Coy Mathis was just a normal child who went to Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colorado, a small mountain town north of Colorado Springs. Coy loved to play with school friends, interact with neighborhood kids and was just like any other boy. The only difference was that Coy didn’t like being a boy and at age 4, he decided to start dressing like and identifying himself as a girl. This was also, of course, a decision of his parents Jeremy and Kathryn who actually identified Coy as a “female” on his Colorado state ID (they have those for kids?) and his passport. As Coy began the gender transition by dressing differently, he was afraid to go outside and play with his other friends. The problems multiplied when Coy’s school got involved and Coy’s story became national news 1.
Coy had been using the girl’s bathroom before first grade and had no problems. Everyone knew him as a girl and he dressed like a girl. One year after Coy’s gender transition took place, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District communicated to Coy’s parents that after Christmas break, he would not be allowed to use the girl’s restrooms 1.
Mr. Mathis commented about this on the Katie Couric show, “It came out that Coy was no longer going to be able to use the girl’s restroom and they were going to require ‘her’ to be using the boy’s room or the staff bathroom or the bathroom for the sick children. We didn’t know why…we had no idea where this was coming from,” 1
Upon receiving this news, the Mathises (who altogether have five children under 8 – of both genders) removed all their kids from Ealgeside Elementary School, placed them in home-school and filed a complaint with Colorado’s Civil Rights Division 1.
W. Kelly Dude, a lawyer for the Fountain-Fort Carson School District said that the school took into consideration not only Coy but the other students in the school, their parents and the future impact that a boy with male genitals using a girls’ bathroom would have as Coy grew older. It was a concern that as Coy developed into an older boy and continued to use the girl’s restroom, at least some parents and students were likely to become uncomfortable 1.
The Mathis’ case was the first to challenge restrictions on a transgender person’s bathroom use under Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws. The case went to court and after a time, the Mathis family won the suit. Now Coy has returned to Eagleside Elementary, still enjoys living life as a girl and is allowed to use the girls’ restroom 1.
Before I go any further, let me lay some groundwork here and start by defining some things. Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) or gender expression not matching one’s assigned or birth gender (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic gender). Transgender is independent of sexual orientation, as transgender individuals sometimes identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual or asexual; some may think that normal sexual orientation labels are incomplete or don’t apply to them 4. As a side note here, I think that it’s crazy that all these terms have been identified and are actually considered as proper terminology in some circles.
A transgender individual may have qualities that are usually linked to a particular gender identify that lies outside the traditional gender spectrum or exist outside of it as other, agender, genderqueer or third gender. Furthermore, many transgender people experience a period of identity development that includes better understanding one’s self-image, self-reflection and self-expression 4.
I remember the first time I saw a transgendered individual. I was 13 and he/she walked into an auto-parts store. I was still in the developmental stage of exploring my world and experiencing the things that would eventually establish me as an adult. As I looked up and saw this man who was dressed like a woman, I felt confused, perturbed, perplexed and a bit revolted.
Another time, I worked with a 40 something year old man (I’ll call him Jeremy) once at a retail store who decided one day that he wanted to become a woman. Jeremy started wearing bright feminine colors and a bra, grew his hair out, changed his name to Jenny and began taking hormone pills in order to develop his bosom. Once, while he was working the service desk, a mother and her young daughter approached. The little girl couldn’t keep her eyes off of Jenny and stood there transfixed on this peculiar sight. The little girl then pulled on her mom’s arm, the mom leaned down and her daughter whispered something into her ear. I could only imagine the words that were spoken between mother and daughter. This was not natural.
All of the transgender people I have seen have been adults. However, there are a growing number of children whose parents allow them to become transgender. When adults make the decision to transition from one gender to the next, it is solely their decision. They usually have the means of buying the clothes and are able to go to the doctor to acquire hormones to complete their transition. However, sometimes the notion pops into the mind of a kid that they aren’t comfortable with their own gender. Then the decision lies with their parents on whether or not their child will make the transition from one gender to another.
When a child asserts that their gender “doesn’t equal what they think it should be”, it can begin a complex, upsetting time for the family. A lot of the times, these families who are faced with abstract circumstances, try to figure out what is best for their kids, specifically when transgender situations are looked at by the majority as obscure and are packed with shame and sometimes judgment 2.
Transgender children encounter a detachment between their sex, which is a conflict between anatomy and their gender, that is comprised of attitudes, appearance, character and special interests. For instance, a 9 year old boy who has a male body but favors female things likes skirts and dolls, instead of pants and trucks 2.
Gender identity usually gets mixed in with sexual orientation.
