Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Follow-Up: More Info for Gender Variant Children and Their Parents

Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:50:21 PM

Re: this week's cover feature by Lauren Smiley ("Girl/Boy Interrupted -- A New Treatment For Transgender Kids Puts Puberty On Hold So That They Won't Develop Into Their Biological Sex"), parents with gender variant children can access a growing number of resources:

A support group for Bay Area parents of gender variant and transgender children, co-sponsored by Children’s Hospital Oakland.

The first Gender Odyssey Family Conference is scheduled for Labor Day weekend in Seattle, Washington. The conference will provide family programming for gender variant or transgender children and adolescents.

TransYouth Family Advocates is an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the cultural and medical issues facing transgender youth and families.

The PFLAG Transgender Network provides resources for families and produces an online newsletter called eTransParent.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) approved the GnRH blocking treatment for adolescents in its most recent treatment guidelines.

The Gender Identity and Research Society (GIRES) is a UK-based non-profit. Its website includes information on GnRH blocking treatment. Click on “Endocrine Treatment for Adolescents” in the left-hand panel.

The Dimensions Clinic in San Francisco provides medical care for transgender teens.

The Transgender Law Center is a San Francisco-based civil rights organization.

For a list of additional transgender resources, check out the list compiled by ABC News.


Part 3 is available on


Looking Back: Better Than Nothing

Gary Johnson is about to become the first transsexual to sue for discrimination under a new state law. The only catch: He must admit to being "disabled."

By Bernice Yeung

Published: April 18, 2001

Gaynell Johnson was 5 when she showed the first signs of being transsexual. After a kindergarten class one day, she told her mother she wanted to marry her teacher. "You can't marry her, you're a girl," Gaynell's mother informed her, thinking that the young girl was confusing affection for attraction.

"I'm not a girl. I want to be a boy," Gaynell responded. "And when I grow up, I want to marry a woman."

Nearly 30 years later -- after a failed marriage and living for 12 years as a lesbian -- Johnson has adopted a male perso-na and goes by the name Gary, the person Gaynell has always wanted to be.

Johnson says that last year he finally came to terms with his transgenderism and began living and dressing as a man outside of work. To transition from being female to male, he says, he began dressing more masculine for work at a Sacramento nonprofit organization. He had interviewed for his job as Gaynell but says he was trying to fully transition in all aspects of his life.

But during that transition Johnson suffered what he considers to be discrimination, and this week, he will become the first Californian to file a lawsuit against his employer by using a new state law that protects transsexuals from discrimination in housing and employment.

Johnson's attorneys will also file a similar lawsuit for a Santa Cruz woman who believes she was refused a job at a health club because she is a male-to-female transsexual. . . .

Going on a gender bender at Truck

One of the best things about being a higher primate is our penchant for self-expression — opposable thumbs and tool-making notwithstanding. To put a finer point on it, duckbill platypuses do not wear black eyeliner and Joy Division T-shirts. Snails do not attach flame decals to their shells. Three-toed sloths ain't hyphy.

There are probably fewer cities in the world that value individuality and self-expression more than San Francisco. Here we conform to nonconformity, meaning we all look somewhat "different," yet alike: Same hip haircuts that would stand out in Danville; same cutoff pants that would look fashion-forward in Needles; same penchant for flaunting our undiscovered Brazilian garage band 45s from the '60s.

Of course not everyone here is trying to stand out. Even if you don't count yourself among the hip masses, you are still expressing yourself on a very basic level, through gender. You dress like a "girl" or a "boy."

I am a firm believer in gender. You are born with it; it is not an environmental construction. Now, that is not to say that you can't be born with male parts and the deep-down gender of a female. What I am saying is that your gender, and however it will play itself out, is fixed at birth. . . .

Girl/Boy Interrupted

A new treatment for transgender kids puts puberty on hold so that they won't develop into their biological sex


Published: July 11, 2007

The breast bud popped up about six months ago, and Marty knew something had to be done. It was the slightest of puckers, just on one side, so small you wouldn't even notice it through a T-shirt. Still, boys don't get breasts, and this had the unsettling potential to blow his cover big-time.

That's because Marty was born, by conventional measures of modern science, a girl. Marty has two X sex chromosomes, like most females, and the hardware concurs. Yet ever since Marty's parents flew back from China in 1998 with their 11-month-old adopted baby, their daughter seemed to be programmed male. She refused dresses by age two and half and mastered peeing while standing by three. She would identify herself as a girl only when grilled.

When Marty was about six, doctors said she was no tomboy. She seemed to fit the diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID), and though dubbing it a disorder whips up a maelstrom of controversy, the basic sentiment is this: not only feeling an intense discomfort with one's biological gender, but also feeling profoundly, compellingly, like the other. . . .