Gender transitioning among young Australian children is skyrocketing, with one doctor saying referrals to hospital for gender services have "escalated rapidly" across every state.
One case that's got people talking this week is that of a 4-year-old preschooler in NSW, who has begun the gender transition process before starting kindergarten.
The child, who can't be identified for privacy reasons, is the youngest Australian on record to begin the process of changing their gender. The preschooler is part of the Safe Schools program and hopes to complete full gender transformation by next year.
Several psychologists have raised concerns that 4 years old is too early to be transitioning gender, such as clinical psychologist Rose Cantali, who said that age was "absolutely too early." Other professionals have echoed her view, pointing out that a child is still developing at that age, which supports the view that kids with strong cross-gender identification shouldn't get any official policy support until they are older.
Yet others have supported the news, such as leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, who said even young kids can identify the feeling of being born in the wrong body, and forcing them to live in denial could lead to bullying and suicide.
It's true that 4 years old is very young to make any life-changing decision. And for most preschoolers, they don't have to concern themselves with anything much beyond what snack to choose and what toy to play with.
But for those children who know without a shadow of a doubt from a very tender age that they are living in the wrong body, the opportunity to change that can't come quickly enough. All we can hope is that the professionals responsible for making irreversible decisions on behalf of these young kids take their age into account. Perhaps in the future we won't think twice about 3- and 4-year-olds transitioning their gender. What's great is that we're even talking about an issue that, until relatively recently, was taboo.
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