Allowing Children to Choose Gender Is Slippery Slope

Parents' inclination to let children decide what's best raises all sorts of questions
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2008 7:43 PM CDT
"We used to get calls mostly from parents ... concerned about their children being gay,%u201D says one support-group leader. %u201CNow about 90% are from parents ... that their child may be transgender.%u201D   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – For parents raising boys who profess to be girls and vice versa, puberty blockers may seem a godsend, writes Hanna Rosin in a look at gender—and transgender children—in the Atlantic. Boys will emerge from their teens with no Adam's apple, girls will bypass menstruation, allowing them to live inconspicuously as transgender adults. But has the growing acceptance of nature versus nurture gone too far?

Some worry about forcing parents to make such a weighty decision when kids are so young; one study found that only 20-25% of youngsters with gender-identity disorder still wanted to switch gender as teens. One gay-rights advocate thinks parents embrace the transgender label as a more palatable alternative to admitting their child might be gay: “When people think about being gay, they think about sex—and thinking about sex and kids is taboo.” (Read more transgender stories.)