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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

“Growing up Trans” Reflection

After hearing all the stories of the children in the documentary I felt that the distinction between gender and sex became less clear to me. I had known a bit about children and gender confusion and believing at a young age that they feel they are the opposite sex. But watching this documentary really made it a bit more complicated for me. It’s hard to really explain sex and gender in the first place and to watch this and listen to these children it really makes you wonder more about sex and gender and realizing we have a lot to learn about this subject when we thought we knew about it. This just shows we need more research and understanding on this subject.

The physicians were facing huge challenges in this documentary. These doctors are really trying to help young people with little information and research and are doing their best to figure out treatments for these young people that hopefully won’t have negative effects. When you first start treating an issue that doesn’t have much research or information it’s hard to figure out how to help these families. They are trying medications that have not been testing for long periods of time and are unsure what side effects they could cause in the future. Not only are they worried about the physical outcomes but they also have to worry about the physiological issues that may arise in these young children.
Medical ethics would be difficult in these types of treatment plans because you’re relying a lot on what a young child is telling you and you’re asking someone so young to make huge adult decisions it would be very difficult for these physicians to make these choices based a lot on what a young person is saying.

I believe that Erving Goffman would view these children and their development as being more of an opposite of his view on how individuals show themselves to others and what they do behind closed doors. Because these children are so open and willing to be who society tells them they shouldn’t be they are doing the opposite of what he believed. These kids aren’t going behind closed doors to be who they want to be but rather coming out and telling the world.

Gender roles are crucial in the institution of family because I believe it plays a big role on children and how they view gender and how their gender is “supposed” to be. You see the women in the family being the housekeeper and taking care of the children and you see the father figure as the breadwinner in a “traditional” family. I believe this is the start were children start to see how their gender is supposed to act and what role they’re supposed to play in society. This is what they see as “normal” and maybe they feel if they don’t play these roles they aren’t the gender they were born as.

I think an example from the documentary was when the two transgender boys were talking about how their fathers saw them as “daddy’s girl” and that is one of the reasons they had a hard time coping with it. This kind of shows how them stirring away from that gender role of being daddy’s girl and a father not accepting them as boys.

After watching this documentary, I had a conversation with my husband about this. He is kind of a traditional man although he is a pretty accepting guy he still feels that transgender is more of a mental illness and more of a choice then being born that way. It does bother me a little bit when I hear that, after watching these children and their families suffer I truly believe that they are born feeling the opposite gender. Is that a mental disorder?
I don’t honestly know but even if it is what is the harm in allowing these children and anyone who feels this way to be who they want to be? I know letting a child that’s so young make these huge decisions could have a negative effect on them in the future it could also harm them to ignore it. I think society is so used to its “normal’ gender roles and ideas that people just can’t accept someone who doesn’t follow the “rules.” It’s sad and I hope as time goes we have more research and information on transgenders and we can better accept people.

Gender identity and sexual identity can be confused and mixed together. I even have a hard time defining both and being able to understand both as individual issues. I think the reason it is complicated is because people don’t have the right understanding of both and when we don’t understand or realize the difference it can make one issue such as Caitlyn Jenner turn into a whole separate issue.

I believe this statement has a good point. It really opens your eyes about this issue in a different way. I think it’s smart to think about allowing these trans kids to be more encouraged to experiment with gender and not have to feel like they’re one or the other. I think gender in our society has too many rules and when we aren’t exactly what society tells us we should be it can be confusing, and this probably makes children or young adults feel confused. I don’t think experimenting with your gender should be such a negative thing especially if it helps young people figure out who they are.

I think Caitlyn Jenner coming out in the media can be positive and negative to the transgender community. One I think it’s good to be more open about transgender people, so society can better understand it. I believe a lot of people don’t even understand or know what transgender is and I think that is a problem because it makes transgender individuals feel alone and afraid to be open. But I also think it can be negative because when everyone looks at one person and sees her mistakes or issues this could make people who don’t understand the transgender community judge it without really knowing much about it. She has a lot of pressure to make sure she doesn’t give the trans community a bad name when really, we shouldn’t be looking at just one individual.

The three aspects that really enhanced or clouded my understanding of gender was just seeing young people struggle with their identity. I really didn’t realize how complicated it can be and how difficult it is for these families and young people. I thought I had a better understanding of transsexuals but after watching this it really makes you realize we need more research and information about trans people and why they feel this way.
Another aspect that enhanced my understanding was what the medical treatments are for these individuals. I really didn’t know much about their treatment and what was being used for young people who are struggling I find it very interesting that these treatments are not very well researched, and we really don’t know what the side effects will be an outcome of these treatments.
The last thing that I believe clouded my understanding about trans kids is just understanding where these feelings come from. Is it environmental? Are they really born this way? Is it a choice? So many questions came up because all these kids were different with very different families and some of them grew up in very support loving families where it seems the environmental and nurturing aspects wouldn’t have caused these young children to feel this way. It just really brings up so many more questions that I hope we can answer one day.

 Keywords: gender, critical thinking, sociology

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