As experts consider a review of UK guidelines for treating transgender children, this film follows a number of children in the US who told their parents they were born in the wrong body.
In America, children under 16 can be prescribed hormone 'blockers' to prevent the onset of puberty, with a view to then follow with hormone treatment to become their new gender. This film follows the American experience.
Eight-year-old Josie was born a boy but has been living as a girl for two years since revealing the full extent of his feelings about his identity to his mother.
Kyla is also eight. She was born a boy but loves anything pink and sparkly, has grown his hair, and is preparing to return for school after summer dressed as a girl for the first time. She says: 'If I had to wear boys' clothes and be a boy for the rest of my life, I'd probably die.'
They have both been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Sixteen-year-old Chris, who was born a girl, started testosterone treatment at 14. He now has a deep voice and plentiful body hair, and shaves regularly.
These children and their parents reveal what it is like to face life-changing questions, giving a frank insight into a subject most people never have to consider. (Channel 4)
Gender identity disorder (GID) is the formal diagnosis used by psychologists and physicians to describe persons who experience significant genderdysphoria (discontent with their biological sex and/or the gender they were assigned at birth). It describes the symptoms related to transsexualism, as well as less severe manifestations of gender dysphoria. GID is classified as a medical disorder by the ICD-10 CM and by the DSM-IV TR. It is likely that the new version of the DSM will replace this category with "Gender Dysphoria."Some authorities do not classify gender dysphoria as a mental illness, including the NHS which describes it as "a condition for which medical treatment is appropriate in some cases."
Gender identity disorder in children is considered clinically distinct from GID that appears in adolescence or adulthood, which has been reported by some as intensifying over time. As gender identity develops in children, so do sex-role stereotypes. Sex-role stereotypes are the beliefs, characteristics and behaviors of individual cultures that are deemed normal and appropriate for boys and girls to possess. These "norms" are influenced by family and friends, the mass-media, community and other socializing agents. Since many cultures strongly disapprove of cross-gender behavior, it often results in significant problems for affected persons and those in close relationships with them. In many cases, transgender individuals report discomfort stemming from the feeling that their bodies are "wrong" or meant to be different.
Many transgender people and researchers support the declassification of GID as a mental disorder for several reasons. Recent medical research on the brain structures of transgender individuals have shown that some transgender individuals have the physical brain structures that resemble their desired sex even before hormone treatment. In addition, recent studies are indicating more possible causes for gender dysphoria, stemming from genetic reasons and prenatal exposure to hormones, as well as other psychological and behavioral reasons.
One contemporary treatment for GID consists primarily of physical modifications to bring the body into harmony with one's perception of mental (psychological, emotional) gender identity, rather than vice versa.