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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Is it ‘Just a Phase’

As I was growing up, I had an older brother whom I adored. Every day, he would come home and tell me of all the adventures he had that day. He would tell me everything from picking fights with bullies at school to sluffing class with his friends. Sometimes they weren’t the best experiences and when I look back at them now, I think of all the mischief he got himself into. But back when I was just a little girl wanting more, I heard those stories and to me they were acts of heroism and adventure. His life sounded so much more fun than my own. After a while, I started looking for opportunities in school to pick fights and break rules. I wanted that adventure, but it never turned out as fun as it had sounded in my brother’s stories. I started to see that girls didn’t fight, they didn’t go on crazy adventures, and in my childish head, ‘Girls didn’t have fun’.

I finally stopped trying to be my brother, but I wanted, more than anything else, to be a boy. I wanted to have fun. I never told anyone about this desire until much later, but I kept this mindset even into my junior high years. I would see the girls in junior High and all they ever did was gossip, try to look pretty, and complain. I never wanted to hang out with those girls and I didn’t ever want to be that way. I kept telling myself that I could do anything a man could do. Whenever I saw an opportunity to prove that I was just as strong and capable as the men, I would take it. I would lift the heavy things around the house and do the ‘manly’ chores. I would never show that I was tired and I never told anyone I couldn’t do it.

One day, my brother noticed me trying to lift something heavy. He offered to take it for me and I looked at him like I was offended and told him I didn’t need help. Later he asked me about it and I finally told him about how I felt and that I wished I was a boy. That day, I realized that I wanted to be a boy for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t who I was. I only wanted to prove that I could anything a man could do. He helped me to realize that: A woman was not put on this earth to do what man can do, but to do what man can’t do. I completely changed my perspective after that. I decided that I would no longer try to do what men do, but to be the best woman I could be.

Throughout this substantial portion of my life, I wished I could have been born as the opposite sex. It took me a long time to realize that I wanted this for the wrong reasons. I thought that that was the only way I could live a happy and fulfilling life. I didn’t understand that it wasn’t really who I was. I would not consider my experiences to be any kind of [1]Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder. It was just a ‘phase’ you might say, but I didn’t understand that as a kid.

Transgender children have become the subject of many peoples’ concern today. Because most of society has yet to accept this new gender fluidity generation and their ideals, parents to these transgender children especially have been the subject to much ridicule and hardship like the example of the transgender, [2]Kathryn and her parents. The questions are now being asked [3]“is it too young for a child to know or to be able to distinguish gender” and “how do you know if it’s not just a phase?” As the Transgender population continues to grow larger with each passing year, more and more cases of transgender children are appearing. More and more parents are dealing with this pressure, wondering what they should do about their child who claims to be of the opposite gender.

Looking at my childhood, I would say that a child is too young to understand the entirety of changing their own gender. It’s true that children become gender aware at the age of 2 or 3, but they have not matured yet and they don’t completely understand what it means to be a boy or girl. Changing a child’s gender could lead to so much more hardships and lost [4]privileges. In my opinion, they should not be able to change the gender they have been assigned until they are of legal adulthood.

I believe also that when it comes to children, the very most important thing is the love the parents have for their child. Through the hardships of gender identity, the parents of the children should love their child no matter who or what the child is or claims to be. It only causes more pain for the parents and the children in these situations when parents push their children away.

From Raising Ryland[5], I believe that Ryland’s parents Hillary and Jeff made the right decision. They chose to let their child change their gender, because of the love they had for their child. Jeff states that “yes he’s just a kid, but he’s a kid that feels very strongly about something, and we need to open up our minds and understand that.” When this couple started to wonder about their transgender child they began researching and consulted with professionals. They did not simply let their child change. Children don’t realize what it means to be transgender, but they took the necessary steps to research and find help for their child. They eventually accepted their child and let their daughter completely change to a boy. This is one of the rare cases that I believe it was ok for the child to completely transform.

Like said above, children don’t realize what it means to be transgender, and most of the time it is just a phase. I believe that if a parent truly loves their child they will see what is best for their child. They will do their very best to provide for the child. These stories will continue to come up. Everyone’s story is different. Everyone faces their own demons. Sometimes it is more than ‘just a phase’.

Notes

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/gender-dysphoria

[2] http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2012/05/24/153285061/can-children-know-at-age-2-they-were-born-thewrong-sex

[3] http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/parents-transgenderchild-choose-gender-23954641

[4] Privilege 101: A Quick and Dirty Guide by Sian Ferguson pg 353

[5] http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/18/living/feat-transgender-child-raising-ryland/

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