Originally published at Down the Pogonip Trail
As a child therapist, I do not believe gender confusion in children is pathological. Varying degrees of gender confusion naturally emerge at different developmental stages. Wishing one were the opposite sex, believing one is in the wrong body, or thinking one can change one’s sex is normal at some point for many children. Gay and lesbian children appear to experience gender confusion to a greater degree, to the point where parents and teachers often are aware of it, but the degree of gender confusion or unhappiness is not important. The salient issue is whether the child resolves the gender confusion that emerges at that developmental stage and moves forward. When gender dysphoria persists into late adolescence and early adulthood, this is an indication of pathology – a condition requiring treatment. The current push to “identify trans children early” in order to begin earlier treatment is completely misguided. The pathological condition for the trans adult is that this adult is stuck in this parameter of development: becoming comfortable with the sex of one’s body and one’s reproductive organs. That the trans adult can remember being uncomfortable with their gender as a child does not mean that this is a marker for identifying children who will have gender dysphoria as adults.