Think It’s Hard Being A Gay Youth? Try Being A Transgender Child.

When Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel adopted their son Thomas, they found that he seemed shy and often depressed. He didn’t like playing with other kids, would often sit alone indoors. In photos Thomas’ smile seemed forced, his eyes vacant and glazed over. He preferred reading Wonder Woman comics to Superman, wanted to wear rhinestone-studded hairbands rather than baseball caps, and preferred dolls over action figures. Then one day, he told his mothers that he wanted to cut off his penis and the two women realized he needed professional help—they had a transgender child who needed their help.

Even though various studies say that anywhere between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 30,000 people are transgender, parents often find themselves at a loss at how best to help their transgender children. Though these children feel born into the wrong bodies, some parents confuse “gender identity” with “sexual orientation” mistaking who their children are with who they want to have sex with. Doctors haven’t determined whether gender identity lays in a person’s physiology or their psychology (though its likely a combination). Parents must then make decisions on how to transition their child in name, activity, dress, and hormone therapy—decisions that society might disapprove of or even violently oppose.

Transgender psychological experts agree that forcing trans children into conforming with their biological sex can lead to depression and even suicide. But they also say that not addressing a child’s transgender identity could really damage a kid too.

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  • Roxxy

    Mario is like 14 years old, did he draw that facial hair on?

  • Little Kiwi

    I have many trans friends, but one neat lil’thing I can share is sorta interesting.

    a friend, transitioning from female to male, started to live each day as His gender. dressing each day, being address as a male. after less than three weeks he started to grow facial hair. this is WITHOUT taking hormones.

    the mind is a powerful thing. He made the mental switch, a commitment to his true self and started to grow facial hair without the aid of hormone supplements.

    amazing eh?

  • mark


    Must be on hormones.

  • Roxxy

    Even at his age facial hair like that is unlikely. And it doesnt really look like real facial hair, doubly so on account that black people’s facial hair doesnt really look like that. :/

  • ewe

    People need to allow children to speak their truth.

  • Aiden

    @Roxxy: Black people’s hair grows in all kinds of ways. This may shock you, but we’re not all the same.

  • EdWoody

    A lesbian couple who “just happen” to have adopted a boy who wants to become a girl – you can see the right-wing fundie nutjobs just loving that one. I hope that family has some seriously thick skin. They’re going to need it out there in this hateful world. Best of luck to them all.

  • n0t4U2n0

    I’d like to see the same research done with adults as with these kids, with the MRI results and all. Could be interesting. Anyone know if this has been done?

  • missanthrope

    @Little Kiwi:

    That’s fucking impossible ho-ha. Nobody grows facial hair through mental suggestion. I’m sure your the kind who believes in guardian angels also?

    I’d doubt that a 14 year-old kid would be prescribed hormones or get a hold of them (especially since T is a controlled substance).

  • Roxxy

    @ Aiden
    I am black btw hahaha

  • Mav

    @Little Kiwi: Kiwi…it’s REALLY interesting that you say that. I’m non-op transgendered (FtM) and I haven’t taken any hormones – don’t really have any intentions to start either – but once I started living as my true gender, I started to grow facial hair as well. Without hormones. My voice also dropped into what I consider its “normal” register.

    Now the voice thing could probably just be rationalized away as the result of being socialized as a woman and now that I’m no longer fulfilling that socialization, I no longer feel the subconscious pressure to feminize my voice…but the facial hair thing boggles me. I never would have thought it possible had I not seen it myself.

  • Little Kiwi

    @Mav, we have barely scratched the surface of what the mind can do. We’ve seen it in women who’ve adopted children and suddenly started producing breast-milk, despite their inability to become pregnant themselves, and without taking any hormonal supplements.

    and yes, my friend did indeed start to grow facial hair before taking any form of hormones. the mind adapted.

    congrats on your journey, Mav. :-) it’s amazing how the mind and body can work together, eh?

  • Shannon1981

    @Little Kiwi: I am just glad Tammy and Mario have supportive families. You think we catch hell for being gay? Transgender people-especially kids- catch it ten times as hard. I wish these two youngsters all the best.
    @Mav: Congrats on transitioning. Being true to oneself is often the hardest thing ever.

  • GG

    @Little Kiwi and @Mav

    The inverse is also true? I’m interested because I’m a girl and I would be really glad to be less hairy!

    On a more serious note, I’m interested to know if it started to grow with the aid of frequent shaving or only spontaneously?

  • darkskin bttms R survivors

    @Roxxy: then you should know better.

  • Dave

    @ Kiwi-Your friend is just a woman who has facial hair, it’s more common than people think.

  • GG

    @jeff4justice: I just wanted to let you know that I watched your video and it was very interesting! I didn’t learn much but it was cool anyway!

  • Little Kiwi

    he’s actually a FTM dude begane growing a goatee before he even began hormone treatments. now he has a full-on beard :D

  • Mav

    @Dave: Spontaneously growing facial hair?

    “The inverse is also true? I’m interested because I’m a girl and I would be really glad to be less hairy!”

    ^ I dunno, I had never even heard of it happening to someone else before Kiwi said something. I just thought I was weiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiird… :P (Or weirder than usual.)

  • notcisjustmale

    And when the child wants to detransition he or she should be able to sue parents, social workers, and doctors for child abuse and mal practice. One can only hope that social workers and physicians start getting sued over this nonsense.

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