Dr. Henry Paul, MD

Psychiatrist, Author and Educator


May 8th, 2015

Children and teenagers are grappling with a very grown-up issue that suddenly has everyone talking because of the Bruce Jenner interview last month. What is it? Gender Identity! It is when a person’s gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth. It is when the body says one thing and the mind clearly says another.

CBS News did a story in 2014 that I recommend you watch. Born this way: Stories of young transgender children looks at what it is like to be young and transgender in America. It begins interviewing 12 year-old Zoey, who says she always knew she was a girl even though she was born a boy. She told interviewer Rita Braver, “I would be like, ‘No, I’m not a boy. I’m a girl. You know, like, I like the color pink, I scream like a girl. I act like a girl. I breathe like a girl. I’m not a boy.””

Zoey’s mom tells about her fear after Zoey told her she was a girl, and how she finally accepted Zoey’s decision to live as an openly-transgender girl. But, make no mistake it wasn’t easy. Although, Zoey tells Braver she was supported by many friends and family, she still endured cruel treatment.

16602406_sThirteen year-old Venice, tells Braver how he is taking testosterone because he was born a girl but always felt like a boy. His mom and brother were supportive from the start, but his father struggled with Venice’s decision. His father actually went so far as to hire a therapist to convince Venice to remain a girl. Both parents, even though they were separated, joined a support group for parents of transgender children.

For the parents of six year-old Mati, it started when she was two. Mati, born a boy, wanted to be a girl. Her parents decided that her happiness was most important and so they supported her transition. Many people have criticized their choice. They tell Braver why they feel it was right.

All of these children and their families should be applauded for doing the interview with CBS and Braver. It is their voice that will help others. Click here to watch the interview.

This blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.

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