Dr. Johanna Olson, professor of clinical pediatrics at University of Southern California who treats transgender children, said, “The difference in gender identity is who you are and sexual orientation is who you want to have sex with,” 2
When considering young children about the age of 3, they are most likely not concerned with their sexual orientation. However, specialists state that some children who consider themselves as transgender in early childhood usually turn out to be gay, lesbian or bisexual 2.
There are no such dependable recommendations for parents who deal with transgender children because there is so little information available and analyses regarding transgender children are uncommon. Depending on different studies, the rates of people who are transgender vary from 1 in 30,000 to 1 in 1,000, so the numbers are very small 2.
Mental health experts who work with transgender children have observed that some children as young as 3 display early evidence of gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder. These children are not intersex; meaning they do not have a physical disorder or malformation of their sexual organs. The gender identity exists in their brain, though whether it’s psychological or physiological is still an ongoing dispute by experts 2.
Gender identity disorder (GID) or gender dysphoria is the official diagnosis used by psychologists and physicians to characterize individuals who experience meaningful dysphoria (displeasure) with the gender they were born with and/or the gender roles affiliated with that sex. Certain data implies that individuals who identify with a gender that is opposite the one they were born with may do so not just because of psychological or behavioral issues but also because of biological circumstances that are linked to their genetics, the makeup of their brains or prenatal exposure to hormones 3.
An individual with GID usually encounters extreme unpleasantness in regards to their specific gender. They may behave and portray themselves as members of the opposite sex and sometimes convey that they want to alter their bodies. GID affects an individual’s self-image and can impact their characteristics, manners and appearance 4.
The specific origin of GID is unknown; however, there are quite a few theories that exist. These theories propose that the disorder may be caused by genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, hormone imbalances during fetal and childhood development, defects in normal human bonding and child rearing or a combination of these factors 4.
Dr. Jill Jacobson, an endocrinologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital saw her first transgender patient several years ago. The patient was an 8 year old girl who at age 3 had asked her mother, “If I died and went to heaven, would I come back in the right body?” 5
Now Jacobson has converted into an advocate for child transgenders. She treats them using hormones or hormone blockers and has treated 28 children from grade school to high school age who are making the transition from one gender to the other. Nearly all began treatment in the last year and a half 5.
Advocates insist that because of the battles over diversity that have been fought by others (namely the rights of women, minorities and gays) the trend of history is arriving at a point of increasing tolerance and acceptance towards transgenders. Several recent events point towards that trend 5:
– In early 2014, Barneys New York, a high-end fashion store began a national ad campaign in magazines, online and in its own catalog featuring 20 transgender models 5.
– The US Senate in November 2013 voted 64-32 to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that was first introduced in 1994. This add-on will protect workers based not only on sexual orientation but also on gender identity. It now awaits a vote in the House 5.
– A Colorado civil rights panel ruled in June 2013 that Coy Mathis, a 6-year-old transgender girl, born as a boy, suffered discrimination when he was not allowed to use the girls’ bathroom at his grade school 5.
– In January 2014, a federal appeals court ruled that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections’ refusal of sex reassignment surgery for a transgender inmate was unconstitutional, a form of cruel and unusual punishment 5.
Psychologists and other researchers acknowledge that they understand very little about what creates transgender. Several studies of transgender adults have found variations in the brain’s white matter and in hormones 5.
Males who transition to female, known in the transgender community as MTFs, from-males-to-females, have been shown to have some neurons and hormone levels more consistent with females. Females who transition to males, FTMs, have shown some similar characteristics 5.
Caroline Gibbs, a Kansas City psychologist who sees more than 100 clients at the Transgender Institute, stated that many transgenders “come out” and openly disclose their gender identity during puberty. Other people “come out” after high school, from age 19 and even into their mid 20s.
“Some people bury this, they are so afraid. My oldest client is 73, male to female,” Gibbs said 5.
However, sometimes people can become uncomfortable with their gender, she said, when they are as young as 3, 4 or 5. 5
“I knew I wasn’t a girl. I kind of always knew,” said Michael Galvin, an FTM transgender, “I have been talking about it with my mom since about elementary school.” 5
Janet Galvin, Michael’s mother, said some signs arose as early as first grade when she threw a Harry Potter party and her child wanted to dress as a boy 5.
Isaac Barnett, another FTM transgender, knew she should be a boy since she was 8. 5
“What makes me a boy is that, I don’t know, I don’t feel comfortable in my (female) body,” she said. “…It’s not that God made a mistake or I’m blaming anybody. It’s that I was born in the wrong body and I need to fix that,” 5
As late as her junior year, Isaac was still known to all but a few classmates as a girl. She had even grown her hair long like a girl 5.
