Transgendered kids

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Transgendered kids

Postby Indrajala » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:45 am

I'm aware this might be a volatile subject, but it is interesting nevertheless.

There's an ongoing question of transgendered kids who from a young age are assigned or permitted an alternative gender identity like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxhyFA8iV9o

It begs questions about physical sex and gender identity. As adults it is one issue, but what about children who are permitted an alternative gender? What about seeing that their school accepts this and allows them to use the washroom they want, or to play on the sports team appropriate to their chosen gender?
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby greentara » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:08 am

It looked abit like reality TV to me. Texting a friend about the details of her genitalia and her parents laughter in the background somehow trivialises the whole issue. She says if he accepts her she loves him, if not..... She uses the word love but what she means is like, if he likes her enough. The young boys she's communicating with would not have the maturity or breadth of understanding to grasp the complexity of it all; she could very well end up being teased and ridiculed as the news spreads and the gossip starts.
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Indrajala » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:12 am

greentara wrote:It looked abit like reality TV to me. Texting a friend about the details of her genitalia and her parents laughter in the background somehow trivialises the whole issue. She says if he accepts her she loves him, if not..... She uses the word love but what she means is like, if he likes her enough. The young boys she's communicating with would not have the maturity or breadth of understanding to grasp the complexity of it all; she could very well end up being teased and ridiculed as the news spreads and the gossip starts.


I wonder, though, if her parents did not sanction the gender change, would she be displeased being a boy in life?
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Quiet Heart » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:21 am

:smile:
I don't know if you are familiar with this real life story.... but you can look it up on the net.

David Reimer was born as a male identical twin but later raised as female after his penis was accidentally destroyed during circumcision.
His normal twin brother was raised as a male.
David Reimer was born in Winnipeg Manitoba. His twin brother’s name was Brian.
At that time it was considered that a person's sexual identity was somethung that could be changed....a fashionable assumption in the 1960's ... because it was assumed a person could be trained to feel and live as either a male or female.
David was therefore "taught" to be a female... his genitals being removed and he was raised as a female.
David was only 22 months old at the time he was "re-assigned" as a female, his damaged testis was removed, and he was made a "female" by having his damaged sex organs removed and a apparent vagina constructed for him.
He was given the name of Brenda, and raised as a female.
The story does not end well, David comitted suicide later as an adult when he finally learned that he had been born a male.
By that time, most of his female classmates (who did not know that he had been born male) were in open revolt against him in school.
They refused to allow him into the female bathrooms in school, claiming that he was "creepy".
It was so bad that "Brenda" was unable to attend public school and treated by a school psychologist for "her" problems
His (or Her) childhood was hell .... he always felt he was not a woman.
"Brenda" was unable to atttend school normally ... in spite of attempts to give her female hormone treatments to give her the look of a female .... neither the male or female students accepted her.

His parents finally told him that he had ben born as a male and David decided to regain his male identity. He underwent treatment to reverse the reassignment, including testosterone injections, a double mastectomy, and two phalloplast operations. He also married a woman and became a stepfather to her 3 children. His case came to international attention in 1997 when he told his story to Milton Diamond, an academic sexologist who persuaded David to allow him to report the outcome in order to dissuade physicians from treating other infants similarly.
Today, with MRI doctors now know that there are not only physical sexual changes at the time a person beco=mes a male or female but also ... and MRIs can show this ,,, there are also changes that can be seen in the Brain at that time.
It is now considered that not only are there phyical changes associated with one's gender during development of the normal human fetus, but actual devopment changes in certain areas of the fetal brain that occur at the same time.
But this is still somewhat controversial.
"Gender re-assignment" is still done occasionally, but it is also very controversial.
"Brenda" after she went back to being "David" told his/her story to Dr. Diamond and her book was published.
I believe it is called something like, "A Stolen Childhood".
Brian, "David/Brenda's" normal twin brother also ended up developing Schisophrenia and was committed to a mental institution.
As I said, it is not a story with a happy ending for anyone.
Today, as i said, many doctor's believe that in addition to the physical changes involved with gender determination, their are mental changes in the developing fetal Brain that detrmine what a person percieves is his or her sexual Gender identity.
But as I said, this is a controversial point, and not all psycholgists would agree.
:thinking:

Correction: the book is called,"As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl".
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Sara H » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:11 pm

I suppose I have to reply to this, as as far as I am aware, I am the only one qualified on here.

I would say no.

SRS is an adult decision.

Hormones, yes, absolutely, but the problem is, the whole gender thing can take a long time to sort out.

It's not a black and white issue, it can be quite fluid.

And, the thing is, SRS sterilizes somebody. If they want to have kids later on, they are out of luck if they do it as a child.

They may really regret that.

Parents, absolutely should have no say in this one way or the other. It's not their decision.

But I do think the kids should wait.

