Skip to comments.The "Dr. Phil Show" Explores the Issue of Transgender Children (Is this a hate crime?)
Posted on 05/02/2009 6:03:00 PM PDT by Maelstorm
On Tuesday, January 13th, I was a guest on the "Dr. Phil Show" when a segment was aired on children who want to be the opposite sex.
Also appearing on the show was the mother of a transgendered boy who is living life as a girl, and several psychotherapists who believe that transgenderism is normal, natural and healthy for some people.
I took the position that children should not, however, be encouraged to think of themselves--and live as--as the opposite sex. All of the other psychotherapists disagreed with me.
"Imitative Attachment" in the Gender-Disturbed Boy
"Gender-identity disorder is primarily an attachment problem." These words, spoken by me during the TV interview, were edited out, but they are critical to the understanding of gender-disturbed children. No one on the show discussed this issue.
GID children do not necessarily suffer from a lack of parental love. But to begin to understand the GID child, we must understand that in early infancy, the child's sense of self is very fragile, and is formed in relationship to the mother. The mother is the source and symbol of the child's very existence. It is a simple, biological reality that infants cannot survive without a nurturing caregiver.
Experts in the area of childhood gender-identity disorder (GID) have found certain patterns in the backgrounds of GID children. A common scenario is an over-involved mother with an intense, yet insecure attachment between mother and child. Mothers of GID children usually report high levels of stress during the child's earliest years.
We often see severe maternal clinical depression during the critical attachment period (birth to age 3) when the child is individuating as a separate person, and when his gender identity is being formed. The mother's behavior was often highly volatile during this time, which could have been due to a life crisis (such as a marital disruption), or from a deeper psychological problem in the mother herself -i.e., borderline personality disorder, narcissism, or a hysterical personality type.
When the mother is alternately deeply involved in the boy's life, and then unexpectedly disengaged, the infant child experiences an attachment loss--what we call "abandonment-annihilation trauma." Some children's response is an "imitative identification"-- the unconscious idea that "If I become Mommy (i.e., become female), then I take Mommy into me and I will never lose her."
This is the same dynamic that we see in the fetish, where the boy is "taking in a piece of Mommy" (her shoes, her scarf) and developing an intense (and later sexualized) attachment to an object associated with her.
The infantile dynamic of "imitative attachment" is such that "keeping Mommy inside" becomes truly a life-or-death issue - "Either I become Mommy, or I cease to exist." This explains why gender-disturbed boys are willing to tolerate social rejection for their opposite-sex role-playing--it feels like death to abandon this perception of themselves as a female.
The phenomenon of "imitative attachment" explains why gender-disturbed boys do not display femininity in a natural, biologically based way, as do girls; but rather, demonstrate a one-dimensional caricature of femininity--exaggerated interest in girls' clothes, makeup, purse-collecting, etc. and a mimicry of a feminine manner of speaking.
As one mother explained to me, "My GID boy is more 'feminine' than his sisters."
"Born that Way?"
Although I believe gender disturbances always involve some kind of attachment problem, there may also be biological influences that lead some children in that direction.
One psychiatrist on the show discussed a recent, credible biological theory. For at least some boys who want to be girls, there may have been an unusual biological developmental problem, during the time when the then-unborn child was being formed in the uterus. This resulted in the incomplete masculinization of the boy's brains. These boys' brains are more feminine than other boys'; in extreme cases, they may grow up feeling like girls trapped in a male body.
This biological theory has some credible support--in fact, it may well explain some cases of gender disturbance. But science has, as yet, no biological test that can confirm that this brain event has actually occurred. Furthermore, we know that human emotional attachment changes the structure of the infant's brain after birth. So if we encourage the gender-disturbed boy to act like a girl, we will never know to what extent he could have become more comfortable with his biological sex if his parents were committed to actively reinforcing his normal, biologically appropriate gender identity and working to address the psychological problem of imitative attachment with the mother.
In our clinical work with GID boys, we see genuine, positive changes occur. We never shame the child for acting like a girl; we reinforce him for biologically appropriate behaviors and encourage him to grow more comfortable as a boy, thus helping him to sense that being a boy (and internalizing a masculine identity) is safe, and that being a boy is good.
