Same-sex couple Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel say that their adopted child, who is now known as Tammy, has claimed that she is a girl since the age of three and threatened to mutilate her (standard male) genitals at the age of seven. The child is now eleven, and Moreno and Lobel have followed the accepted path when dealing with trans children – making sure that Tammy got therapy, consulting with doctors, and finally putting Tammy on hormone treatment to delay male puberty, giving Tammy more time to make sure that this is the right path for her.
Of course, the right wing is up in arms, saying that Tammy is too young to make this “decision,” accusing the couple of child abuse, and posting the story all over the Internet, with the loudest and most hostile accusations hurled by those who are soooo concerned about Tammy’s welfare that they want to make an online spectacle of her. Sorry, but in my opinion, showing concern for a child doesn’t include posting the child’s photos and trashing her parents all across the worldwide web.
- Most people become aware of their gender at about age three or four. If, at age eleven, Tammy is “too young” to know what gender she is, then so are your children. If your six-year-old child with a “standard” female body says that she’s a girl, how does she know for sure? How do you know? If your twelve-year-old child with a “standard” male body insists that he’s a boy, is he certain about that? Are you? If Tammy is too young to know that she’s a girl, then maybe your children with traditional body/identity alignment are too young to know who they are as well. Now what do we do?
- When you adopt a child or when you give birth to a child, you are never certain what you are going to “get.” Trans children are out there. Some might even be waiting to be adopted. Tammy could have just as easily been adopted by a heterosexual couple and, hopefully, they would have followed the same informed and cautious path that Moreno and Lobel did.
- Coming to terms with the fact that their child is trans is no easier for Moreno and Lobel than it is for a heterosexual couple. I know a lot of lesbians, and many know as little about trans issues as straight people do. Moreno and Lobel’s sexual orientation does not give them any special insights, nor does it have any influence on what decisions they will make for Tammy, other than the fact that they might be a little more versed in what it’s like to face discrimination and hatred due to ignorance. Because of this, they will hopefully be able to provide Tammy with the support she needs when she is faced with the bigotry that is already being spewed across the Internet.