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Dr. Oz Introduces Daytime Audiences to Blossoming, Confident Transgender Kids

Most of Oprah’s proteges annoy us, particularly those that rhyme with Fockter Dill. Now, Dr. Oz just might be on that list, but last week he introduced living room Americans to a little word called “transgender,” and in a not terribly exploitative way! Even when dealing with transgender kids!

Elementary school kids cross-dressing? Fourteen-year-olds having double mastectomies? Every parent’s dream! With any conversation about transgender youth come the obvious questions: Is it just a phase? Is surgery too dramatic? Should parents agree to stunt their child’s puberty? In a television segment that’s just a few handfuls of minutes, it’s impossible to get to all these issues.

The best part of Dr. Oz’s segment, then, is showcasing just a couple happy, healthy families — with understanding parents willing to learn from, and not shun their transgender kids — speaking ably about a very difficult subject.

By:           editor editor
On:           Feb 22, 2010
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 30 Comments
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      Sorry, lopping off the boobs at age 14 is way too young. I have seen a program on one of the cable networks where a little boy is now living as a little girl at 6 years old. The parents have already begun exploring the surgical options to sever the kids testicles before they even drop. And please trans community, do not cry out “TRANSPHOBIC”. Once someone is an adult and has fully grown into their skin and then decide they need to alter that skin, then all the power to them and I hope they are very happy in that new skin…………..

      Feb 22, 2010 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mulletkitty
      mulletkitty

      I disagree. Adolescents, if we can generalize for a moment, don’t have all the tools or the development to make major adult decisions. However, I believe a workable partnership of educated parents and educated professionals can work, if they have the skills to listen carefully, and educate themselves on gender identity disorder, including potential health risks of these procedures or hormones as the teen moves through puberty.

      There are 30 year olds I would not trust to make this decision. There are exceptional 15 year olds that I would.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 11:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tez
      tez

      If you read the book FREAKS TALK BACK by Yale sociologist Joshua Gamson, it was the daytime talk shows (particularly during their trashy era in the 1980s & 90s) that did more to make gays mainstream than any other 20th century development. It started with Donahue, put Oprah really pushed it to the next level with her confessional style & the billion$ she raked in inspired an entire industry including the likes of Ricki Lake & Jenny Jones. Such shows really shattered 20th century taboos & changed the world for gays & that’s one of the reasons Time magazine name Oprah the most influential woman in the world.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 11:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kel
      Kel

      Terrwill: Deciding how soon is too soon for medical treatment for a trans youth is, indeed, a very difficult and vitally important issue. However, what you have completely *failed* to take into account is the radical emotional damage that is done to trans individuals as a result of having to undergo puberty in the wrong direction and spend every second of their lives in a body that is increasingly betraying and horrifying them.

      Estimates and studies indicate that at least as many as fifty percent (half… one out of every two) of trans youth either commit suicide or come extremely close to attempting it. Fifty percent. It’s all well and good for you to sit back and decide for others when they should have access to medical treatment, but when HALF of a community is dying because they can’t endure the pain any more, that’s a pretty good indication the intervention often CANNOT WAIT.

      Not, that is, if you care at all about children dying.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      @Kel: I am all for making their lives as comfortable as possible, let them live as whatever gender they fell comfortable as. No one should torture them and while there always is the possiblity of their being discovered. that is a more acceptable discovery than them discovering at age 18 that its not what they really wanted….once the surgeon makes the cut, it is final and forever. I am simply saying that 6 years old or ever 14 years old is too young…………

      Feb 22, 2010 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      Making permanent changes at that age is not appropriate. You can’t even get a tattoo, legally. There are drugs that postpone secondary sex traits– but the teen years are a pretty dicey time. And for those that do become FTMs, I want them to get full scoop outs– that way I wont have to see any more fat pregnant shirtless “men” on queerty.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jae'da
      Jae'da

      Perhaps we can agree that even if you don’t advocate surgery, that treatments to stave off puberty are not out of the question. The reason being is because the longer you wait the more damage becomes irrevocable, particularly for MTFs, with testosterone being an incredibly powerful hormone. Waiting too long can make “fitting in” much more difficult in later years. At least, whether or not you agree with surgery at a young age, staving off their puberty does not do permanent damage (except , potentially, to height).

