News “He really struggles with the color pink. He’s like an addict.”
posted by May 7 at 18:00 PMon
You must go listen to (or read) this absolutely heartbreaking piece by Alix Spiegel at NPR. It’s about two little boys who identify as girls—two transgendered children. One child’s family, under the care of a psychologist in Oakland, California, is allowing their child to live as a girl. The other child’s family, under the “care” of a psychologist in Toronto, is torturing their child to death—there’s really no other word for it.
By the time Bradley started therapy he was almost 6 years old, and Carol had a house full of Barbie dolls and Polly Pockets. She now had to remove them [at the urging of Bradley’s doctor]. To cushion the blow, she didn’t take the toys away all at once; she told Bradley that he could choose one or two toys a day.
“In the beginning, he didn’t really care, because he’d picked stuff he didn’t play with,” Carol says. “But then it really got down to the last few.”
As his pile of toys dwindled, Carol realized Bradley was hoarding. She would find female action figures stashed between couch pillows. Rainbow unicorns were hidden in the back of Bradley’s closet. Bradley seemed at a loss, she said. They gave him male toys, but he chose not to play at all.
This little boy—no shit—has become sullen and withdrawn and doesn’t trust his parents.
Carol says [the therapy] was particularly hard at the beginning. “He was much more emotional. … He could be very clingy. He didn’t want to go to school anymore,” she says. “Just the smallest thing could, you know, send him into a major crying fit. And … he seemed to feel really heavy and really emotional.”
Bradley has been in therapy now for eight months, and Carol says still, on the rare occasions when she cannot avoid having him exposed to girl toys, like when they visit family, it doesn’t go well.
“It’s really hard for him. He’ll disappear and close a door, and we’ll find him playing with dolls and Polly Pockets and … the stuff that he’s drawn to,” she says.
In particular, there is one typically girl thing — now banned — that her son absolutely cannot resist.
“He really struggles with the color pink. He really struggles with the color pink.”
The other little boy is happier.
Ehrensaft did eventually encourage Joel and Pam to allow Jonah to live as a little girl. By the time he was 5, Jonah had made it very clear to his parents that he wanted to wear girl clothes full time — that he wanted to be known as a girl. He wanted them to call him their daughter. And though Ehrensaft does not always encourage children who express gender flexibility to “transition” to living as a member of the opposite sex, in the case of Jonah, she thought it was appropriate.
Last year, when he started kindergarten, Jonah went as a girl. He wore dresses, was addressed as “she” by his classmates and teacher. He even changed his name, from Jonah to Jona, without the “h.” It was a complete transformation.
Joel and Pam were initially anxious, but Joel says their worry soon faded.
“They have these little conferences, and, you know, we were asking, like, ‘How’s Jonah doing? Does [he] have problems with other kids?’ and the teacher was like, ‘God, I gotta tell you, you know, Jonah is one of the most popular kids. Kids love [him], they want to play with [him], [he’s] fun, and it’s because [he’s] so comfortable with [himself] that [he] makes other people comfortable,” Joel recalls.
It was shortly after that that Joel and Pam started referring to their son Jonah as “she.”
The piece is utterly, absolutely heartbreaking. And it’s here. Go listen to it.