A growing number of children, under the guidance of their supportive parents and doctors, are changing genders. New research estimates about one in 10,000 kids under the age of 18 believes they were born with the wrong body.

New gender for kids born with wrong body

This condition was once considered as a psychological diagnosis. In the last few years, however, some doctors have embraced these patients, giving them sex-changing or puberty-delaying treatments.

Something isn't quite right

Kids dressing up as the opposite sex is normal playtime behavior, but for some it isn't just make believe. An 8-year-old girl shocked her parents when, at 18 months, she told them "I a boy" and has not wavered in that belief since, according to a report by the Associated Press. The family now refers to the child as a boy and is watching for the first signs of puberty so he can begin hormone treatment.

"The number of children realizing they were born with the wrong gender is on the rise, according to medical professionals."

The mother explained that her son has a girl's anatomy but rejected that gender, refused to wear dresses and insisted on using a boy's name since preschool. The mother told the AP that accepting his identity has been difficult. Schools have refused to enroll him as a boy, and the family's pediatrician refused to go along with their request to treat him like a boy.

This situation is becoming more and more common. The number of hildren realizing they were born with the wrong gender is on the rise, according to medical professionals. Puberty-blocking drugs and hormone treatments -- and even in some cases, gender reassignment surgeries for children -- are no longer freakish folklore as in previous decades.

Once considered merely a psychological impediment

The condition is often labeled "gender identity disorder," when an individual rejects his or her birth sex and feels a strong identification with the opposite gender. The disorder affects an individual's self-image, and can impact the person's mannerisms, behavior and dress, according to Web MD.

Some doctors are now warning this label is misleading and the condition is not just psychological. Dr. Norman Spack, a specialist in transgenderism, warns ignoring a child's needs can create problems such as stress and self-mutilation. Spack authored article in the journal Pediatrics about children who insisted they were born with the wrong gender and opted for sex-changing treatments. He told the AP there is emerging research that suggests these children may have brain differences more similar to the opposite sex.

Treatments available

The article in Pediatrics noted that "the gender identity disorder population increased fourfold" and that two-thirds of patients were started on "cross-sex hormone therapy." The authors also argued that greater awareness and early medical intervention is needed.

The monthly dose of puberty-blocking injections costs about $1,000 a pop. The hormones delay puberty, giving children time to mature emotionally and delay the urgency of a permanent sex-change. Gender reassignment surgeries are done on a case-by-case situation by a handful of doctors. However, there have been some cases of breast-removal in girls as young as 16.

Read more on kids and gender

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Tags: gender

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Comments

Comments on "Should doctors perform sex change surgery on minors?"

Luka April 10, 2012 | 8:21 AM

As someone who is transgender, this woman's response absolutely disgusts me. I am standing up, saying I have a brain, and that my brain is telling me that people like you are bigoted as well as detrimental to the health and well being of a lot more than just children. You are outright wrong in the things you said in the above comment. People like you are the reason that children are put in counseling, your children who no doubt share the same views are the reason that children like the one I once was hated every single second of school. Do a little bit of research before opening your mouth about how any one else's choices are wrong - gender dysphoria is and remains one of the most destructive states of mind a person can be in. Without treatment, if forced by people like the above commenter into gender roles that they don't fit, the likelihood of them harming themselves, being diagnosed with high-end mental disorders or commiting suicide is increase by a very, very large margin over children who find acceptance. God may have made people, but people can and do have problems - someone who has an incurable illness is not perfect. People who have cancer are not perfect. People who become depressed, who have social anxiety, who need medication to survive and go about their lives normally - these people are not perfect as they are (or did you God have a reason to give them these disorders?) Gender Identity Disorder and the gender dysphoria that goes with it are in the same boat. They exist, and they need to be treated. Please, do enlighten us with your Christian babble (btw, for what it's worth I accepted Christ and believe in him, but I want absolutely nothing to do with your bigoted lot; Have found God, still no misdiagnosis, thanks.) but do so in a manner that promotes acceptance and peace rather than tearing down another person or the misfortunes that befall them.

Susan G February 29, 2012 | 5:38 PM

Well, another great big lie! To think a child of 18 mo. knows he or she is a he or she! For goodness sake will someone just stand up and say I have a brain, and this is wrong! Do you want more of our kids and grandkids in counseling and dysfunctional wrecking their whole lives, because someone will not tell them the truth! God made them and He made them perfect and they are not of the wrong . Get to know the One who made you and you will find the answers to life and a true reason for living. Just ask Him to show you the way. He has a great plan for every single life.

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