      Surgically though, I’m more open-minded about it and I wish them luck whenever they attempt it.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon

      The age of 18 is not a magical number. To put gender decisions completely on parents isn’t wise either.

      My Father suffered a lifetime of societal pressure before coming out as Female late in life. . .She knew her identity from day one.

      There is no magical number for gender. There’s no magical number for gay.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • chris
      chris

      Brave kids. Incredible parents.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon

      @Jon: Perhaps queerty could stop freaking out over surgeries & move on to actual persons.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      My opinion won’t be popular, but oh well.

      I do not believe in these surgical procedures for fourteen year olds, nor do I agree with stunting their physical development/puberty. The adolescent brain is not fully developed until the early 20s, and making these types of decisions which can have long-lasting physical and psychological impact at such a young age and before the body and mind has had the opportunity to fully develop is not in any child’s best interest.

      Feb 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • April
      April

      Lots of folks have lots of opinions on this topic… It is not a topic I EVER expected to be able to weigh in on… My husband and I adopted our child as a newborn and were shocked (as he grew) at what an angry toddler we had on our hands, ages 3 & 4 were even tougher as we experienced daily battles over clothing, toys, and violent behavior. My husband and I joked to each other that our lil’ boy was definitely gonna grow up gay (not that there was anything wrong with that)… but at 5, we were stunned by our kindergartner’s announcement that (s)he would kill herself if she had to grow up a boy. Our jaws hit the ground and yet the years of our angry lil’ boy, Owen, became so clear… Now Ophelia is a healthy and HAPPY 9 year old. She is confident, smart, and the bravest person I know. Many of her school friends still remember her as “Owen” and yet kids don’t even flinch; I heard one of them say, “Ophelia used to be a boy, but now she’s a girl.” Even Ophelia’s lil’ brothers get it; they transitioned seamlessly to calling her their “sister”. It is adults who have the issue. This is not a path we chose for our child, but it is one we will follow her in to ensure her success and happiness in life. Like so many things in life, no one has a right to render an opinion til you’ve walked a mile in that person’s shoes. I don’t have any doubt that Ophelia has known since the day she was born. It just took her 5 years to articulate it to us dumb parents.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 12:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kieran
      Kieran

      You have to be 21 years old to legally buy a drink in the US. Shouldn’t you be atleast that old before having something as radical as gender reassignment surgery?

      Feb 23, 2010 at 1:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      “There is no magical number for gender. There’s no magical number for gay.”

      Word on that.

      Also, there seems to be a lot of people who don’t want the kids to decide coming from the position of the “child’s best interest”, yet these same folks don’t listen to what these same kids are actually saying or who they identify as. That makes it seem to me that it’s more about their own hang-ups and not the welfare of the kids.

      There’s probably more than a few people here who knew that they were gay or at least “different” from day one, being a trans and a queer person I can tell you that how many trans people perceive their own gender identity form day one is not different from that.

      People don’t transition on a whim and these kids have gone through so much psychological screening it would make you cringe. There’s nothing wrong with a kid socially transitioning and delaying puberty if that’s what they need to do to be happy.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 1:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cyndi
      Cyndi

      I wish that society would back off the transpeople and let US make our own decissions. Trust me if a child claims s/he is in the wrong body…BELIEVE THAT CHILD!

      Feb 23, 2010 at 10:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      How can a five year old child possibly articulate the complexities needed to diagnose someone with gender identity issues? Developmentally speaking, I just don’t see how they are capable.

      I have to wonder what subtle cues a child is getting at five or six which could influence this. It’s not something a child understands. I also have to wonder what kind of parent allows a child to undergo a radical double mastectomy, but that’s another story.

      This isn’t about transphobia, which is the label assigned to anyone who doesn’t agree with whatever view happens to be the most politically correct, but about the fact that from a psychological perspective, children have not become fully mature adults until their early 20′s.

      I’m not going to apologize; the fact of the matter is that hormone therapy to hold off puberty and radical surgical procedures performed on a child who is not fully developed is simply not acceptable in my book. Let the child develop into an adult then make those decisions.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon

      @April: You are fantastic.

