is that they do not actually identify with the sex they are. The most commonly heard phrase among them is: “I'm in the wrong body”. These individuals feel totally the opposite of gender to their bodies, and suffer persistent discomfort about their own sex.
It's important to remember that gender identity and sexual attraction are very different things, so being transgender does not mean being homosexual.
Trans (as transgender people are known) already demonstrate, from a very early age, their dissatisfaction with their own bodies. There are cases of children aged 3.4 years who have already discovered themselves as transgender, and live with the sex they identify with. The support of parents and the search for doctors specialized in this type of subject is essential. In these cases, the function of the parents is to notice if the child is not going through a phase, if he is gay, or in fact has a gender disorder.
The sexual identity in these cases is not linked to the body and organs at all, it is linked to the mental, called "brain sexes", your sex can be male, but your gender female and vice versa. Reinforcing that sex is linked to the body, the sexual organs, and gender is more behavioral and social.
With the correct medical supervision, trans children can start hormonal treatment as they enter puberty, which will inhibit the body from taking forms of the unidentified sex. In addition, hormonal treatment allows the individual to develop some characteristics of their gender, for example, in the treatment of a transgender woman, the hormone induces breast growth, smoothes facial features and thins the voice. In the treatment of male transgenders, the hair grows, the voice becomes deeper, the features rougher and menstruation stops. Upon reaching adulthood, trans can undergo sex change surgery.
There is a documentary called “My Secret”, which tells the stories of transgender children. This documentary is available on Youtube:
An interview with Dr. Johanna Olson, Assistant Professor of Adolescent Medicine at Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Q: How can a parent know if their child is transsexual?
A: A lot of this depends on the child's age. In most of the ongoing research on this, there is no clear consensus in the community or among parents. The term "transgender" itself has undergone dynamic change over time, but it is generally understood as someone who has a gender identity, a gender expression, a gender performance that falls outside the expected cultural norms for their assigned sex. born.
It is also true, however, that there are a large number of children who are prepubertal [in the stage immediately before puberty] who have gender non-conforming behaviors, who do not label themselves as transgender. The truth is, we really don't know if this child in childhood gender non-conformance will move on to a trans identity in adolescence or adulthood. What we do know is that by the time children reach adolescence, if they have a different gender identity than their assigned sex at birth, it is very likely that they will continue to have that gender identity. Thus, adolescence is an important moment when we talk about treatment.
Q: How do you approach a child who just expresses some non-conforming behavior, as opposed to saying a child who persistently, insistently and consistently says "no, I'm not a boy, I'm a girl"?
A: I think you have to take the affirmative approach to care - so what does this child need to feel more secure and feel more whole in that moment in the moment? And the big thing is that you support a child going through a social transition in early childhood.
The reality about these children who are asking to live with a gender other than their assigned sex at birth is that they often have immense amounts of gender dysphoria. And we know that children who are more gender dysphoric in childhood are more likely to have trans identities like teenagers and adults.
Here, then, is where it gets tough. Social transition must be a child's need, not a parent's. If a parent wants their child to transition socially because it's easier than just having a child who isn't gender-compliant, that's a problem. And I have to say - this is very important - having a so-called boy at birth who wants to wear girls' clothes and paint his nails, but not identifying himself as a girl is a very difficult place. It's a difficult place for parents; it's a difficult place for caregivers; it is a difficult place for relatives; it is a difficult place for the child. So it's easy to imagine then, "Hey, can't you just live like a girl full time?" It might seem like an easier solution to a difficult scenario.
Q: What would you say to a parent who comes to you with a 4 or 5 year old child who they think might be transgender?
A: I always recommend that the family have a weekend where the child tries the other sex and see what happens. If you're nervous about this, go somewhere for a weekend where your child is able to live with the sex he claims to have, and see what happens to your child. See what happens when he has the clothes you choose. It can be very enlightening.
I think it's really important that before people panic about the social transition that they stop and ask themselves, "What could be the consequences of this? Is it really that bad?" When we think about giving people the opportunity to experience both gender roles, we do a great service to society. I've never seen the argument that it's harmful to let kids explore gender. People have a psychic attack about it, but it's not necessary.
Just because you let your child grow their hair and wear dresses and use a different name? This is all reversible. This is one of the problems with the whole concept of covering up, being discreet. It adds this ridiculous layer of secrecy that is really becoming archaic in the context of the new ways we're thinking about sex. It propagates the idea that you can only be one gender throughout your life and that sex is determined based on your genitals at birth. I just think this concept is becoming outdated.
- Interview with Dr. Johanna Olson, Assistant Professor of Adolescent Medicine at Children's Hospital Los Angeles
– Documentary "My Secret Self"
– Roberto B. Graña “Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood”
– Leticia Lanz “Transgender: a history of time”
– Matter of transgender children – Doctor