Parents say it’s better for Thomas to have sex change before he is adult.
The lesbian parents of an 11-year-old boy who is undergoing the process of becoming a girl last night defended the decision, claiming it was better for a child to have a sex change when young.
Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing controversial hormone blocking treatment in Berkeley, California to stop him going through puberty as a boy.
But Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel warn that children with gender identity disorder forced to postpone transitioning could face a higher risk of suicide.
The mothers say that one of the first things Thomas told them when he learned sign language aged three – because of a speech impediment – was, ‘I am a girl’.
At age seven, after threatening genital mutilation on himself, psychiatrists diagnosed Thomas with gender identity disorder. By the age of eight, he began transitioning.
This summer, he started taking hormone-blocking drugs, which will stop him from experiencing puberty.
The hormone-suppressant, implanted in his upper left arm, will postpone the 11-year-old developing broad shoulders, deep voice and facial hair.
The couple faced intense criticism from friends and family as a result, Ms Moreno told MailOnline.
‘Everybody was angry with us. “How could you be doing this? You might be ruining his whole life!”
Citing a statistic from the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, Ms Moreno noted over 50 per cent of transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.
And ignoring their son’s incessant pleas, she said, simply was not worth the risk.
‘What is so frightening to me is that you would be willing to say “no” just because you don’t like it – even though your child could lose their life?’
Her son’s adolescent transition, she hopes, will help him have a less conflicted adulthood.
‘The whole idea now is let’s stop creating a third (gender) that is neither one thing or the other, so we transitioned her,’ said Ms Moreno.
‘The protocol now is to transition these children as soon as you can make a diagnosis, because otherwise they end up being not one thing or the other… because they experienced puberty.’
Ms Moreno recalled the first step of Thomas’ transition to becoming female by letting him pick his own clothes.
He favoured headbands to baseball hats and picked out bras and dresses to start wearing when given choice in clothing to wear. And the change in his personality, Ms Moreno says, was instant.
‘He was in his own world just completely detached and that was a problem we always had was getting Thomas to participate in life,’ she said. ‘What we saw emerge when Tammy was allowed to be Tammy is, “Whoa!”… It was an immediate transformation. She was so giggly and she was now interacting she was now making it a point to defend herself.’
The diagnosis has been hard to accept for Tammy’s parents.
The couple were married in 1990 by a rabbi and have two older sons and grandchildren. But they insist their sexuality has nothing to do with it.
‘It was odd to us,’ she said. ‘Even though she has lesbians as parents, this is all new to us in every possible way. We know what it’s like to feel different – we’ve got that one. But to feel like you’re not in the right body was just something we could not put our heads around.’
Fortunately, the family has a vast support system. The couple credits Tammy’s teachers and officials at Children’s Learning Center in Alameda, California, and their religious community, for being open-minded about their son’s decision.
‘We live in the Bay area where lots of alternative lifestyles are in place… and we belong to a religious community that was incredibly supportive. They make it a point when we’re in synagogue to come over and tell Tammy, “Oh, you look so pretty today,’ Ms Moreno said, adding, ‘There’s never going to be enough gratitude for them.’
His parents say the hormone treatment will give him time to figure out if he wants to fully transition to being female or go through puberty as a boy.
If he chooses to stop taking the drugs, he will undergo natural male puberty at a later stage and his future fertility would not be impacted.
Should their son decide to transition to an adult female, he can take female hormones as well, which would raise his voice, allow him to grow breasts and develop other feminine physical characteristics.
San Francisco, right by Berkeley, is one of four cities in the United States with a hospital that has a program for transgender children.
The University of California San Francisco is home to the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health.
Children are seen at length by mental health professionals and then treated by pediatric endocrinologists.
Others cities with youth programs are Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles.
- Immigrants Gang Rape 14 Year Old Girl in High School Bathroom
- Muslims gang-rape 14yo girl IN SCHOOL, principal says: Rapists are Victims too
- Spillway at tallest US dam in California about to collapse, tens of thousands evacuate
- California Senate Leader: Half My Family Here Illegally
- Berkeley Students Support Man Waving ISIS Flag, Attack Same Guy Waving Israeli Flag