      @DR: “The adolescent brain is not fully developed until the early 20s” . . .that’s another generalization, and with that thinking, we shouldn’t allow our young people to join the military before say 23.

      @missanthrope: “it’s more about their own hang-ups and not the welfare of the kids.” . . .see Aprils post above.

      @Cyndi: I don’t think just backing off is an option. Parents should take an active and supportive approach and not jump to conclusions. . .everyone else should back off.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon

      @DR: “How can a five year old child possibly articulate the complexities needed to diagnose someone with gender identity issues?”

      A five year old can’t articulate to adults gender identity issues by any way other than acting out. Most times that’s with anger over being forced into a societal mold that some don’t fit into.

      So . . .because that child is adamant over his/her gender identity not fitting the plumbing . .we send our kids into years of “therapy” and “counseling”. . .just to make sure that an inherent identity doesn’t make you “uncomfortable”.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joey in CT
      Joey in CT

      I too, must agree that it’s no ones business but the families.
      I knew I was a little gay boy at 6 or 7, and have never been with or wanted to be with nor ever want to be with a woman 18 or 19 years later. It is completely feasable that these gender-confused kids have the ability to KNOW the same about themselves. I don’t think the majority of the US population even remotely realizes the capacity at which children operate. They’re smart cookies. No, not all, but a lot of them are. Being trans is still this huge taboo in this nation…I would have to completely trust the word of a minor who feels sooo strongly about their gender identity to want to change it. It’s not like they’re doing it to “fit-in” and be cool at school. I think trans kids probably regret a transition until they’re out of school just due to kids also being the biggest pricks in the country. But they do it because that’s what is right to them, and who knows them better then themselves.
      A part of me agrees that they should wait to undergo complete trans, but do see the great validity in exploring the hormone therapy to stunt, prevent, delay (whatever the hell it does) complete development into the gender they feel they’re not, and if this persons notion is that extreme I would fully support an underage person to undergo trans.
      I doubt many who are commenting here, both pro & con, have any clue what these trans kids go through, and we’re all only typing out our opinions. I doubt there have ever been any substantial studies to identify when children begin to “know” that they are Gay, straight, bi, Boy, girl. This is far to new a topic for people to immediately react to anything, and Im unsure of reliable statistics for percentage of children who feel they were dumped into the wrong gender-body, and at what age they came to that conclusion. Maybe some surveys of older trans folks could shed light on when they “knew”. No, they may not have transitioned at that age, but you must trust when someone says they knew at 5,6,7….they knew. Hell, my Mom swears SHE knew I was a big Queer when I still couldn’t walk! Past social climate prohibited the gender confused from doing anything about it until that climate eventually changed. They’re not freaks. They’re not abnormal. They’re as sane as anyone else can be. Im sure their lives would have been completely different had they had the opportunities available to them now.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • A
      A

      @DR: To say that staving off puberty shouldn’t be allowed is to advocate torture, and make no mistake it is a constant psychological and physical torture. Having been through it myself, hating myself more and more each day, I can assure you that if I had the courage and had somehow magically my family accepted me (they don’t know, there is no way they would have then) it would have saved me on years of torment, depression, self loathing, suicidal ideation, etc and I wouldn’t need laser hair removal, voice training, and many other hardships. I would also pass (which being only starting hormones now I do not at all). Overall quality of life would have improved greatly back to an average level as opposed to years of depression, binge eating, failing school, and just wanting to die every day while feeling utterly and miserably alone.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dasher
      Dasher

      @3 Tez — Didn’t Jenny Jones once have a show where gay guys who were out told which straight dudes in high school they had a crush on?

      @11 DR — I don’t disagree with a word you say, but isn’t pre-adolescent sex reassignment surgery sometimes necessary to cover up mistakes made by members of the medical profession? Like the boy who got the botched circumcision in one of the provinces of Western Canada. He was made into a girl, and what was left of his penis became his (her) clitoris.

      No one bothered to ask him whether he wanted to become a girl; they just did it.

      Then again, no one bothered to ask him whether he wanted to have part of his penis amputated a few days after he was born. They just circumcised him, and that was that.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      @Jon: The age is of full maturation is not a generalization, it’s scientific fact presented by some of the leading child and adolescent psychologists in the country. We use that stat in my line of work all the time.

