Four-Year-Old Boy Diagnosed With Gender Identity Disorder And Raised A Girl

We have previously discussed the growing number of stories of young children raised in the opposite gender (here) or without a gender (here and here). The children raised in the opposite gender are often found to have Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Now, a four-year old boy named Zach has been diagnosed with GID and he is being raised as a girl. He began to evidence GID, according to his doctors and parents, when he was three.


His parents insisted that this is what Zach wants and that he insisted on wearing pink dresses and ribbons in his long, blonde hair. In response, his school in Essex changed the kids’ bathrooms to gender-neutral toilets.

I am hesitant to criticize mental health professionals who know a lot more about this case and this condition than do I. However, as a parent of four, I find such a determination at three or four years old to be unsettling. Zach is one of the youngest children in Britain ever to be diagnosed with GID and I am surprised that such a diagnosis can be justified at such an early age. Worse still, his mother Theresa Avery, 32, said Zach played like a ‘normal’ little boy with boy toys etc until as late as 2010 when he began to want to do girl things.

I would be worried that allowing such an extreme change could artificially reinforce what is a passing preference. I have three boys who would occasionally play dress up with girls. While this was pretty limited, it would not have concerned us if it was a regular pattern. However, even if this was a persistent trend, I would not have wanted to alter so much of their lives around the opposite gender. At four, a child is forming critical views and patterns. Parents help in forming those patterns. This is not to question that some people have GID. However, I am very worried about the interventions of this kind at such a young age, including the stories linked above in the use of hormones on children to change their gender orientation.

What do you think?

Source: Telegraph

15 thoughts on “Four-Year-Old Boy Diagnosed With Gender Identity Disorder And Raised A Girl”

  1. We aren’t talking about children who like to play with toys that are stereotypically associated with the gender opposite that which they were assigned at birth. That is only one component of the criteria, and is only considered because it may support the primary criteria for diagnosis. I absolutely agree with the assertion that we should all be able to express our gender in any way we choose – that is not what Gender Dysphoria is about. When a boy persistently states (for at least a year or more) that he is a girl and refuses to accept that he is a boy, something more is going on. When a little girl continues to insist she is a boy, makes statements about having or “growing” a penis, says that, when she grows up and has little kids, she will be “the daddy” – there is something more going on than wanting to play with GI Joe. In addition, very young children are usually identified as gender non-conforming, rather than transgender. A significant amount of time will likely pass before a mental health professional will clinically determine an adolescent to be transgender. In addition, pre-pubescent children do not receive hormone treatments. The largely accepted intervention is a combination of therapy and puberty blocking meds that cause absolutely no harm and have no irreversible effects. Hormone treatments are only considered for older adolescents and young adults.

  2. This is evil. This is 2012… we shouldnt be giving kids an either/or choice. Kids should be individuals. Gender reassignment surgery and hormones are a lifetime of artificial supplements and if you’ve ever read the book Stone Butch Blues, you’d see that even lifelong gender variant people come to regret surgery and hormones. As a woman often mistaken for a man (though contentedly female) I don’t know why we must be boxed into one or the other. Personality wise, women and men arent all that different and genital wise, who cares whats in your pants?

  3. Four?! …. I mean … seriously, FOUR?!

    On a more serious note, what exactly does it mean to raise a child “as a girl” or “as a boy”? Why is gender imposition necessary at all?

  4. Agree with those who say that 4 is way to early for this clinical diagnosis. Some really specific and strong diagnostic information is needed to see where this is coming from, and it not just being the fixation of the parents, or some professional hobby horse, or some combination.

  5. my 6 year old has wanted to be a princess since she was 3. i indulge her, and call her princess from time to time 🙂 i’m not sure why the parents have to raise the child as anything specific right now. As a parent, my goals are to instill morals, values, and good citizenship into my kids, and not the desire to wear something specific, play in a certain way, or like certain things. and I am a mental health professional!

  6. It does seem a very early for a diagosis of such importance. Should this kind of decision be deferred to later in grade school or even high school?

  7. Science is great, but it can be used as a racket……no matter, it’s a buck, they say.
    And certification isn’t a guarantee either, nor Doctor Spock.

    Dr. Turley’s caution seems a good guide to the bewildered parent.
    Just as judging intelligence early is “premature”, so should other judgements be held in abeyance.

    (GID I presume is not the same as chromosomal defects, XXY, etc.)????

  8. If wanting to do ‘girl things” at age 4 is the sign and symptom then a little girl who decides she wants to play with GI Joe is also prone to getting dx’ed with this label.
    I have no problem with transgendered, i do have a problem with making the dx based on, as this seems to be, behaviors that are potentially age appropriate, and maybe seeing the girls having more fun doing whatever the ‘things’ were.. A young girl, pre teen say who is a tomboy could be good pickin’s for GID for parents who have their own agenda. I fear this may be the case here and docs jumping on the bandwagon way too soon. Did these parents want a girl? And giving hormones at this age? Who knows what that could do to this child’s future health?

  9. I believe that GID is a real issue. However, knowing the trickiness of any psychological diagnosis as I do, I question determining it at such an early age.
    Even the assignment of gender preference via toys seems to me to be not a valid signpost. My girls used their Barbies as experiments in hair styling and in fashion design. There are straight hair stylists and fashion designers, wouldn’t you think they played with Barbies at an early age? Then too there are the many straight transvestites, who we could assume liked to dress in different gender clothes in their youth. Finally, GID is different from homosexuality/lesbianism and how does one make such a determination at such an early age where articulation of emotions is so limited.

    Beware of psychiatric/psychological diagnoses as totally accurate guides for dealing with the broad range of human possibility. The state of the art is not as involved as professionals would have you think and the injection of personal prejudices is something not unlearned via professional training.

  10. The DSM is kindof useless here. the current diagnostic nosology is years out of date. The research on this topic is sparse, scattered and sometimes done by people with obvious axes to grind. Prediction of sexual identity at adulthood from sexual behavior in early childhood is difficult to do in a controlled manner and I wouldn’t be surprised if if many, perhaps most, but not all kids at this age likely demonstrate the same identity as adults.

  11. Does the DSM offer any sort of guidance as to how young someone may be for a definitive GID diagnosis? One thing that the existence of GID proves is that gender exists on a spectrum. To make a definitive decision about a full-spectrum-shift of how to acknowledge the gender of a child seems like a very high-stakes gamble to be playing with a child’s social and psychological wellbeing. To start diagnosing and treating children for GID at such a young age might be to ignore the idea that “nurture” can play any role in the gender socialization of a child.

  12. There is a dog in our dog pack who is probably a male but he passes himself off as a female. A few male dogs have tried some things with her (who will remain un named) and came out with nothing but soil. We call her Jocko but that is not his/her real name. If we kick her out of the pack he/she will get beaten up by the coyotes. He/she wears no tag and answers to Easyaccess. So watch out.

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