A boy wearing a dress is starved for attention.
Richard Bruce

Hi Richard,

I was a similar boy, and suffered greatly. I have been thinking a lot about this from every possible angle for 60 years. What you say is true, but more can be added to avoid oversimplification and missing the action needed.

I can agree I was starved for attention- that is a way of saying it. I needed someone to pay attention to how I really felt, so I could have a simple existential confirmation of who I was. Something as simple as saying ‘Boys don’t cry’ , while satisfyingly effective in drying up tears and rendering an emotionally vulnerable child as a presentable ‘little man’, creates a split personality, blocking out awareness of feelings, with a long tail of toxic effect.

We men are used to that, aren’t we? We see it as a necessary cost of being a man. The pain we inflict on others is a necessary cost as well! But it isn’t.

Upbringing in my day was more or less denying and punishing out of existence any element of feeling or behavior that was contrary to what ‘society’ demanded of a boy or girl. It was remarkably crude and cruel, and undoubtedly had its roots in times when survival was more dependent on extreme methods of pruning away anything that didn’t contribute directly to food on the table and defending possessions.

On your second point- a boy or girl may already be more like what we think of as a typical member of the ‘opposite’ sex. We aren’t opposites. Males and females share most characteristics quite deeply. The differences are relatively small, and vary in their intensity.

Tomboys are a familiar example of girls who feel and act like boys. They offer a refreshing perspective and a window into the reality of all females. Why are we trying to change that?

I am a mirl, the male counterpart of a tomboy. There are obvious benefits to society of a male who has the sensitivities associated with females. Letting me live, and express who I am and fully participate far outweigh any presumed advantages of having me pretend to be less than I am.

Boys and girls can now change sex, to a large degree, thanks to current medical advances. It is a radical step, and could be criticized as artificial, but it feels necessary and a blessing for those for whom identification with their body is not harmonious.

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