Justin Cascio offers insight to a Washinton Post story about a gender variant 5 year-old child, who was born a girl and insists he is a boy.
On Sunday, The Washington Post ran an intriguing profile of a 5 year-old child who was born a girl, but since he was 2, insisted that he was a boy.
Trans people very often report having known our true gender identities since earliest childhood. Unlike sexual desire, which does not make itself known to us until adolescence, we know whether we are boys or girls by the time we’re three or four years old.
In my childhood, when an older person saw me writing with my left hand, they would sometimes stop to tell me how, in their youth, their left hands had been hit with rulers to stop them from writing with them. Lewis Carroll, it is said, had been disabused of writing left-handed, and he developed a strong stutter as a result.
It’s accepted now, at least in some families, that we may be born with a persistent and powerful gender identity that does not match the body in which we are born. Medical and mental health professionals are more often telling parents of gender variant children that it makes as little sense to repress a child’s gender expression as to thwart any other innate characteristic, like handedness, shyness, artistic bent, or sexual orientation, and that to do otherwise is only traumatizing to the child.
We understand more about human diversity, and in fewer cases consider variance from the mean sinful or wrong. Those who would have been marginalized are brought into the mainstream, a win-win: an individual’s options are no longer limited by differences irrelevant to the situation, and everyone lives in a more diverse society. Just as we no longer “correct” the left handed student, someday it will be just as unthinkable to “correct” the gender identities or behavior of our children. That will be progress, indeed.
Photo of Little Builder courtesy of Shutterstock