This story is beyond sad.
The lesbian parents of an 11-year-old boy who is undergoing the process of becoming a girl last night defended the decision, claiming it was better for a child to have a sex change when young.
Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing controversial hormone blocking treatment in Berkeley, California to stop him going through puberty as a boy. But Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel warn that children with gender identity disorder forced to postpone transitioning could face a higher risk of suicide.
The mothers say that one of the first things Thomas told them when he learned sign language aged three - because of a speech impediment - was, 'I am a girl'. At age seven, after threatening genital mutilation on himself, psychiatrists diagnosed Thomas with gender identity disorder. By the age of eight, he began transitioning.
This summer, he started taking hormone-blocking drugs, which will stop him from experiencing puberty. The hormone-suppressant, implanted in his upper left arm, will postpone the 11-year-old developing broad shoulders, deep voice and facial hair.
The couple faced intense criticism from friends and family as a result, Ms Moreno told MailOnline. 'Everybody was angry with us. "How could you be doing this? You might be ruining his whole life!" Citing a statistic from the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, Ms Moreno noted over 50 per cent of transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.
Fortunately, the family has a vast support system. The couple credits Tammy's teachers and officials at Children's Learning Center in Alameda, California, and their religious community, for being open-minded about their son's decision.
'We live in the Bay area where lots of alternative lifestyles are in place... and we belong to a religious community that was incredibly supportive. They make it a point when we're in synagogue to come over and tell Tammy, "Oh, you look so pretty today,' Ms Moreno said, adding, 'There's never going to be enough gratitude for them.'
His parents say the hormone treatment will give him time to figure out if he wants to fully transition to being female or go through puberty as a boy. If he chooses to stop taking the drugs, he will undergo natural male puberty at a later stage and his future fertility would not be impacted. Should their son decide to transition to an adult female, he can take female hormones as well, which would raise his voice, allow him to grow breasts and develop other feminine physical characteristics.
San Francisco, right by Berkeley, is one of four cities in the United States with a hospital that has a program for transgender children. The University of California San Francisco is home to the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health. Children are seen at length by mental health professionals and then treated by pediatric endocrinologists. Others cities with youth programs are Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles.
A few points:
- Consider how hard it is to convince women to place their unwanted babies for adoption--they say they would worry too much (this child was adopted at age 2);
- Remember that Catholic charities have been forced out of business because they wouldn't place children with same-sex couples;
- Note that presently, although there are very few children available for adoption, same-sex couples are given priority;
- Therefore, any children placed for adoption now have a low chance of being placed with a traditional family (unless it's a private adoption);
- Consider that fewer mental health professional are being allowed to (or are comfortable with) therapy that deals with gender identity disorder (GID);
- Take note that such therapies are no longer taught in mental health programs, since same-sex attraction has been removed from the Manual of Mental Disorders
- This child is fatherless-by-design, which is abusive. Whether or not he was going to have gender issues, he has no masculine role model in his life, and evidently all the other men are playing along with his disorder;
- These women insist that their lifestyle had nothing to do with this identity crisis. That's possible, but they have nothing in their family arrangement to solve it, or to even mitigate it;
- Finally, have you ever seen a child so ... bereft of natural joy? He's wandering into a moral labyrinth that is fraught with unhealthy choices--not of it his fault. Sweet angels, guide him to God!