In recent years, the most striking change for trans people is the possibility of switching gender at younger and younger ages. Some children have been encouraged to socially transition as early as preschool. And, according to some estimates, thousands of American adolescents are taking hormones that forestall puberty until they decide whether they want medical or surgical interventions to change their biological sex. Starting in the late seventies, doctors began prescribing these drugs for children who suffered from extremely precocious puberty. In 2000, a clinic in Holland began administering the drugs to kids who were struggling with their gender identity. The patients had to be at least twelve and had to have begun puberty; the drug put their sexual development on hold. At sixteen, patients could stop the hormones, allowing puberty to resume its course, or they could start a regimen of cross-gender hormones, whose effects are generally not reversible. Puberty suppressors gave patients the advantage of not fully developing certain features, such as breasts and a menstrual period, for F.T.M.s, and facial hair, a prominent Adam’s apple, and more masculine facial structure, for M.T.F.s. Puberty suppression and early surgery made for more convincing-looking men and women. The Dutch researchers Baudewijntje P. C. Kreukels and Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis observed, “Early intervention not only seemed to lead to a better psychological outcome, but also to a physical appearance that made being accepted as a member of the new gender much easier, compared with those who began treatment in adulthood.”
Fellman concludes, “The popularity of the Little House books . . . helped create a constituency for politicians like Reagan who sought to unsettle the so-called liberal consensus established by New Deal politics.” Considering the outcome of the November election, and the present debacle of laissez-faire capitalism, that popularity may have peaked. On the other hand, it may not have. Hard times whet the appetite for survival stories. ♦
Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found afascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show hismother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he wouldtake good care of it.
Writing stories is something every child is asked to do in school, and many children write stories in their free time, too. By creating and telling a story, children learn to organize their thoughts and use written language to communicate with readers in a variety of ways. Writing stories also helps children better read, and understand, stories written by other people.
But as much fun as it can be, writing a story can also seem like a challenge to a child (or an adult!). By familiarizing a child with how authors create stories and what the different parts of a story are, introducing visual or written prompts that inspire him or her to think of story ideas, and encouraging him or her to plan before starting to write, you'll help the child make a complete and imaginative story.
Everyone gets a little down in the dumps sometimes. Rather than searching the internet for cat pictures or drowning your sorrows in junk, check out these motivational short stories. We have put together the best inspirational short stories, both real and fictional, to pull you from your slump, make you smile and inspire you.
I kept in touch with Danielle, the woman from the Bay Area. Aidan had started art school on time, rejecting the advice of the psychiatrist who had advised delaying college for a year. As far as Danielle knew, Aidan was also giving himself testosterone, though now that he had turned eighteen she had less direct information about his medical care. In the fall of his freshman year, he had a medical crisis—heart irregularities and a spike in blood pressure—which a doctor thought had been caused, or exacerbated, by the testosterone. He wore a binder, which gave him a more masculine profile, and people now assumed that he was male when they met him. But Aidan wasn’t talking as much about surgery, and he seemed happier. Danielle felt that Aidan’s talents were appreciated in art school, and that having a creative outlet “took the focus off his body for a while.”
Rose had proved that she could romanticize whatever material she was given. She did some minor tinkering with “Pioneer Girl,” but, once it was decided to fictionalize the memoir as a children’s story—the idea had come from an editor who rejected the memoir—she took a more aggressive role. It varied in intensity from book to book, but she dutifully typed up the manuscript pages, and, in the process, reshaped and heightened the dramatic structure. She also rewrote the prose so drastically that Laura sometimes felt usurped. “A good bit of the detail that I add to your copy is for pure sensory effect,” Rose explained in a letter.
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Skylar wanted to take testosterone right away—he wanted facial hair and a deeper voice and a more masculine frame. Melissa and Chip were receptive, but needed time to consider the ramifications. Melissa said, “To his credit, Skylar’s been amazingly patient with allowing Chip and me to internalize this and to get up to speed on it. You know, the whole idea of testosterone—there are permanent physiological changes that occur. So you want to be sure. And, while Skylar himself was sure, he was, after all, fourteen.”
As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
Many trans kids have a very hard time. They are bullied at school, rejected by their families, and consigned to marginal—even desperate—lives. Teen-agers who identify as transgender appear to be at higher risk for depression and suicide. Yet Skylar’s more seamless story is becoming increasingly common. Middle-class parents today tend to actively help their children get settled on a path in life, and often subscribe to the notion that “early intervention” is best for all kinds of conditions. Many therapists have begun to speak of even very young children as transgender (a category that few clinicians of past generations would have applied to them). And plastic surgery, tattoos, and piercings have made people more comfortable with body modification. In such a context, gender surgery in late childhood may no longer seem extreme. Because this change is happening so fast, and amid a flurry of mostly positive media attention, it can be hard to recognize what a radical social experiment it is.
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