“Still, looking in the mirror and stuff, I still saw a boy,” she said. “I will look at my old pictures and stuff when I was a girl and I’ll think, ‘That’s not me. Who is that person?’ ” 5
Isaac was adopted from China in 1997 as a 17-month-old girl by her mother, Lynn Barnett and her partner, now separated 5.
Lynn Barnett remembers that when Isaac was 8, “‘He’ didn’t like dressing in girls’ clothes. …‘he’ really didn’t get into playing with other little girls in the same way they played.” But, she said, “I wasn’t sure ‘he’ was transgender until last fall, ‘his’ junior year, when ‘he’ said ‘he’ was transgender.” Lynn’s feelings now are that, “‘He’ is so happy and feels so much better about ‘himself’, I have to be ok with it. I am so glad to see that ‘he’ is feeling comfortable in ‘his’ body. I’m pleased that ‘he’s’ happy.” 5
Treating and directing young children who recognize themselves as transgender will continue to be a touchy subject. There are three groups of therapists who deal with transgender children. Some do not support transgender transitions and state that it is very unhealthy because it deviates from traditional male/female roles that people were born with. Others stay neutral and give children room for free gender declaration to see what happens. The third group eagerly advocates for transgender children and guides them into their new gender role 5.
Part of the dispute regarding gender identity in children has to do with several studies from Toronto, the Netherlands and elsewhere that offer evidence that without therapy, as many as 80% of children who identify as transgender early before puberty, may eventually become “desisters.” 5
Desisters are children who, after they are revisited several years after their initial gender transition, have discontinued their former thinking and no longer regard themselves as transgender. Instead, they have reverted back to their birth gender. Several studies have been published about disisters but the sample sizes in each have been relatively small, however 5.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the statistics regarding transgenders:
Seth T. Pardo, a psychologist from San Francisco who presented a paper on transgender demographics at the World Professional Association of Transgender Health in Bangkok, Thailand, stated that it was hard to determine the numbers of transgenders for several reasons. The biggest one being that so many are afraid to come forward as transgender 5.
– Data from the Netherlands states a rate of 1 in 11,000 (0.009%) of biological males who identify as women and 1 in 30,400 (.0033 percent) of biological females who identify as men 5.
– Several parental reports from 1997 to 2009 reveal that as many as 0.5 percent to 1.4 percent of biological males and 0.6 percent to 2 percent of biological females express a “desire” to become the opposite gender 5.
– International studies of college students from 2010 and 2011 express that 0.7 percent to 0.9 percent of biological males and 2.2 percent to 2.9 percent of biological females expressing a similar desire 5.
The most recent data from surveys including the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth, the 2009 California Health Interview Survey and federal data including the Decennial Census or the American Community Survey were examined by Gary Gates, a distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law 8a.
– There are nearly 700,000 transgender people in the US or 0.3% of the adult population 8b.
– Of those who identify themselves as transgender, most have taken some effort to transition from one gender to another 8b.
– An unknown number of transgender individuals also identity as lesbian, gay or bisexual, so there is some overlap 8b.
A survey of 6,400 people that was taken by The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law:
– 41% of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average 6.
– 69% of transgenders who were homeless because of bias against their gender identity have attempted suicide 6.
Now that I’ve given you all the facts on transgenders, I’ll let you know how I feel and think. I am 100% AGAINST transgenders. Especially when children, encouraged by their parents and therapists, choose to transition from their birth gender to the opposite gender. Every person is born as either an XY male or an XX female (those are chromosomes by the way for those who didn’t know) 9.
Of course, there is the very rare case when an intersex person is born with an extra Y chromosome or a couple of X’s and Y’s thrown in there. Intersex is an abnormality of sexual features including chromosomes, gonads or genitals that do not allow an individual to be clearly recognized as a male or female. According to Leonard Sax, around 0.018% of the world’s population is born as intersex 10.
What I’m talking about here are those who were born as male or female and have decided for whatever reason to change their gender identity and/or plumbing. God created male and female in order to procreate and increase in population. When an individual has changed their gender identity or orientation, their gender role is skewed and disoriented. In other words and without getting too specific, if someone was born as a male, they will never be able to reproduce offspring as a female. Changing genders is all in their heads and no matter what clothes they wear, how high pitch they try to talk, no matter what hormones they pump into their systems or what surgeries they have, it is impossible for them to ever become a female. The very fact of that impossibility should prove that they shouldn’t have switched genders in the first place! Why would someone want to change something so fundamental as their gender that they were born with? Shouldn’t something as drastic as gender identity be left alone?
