Too young to know your gender?
The story of 11-year-old Tammy who was born a boy and is now living as a girl sheds some light on the issue of childhood transgender issues
September 27th, 2011
12:36 PM ET

Too young to know your gender?

Comments of the morning:

“I applaud these parents for loving their child for who she is and allowing her to find herself rather than forcing her to suppress all of her feelings and be ‘normal.’" - WowMe

“If God wanted him to be her, God would of created you as such. Going against Gods word is dangerous!” - The9thSeal

Little boy lives as little girl

Hindered by a speech impediment, it wasn’t until age 3 that Thomas Lobel, by learning sign language, could communicate with his parents and the first thing he told them was that he was a girl. Eight years later, Thomas now goes by Tammy and lives as a girl, a process that has been difficult for her parents; the balance of supporting their child and taking criticism from family and friends can be painful and confusing.

So what do CNN.com readers think about their decision to support Tammy’s wishes to live as a girl? Some said they fully support it, while others said that, among other things, Tammy is too young to fully understand gender.

bojimbo261 said, “Children know more than adults do.”

flipnap2112 said, “I am a 42-year-old man. Some of the ways I acted and dressed would have had these adults convincing me I’m transgender. But back then my parents just laughed, didn’t assign a thing to my behavior and I grew up as normal as one can. I’m as heterosexual as one can get. Why are you doing MRIs and brain scans. They’re kids!”

khadija60 said, “People don't realize that forcing boys into the Rambo mode and girls into the Barbi mode is extremely destructive. I know men who cook and sew and women who can change an engine. It doesn't mean they are gay or lesbian. People should just lighten up.”

Mijan said, “And some gay men are extremely masculine, rough, and tough. Some lesbians are extremely feminine and delicate. Some people are androgynous. One of my straight guy friends loves to bake, knit, sew, and wear kilts... but he's absolutely straight. And (as I was in the Army) I know a lot of straight women who are extremely rugged and tough. Let people be who they are! Boys will be boys, except when boys will be girls, and that shouldn't be a problem, because that's just how people are.”

MeNMine said, “I think that most of the problem comes simply in perception. Tammy likes to wear dresses and do other things that girls want to do. But no amount of artificial hormones or surgeries is going to make him a girl. He is a boy, who just happens to enjoy and associate more with stereotypical ‘girl’ responses. I think the problem is that Tammy and those around him feel like they need to change who he is (by taking hormones and possible future surgeries making his body feel more feminine) so that he can fit in.”

VinoBianco said, “Transgender people are a real thing. It doesn't mean they were abused or are ‘sick’ – the science on this is still being discovered but you can have the mind of one gender and the body of another. Why can't we just accept that? These kids have to go through too much confusion to have to deal with the ignorant judgments of society.”

And readers debated the parents, a lesbian couple’s influence:

lamponhill said, “Funny that this boy who thinks he is a girl has two moms! Has anyone thought that he identifies with women because he doesn't have a male to identify with? Sad that he doesn't have a father.”

gimmetheax responded, “Funny that some commenters haven't noticed that he has two brothers who are very ‘masculine’ and who, coincidentally, ALSO have two moms....”

NCCallie said, “I'd like to applaud Pauline and Debra. You have obviously struggled to make very difficult choices and have focused on what is best for Tammy. I think it is encouraging to see that two people can love a child so much that they put her needs first-ahead of society's perceptions and bigotry. Tammy is lucky to have you as her parents.”

bamagrad03 said, “So they let this kid call the shots when it was 3 years old...that's great parenting right there.”

kakash responded, “When it comes to something as traumatic as gender identity disorder then you're damn right the kid has to be involved if not in charge of the decision. This isn't about doing homework or bedtimes. It's about the child's mental health. It isn't a parenting issue.”

EricaWIP33 said, “I was born a boy...I transitioned into a woman only recently, but I have known since I was four years old that I was a girl. The only reason I didn't do it before was because of a world that was so cold and uncaring, and social stigma that went along with it. That, and at age 10 my father told me to either get happy being a boy, or get busy finding a new place to live. If only my parents were as accepting as Tammy's are, then maybe I would have enjoyed my childhood more.”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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