Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel say their son Tommy wants to be a girl, so they've started giving him Hormone Blocking Therapy. The boy began taking GnRH hormone inhibitors this summer and will continue to do so until he is 14 or 15 years old, when he can determine which gender he wants to be, FoxNews.com reports.
Those who support the couple's decision say the therapy itself has only minor side effects, but Jeanne Brooks, a psychologist and professor at Liberty University who specialises in child development, told the Christian Post via email that she questions the validity of their claim.
Brooks said testosterone plays a key role in the development of bones and muscles, and blocking the hormone could hinder normal physical development. There is also evidence suggesting testosterone impacts neural development as well, and plays a part in guarding against Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment and depression.
CNN reported on Tommy's gender crisis in late September. Moreno and Lobel told reporters Tommy learned sign language as a toddler because of a speech impediment that prevented him from speaking.
When he was only 3 years old, he signed to his parents, “I am a girl.” The couple responded by signing, “No, no. Thomas is a boy,” but Tommy disagreed. Now Tommy goes by the name of Tammy, wears dresses to school, and lives his life as if he were a little girl.
Joel Baum, director of education and training for Gender Spectrum, a nonprofit group based in California, told FoxNews.com the treatment Tommy is undergoing can help transgender children deal with their sexual identity issues.
"This is definitely a changing landscape for transgender youth," Baum said. "This is about giving kids and their families the opportunity to make the right decision."
But Brooks pointed out that adolescents are generally not considered mature enough to take on responsibilities like driving, getting married or drinking alcohol, so Tommy cannot be expected to make such a major decision at such a young age.
“Tommy deserves to learn the truth, he deserves a chance to being exposed to the truth, he deserves someone standing up and saying, 'No, this is not your decision Tommy, God already decided and loves you just how you are,'” Brooks said.
Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies with the Family Research Council, thinks the use of hormone treatments on Tommy “should be considered a form of child abuse”.
He also questioned the influence of Tommy's parents in the boy's desire to be a girl.
"It's certainly reasonable to ask whether having two mothers and no father in the household has influenced his preference for being female," Sprigg told CP on Monday.
Sprigg, too, believes the boy will be too young to make a responsible decision about his gender at age 14 or 15. He also criticised the LGBT movement for what he perceives to be hypocrisy in their reasoning.
“The huge irony of the LGBT movement is that they would claim that a person's sexual orientation, their choice of sexual partners, is something that is inborn and immutable that can never be changed, and yet a person's biological sex, which is evident in their anatomy at birth ... is something that can be changed at will. It just flips logic and common sense ... completely on its head,” he said.
Jeff Johnston, a social policy analyst for CitizenLink, a Focus on the Family affiliate, says transgender activists have worked hard to convince the world that gender is a social construct, and that a person can transition between being male and female, but that isn't the case.
“This ideology completely contradicts what the Bible says – that God made humans male and female in His image,” Johnston told CP in an email on Tuesday. “Men and women are different – they’re not interchangeable, and you can’t change from one into the other.”
He also said he knows individuals who once thought of themselves as transgendered but have “found truth and wholeness in Jesus Christ”. Sometimes children who struggle with gender identity disorder just need some direction, he said.
“It’s not healthy for a little boy to hate his body and disconnect from his masculinity. It’s not good for a little boy to live in the fantasy that he’s a girl. This is a situation that calls for helping such a boy – not dresses, hormones and surgery.”