Sexual “Reassignment” Surgery and other hormonal replacement therapies are a skewed representation of a colored reality that seeks to mimic or imitate that which was never meant to be changed. They symbolize the physical modification, fabrication and distortion of the body in order to match an observed self-interpreted genetic social role. Transgenderism endeavors to develop an appearance of validity and normalcy for what would otherwise be acknowledged and diagnosed as a mental illness. The American Psychiatric Association refers to this condition as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which is a mental illness, not a physical ailment. Dr. Paul McHugh, a former Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins University, considered psychiatrists who advised medical treatment for transgenderism as “fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness”. Psychiatrists should not be permitting mentally ill clients to experience such an overwhelming, mental altering condition only for the benefit of political correctness 11. This would be like a therapist allowing their drug addicted client to continue using heroin.
The marital union between a man and a woman is not only biblical at its very core but it is also extremely logical. That’s why God didn’t create humans as hermaphrodites. Every culture from the beginning of time has practiced monogamy – the marriage between one man and one woman – for the purpose of reproduction. Without this practice and bond of marriage, humans would cease to exist! 11
Because transgenderism breaches God’s original plan for sex and gender identity, I believe that Christians are engaged in a cultural and theological battle that must be overcome. The modern campaign of transgenderism is consistently operating to tear apart the basis of gender as God ordained it and even as societies throughout the world have always known it to be. If the transgender agenda prevails, there will be overwhelmingly negative results on the definition of marriage, family and society in general 11.
Despite the gender-roles that prevailed with various civilizations throughout history, the concurring and exact differences between male and female have always been acknowledged. More essentially, as a Christian, I recognize that the common and unique characteristics between male and female were set up and initiated by God from the beginning 11.
Although there are so few transgenders in the population, the goal of activists is to completely dismantle the biblical and biological understanding of sex. Their belief and teaching is that gender is fluid and changeable. It is their view to ignore biological sex and instead support one’s feelings or self-recognition about their gender – despite the fact if these beliefs align with biological reality or not 11.
My opponents will argue that marriage between one man and one woman can still exist in their world of tolerance along with homosexual and transgender marriage. They want all ideas to be included because it would be discrimination and bigotry otherwise.
My argument with that would be; where is the line drawn? If you tolerate heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, pansexuals, polysexuals, transsexuals and asexuals, then what about pedophiles, beastism or necrophilia? What about that Japanese guy who married his video game or that lady who married her cat? Those people should have a voice too right? My opponents might say that those acts are revolting and even unlawful. I can state the same thing about the sexual orientations other than heterosexuality that they tolerate. And why do my opponents believe that sexual orientation cannot be changed but they believe that gender identity can be changed? 11 Just a thought.
I will always stand firm on my beliefs. What about those who struggle with their gender identity? Do I want them to remain the same? No. Do I want them to change? Yes. So many people involved in those lifestyles have lived lives of great turmoil, embarrassment and exclusion. The majority of transgenders come from broken homes where one or both parents was either absent, totally uninvolved or held a dysfunctional view of individual roles in the family. Many of the problems connected to transgenderism, such as bewilderment and hurt, originate from the need for parental engagement and direction. Parents need to teach their kids that just as each person is of invaluable worth, each gender also carries its own exclusive essence of precious benefit into relationships, family and society. Parents need to take a proactive, dedicated part in their children’s growth and development by offering them a strong, Christian example of what it means to be a real male and genuine female 11.
Kids don’t need to be taught that every thought that comes into their mind should be carried out. When I was a kid, I thought that I could jump off the roof of my house with an umbrella and gently float to the ground. Imagine what would have happened if my parents would have said, “Sure! Go for it! That seems like a great plan!”
If an 8 year old boy suddenly wants to start dressing like a girl, his behavior and thought process shouldn’t be encouraged but diverted. Why is he thinking those thoughts? Did he see a man wear a purple shirt with his suit? Why does he not like his body as a boy? Did his father leave when he was an infant and he’s never had a male role model? Was he raised by a lesbian mother who kept going from partner to partner and never showed him what it was like to be a real man?
Children need to have a solid foundation on which to stand on. They need to be taught morals, ethics, values, Godliness, loyalty, courage, how to pray, that being afraid is ok, controlling their anger, expressing their gifts, the difference between right and wrong, avoiding selfishness, embracing thankfulness and continuing with the identity of what gender they were born with.
