Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dr. Phil & Focus on the Family on "Feminine" Children

I don't know where to start with Dr. Phil's show today.

Viewers flooded the message board with letters and impassioned opinions after Dr. Phil’s first show on gender-confused kids. This hotly contested topic is back on the table. Should parents support a child's decision to live as the opposite sex, or is it the parent’s job to guide the child into his or her biological gender?

The first thing that makes me angry with this is the use of the exceedingly misleading term 'Gender Confusion'. For someone purporting to have a decent background in psychology, he should know that "gender confusion" is an invention of the religious right, intended to denigrate and diminish transgender people as a whole.

Special Thanks

* Dr. Joseph Nicolosi
* Glenn Stanton
Focus on the Family
* Dr. Dan Siegel
* Dr. Michelle Angello
* Dr. Jo Olson
* Dr. Eva Cwynar

Great - so far, of those players, we have two people from known anti-GLBT organizations, and only one of the rest appears to have any qualfications at all with respect to gender and sexuality - Dr. Michele Angello.

Did the idiots at "Dr. Phil" even contact WPATH to get someone who actually specializes in gender identity issues?

Granted, I'm not sure anyone from WPATH would touch a program involving Dr. Phil, much less the inclusion of NARTH and Focus on the Family.

Instead, they bring in people who think that gender identity issues are trivial and easily dismissed, or that gender roles should be strictly enforced:

The question:
I have written Focus before (over the years) about how to handle the feminine behavior that my 8 yo son exhibits. He LOVES long hair. As a toddler he would put hi s blanket on his head and declare that he was a girl for the day. We eventually took the blanket away, but there has always been something in its place. He would rather braid his sisters' doll's hair than just about anything.

The other day I (Mom) got after him for playing w/ his sister's American Girl Doll. I raised my voice and told him to put it away "now!" Then I got myself together and spoke w/ him about how this desire to fix girl's hair honors God. I asked him to pray about it and told him I would too, but I am not gleaning any fabulous wisdom, yet. Until today, when I'm convinced, God lead me to this site, just at this time so I could post this question.

The response from FOTF's Stanton:
Thank you so much for your note. It is important to understand the age, and you say this boy is 8. That is a pretty advanced age for this kind of behavior, but do not fear. It is VERY important that MOM be the one that does the "scolding" of more feminine boys and dad do the "redirecting" play...good cop/bad cop kind of thing. Dad MUST be the good cop for boys, to help welcome them into this curious world of men.

It sounds like you are doing that, which is good. It will be important to talk to the boy about his desires and have him explore what is behind them...redirecting him gently toward masculine understanding of that, such as "Hey, some men have long hair. Some men are hair dressers." Connect a seemingly feminine interest with masculine ideals. What this will do and help with is helping understand the world of men, by connecting it to something he can currently relate to. It is the idea of moving the chess piece of gender understanding and identity one small move at a time.

This is important. My son dealt with, around the age of 4, loving to dress up with his sisters in their dresses and stuff. We did the above and it worked great.

Oh goody - this one's ripe. Not only do we implicitly blame the parents for this, he then suggests nothing more than rigid enforcement of gender roles based on stereotypes.

I have a newsflash for this idiot - if this child is transsexual, he already is - all of the attempts at behaviour modification techniques you can try are doomed to fail. The most you will accomplish is alienating and shaming the child into hiding how they feel.

If they aren't transsexual, then chances are that as the child goes through puberty, things will settle down into something quite normal. Frankly, the parents making the kind of worried fuss that they are is the problem, not the child's behaviour.

Blaming the parents is just downright offensive. Parents can influence a child's behaviour, but there are some things that simply cannot be influenced. Besides, just what is wrong with a boy that has "stereotypically feminine" interests? We nudge and wink at 'masculine girls' and call them 'tomboys', but it is some kind of tragedy when it's a boy? Please, get over it.

Dr. Phil gets a giant brickbat for giving the wingnuts a platform to spew their misleading, deceitful nonsense.

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