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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 01, 2014

Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Lobel’

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The lesbian parents of an 11-year-old boy who is undergoing the process of becoming

a girl last night defended the decision, claiming it was better for a child to have a

sex change when young. Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing

controversial hormone blocking treatment in Berkeley, California to stop him going

through puberty as a boy.  But Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel warn that children

with gender identity disorder forced to postpone transitioning could face a higher

risk of suicide. The mothers say that one of the first things Thomas told them when

he learned sign language aged three – because of a speech impediment – was, ‘I am a

girl’.  At age seven, after threatening genital mutilation on himself, psychiatrists

diagnosed Thomas with gender identity disorder. By the age of eight, he began tran-

sitioning. This summer, he started taking hormone-blocking drugs, which will stop

him from experiencing puberty. The hormone-suppressant, implanted in his upper

left arm, will postpone the 11-year-old developing broad shoulders, deep voice and

facial hair.  The couple faced intense criticism from friends and family as a result,

Ms Moreno said. ‘Everybody was angry with us. “How could you be doing this? You

might be ruining his whole life!”  Citing a statistic from the Youth Suicide Prevent-

ion Program, Ms Moreno noted over 50 per cent of transgender youth will have had

at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday. It was odd to us,’ she said. ‘Even

though she has lesbians as parents, this is all new to us in every possible way. We

know what it’s like to feel different – we’ve got that one. But to feel like you’re not in

the right body was just something we could not put our heads around.’  Fortunately,

the family has a vast support system. The couple credits Tammy’s teachers and offi-

cials at Children’s Learning Center in Alameda, California, and their religious com-

munity, for being open-minded about their son’s decision. ‘We live in the Bay area

where lots of alternative lifestyles are in place… and we belong to a religious comm-

unity that was incredibly supportive. They make it a point when we’re in synagogue

to come over and tell Tammy, “Oh, you look so pretty today,’ Ms Moreno said, adding,

‘There’s never going to be enough gratitude for them.’  His parents say the hormone

treatment will give him time to figure out if he wants to fully transition to being fe-

male or go through puberty as a boy.

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