I haven’t written for quite a while now – after returning back home I’ve just been trying to get back on my feet and back into the swing of life in South Africa. The news has also been over shadowed by Irma and the all devastation left in her wake, with an astounding 24 hour coverage giving a blow by blow, raindrop by raindrop, description by CNN. It was after getting a bit tired of seeing the same reporters standing in howling winds and drenching rains telling the world how dangerous it was to be out there, when I flipped to Sky News and caught the end of an interview with a pro-transgender mother and a mother against. Both had valid points but on listening further, I realised they were talking about 5 year olds.
It was out running this morning (which always helps clear the head), that my mind turned back to the heated debate and got me thinking. When a child is 5, they are still that – just a child. The issue was that the pro mother expected the rest of the school to be counselled in how to handle the fact that her son – a 5 year old little boy – was transgender and wanted to be treated like his female counterparts. How does a 5 year old even understand the depth of this, as they are at this age, still learning how to write their own name.
When I think back to when I was 5, I am unbelievably grateful that I did not have a mother who even knew such a term “transgender” existed, as other wise I think I would have been enveloped under this turn of phrase. I did not enjoy wearing dresses, I was the epitome of a tom boy, I climbed trees, I clambered up roofs, explored building sites and even as I got older into my 10’s, I preferred to play in the dirt with the neighbors sons with their dinky cars and build car ramps, ride bicycles. I didn’t want dolls, and when I was allowed, I bought a Scalextrix set rather than a make up set. But I was still a girl. In retrospect I envied the boys and their rough and tumble ease with the world. But I was still a girl. I fear that if I had been born in 2010 and not 1960, I would have been considered transgender. When I turned 13 – all that changed, the hormones kicked in and wow am I glad I am a female.
What does anyone know at the age of 5 – a 5 year old is still being guided by their parents and any parent demanding that their 5 year get treated as a transgender and need to be accommodated in school to pander to this, needs to take a long hard serious look at themselves. And by expecting the rest of the school to be counselled into treating one child differently would just cause so much confusion and also make the child a target for even more ridicule. The world is a already a cruel and hard enough place to grow up.
I have nothing against transgender adults, that is their choice in life, a choice that they can make when they have the necessary understanding of all that comes with this decision, but for a mother to argue that their 5 year old is transgender is mind boggling. Let your children be children, if a young girl wants to play with cars or a young boy wants to play with dolls, that is a normal process of growing up, but as a 5 year old you are making that decision for them!!!!!! More than likely opening up a whole can of worms – but so be it.