      @A: Until I see some steady research which says that a child can make these decisions, I don’t support any physical therapies designed to alter the body prior to adulthood. Legally children cannot engage in many acts prior to age of majority, and gender reassignment therapy needs to be in that class of “what not to let children do”.

      As far as I’m concerned, based on the psych research I’m familiar with, I do not believe it is appropriate to allow a minor to choose gender reassignment surgery/hormone therapy, and if that causes problems, then my suggestion is therapy until the age of majority.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      I wish only the best for these families. But none of this has anything to do with gay people and it is a lie to suggest otherwise. Stop lying Queerty.

      Also, the show’s assertion that 3 million people in the US are transsexual is laughable. That would be 1 percent of the population and an even larger percentage of the adult population. I have never seen any source that claims that high a figure.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • edgyguy1426
      edgyguy1426

      I agree with Kel. Sometimes withholding or denying surgery amounts to a death sentence. But each case is different and should be treated as such. All the trans people that I know and there are quite a few (mostly from being acquainted by a trans employee) suggest to me there are a lot more than you could imagine…just search trans on YouTube and you’ll come up with vlog after vlog of trans people vlogging about their transitioning process. A lot of people that transition also end up dating/attracted to people of their own sex. So it does have something to do with gay people.

      “Sorry, lopping off the boobs at age 14 is way too young” I knew I was gay at a very early age. If I were made to go thru conversion therapy until I was ‘old enough to decide for myself’ I dunno if I’d survive thru to my teens.

      Feb 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leah Peters
      Leah Peters

      Why are some of you so intent on forcing your beliefs on others? Would you want someone telling YOU what you could and couldn’t do with your body? Probably not. I also don’t understand why in this day in age this is so controversial. People have been medically transitioning for more than 60 years, 60 years! Transition has been shown to be an incredibly effective treatment for those born transsexual. Now some of your say, but what if they change their minds? The Dutch gender program has been treating young transsexual teens for over a decade and they have NEVER had a child “change their minds”.

      Please review the “Gender Basics” section og Lynn Conway’s site:

      http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TS.html#anchor107763

      That is a summary of current scientific thought in regards to gender identity and transsexualism.

      Transsexual people exist. Some of you need to get over your denial of that fact.

      Feb 24, 2010 at 9:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • A
      A

      @DR: That doesn’t change the fact that you are advocating torture. I’m not even being hyperbolic about this. It is torture pure and simple.

      Feb 24, 2010 at 10:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Audrey Nelson
      Audrey Nelson

      @terrwill:

      Terrwll wrote: “Sorry, lopping off the boobs at age 14 is way too young.”

      Then, you should keep yours and educate yourself before you spout off about what others should do.

      Most trans adults I know (and I know a lot) have known they were trans since very early in their lives, typically between 4 – 5 yrs. old.

      In some cases, it very well could be that they wait until after they’re adults. For MTF trans kids, I believe hormone blockers to delay puberty are a great compromise. I just don’t know as much about FTM’s, so I don’t know if delaying puberty is an approach they can use.

      Feb 24, 2010 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tina Elizabeth
      Tina Elizabeth

      I believe the ages are appropriate.
      go to this site and read.

      http://imatyfa.org/

      they are the ones responsible for the the Dr. Oz segment.
      and please donate educating the public about the truth about being trangendered requires financial capital to make possible.

      http://imatyfa.org/

      Feb 26, 2010 at 5:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • krista
      krista

      Unfortunately when a transgendered child is born the doctor and parent can’ t see, “oh my goodness this boy is born without a penis, and he has a vagina in it’s place and also his hormones and chromosomes seem to be mixed up too!” (or vice versa for a girl) And then the next appropriate thing to say would be, “we’d better figure this out before the child reaches puberty because they certainly can’t start growing into an adult of the wrong sex!” BUT we can’t tell at birth. So kids have horrible childhoods and some commit suicide. Lets call it what it is, some kind of birth defect that needs to be corrected with no shame not a lifestyle choice that can wait until adulthood.

      Feb 26, 2010 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Starsky
      Starsky

      Wow, what a sick mom. This child’s brain isn’t even finished and HE is too young to decide this. She obviously LOVES the limelight!
      SICK!

      Aug 6, 2010 at 9:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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