Friday, April 27, 2007

ABC 20-20 "My Secret Self: The story of transgendered children".


Barbara Walters hosted a sensitive hour on ABC 20-20 this evening April 27, 2007, "My Secret Self: The story of transgendered children." ABC News has a correlated news story "I'm a girl -- Understanding transgender children: Parents of transgender six-year-old girl support her choice" by Alan B. Goldberg and Joneil Adriano, here. The report related a number of cases of children as young as two or three presenting convincing evidence that they believed themselves to have the opposite gender. The idea that there is a biological basis for this seemed overwhelming. This is different from homosexuality, where the person is attracted to members of the same sex but perceives himself or herself as in the appropriate sex.

The show presented the idea of a child embarassed in private about his own body, and there was a time when I had those feelings. Later the report showed a teenager changing from female to male, and dealing with all of the medical issues, such as hormone therapy.

The problem of bullying and teasing by other children and peer teens is common, as it is for gay children and also children with Aspergers. All of these situations are different clinically, but all of them invoke the idea of moral judgment in some people. Catholic and Vatican morality has sometimes insisted that people are born with these issues in order to force them to grow closer to God, and that "different" people have a moral duty not to become overly focused upon themselves compared to others. It's always possible to rationalize this kind of thinking.

Related blog posting on treatment of boys with Asperger Syndrome and homosexual teens, here.

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