Wait, I thought gender identity was NOT a choice

UPDATE (below)

Now comes news of drugs that can delay the onset of puberty to give children more time to decide if they want to be a boy or a girl.

The story involves an 11-year-old boy being raised by two lesbians who report that he wants to be a girl, and has insisted that he is a girl since he was three years old. The boy is being treated with hormones that delay puberty so that he can decide whether he wants to be a boy or a girl.

Some thoughts:

  1. Sexual identity according to the given wisdom (that cites studies) is not a choice, but is assigned genetically. So, I guess you might say that in this case the boy isn't picking what he wants to be but is discovering what he wants to be. But, what if he makes the wrong choice? I guess he'll just have to revert, as did Walt Heyer, who is quoted in the story. (His book Paper Genders details his own experience transitioning from a man to a woman and back again.
  2. Isn't it a little soon to be giving drugs to a child for this purpose?  The story discusses this more at length.
  3. Also discussed, but readily dismissed, is the effect on the boy of being raised by two women. I think this possibility requires more serious discussion.

Personally, I remain unsure whether sexual orientation is a matter of nature or nurture. Science has a lot more to say on the subject before it because ideological dicta.

UPDATE: I have been taken severely to task for confusing "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." Here's the email:

Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same thing. Why don't you do some research before espousing your outdated, bigoted, ignorant viewpoint all over the internet? Oh. Because it's the internet. Of course.

[signed] disgusted from Orange County, Calif.

Ya got me. Whatever the correct terminology (I've changed the headline, which originally read "sexual identity"), I think you know to what I'm referring. The argument that no one chooses to be gay. That it is a natural attribute, just like race.

For the other swine out there like me who don't know the difference, here are definitions from LGBT Ministries:

Sexual orientation: Describes to whom a person is sexually attracted. Some people are attracted to people of a particular gender; others are attracted to more than one gender. Some are not attracted to anyone. Sometimes the term “affectional orientation” is used to acknowledge that attraction can be about more than sexual desire.

Gender identity and expression: The ways in which a person chooses to identify and/or express their
gender, including self-image, appearance, and embodiment of gender roles. One’s sex (e.g., male, female, intersex, etc.) is usually assigned at birth based on one’s physical biology. One’s gender (e.g.,
man, woman, transgender, genderqueer, etc.) is how one chooses to identify. One’s gender expression (e.g., masculine, feminine, androgynous, etc.) is how one embodies gender attributes, presentations,
roles, and more.

Nevertheless, my questions still stand.


Leave a comment
  • "3. Also discussed, but readily dismissed, is the effect on the boy of being raised by two women. I think this possibility requires more serious discussion."

    See, this is something I seem to continuously be missing. What is so bad about being raised by two women? My best friend was raised by her mother and aunt. I had three close friends at college who were raised by gay couples (both male/male and female/female) who were three of the kindest, smartest and most stable people I have ever met. This idea is brought up that its simply "better" to be raised by a male/female couple. No one can explain why. Most research on the subject claiming this has been intelligently de-bunked over and over again. All I hear are pundits and politicians, when faced with the question of WHY its better, saying "well obviously it just is."

    So. Are we to believe that living with junky parents, or neglectful parents, or violent and abusive parents - as long as they are opposite gender - will be better than being raised by a loving, caring and attentive same-sex couple?

    Bullshit. What is the "further discussion" required? Who cares whether someone is raised by male/female, male/male, female/female, single parent, legal guardian, foster, etc etc. WHO CARES? What we should care about is that the people raising children in our society are GOOD PARENTS. There are people raising children who are going to jail because they didnt realize that beating a child with a studded belt for misbehaving was against the law. THAT IS WHAT REQUIRES FURTHER DISCUSSION.

  • And if its about the "effect" on the boy, that being raised by two women is leading him/her down the road to wanting to be a woman, then why didnt that happen for my best friend? How about COUNTLESS other children raised by same-sex couples or single mothers of two female guardians who grow up without this questioning of their gender identity?

    This is not "cause and effect". Thank G-d (yep, Him/Her) that this boy is being raised in a household where he is not being judged for his struggle, but rather cared for and nurtured along a very difficult path.

  • In reply to js1414:

    Yes, the first question is whether parents are "good," not their gender identity. And certainly, one can't extend a generalized statement to cover every particular instance. But in general I still believe that men and women tend to bring different qualities to raising children (call them inherent gender qualities if you wish), and in general, children tend to benefit from being raised in the presence of both.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    "children tend to benefit from being raised in the presence of both."

    According to whom? I've read tons of articles on the subject, and each one can be disputed back and forth. There's actually a fantastic video I found where someone was interpreting a research study done in a discussion in Congress, and Senator Al Franken easily pointed out the issues in interpretation, from skewed statistics to inappropriately drawn conclusions based on biased interpretation of straight-forward semantics.

    This is my issue. To simply state that "children tend to benefit" is a generalized statement! And one that continues to be shown to be incorrect case after case after case, at that.

  • If you take an orange tree, remove the oranges, and then graft on apples, is it really now an apple tree? It can produce no new apples, and therefore can no perform an essential function of an apple tree, despite what it looks like now.

    True gender is not a choice, it is what you are born with. If he wishes to take on the image of the other gender, let him do so. But let him do so as an adult, not as a child. There are few pharmaceutical products that don't have risk associated with them. Let him grow up drug free and when he reaches the age of adulthood, then let him decide if body sculpting and hormone distortion is appropriate for him.

  • Your question may "still stand", but you need to clarify what your question is. You begin your "article" discussing gender identity, and conclude it with the implication that the previously cited information brings into question whether or not sexual orientation is a choice. In fact, the anecdote about a boy choosing his gender has zero to do with sexual orientation. You either need to change your question, or change your anecdote.

  • Anytime I get this argument I ask the same question; When did you choose? See, it's really NOT a choice...

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