I will end with a story about an 11 year old boy named Thomas or “Tammy” Lobel. He was adopted by a lesbian couple at age 2 and diagnosed with a speech impediment that forced him to learn sign language before he spoke. When he was 3 years old, he signed to his moms that he was a girl. His feminine behavior continued as he preferred playing with dolls rather than action figures or wore rhinestone hair bands rather than baseball caps. When Thomas turned 7, he stated that he wanted to “cut off [his] penis” and his moms became very worried and sought professional help. After several therapy sessions, the specialists confirmed that Thomas indeed had a gender identity disorder 2.
Thomas’ moms allowed him to pick out his own clothes at age 8. He chose girl’s clothing and also picked out four bras. Then, Thomas desired to change his name to Tammy and use a female pronoun when referring to himself. He continued to see therapists 2.
“Tammy’s” room is now painted bright golden yellow, adorned with stuffed animals and furnished with pink flashy tennis shoes. At home, “Tammy” dances through the hallway, twirling in his pink flower dress 2.
“As soon as we let him put on a dress, his personality changed from a very sad kid who sat still, didn’t do much of anything to a very happy little ‘girl’ who was thrilled to be alive,” one of his moms said 2.
During the summer, “Tammy” began taking hormone-blocking drugs that will put his puberty on pause so he can figure out whether to transition into a girl. If “Tammy” decides he wants to become a girl, he can start taking estrogen and go through puberty as a girl, developing as a natural girl would 2.
This is a sad story of a boy who was adopted by two homosexual women. There’s no telling what he went through before he was adopted but after living in a home with two female role models, it’s no wonder why he would want to become a girl! I know this isn’t the case with every child with GID. However, this little boy should be guided and directed in another direction. It’s this particular story that saddens me but motivates me to make a difference in my kid’s lives.
I think every boy, to some extent, experiences a gender identity predicament sometime in their childhood. At one time, my son’s favorite color was pink and most of his friends at school were girls. I did worry somewhat where this was leading. However, I didn’t encourage him in that direction but maintained my role as an involved, hands-on father who took part in his life. I directed him down the path of masculine boyhood. I taught him how to ride a bike, cast out a fishing line, build a model airplane, change a car tire, throw a baseball, pick a scab and other things boys do. I showed him the way, gave him the reins and he took them. Now he’s a professional boy whose last thought in the world would be to become a girl and change his name to “Thumbelina”!
That’s what these kids with gender issues need. They don’t need two moms or two dads whose own gender roles are extremely off balance and dysfunctional. They don’t need enabling parents who allow them to change genders because of a therapist who thinks they know what’s “best” for them. These kids are confused and their parents are leading them down a very self destructive path. They need a parent or parental figure who will show them why they need to keep being the gender they were born to be and discourage them from wandering off the path of gender identity.
1. Whitelocks, S., & Greig, A. (2013, June 24). Transgender child, 6, wins civil rights case to use the girls restroom at school in Colorado. Mail Online.
2. Park, M. (2011, September 27). Transgender kids: Painful quest to be who they are. CNN Health.
3. Heylens, G; De Cuypere, G; Zucker, K; Schelfaut, C; Elaut, E; Vanden Bossche, H; De Baere, E; T’Sjoen, G (2012). “Gender Identity Disorder in Twins: A Review of the Case Report Literature”. The Journal of Sexual Medicine 8 (3): 751–757.doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02567.x
4. Gender Identity Disorder. (2014). Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/sex/gender-identity-disorder?page=2
5. Adler, E. (2014, February 8). ‘I am a girl’: Transgender children face a society slow to accept them. The Kansas City Star.
6. Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “GLAAD” Media Reference Guide – Transgender glossary of terms, “GLAAD”, USA, May 2010. Retrieved on 2011-02-24
7. Layton, Lynne. In Defense of Gender Ambiguity: Jessica Benjamin. Gender & Psychoanalysis. I, 1996. Pp. 27–43″. Retrieved 2007-03-06
8a. Transgender: By the numbers. (2011, December 5). . Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Transgender-by-the-numbers-2342726.php
8b. National Transgender Discrimination Survey. (Based on 531 respondents in New York in a survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force)
9. Money, John; Ehrhardt, Anke A. (1972). Man & Woman Boy & Girl. Differentiation and dimorphism of gender identity from conception to maturity. USA: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-1405-7.
10. Sax, Leonard (2002). “How common is intersex? a response to Anne Fausto-Sterling”. Journal of Sex Research 39 (3): 174–178.doi:10.1080/00224490209552139. PMID 12476264
11. Transgenderism. (2008, January 1). . Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/socialissues/social-issues/transgenderism.aspx