A lot of people I grew up with complain about the “new” Seattle, or about the “different” Ballard. In fact, many of them have moved away to the suburbs. But I love the new Seattle. In the 1970s, Seattle was an industrial town. There were a few regional banks, an insurance company or two, and Boeing. It was an awful town to be a young single person in and there certainly weren’t great restaurants. But now? I love Seattle. It is booming, growing, with lots of young professionals moving in. THere are good restaurants, improving transportation, lots of energy. It is, for the first time ever, exciting to be here. The traffic? A bummer, but part of driving in a big city, and I try to work around it best I can. However, with growth comes skyrocketing costs, more inequality as non-professionals are pushed further out so must drive more, and increased homelessness (I don’t mind that they are here, I just wish we as a society would do more to fix the root problem so that people need not be homeless).
I am really very happy with how much our society has progressed in various transgender and sexual rights these past few years. But I am nervous about the number of doctors who are very quick to prescribe hormones to kids to change their sex without digging into what else might be behind what is going on and without fully consider the potential health consequences for trying homron therapy.
Time was, it was a serious matter to change your gender, one that people took seriously and sometimes took years to progress to. For example, Wife M had a friend whose roommate was a man turning into a woman, and she cross dressed for years before really making the change. ALthough she was not on hormones, everyone treated her like the woman that she was, and it was a big deal for her to make that change.
Now, I feel like a lot of kids are taking very serious hormones — which may have long term consequences to health — without really truly experimenting with what that means. We are experiencing this, in fact, with our son R, who is experimenting with hormones without any therapy and after only one doctor’s visit; we asked him to attend therapy to explore whether that was the right decision for him, and even told him to consider dressing and acting as the other sex for awhile so he was sure, but he has leapt right in with the doctor’s blessing. My concern is not someone’s right to experiment – but it’s the health consequences that may result long term if he changes his mind in a few months.
In the 1980s, a lot of therapists and doctors started prescribing prozac like candy as a first act – they literally prescribed it to 100% of their patients. It wasn’t all therapists, but it was enough of them to raise concerns. (Also, prozac was quite famous at the time, and I am sure a number of people went into the therapist and immediately requested prozac). It was only after some exposes discussed the concerns with this that this curtailed. Also, there were quite a few kids around 1990 on anabolic steroids, and it took social intervention (media, etc.) about the health consequences to end that fad.
I have this feeling that this may be true now, with hormones. Even a google search for me did not immediately find any discussions on whether it really and truly is the right case, but primarily how to provide/get emotional support during the transition. For me, the most telling statistic is that kids who are on the autistic/asberger’s spectrum are 25x more likely to experiment with hormone therapy than other kids – which might indicate they feel different, and think hormones are the secret. But, again, my concern is to the health effects.
I am biased on this. I myself took a very serious drug — prednisone — to save my life, and it worked but it had long-term consequences for me that I am still living with, and may always have. And I never took recreational drugs, and am going through a lot of pain right now because I am trying to stay off my pain meds. So I am a firm believer in drugs as a serious item that need to be carefully weighed before taking, whether it is IBProfen or Prednisone or hormones.
Anyway, my two cents. For better or worse, our son is 19 and has always been set in his ways when he makes up his mind, so we have virtually no say on this. The bitter irony is, for years we were pushed by schools to put him on various medications to improve attention span, etc. but we absolutely resisted since M and I did not want to put our son on drugs. He has also been diagnosed with anemia, but will not take medicine for that. In a word, argh. 🙂
WIfe M and I start attending a parent group in a couple of weeks for parents of transgender kids. We want to do the best we can to be supportive but also realistic, and this group will hopefully help.