Personally, I think SRS is a bad idea in general.

I've had enough karma come up in from past lives where people lost limbs, or had various types of wounds including surgical to have a strong feeling that removing organs for any reason other than life threatening, could create some serious karma.

That's my personal take, and believe me, this is something I've sat with very intimately for years.

There are technologies on the very near horizon that will make SRS obsolete anyway.

They've been able to create opposite sex organs on rabbits using stem cells that actually work.

Organ printing, genetic manipulation and stem cell technologies are advancing every year,
Within a few years, very likely within our lifetime, they may be able to do an actual bodily gender change, from someone's own tissue, that includes the ability to reproduce.

The thing is, about this, being born into a body that doesn't match your gender is like being a woman forced to drive a truck in a world where usually only men drive trucks and generally only women drive Volkswagen Beetles.

There are things you can do to a truck to make it clear that there is a woman driving it.

Change the paint job, the interior, put pink airbrushed floral patterns on a white paint, have flower rims, minor body work,etc, etc.

But, no matter how much custom work you do on a truck, you're never going to get it to be quite the same as a Volkswaggen Beetle.

The point is really not to try and make your truck a bug, the point is to accept the fact that you are a woman driving truck and make it clear to others that your truck is being driven by a woman and have them be ok with that.

All acceptance.

In the actual world, using this analogy, it isn't just men who drive trucks, and it isn't just women who drive Volkwagen Beetles.

It's more diverse than that.

There's an amount of acceptance of diversity that all people have to do.

Society, AND the woman driving the truck.

Society has to accept that there is actually a woman who is driving a truck.

And the woman has to accept that even though they are a woman, they are still driving a truck.

In Gassho

Sara H.
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IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
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We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Astus » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:53 pm

I think that having a male or female genitalia is one thing, identifying with culturally defined gender roles is another.

If a child wants to identify with the opposite gender I see no problem, but he has to be aware of the difficulties (and will face them anyway). But under 18 no surgical or chemical modifications should be allowed.

Regarding Quite Heart's story, I say that people should stop mutilating (circumcision) children.
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby undefineable » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:16 pm

Isn't it just a case of female brain v. male neck-down body or vice-versa??
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Seishin » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:00 am

undefineable wrote:Isn't it just a case of female brain v. male neck-down body or vice-versa??


How does one tell if you have a female brain or not? :shrug:

I have always been considered an "effeminate" male. I never liked playing with boys as a child, didn't like typical boys games like football or wrestling or cars etc, instead I preferred playing with dolls, tea-sets, wearing my mums high heels and playing with the girls etc. Of course, this led to bullying most of my childhood life but never once did I think I wasn't or wanted to be anything other than male. So I don't think it's as easy as saying "female brain = female"

PS. I am a happily married hetrosexual man.... and I still don't like football!! :tongue:

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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:20 pm

Sara H wrote:But I do think the kids should wait.

Yes. We have laws that no-one can get tattoos before they are 18 and SRS is an immeasurably bigger step than getting inked.
And there is the whole business of slowly developing sexual/gender identity. Looking at the way some teenagers are still changing, physically and psychologically, I think 18 is still too young for a one-way decision ... 21 would be a better minimum age and even that could be too early for some.
Sara H wrote:Parents, absolutely should have no say in this one way or the other. It's not their decision.

Totally agree.

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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby undefineable » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:08 pm

Seishin wrote:
undefineable wrote:Isn't it just a case of female brain v. male neck-down body or vice-versa??


How does one tell if you have a female brain or not? :shrug:


It's different shades of grey isn't it? Feminine in some ways but not in others - and probably not in all ways without that being reflected 'downstairs' _

I was reflecting on the idea held by many of my parents' generation that Quiet Heart reminded us of - that we're characterised by a kind of a kind of 'skin-deep sunyata' that liberates us all of any fixed identity deeper than how we or others happen to see ourselves. Our natural tendencies run deeper, even though they represent nothing more than a wayward drifting of habits.
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Sara H » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:51 am

Seishin wrote:
undefineable wrote:Isn't it just a case of female brain v. male neck-down body or vice-versa??


How does one tell if you have a female brain or not? :shrug:

I have always been considered an "effeminate" male. I never liked playing with boys as a child, didn't like typical boys games like football or wrestling or cars etc, instead I preferred playing with dolls, tea-sets, wearing my mums high heels and playing with the girls etc. Of course, this led to bullying most of my childhood life but never once did I think I wasn't or wanted to be anything other than male. So I don't think it's as easy as saying "female brain = female"

PS. I am a happily married hetrosexual man.... and I still don't like football!! :tongue:

Gassho,
Seishin.


You have to do a lot of sitting with it, with some people.

Other people just know. It's very obvious to them. For others, it requires more introspection.

For me, I had to sit very deeply with it for many years.

