How young is too young when it comes to gender reassignment? That's a question some parents and medical professionals around the world are grappling with. Last week, the British government approved the use of hormone blockers to prevent puberty for gender-confused kids as young as 12. Now, a judge in Australia has approved sex-change therapy drugs for a 10-year-old boy named Jamie, who has been living as a girl for the past two years. Jamie will be allowed to medically delay her rapidly approaching male puberty, and the court will re-examine the case if and when Jamie is ready to start "stage-two" estrogen therapy. Cosmetic surgery to change genitalia cannot take place until the age of 18. "The rapid onset of her male puberty has demanded some urgent decisions," the judge said. But was this decision the right one?
Yes, it's in the child's best interest: "Jamie can live comfortably as a girl, is socially confident and suffers no teasing or social isolation," says her mother, as quoted in the Herald Sun. But if Jamie doesn't start treatment now, she'll start developing male characteristics — an Adam's apple, facial hair, a cracking voice. That could be devastating to her. And, once those changes take place, they will be permanent, while doctors say the early treatment to stop male puberty is reversible.
"Boy, 10, in sex change"
No, this is harmful to kids: "I have witnessed a great deal of damage from sex-reassignment," says Dr. Paul McHugh, a psychiatrist whose writing on the subject is quoted at Life Site News. I've seen children who transitioned from male to female suffer "prolonged distress and misery as they sensed their natural attitudes," while their parents were left feeling guilty and ashamed by what they had done. We should "concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia."
"'Sex change' for 10-year-old boy ok says Australian judge"
Maybe Jamie's story will bring hope to others: "Ten years old seems a little young for such a drastic life change, but the timing does seem critical in this case," says Meredith Carroll at Babble. "Hopefully her story will give other kids some peace of mind, if they were also born in the body of the wrong sex, that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel."
"10-year-old boy to undergo sex-change therapy"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 10 things you need to know today: September 16, 2014
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What political elites don't understand about Scotland's push for independence
- Can we lead spiritually fulfilling lives without religion?
- Is 'feminism' just another word for 'liberalism'?
- This is how the U.S. thinks China could invade Taiwan
Subscribe to the Week