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Do boys always like blue, and girls pink? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Omar, Canada Aug 19, 2008
Culture , Human Rights , Education   Opinions


Do boys always like blue, and girls pink? Boys like blue. Girls like pink. Boys like toy trucks. Girls like Barbie dolls.

These statements seem to capture what is normal and natural in most societies. Indeed, we cannot help but notice that it is natural for boys to lean towards cars, balls, and action figures. For girls, it is decorative activities and dressing up. We have never questioned why and how both genders in many cases pursue different paths in terms of their interests and activities in childhood. They just do.

For many young children, however, the above does not apply. Their bodies do not coincide with their minds. They are transgender children: females trapped in male bodies, and males trapped in female bodies.

As early as two years old, these children start showing early signs of discomfort with their physical appearance. They don’t like their bodies; they experiment with clothes of the opposite (physical) sex; they claim to be (not merely to want to be) the other gender, they play with things that children of the opposite sex normally play with. For these children, such inclinations come as naturally as they do for non-transgender children, at ages 2-3.

It is because transgender children deviate from the above-mentioned socially constructed norms that the conflicts arise. Conflicts of intolerance, hate, bullying, and alienation . . . just because of they way they were born. Many of them struggle silently, afraid to tell their parents or anyone they meet for that matter. Life becomes a daily struggle for these children to wonder who knows their secret and who doesn’t, who to tell and who not to tell, fear of how people would react: whether they will learn to accept them for who they really are, or break ties with them and alienate them.

Socially constructed expectations are all around us; we have normative models of masculinity and femininity. Transgender children, like any other children, are expected to follow these models that correspond to their physical appearance. It is indeed a most difficult time for transgender children when society forces them to be people they are simply not. The fact that it occurs during a period as innocent and fragile as childhood makes it all the more painful.

Many people question the reality of being born in the wrong body. Boys are meant to act like boys, and the same goes for girls, most people would say. But why does such questioning arise? We don’t seem to question the gender identity of non-transgender children. We don’t usually ask: why do girls like pink and wear dresses? We do not have a rational explanation that links boys with blue and girls with pink. So the questioning that arises surrounding many children whose gender identity does not match their physical sex must be some sort of “fear of the unknown”.

There is no general consensus in the scientific community as to the causes of being transgender, but the American Psychological Association says genetics, pre-natal hormones, and early life experiences may be possible influences. One scientific study (Swaab et al, 1995) suggests that there is a brain area responsible for sexual behavior, and that this area is larger in males than in females. Interestingly, this area in the brain of a female-to-male transsexual (male body but identifies with female gender) corresponded to the female brain area. This suggests that gender identity is at least partly biological.

Regardless of scientific discoveries, children need a safe and nurturing environment in which to grow. They need to be loved no matter how they are born. Being transgender is not a choice. Way too many transsexuals have been driven to suicide and depression. Life can’t be easy when transgender children battle with the discomfort of their own bodies. We don’t need to make it worse for them by forcing gender stereotypes upon them.



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Njah Pauline Agweig | Sep 29th, 2008
I strongly believe that the environment in which we grow, affects who we will be tomorow.In this light, parents should not see parenthood as a role, but as a relationship and by this, they can help their kids appreciate the bodies in which they are.

James Hurndell | Sep 29th, 2008
How do you create an environment suitable for transgendered children? Children of ages 2-3 cannot comprehend the word transgendered. Further more how does a parent differentiate between a playful child interacting with other children, and occasionally dressing up, with a transgendered child. This may be an issue for the small percentage of the population that is transgendered, but it is undeniably an issue that we will be stuck with. "Hate, bullying and alienation" can be addressed when it is the state, an institution, business or adult that is discriminating; but i will pin a medal on your chest when you distract a child a way from its finger painting and play dough to give it a lecture on egalitarian principles.

Transgender IS a choice
Keshia Evans | Sep 29th, 2008
Transgender IS a choice, true-TSism is not. It is very offensive to use transsexual and transgender in the same paragraph. Transgenderism is a choice and transsexualism is a birth defect. People are born as TSs but choose to be transgender. TSs are mainstream women born with birth defects, while TGs are mostly queer men who pretend to be women for sexual reasons. As a true-TS, and unlike the opposite group known as transgenders, I believe in gender as a black and white issue. Transgenders are a 3rd sex or think they have "transcended gender" while TSs are gender conformists. It is insulting to call true-TSs (those for whom surgery is mandatory) a type of TG. TG males who lie and pretend to be women have abused transsexuals for years. They have slandered TSs and have defamed them. Their most harmful lie is that TSs are a type of TG. No, TGs and TSs are opposites and enemies. TGs believe in gender variance, TSs believe in 2 genders only. TGs blame society for their problems, TSs take responsibility for their problem and correct their bodies so they can conform to society. TGs have queer values, TSs have mainstream, heterosexual values. So, a person should EITHER live fully as a woman or fully as a man, OR they should undergo permanent and complete sex-reassignment procedures and live fully according to the reassigned gender. Anything other than the 2 genders intended by nature is a choice.

