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One of the most controversial topics in today’s society is Gender Dysmorphia. This group of people can be considered lesbian, gay, transgender, bi etc. Majority of these people feel as if they were born as the wrong sex. This controversial topic can go as far as becoming a disorder in young adolescents. The study of Gender Identity Disorder also known as Gender Dysmorphia, is when a child or adolescent defines themselves as the opposite sex. This may include acting like the other sex, dressing differently, and wanting to consist of physical characteristics the other sex would have.
The child could even go as far as doing activities the other sex would normally enjoy doing, that would distinguish from the other sex. Gender Identity Disorder can begin from an early stage in life, the onset can start from four years of age. Before this, parents are known to from birth, characterized as their child by their gender at birth. This may go as far as identifying pink with a girl and blue with a boy.
In recent news, the state of New York passed a law of “Gender X”. This is for parents from the child’s birth let the child pick their gender as they get older. Disregarding what sexual organs they were born with, the parents are allowing their children to choose what gender they would like to be.
With this disorder, the DSM-5 approach it differently than what would be expected. It is said that, “the DSM-5 avoids stigma and ensure clinical care for the individuals who see and feel themselves to be a different gender than their assigned gender.
Also mentioning, that Gender Identity Disorder should not be classified as a “mental disorder” but as a clinical condition. As a therapist experiencing the clinical testing of a Gender Dysphoria patient, is important. They must meet the guidelines for diagnosis of the disorder. To diagnose a child with the disorder, the therapist must conform that the child is showing signs of cross-gender interests. Including the feeling of unhappiness with the sex they were born as and expresses that they want to be the opposite gender. According to the DSM-5, in boys they may enjoy doing more of, “dressing in girls’ or women’s clothing, drawing pictures of beautiful girls and princesses, assuming a mother role when playing house, avoiding a rough-and-tumble play and competitive spot, and lastly, showing little interest in cars and trucks.” (Rottnek, M. (1999). Sissies and tomboys: gender nonconformity and homosexual childhood. NYU Press.) In girls they may enjoy, “wearing boy’s clothing and want to have short hair, have intense negative reactions to parental expectations to have them wear dresses or other feminine attire, play the role of powerful male figures, such as batman or superman, and lastly, a lack of interest in dolls or any form of feminine dress up or role-play activity.” (Rottnek, M. (1999).
Sissies and tomboys: gender nonconformity and homosexual childhood. NYU Press.) As therapist treating a child with GID, keeping in mind that they are still under their parents guardianship. This plays a huge role in how a therapist can treat a child with GID. If the parent does not agree with the child’s behavior of wanting to be another sex, the child has no say, or control, whether they go get treated for GID or not. This is the main difference between children and adults experiencing Gender Identity disorder. Adults would have the opportunity to make their decision of wanting treatment or not, on their own. It is said, that even after children who do receive treatment, as adults, will remain either lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Only a few children will go as far as receiving the surgery for turning the other gender. Many therapist have studied Gender Identity Disorder and how to help their patients with the disorder. Many therapist see Kenneth Rucker as one of the few who took charge for caring about GID. Rucker began his treatment amongst children in the mid-1970’s and has treated over five-hundred adolescents with the disorder. He also then collaborated with Susan Bradley. Also, seen as a strong advocate for Children who have Gender Identity Disorder. Of many important therapist who has studied and clinically helped children with GID, Kenneth Rucker was one who strictly disagreed with children having behavioral issues of wanting to be another sex than what they were naturally born with.
Many articles portray Rucker, as irrigant and strictly lead by his values. Most children he treated were forcibly sent to “The Clarke Institute”. He is also widely known in within his treatment of “enforcement of traditional masculinity on boy children as means of “curing GID”.” Therapist and specialist compare Rucker’s work to repetitive therapy. Repetitive therapy is used to stimulate the brain into changing it’s way of viewing itself by constantly repeating behaviors over and over. For example, someone who told a lie might actually begin to believe it after repeating it to other people after so many times; a form of repetition. A case study was done by Dr. Martin T. Stein and Dr. Kenneth J. Zucker, with a boy named Sammy at the age of 6. Sammy had a check up with his pediatrician and for the most part Sammy’s life seemed normal. Along with his medical history everything was on the normal spectrum. He was beginning to make friends at school and his Kindergarten teacher was seeing his advanced learning skills. Recently Sammy’s parents separated and he went to live with his mother and two siblings.
The farther stayed in their “family home” and Sammy has not seen his father since around six months ago. Once they moved, Sammy’s mother found a new friend (male figure). Sammy’s mother stated all of her children enjoyed his company but Sammy seemed less interested in him than her other kids. The pediatrician proceeded to ask about the marriage before separation, and the mother said there were plenty verbal arguments but denied any abuse allegation within the kids and herself. The pediatrician then asked Sammy to draw a picture of their family doing something together and sought this as an opportunity to speak with his mother alone. Their conversation was with concerns of Sammy doing things in a more feminine way. The pediatrician asked her to describe what she meant be feminine tendencies. She said that Sammy would, play dress-up in her clothing and he would rather hang out with his sister’s friends (girls) than with guys. Sammy was even seen putting on his mother’s makeup and accessories. His mother proceeded to mention that Sammy was showing signs of girly mannerisms and nonverbal body movements.
Dr. Kenneth J. Zucker focuses on how Sammy was acting like this because of the hardships of experiencing the side effects of the separation between his parents at such as young age. Dr. Zucker believes, since Sammy is so young, he could be potentially “normalized”. Research has found that young boys who have Gender Identity Disorder tend to have social ostracism. Social ostracism could be the root of why young males experience emotional and behavioral issues about their sexuality. According to Gender Identity Issues: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Primary Care (DSM-PC) Child Adolescent Version; As a therapist, Sammy meets the criteria of diagnosis within Gender Identity Disorder, because he played the part of taking his mother’s clothes and playing “dress-up”, enjoyed playing with the opposite sex which, entails he enjoyed playing with feminine activities. This means Sammy may want to be a member of the opposite sex.
In conclusion, as therapist, studying Gender Identity Disorder amongst children can be discovered through behavioral and lifestyle options of a child. They’re are currently no ethical treatments to “cure” Gender Dysphoria, but there are therapeutic options to talk about the problems and dehumanizing situations they may face as they get older. Dr. Kenneth Zucker was known for wanting to fix children with GID by sending them to clinics to ensure their duties as the sex they are. As unethical as that may sound, many children with the disorder went to many clinics because parents/guardians and therapist did not know who to ethically fix their disorder without using repetitive therapy. Even now, a controversial topic in today’s society, babies in New York are getting the opportunity to choose their gender if at birth, their parents choose “gender x”.
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