No one on the Dr. Phil Show mentioned the implications of taking the opposite approach--actively preparing a boy for future sex-change surgery. Surgery can never truly change a person's sex. Doctors can remove the male genitals and form an imitation of the sex female sex organs, but they cannot make the simulated organs reproductively functional. The DNA in a boy's body cells cannot be changed with surgery. Thus, after sex reassignment surgery, there will still be a typically male genotype present.
We believe that every effort should be made to help a gender-disturbed boy accept his biological maleness, and be comfortable in life with the intact (not surgically mutilated) body with which he was born.
And people still wonder what motivates the Arabs to want nuclear weapons...
Yes, Dr. Phil is the personification of a hate crime.
I think we do not know what we are creating by turning over our schools to activists who are bent on putting their irrational beliefs into the heads of venerable children. Children and adults that need help are being referred to butchers and then when sexual reassignment doesn’t work to fix all their issues they are left disfigured and even more alone. Would a reasoned person choose to do no harm? Instead they choose the option most dangerous and physically debilitating to the person. I believe many of these doctors have their own disease of sorts. A mad scientist syndrome so to speak. I believe they get turned on by their butchering and manipulations of course no one will call them out.
I’m glad there are groups of brave professionals like this Dr. who do not ascribe to the butchering that has become the norm.
Agreed. We are normalizing what used to be bizarre or considered mental illness.
I don’t know about trans-whatever issues, but, at the very least, people need to wait till they are adults, before they explore these sides of themselves. Sheesh..............
His mercy endures forever......but his judgement is (and will be) righteous and inevitable.
Gee, get with the program. Any choice of any expression of anything sexual is not only protected as equal rights, anyone who says anything against it is a bigot. We have the right to choose the sexual expression we were born with and can’t help expressing. It’s my body, and no one has the right to tell what I can and can’t do with it, unless I’m kneeling in a public school, but I wasn’t born any kind of religion or unreligion, so it’s OK to make religious expression private and take it out of public view, unless it’s the unreligious viewpoint, so as not to offend others with it, not like my sexual orientation, which I need to celebrate in public, because I have no choice about my feelings which have just emerged recently, but certainly were there for years and I knew about it unconsciously, which explains a lot of things that happened. Isn’t that cleared up now?
This is all part of liberalism. I hate to over simplify, but our society has become more liberal and “tolerant” of anything anymore.
What would a shrink have said to a kid in 1960 who thought he was a girl in a boy’s body? Would he have been tolerant and non-judgemental of such talk?
Not that I want to turn back the clock, but some people have lost the ability of critical thinking. And it’s not the people who think they are a boy in a girls body. It’s some of these mental health professionals and others who enable them nowadays.
We’ve normalized homosexuality. That used to be a mental condition. Not saying that gays are a harm to themselves or others necessarily, but we used to consider it as outside the mainstream. Now it’s just normal.
How long before sex change operations on critical masses of people are normal?
I think trans-whatever is still considered a mental condition. I wonder how long before they drop it as a mental condition, as they did with homosexuality in 1973?
Is any of this good for society?
Are we allowed to even ask that question in a politically correct world?
Well the problem with that is that many studies have shown that most kids who have any confusion on this issue figure it out by the time they are adults and the vast majority of them develop into perfectly well adjusted heterosexuals. What the activists desire is simple. They want to trap these kids into a mold. They want to grow their segment of the population to further justify their ideas about themselves. I’m personally tired of how irrational some people are on this issue. Why can’t they leave the kids alone?
I don’t like, don’t watch Dr Phil.
I found this explanation of “caricature of femininity” interesting......
“The infantile dynamic of “imitative attachment” is such that “keeping Mommy inside” becomes truly a life-or-death issue - “Either I become Mommy, or I cease to exist.” This explains why gender-disturbed boys are willing to tolerate social rejection for their opposite-sex role-playing—it feels like death to abandon this perception of themselves as a female.
The phenomenon of “imitative attachment” explains why gender-disturbed boys do not display femininity in a natural, biologically based way, as do girls; but rather, demonstrate a one-dimensional caricature of femininity—exaggerated interest in girls’ clothes, makeup, purse-collecting, etc. and a mimicry of a feminine manner of speaking.
As one mother explained to me, “My GID boy is more ‘feminine’ than his sisters.”
“Gender-identity disorder is primarily an attachment problem.”
That means that it’s something that can be treated and possibly ‘cured’. The Liberals don’t want to hear that.
Thanks for posting. I found this piece by Dr. Nicolosi very interesting.