The Department of Education in New South Wales has vowed to support a 4-year-old's decision to undergo a sex change operation. The child is expected to finish the gender reassignment surgery prior to starting kindergarten next year and will travel to Australia to complete the procedure.
Although the child has the full support of the Department of Education, many are concerned that the child is not mature enough to make the decision at such a young age. Psychologists warn that the child is still in the crucial stages of development and that forcing a change in gender may cause unknown harm, both physically and mentally, according to Metro. Transgender advocates have also voiced concern that the child is far too young to make such a life-changing decision.
Catherine McGregor, one such advocate, wonders why the young child is receiving official policy support from the Department of Education. She feels that the child usually knows best in this type of situation but also warns of caution since the procedure is irreversible.
"I would have thought four is pretty young for any official policy support."
— Eyan Nigerian (@Nigeria4U) September 1, 2016
The New South Wales Department of Education is an advocate for the sex change, claiming that the safe schools initiative aims to help transgender children feel safe and comfortable in the school systems, according to the Daily Mail. Greg Prior, the secretary of school operations, claims that there are a small handful of children that are in the midst of transitioning. However, he states that the 4-year-old is the youngest of the bunch.
Due to privacy issues, the birth sex of the child has not been revealed.
A gender dysphoria unit in the Westmead Children's Hospital in Syndey, Australia, is taking on the case and will assist the child during the transition. They have claimed that the number of children who have been referred to their gender service department has tripled recently. Nearly 250 children have appointments at this time, the youngest being 3. Only 10 years ago, there was only one child on their books.
Child Psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg states that the child typically understands his or her own feelings better than the adults that surround him or her and claims that the child knows the difference between dressing as the opposite sex or actually feeling like he or she is the opposite sex.
"There is a huge difference between dress-ups and a child believing with every fibre of their being they are in the wrong body."
4 Year Old Is In The Process Of Undergoing Sex Change And Psychologists Are Concerned https://t.co/Y0S3JJYShi pic.twitter.com/G5vWTcnFZZ
— 'Lanrewaju Oresegun (@Lanrewaju2014) September 2, 2016
Many have responded to the child's decision to undergo a sex change by claiming 4-year-olds are simply too young to make such a decision. Many are comfortable with the child dressing in opposite gender labeled clothing yet feel such a drastic decision should wait until the child is much older or until he or she has a better understanding of how the procedure works and the implications of undergoing the surgery, such as the inability to have children.
An unnamed individual from the United Kingdom believes the minimum age to make such a decision should be 16, allowing time to understand the consequences of transitioning to the opposite sex.
"Kids that are far too young to have thought through the consequences are being allowed to make life changing decisions. Personally I would suggest a minimum age of sixteen."
Bethany Powell, a transgender individual, is not in agreement that the child should undergo the sex change operation, claiming that gender is not clear to such a young child. She wonders if the child may even grow out of the phase. As a transgender herself, she is an advocate for gender reassignment surgery. However, a 4-year-old is too young to be fully aware of his or her body, she states.
"At four years old gender isn't very clear for them and may even be something they will grow out of, getting Gender Reassignment Surgery at such a young age may not be the best idea-especially if it turns out they now feel more comfortable as their birth gender."
What are your thoughts? Is 4-years-old too young?[Image via Shutterstock]