Just a brief Sunday post to alert any readers who may not have seen the article in the New York Times, from friday, December 1st, on gender identity issues in children. The article is timely and does a good job showing how gut-wrenching it would be to protect a child, who though born a female wants to be a male or vice versa, from brutal treatment. Some parents have resources to get the their children to more tolerant schools and areas of the countries. Others are not so lucky and so the child is damned either way: if he wants to dress like a boy, he could be subjected to all manner of ridicule and strict enforcement of gender norms by "authorities," if he doesn't feel free to identify as a girl, he is in danger of deep depression, self-mutilation, and suicidal feelings.
Another practice, emerging to protect "gender-variant" children from becoming depressed and suicidal is to use "blockers."
In the old days, you would send a child like this straight to the psychoanalyst's couch. The source of the problem would have been psychosexual--a product of arrested development in the Oedipus complex or regression to our primordial bisexual state. Now, everything is hormones, which means that if not now, soon, we can alter behavior by giving the right dose of chemicals. While the issue today is whether or not to artificially keep childern in a pre-puberty state until he/she is ready for the bodily changes of puberty, tomorrow we can imagine holy roller approaches to deviant sexualities: a combination of the Bible and hormone therapy. Perhaps Dr. Keroack will be on the forefront of this crusade.