Misleading article
Keshia Evans | Sep 29th, 2008
This article confuses the birth defect of transsexualism with the choice of living a transgender lifestyle. Unlike most forms of TGism, transsexualism is a correctable birth defect. Transsexual children (ie., those who have a birth defect where their bodies don't match their brains and where surgery is needed to destroy traces of the wrong sex they were not supposed to ever have to begin with) should be raised in the gender they believe they are. Children who are merely transgendered and not transsexuals should not be encouraged in their delusions. True-transsexuals with the birth defect of Harry Benjamin Syndrome will never have full rights until they are split from the transgender and LGBT communities and allowed to have their own. TSs are forced to be in the transgender community against their will, and they are refused a real voice in it. TSs have needs far different from TGs. TSs women want to marry as heterosexuals, but TGs are obsessed with same-sex marriage, and would gladly deprive TSs of heterosexual marriage to reach their goals. Whenever TSs speak up with their own issues, or against TG issues, the TGs silence, bully, and talk over them. TSs can only fight for their rights when TG males merely pretending to be women are not around. It is the domain of men to lead, boss, and control, and TSs cannot have control unless their are no gender variant persons with male natures around. So TGs need to leave TSs alone and let them speak for themselves.

Aren't we almost all "transgender" according to your use of the word?
Claude Almansi | Sep 29th, 2008
I have some hesitations about the way you use transgender in this article (it usually indicates a physical rather than psychological reality) but as you define it, it's OK, according to Aristoteles ;-) Still, if we take "transgender" as being interested in, attracted to, things that society deems should interest and attract people of the other sex, aren't we all "transgender" to some extent? I was born between an elder brother and a younger brother, so of course I got interested in the "male things" they were interested in. My younger brother was born between an elder sister (me) and a younger sister. So of course , he got interested in the things we were interested in too. But we weren't thinking of these things as "male" or "female", even if society might have been. In "Scatola sonora", the Italian writer/composer/painter Alberto Savinio wrote that (I'm quoting from memory) almost all male composers have a female part in their mindset - "except Leoncavallo, who was entirely male". I love that, as Leoncavallo's music bores me stiff. Yet the real point is that insisting on gender, even for the well-meaning purpose of correcting society's unfair assumptions about it (see the pro-female "gender studies" courses) is a dead end. As Christine Planté wrote in "La petite soeur de Balzac" 20 years ago: "For centuries women have been ghettoed by men. Now we are ghettoing ourselves through gender studies" (again, quoted from memory).

Mother's DNA modifying child's DNA after conception?
Claude Almansi | Sep 29th, 2008
Hi Tribal Mother Shi-a-ra Mi-So Lennon
Would you have a reference to a scientific publication for "Scientiste have discoverred,that if a mother has say 4 male children,gets pregnant again & the baby is going to be a girl,the Mother's own Genetics,actually alters the physical DNA/RNA of her baby to being another male child,& same with all female children", please?

What is wrong with bring such a Taboo subject up!
Private4Security | Sep 29th, 2008
Regrdless of many ideas & thoughts on this matter,Scientiste have discoverred,that if a mother has say 4 male children,gets pregnant again & the baby is going to be a girl,the Mother's own Genetics,actually alters the physical DNA/RNA of her baby to being another male child,& same with all female children,It is this Newly recognised Knowledge that is now causing much more understanding of the transgender child,No it is not by choice,I have my own son whom knew as young as 1 yr old that he was trapped in a boy's body,wanted to naturally do all those things a little girl would naturally do.Thanks to the support he received from his mum & Dad,& us helping his friends as he grew older for schooling,to understand and accept him just as he is.sadly this is not the case for many others.I have a big problem with people calling this a birth defect it is not,and not not all TGs only care 4 their own kind,nor blame society 4 the way they are,more 4 the way they R often mistreated,as still today when filling in many legal forms,one must clearly state only either male or female. What about a true Androgen-no Gender,is this person a birth defect,a freak of human gentics?Or what about a True Natural Born Hermophrodite and the rarer ones whom R fertile both ways,today they R seen as Genetic misfits,but not so long ago the Roman Empire thought of such born ones as "The Perfect Human Beings" in East India they R called the "Butterfly Ladies" & highly honourd,it seems certain societeis whom can only fathom straight male & female to B the Norm,dislikes this issue.Whom has the monopoly on what is "Normal" do we as mankind know really enough of ourselves as mankind,I do not think so.But when one is ostracised & deliberately ones whole life even by ones own Federal Government because "Sorry Our Federal Government refuses to honour any laws or rights to U because you are both male & female,not just a male or female"then something is very wrong & this whole issue needs bringing out into the open 4 discussion,Goodness back a few centuries earlier,these peoples only life would have been in a freak show circus so to say.come on folks we R in the 21st century,not back in the dark ages.More & more is being learned & understood by Medical Scientist now today,than ever before,Forget the past studdies,they are old findings rather outdated today.My personal opinion,but for those whom would call me a liar,take a read of todays medical Gender studies & findings from the Medical Scientific Journals.Update yourselves.Yes Bring this issue out from the dark closset,& I cannot get more female if i tried,even my own doctor tels me I am too female.So I am not speaking for myself,but on behalf of many I know within this community.The only criticism I have found is that those trying 2 B transgender deliberately despise a true Hermophrodite cause they want 2 B like one themselves.

