Before reaching puberty, this 11-year-old California boy began taking hormone blockers to "buy her some time to mature". Yes, her. Right now, Thomas Lobel, or Tammy, believes he is a girl.
Her parents say they have known since she was three years old. CNN has more:
The 3-year-old had learned sign language because he had apraxia, a speech impediment that hindered his ability to talk. The toddler pointed to himself and signed, "I am a girl."
"Oh look, he's confused," his parents said. Maybe he mixed up the signs for boy and girl. So they signed back. "No, no. Thomas is a boy."
But the toddler shook his head. "I am a girl," he signed back emphatically.
Her parents, Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel, looked into hormone blockers when after at age 7 Tammy threatened to gender mutilate herself. When she's "ready" she will decide if she wants to become a girl, in which case she'll take female hormones. If she wants to become a man, she will just stop taking the blockers.
Watch CNN's video report on children with gender identity disorder:
CNN continues with Dr. Kenneth Zucker of the Gender Identity Service in the Child, Youth, and Family Program and professor at the University of Toronto saying hormone blockers before 13 years is too early:
Zucker conducted a study following 109 boys who had gender identity disorder between the ages of 3 and 12. Researchers followed up at the mean age of 20 and found 12 percent of these boys continued to want to change genders.
"The vast majority of children lose their desire to be of the other gender later," he said. "So what that means is that one should be very cautious in assuming say that a 6-year-old who has strong desire to be of the other gender will feel that way 10 years later."
In terms of side effects from hormone blockers, Time reported several years ago that evidence showed the blockers caused infertility and could affect brain development. In a Q&A with Dr. Norman Spack a year after he helped open the first clinic in the U.S. to treat children in Boston, The Boston Globe reported him as saying that stopping puberty and then taking cross-hormones for a few years, will most likely cause irreversible infertility, which is a "heavy-duty conversation" when you're talking to a 12-year-old. Buck Spack said to Time that they undergo serious evaluation before beginning treatment:
Kids undergo a battery of interview-based psychological tests to see if they meet the medically established criteria for gender-identity disorder. The clothing they wear, the way they style their hair and the type of toys they play with are assessed. Family members, teachers and primary-care doctors are consulted. After weighing all the evidence, an interdisciplinary team of doctors and psychologists determines the severity of the gender variation and whether to recommend the child for hormone blockers. But the final decision rests with the parents.
According to CNN, there are four gender clinics in the U.S. offer hormone therapy for children, located in Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco, but notes there are currently no statistics about how many children are taking gender medication.
[H/T Daily Mail]