On a YouTube video, parents document the story of their child who was born a girl and at the age of five transitions to being a boy.
While some praise the parents saying they are an inspiration, others still question whether a five year old has the true understanding of gender identity and whether a child is born transgender.
After the Whittington’s bring a beautiful baby girl into this world, they name her Ryland. After about a year they found out she was deaf and eventually Ryland received cochlear implants. Through diligence and dedication, Ryland learned to hear and speak.
The video explains that not too long after learning to speak she would scream, “I am a boy!” Ryland was resistant to anything feminine and was called a “tomboy.” Ryland’s parents thought it was just a phase but they did not see any signs of the phase ending.
Ryland soon began to show signs of shame and made statements like, “When the family dies, I will cut my hair so I can be a boy.” With tears in her eyes she would say, “Why did God make me like this?”
The Whittington’s reached out to experts and researched everything they could and came to the realization that Ryland was transgender. Ryland was born with female anatomy but her brain identified with being a boy.
Once the Whittington’s came across the statistic that forty-one percent of transgender people have attempted suicide due to lack of societal acceptance, they were not willing to take that risk so they began the transition immediately.
Ryland began being referred to as he and him. They cut his hair, changed his dress attire, changed his room and announced to friends and family of the change. Some decided to break ties with the family but some decided to stick with them.
They learned that most children discover the true gender between the ages of three and five.
Many people who believe that some children are born transgender find Ryland’s story to be touching but others strongly disagree with the Whittington’s decision to change Ryland’s gender at such a young age.
Some studies have been conducted by examining transgender individuals’ brains comparing them to non-transgender people of the opposite sex. One study was done by examining the brains doing an MRI scan.
In a MRI study, a team of doctors found similarities in white matter between a male to female transgender and a female. They also found the same similarities in white matter between a female to male transgender and a male. The studies were done on transgender people who did not receive hormone therapy.
Although the similarities in white matter were found between transgender people and the opposite sex, the doctor was not sure whether the four regions of the brain studied are all associated with notions of gender yet another doctor thinks they might be.
In the MRI brain scans, there was no definite answer. An argument that was made against similarities of the brain between a transgender person and person of the opposite sex was that the brain physically changes in response to human behavior.
A study was done with identical twins who virtually always have identical genes. As a result, if one twin were born transgender, the other one would be too. In that study, only one out of four set of twins studied where both transgender with the others being one transgender and the other non-transgender.
Therefore, differences in the brain of a transgender person to that of a non-transgender person would be more likely the result of transgender behavior rather than its cause.
One website concludes that sex chromosomes abnormalities occurring during fetal development that affect hormones are the cause of people being born transgender. This study was conducted on the brains of postmortem transgender people and since the brain physically changes based on behavior, this study is not certain.
At this point, there still is no definite hard evidence that transgender people are born that way because the studies conducted have not been certain.
In the video, the parents say that the phase did not go away. Some may debate that they did not give Ryland enough time to get over the phase of wanting to be a boy. If a child really wants to be a different gender than what he or she was born, their minds would not change regardless of age.
Just because a child does not identify with what society expects their sex to identify with does not necessarily mean they really want to be the opposite sex. Many girls dislike dolls, dresses and makeup and because of this, they may feel more closely related to boys. Would it not be okay to let your daughter dress like a boy and play with what society deems boy toys and remind her that she is still a girl because she was born that way?
Children should be who they want to be and what a child plays with and wears should not be determined by their gender. Children are children and they should not have to choose what gender they want to be. Some children take much longer to grow out of wanting to be something else.
Children are meant to have fun, learn academics and live life. Are adults in today’s society causing children to become confused about who they are because they feel the child needs to make a definite choice of gender at such a young age? Should adults just let the child live and tell them, “Just be you”? Perhaps society needs to accept everyone for who they are and not judge based on personal preferences.