La lettera di una lettrice, Sarah Hoffman, ha spinto la bioeticista Alice Dreger, che insegna alla Feinberg School of Medicine della Northwestern University, a riconsiderare le alternative disponibili ai genitori dei pink boys, i bambini maschi che mostrano tratti di comportamento generalmente ritenuti propri dell’altro sesso («Pink Boys with Puppy Dog Tails», Bioethics Forum, 6 dicembre 2010). Una lettura altamente raccomandata per chiunque abbia un figlio con tracce del disturbo della identità di genere.
Sarah identifies herself as a mother of a “pink boy” – a boy whose manner of play and dress has often tended toward what’s common in girls. Sarah was writing to me specifically in response to a piece I’d written for the Hastings Center Report called “Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood: Inconclusive Advice to Parents.” There I had outlined the two basic clinical approaches taken to children labeled as having “gender identity disorder,” and had mentioned my sympathies for and reservations about each.Sarah Hoffman ha un blog in cui parla delle proprie esperienze di madre di un pink boy.
The approach I called “therapeutic” seeks to see a child’s gender dysphoria evaporate, if at all possible. This typically involves strictly limiting the child’s access to gender-atypical activities and trying to help the child adjust to fit a social environment that (supposedly) requires gender divisions. It also often involves family therapy.
Though it would seem to promise to make a child more comfortable with his body, there’s very little data that the therapeutic approach “works.” Moreover, the proponents of it have tended to be obsessed with measuring outcomes in terms of ultimate gender identity and sexual orientation rather than ultimate well-being, which surely is what should really matter.
By contrast, the approach I called “accommodating” seeks to prepare the gender dysphoric child for a transgendered life – a life that will ultimately involve hormonal and surgical sex change. Though it seems superficially more gender progressive, the problem I have with this approach is that it may end up sending more children down a high-medical-intervention path than is really necessary to maximize well-being in the population of children who go through gender dysphoria.
“You’ve done a good job of outlining the warring factions,” Sarah told me. But, she added, “I think that there is a third, quieter point of view – the perspective that, sure, transgender kids exist, but really, most of these gender-nonconforming kids are just kids who don't fall to the most-masculine or most-feminine ends of the spectrum, and that's okay. They don't need treatment, they don't need sexual reassignment, they just need a supportive home life, schools with anti-bullying protocols, and therapy for any harassment they face for being different.” […]