But, I think many people just know. Looking back, I think I always knew, I just was very confused about it.

But what you're not getting is gender is more than just your body, and more than just your mind.

It's both. For me, I had to accept there's a woman driving this truck, even if I would have proffered to have been born with a Volkswagen Bug.

Hormones make it interesting too. The hormones come from the physical side, the body.
If you combine male hormones with a female mind, things get very interesting.

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IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Seishin » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:43 am

Yeah that's what I was getting at. :smile:

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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Sara H » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:53 pm

Seishin wrote:Yeah that's what I was getting at. :smile:

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IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
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We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby undefineable » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:14 pm

Sara H wrote:If you combine male hormones with a female mind, things get very interesting.

I'd have to look into it to be sure (and I suspect there's little conclusive evidence yet), but isn't it hormones that shape the mind, rather than vice-versa? Ofcourse from the POV of rebirth, it is vice-versa in some sense, but in terms of gender, I believe the Tibetan Book of the Dead uses a very Freudian image to imply that gender is far from the fundament of mind.
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Sara H » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:13 pm

undefineable wrote:
Sara H wrote:If you combine male hormones with a female mind, things get very interesting.

I'd have to look into it to be sure (and I suspect there's little conclusive evidence yet), but isn't it hormones that shape the mind, rather than vice-versa? Ofcourse from the POV of rebirth, it is vice-versa in some sense, but in terms of gender, I believe the Tibetan Book of the Dead uses a very Freudian image to imply that gender is far from the fundament of mind.


Hormones don't really have anything to do with what gender your mind is.

They effect more what gender your body is.

Physiologically, hormones do make you think differently. Testosterone makes people very aggressive.

But, whether your mind is male or female is not something that is decided by hormones.

Hormone therapy is a very calming experience, because it makes one less likely to be fighting against one's body's hormone's which lead to behavior chemically (because they drug induce the brain and body) that is not in line with what gender your mind is. Fighting that can be very frustrating, and stressful, so it definitely helps with that.

But as far as the gender of the mind itself, people just know. They may have to sit with it longer, or it may be quite obvious to them and something that they've always known clearly, but hormones or not, they still know.

If you're being effected by the body's hormones, it makes it more frustrating, as you know that's not how you are.
Using the truck analogy, think of it like getting in an over-powered truck, where the slightest tap on the gas makes the engine rev, and the wheels spin, and the truck lurch forward. Being on hormone therapy helps with that, so you are less stressed out and can actually just relax and be yourself.

But the gender of one's mind is, what the gender is. Hormone therapy or no, body's hormones or no.

It's just the way one is born. Like being gay or something, it's not something you choose or choose to not to partake in.
It just is. You don't really have a choice in the matter, any more than you do with what body you were born in.

In Gassho,

Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby undefineable » Mon May 27, 2013 6:04 pm

Sara H wrote:Hormones don't really have anything to do with what gender your mind is.

They effect more what gender your body is.

Physiologically, hormones do make you think differently. Testosterone makes people very aggressive.

But, whether your mind is male or female is not something that is decided by hormones.

Missed this reply while 'Search your posts' was down, & now it's writer's impermanence has made itself felt here :(

Others' input would be interesting here, particularly any expert opinion as to whether brain gender is hormone-related (if indeed brain gender has been directly observed) - Gender can be (and is) taken to be a fundamental characteristic of beings at the level of essential Self. If it's just another way of moulding awareness into particular conscious experiences -i.e. another characteristic of brain structure and function- then that kind of conclusion will of course be premature.

It can be appreciated how a brain/body gender mismatch could make for a frustrating and overwhelming- experience, of course.
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby ball-of-string » Mon May 27, 2013 8:02 pm

Of the transgendered people I've known (many), all stated they felt discrepancy from their biological sex and psychological gender from a very early age, even if they didn't transition until later in adult life. And I've heard many stories where parents accepting and assisting with transgendered identity of children had better emotional/ psychological consequences than trying to force the children to be sex-gender congruent. The fear I think that is being expressed is, "What if this transgender thing is just a phase?" I think the evidence suggests, however, if your child is expressing transgender identity at age 5, and still at age 8, and still at age 12... Your child is transgendered.

Starting hormone treatment early is completely reversible if the child later changes their mind (which is rare). However, starting treatment early will prevent the development of breasts (for male-identified biological females) or developing Adam's apples and deepening voices for female-identified biological males. These are things, if transition is attempted later in adulthood, cost a lot of money in surgical procedures to achieve. And when transition occurs in adulthood, te person has spent decades living in a state of incongruence, which is psychologically damaging.
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon May 27, 2013 8:29 pm

ball-of-string wrote:Of the transgendered people I've known (many), all stated they felt discrepancy from their biological sex and psychological gender from a very early age, even if they didn't transition until later in adult life. And I've heard many stories where parents accepting and assisting with transgendered identity of children had better emotional/ psychological consequences than trying to force the children to be sex-gender congruent. The fear I think that is being expressed is, "What if this transgender thing is just a phase?" I think the evidence suggests, however, if your child is expressing transgender identity at age 5, and still at age 8, and still at age 12... Your child is transgendered.

