Letters for June 1-7, 2006

Blessings for Nicole

Let her be, let her be:I am so pleased to see that this child is not forced into submission but allowed to be who she wants to be ("See Dick Be Jane," Julia Reischel, May 18). The great thing for her is that she is so young, she's not tainted by the hardness of "adults" — at least not yet. I hope that she grows to be a very happy girl, boy, child, whatever feels right. Broward is the perfect place for her to enjoy life. I hope this will be an example to many more who have been rejected, punished, and humiliated by their parents or friends. I feel so pleased to see that Nicole can be whatever she dreams to be at age 5. Thanks to freedom in this world. A blessing to Nicole straight from my heart.

Name withheld by request

Via the Internet

"Transgender shrink isn't in the Yellow Pages":Having been born a biological male myself and transitioning at the age of 32, I support the Andersons' attempt to give Nicole a normal life as a female. What some people, including my father, do not realize is that there is no choice in the matter. I knew when I was two years old that I was born in the wrong body, and my half-sister, who understood to a certain extent, emphasized that I should never tell my parents about it when I was that young. The ensuing years brought on anguish and suicidal depression while trying to live up to the expectations of being a young boy, a young man, and finally an adult.

Had I been allowed to transition physically at that age, I'm sure my life would have been much different and a lot fewer people would have gotten emotionally hurt in the process. To this day my father, now 73 years old, refuses to accept me as a female, and we're completely estranged. My mother drank herself to death in 1998. Her last question regarding me was, "What did I do wrong?"

The Andersons deserve respect and applause for giving their child the opportunity to be free of the turmoil and emotional anguish of spending her entire life play-acting the role of male and the thoughts of confusion and even suicide that every child and teen who is transgendered goes through simply to make their parents love and accept them.

Having transitioned to female in 1988, I have found that no psychologist or psychiatrist is really qualified to advise the parents of young transsexuals other than one who is transgendered herself. There are many psychologists and psychiatrists in the nation and world who are in fact transgendered themselves; unfortunately, I'm not aware of any in Florida.

Stephanie Donald

Jupiter

It ain't about the penis:I would simply like to say that I think it is great the Nicole's parents are willing to help her find her identity. I have studied gender issues and influences, and I firmly believe that a child that young is not making a decision to change genders, she is of the other gender. After all, gender is not the sexual organs you possess, it is much more.

Name withheld by request

Via the Internet

It's the sensationalist media, stupid:I think the cover really didn't do the article justice. It was like mocking of sorts. The title didn't really help either. I wanted the article to be more about the endocrine disrupting chemicals that are creating these gender anomalies, about the difference between men and women, the hormones that create these changes. I felt that you gave more emphasis to "Nicole," whose real name and identity you could not use, yet Mark, the real person who poured his heart out was given a third of the article. I am not angry, just a bit disappointed. I feel I got the short end of the stick. But I am learning what the media is all about, its not about telling the truth, it's about sensationalizing a story.

Transsexuality has been around since the beginning of time. We were once prized possessions of the tribes; our gifts were of grand multitude. We possessed the ability to give the blessings of the Gods and spirits, and were considered great companions, lovers and teachers. We are still the same, it's our world around us that has changed. Our brains and central nervous systems have developed differently from the norm. This is due in part to a mix up in hormones and receptors allocated in the wrong order. This is a birth defect, a hormonal imbalance, where the byproduct is a mind that feels one way and a body that forms into another. As the numbers of Gender Identity anomalies will increase, we need to be educated and learn that being different is not a sin. Stop fearing us and start hearing us.

That was my message, which was not emphasized in the interview. Young transsexuals need to feel they have a future. I decided to write my book to educate their parents, teachers, the medical community, and the government. I have made it my quest to have the world look at us with different eyes, eyes of compassion and understanding.

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