What if your young daughter decided she wanted to dress like a boy? Would you be fine with that, even indulge in your daughter’s requests? For many, this isn’t much of an issue. Lots of young girls decide they’re more tomboy than feminine. And it isn’t seen as abnormal.
But what if it went further? What if your daughter decided that they actually were a boy – wanting to be called a boy’s name and become a boy? And what if it were actually your SON who could no longer identify as a boy? What if he started to wear dresses, changed his name, and insisted that he was now a girl?
What if he were only 5 when he made his wishes known?
This is what parents, Steve and Barb, were faced with when their son, Harry, decided he felt more like a girl than a boy, as shown in the documentary about parents who are raising their son as a girl on “Our America” with Lisa Ling.
Harry had always gravitated towards dolls, flowers, or other such things that leaned more towards a feminine sense rather than what “normal” boys seemed interested in. When he’d draw pictures of himself, he always drew himself as a girl. And in kindergarten, the teacher talked with the parents about how Harry got into fights at school with the other boys when he insisted he was not a boy, but a girl. Harry’s even decided that he was no longer Harry, and wanted to be called “Hailey”.
The parents met with several different therapists who all mentioned the same thing – transgender. But Harry/Hailey was only 5. Not only that, his Baptist parents found that everything they knew about sex and gender from their religious beliefs was being questioned. Hailey’s father even admitted anger and shame in this new transformation, not really wanting to accept that his boy wanted to be a girl. He was hoping it would be a phase.
There aren’t clear reasons as to how a person becomes transgendered. But there are several theories.
The first is the “hormonal wash theory”. Basically, this theory trends that we’re born the way we are. By the 7th week of gestation, all embryos have both male and female primordial ducts. If the egg is fertilized with the X chromosome, the embryo continues growing as a female. If it is given a Y chromosome, then a hormonal switch happens. The female parts are dissolved and destroyed, and male parts continue to grow. These chromosomes also cause brain differences, as well, developing feminine or masculine traits, as well as other human traits like whether we are right or left-handed, calm or high energy, etc. However, 1 in every 200 births results in “intersexuality” – when the chromosomes in a human are not the cut and dry XX or XY. This may cause the body to develop one way and the brain to develop a different way. (For a more complete description on how someone can be born transgendered, go here.)
The second is the “nurture theory”. This is when it’s believed that the environment a child grows up in has a bigger effect than genetics, creating how they turn out to be in temperament, skills, likes and dislikes, and even gender identity and preference.
Many who are transgendered realize their differences from early on. This may prove difficult as a child who identifies with the opposite sex grows older. By denying their differences, they hate the body they live in – sometimes resulting in drug abuse or other addictions, depression….even suicide.
For Steve and Barb, it became clear that supporting their son, now 7 year old daughter, was most important, and vital to her well being. They realized this was how she was happier.
“God made her just like this.”
Of course, Hailey’s parents know that while life is really easy for their son/daughter now, there will be many difficulties that lie ahead. In her young life, Hailey’s peers are accepting of the fact that Hailey identifies as a girl. But eventually, the differences in Hailey will be glaring. And even Hailey will realize that she is the only girl with a penis, and that what she has chosen isn’t how other kids grow up. Her parents are plagued with questions about how will it affect her love life, her future, her well being as she gets older.
Do you believe that the parents of Hailey made the right choice in allowing their son to dress, act, and be a girl? Is a 5 year old really capable of knowing this much about themselves, or could his/her parents be encouraging their son’s transformation?
Would you be able to allow your child to identify as the opposite gender they were physically born as?