Starting hormone treatment early is completely reversible if the child later changes their mind (which is rare). However, starting treatment early will prevent the development of breasts (for male-identified biological females) or developing Adam's apples and deepening voices for female-identified biological males. These are things, if transition is attempted later in adulthood, cost a lot of money in surgical procedures to achieve. And when transition occurs in adulthood, te person has spent decades living in a state of incongruence, which is psychologically damaging.



I wonder if on this note, we could breach something that's..maybe somewhat uncomfortable, but seemingly important from a Buddhist perspective regarding being transgender..or really part of any sexual minority which is persecuted, misunderstood, etc:

At what point does "identity" as one of these groups move from being a reasonable understanding of what one conventionally is, to being an unhealthy, obsessive sort of thing? Does such a point exist?

Can it happen that some might identify on some level with the incongruous self-image, rather than simply acknowledging it, and make things worse for themselves from a karmic perspective?

I'm curious about questions of sexual identity and Buddhism like this from anyone who is interested in sharing their experiences.

Obviously none of these questions affect how people should be treated, which I am sure we would all agree on for the most part, I am just wondering from a more subjective Buddhist perspective how these issues of sexual/gender identity can play out.
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Nilasarasvati » Mon May 27, 2013 8:55 pm

Johhny Dangerous says:

I wonder if on this note, we could breach something that's..maybe somewhat uncomfortable, but seemingly important from a Buddhist perspective regarding being transgender..or really part of any sexual minority which is persecuted, misunderstood, etc:

At what point does "identity" as one of these groups move from being a reasonable understanding of what one conventionally is, to being an unhealthy, obsessive sort of thing? Does such a point exist? ((this is the main sentence in which I'm unsure what you mean))

Can it happen that some might identify on some level with the incongruous self-image, rather than simply acknowledging it, and make things worse for themselves from a karmic perspective?


Are you asking about overidentification or grasping at ones sex or gender identity to the point of delusion/obsession? Or I guess we could use the nidana of name and form? Can you maybe give me an example of what you're thinking of?
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Re: Transgendered kids

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon May 27, 2013 9:18 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:
Johhny Dangerous says:

I wonder if on this note, we could breach something that's..maybe somewhat uncomfortable, but seemingly important from a Buddhist perspective regarding being transgender..or really part of any sexual minority which is persecuted, misunderstood, etc:

At what point does "identity" as one of these groups move from being a reasonable understanding of what one conventionally is, to being an unhealthy, obsessive sort of thing? Does such a point exist? ((this is the main sentence in which I'm unsure what you mean))

Can it happen that some might identify on some level with the incongruous self-image, rather than simply acknowledging it, and make things worse for themselves from a karmic perspective?


Are you asking about overidentification or grasping at ones sex or gender identity to the point of delusion/obsession? Or I guess we could use the nidana of name and form? Can you maybe give me an example of what you're thinking of?


Doesn't need to be quite so detailed..mostly just interested to hear more from LGBT Buddhists what they think of the issues of sexual identity, particularly in America sexual identity is a spectacle of and within itslef, and in many ways this seems to run counter to the Dharma to me.

I'll try, and hopefully everyone gets this is good faith, no agenda here.

Something like 18 Years ago I had a gay roomate, of course I know/knew all kinds of openly gay people, and have always been a sort of counter-culture fellow, so nothing unusual here. I did detect though in this guy, and in the gay community in other corners, kind of a strong grasping as something like an exclusively "gay identity"..thankfully as society has become gradually more accepting (though still a ways to go) it seems like gradually this gestalt Gay Identity seems to have simmered down a bit.

At this time though, there were things that were "gay" and things that were "straight"...and amusingly, this guy was far more militant than I would have ever been about whether someone was gay, straight, and whether or not they fit in these proper categories. I mean, he spent probably 4 times more time than I ever would worrying about sexual identity, maybe more. he so critical of other people, and a big part of it seemed to be based on his perception of what gay or straight people were supposed to be.

Given the prejudice and whatever else he faced, it's not surprising that this is so...i'm just wondering (from the perspective of LGBT Buddhists, rather than the perspective of an outsider) whether there is a point where identification as as sexual minority can become a form of self-aggrandizement, much in the same way that extreme self-deprecation is sometimes viewed as an aspect of pride.

That probably sounds like some conservative guy asking why gays want "Special rights" or some such..nothing is further from the truth..but I do get a real sense of confusion about identity..pretty much becoming an identity for a portion of the LGBT community, all based purely of subjective experience of course.
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