Transcending Boundaries
Corey Keith | Sep 29th, 2008
in reply to James's comment - I think we can create a safe place for Transgendered and trans-sexual folks by being a good example. Most kids are quite actually open to the idea of more than two genders. They may not understand all the complexities that exist in a society but they can know that so-in-so is a good person who is kind, that may dress a little different. Most kids need affirming that there acceptance is ok, when the rest of society or the kids at school say other wise. In response to some of the comments regarding the difference from transsexual and transgendered - I have to disagree with you on the definition of transgendered and trans-sexual. I am a transgender person living in Canada and being transgender is not a choice. I use the term gender-fluid, because I don’t identify as either male or female. I am also a social work student that has been an LGBT rights activist. To say that is not to acknowledge someone else’s experience and their story. So to say otherwise to me, it is insulting and quite frankly discriminatory. I fought a long to time to find who I am, and came against many trans-phobia and violence in my life to be who I am. To me, is the difference between the use of the medical model and not, and ones personal identity. I don't personally agree with Harry Benjamin that Trans-sexualism as a birth defect. I believe a person is born as they are for a reason, if that means being born biologically a female and inside a male and that is kewl, and natural. not a sickness. I believe there are many genders and we all fit on these spectrums of gender and sex somewhere. When doctors pathologize someone, I see it as insulting and minimizing to the whole person. Also, it minimizes the diversity that truly lives in our society. It does not mean that we do not need the medical system to assist when those of us need to transition from one gender to the other or receive hormones, or like. Or to make sure if someone is transitioning from one gender to the other that it is the right choice for them. As you can only have a sex-reassignment surgery once. Some person’s believe it is the right choice but once the depression clears that it was not the right choice. Although, this is a small group of people, but it does happen. I also need to mention that the medical model is divisive. If you notice the idea of the comment of not having the term trans-sexual near the term transgender, that is a very prejudicial comment. I have had a trans-sexual person ask me to cover my adams apple. I am ok with my adams apple. And I am sure that there have been comments from the transgender community that is not respectful of the trans-sexual community. Neither comments are appropriate. These are comments not respecting individual stories. All trans people have their stories. When I say ‘trans,’ I am meaning all transgender and trans-sexual people. When we fight amongst ourselves we detract from our very cause getting our needs met (this includes medical needs) and getting that rights we deserve. Yes each community has their unique qualities or needs. But we also have our common need to be respected and acknowledged for who we are!! We need to be helping each other fight for each other. When this happens, we have more power and our needs will get met sooner. namaste

A solution; accept difference.
Emma Kowal | Sep 29th, 2008
I'm a girl, and my favourite colours are yellow, gray and brown... what does that make me? As a kid, I never liked barbies or toy cars -- I liked science fiction novels. I guess that makes me a nerd! I think what I'm trying to say is that instead of trying to shove everyone in the girl box or the boy box based upon their behavior and preferences, we should accept everyone for who they are and which gender they identify as socially. I think male and female should be mainly anatomical differences -- if you have male anatomy, you're a guy, if you have female, you're a girl, and if you feel like changing it, go right ahead! That's entirely your right, but furthermore, rather than insist that people with female anatomy like pink and dress up and wear make up, why not just accept that they're complex people with varying tastes and reasons they do the things they do? Sure I'm a girl, but I can like video games and sports if I want, and that should not make people question whether I'm actually a boy in a girl's body, because I think 9 times out of 10, a girl who likes things associated with guys is just that -- a girl who likes things associated with guys. Transgendered people (or transexuals, since there seems to be some disagreement over terminology,) should be neither singled out nor forced to act like the members of their physical gender. Anyone who has a problem with their anatomical gender -- for whatever reason! -- should have the right to change their physical situation. Gender is in the pronouns. You can categorize people into Him and Her all you like, and that's fine because it makes sense when choosing who to sleep with, but individual people are always going to vary. How about we deal with each person as an individial rather than a strange minority that needs to be categorized or fixed?

Alemanji Rudy Nkemanjong | Oct 5th, 2008
I think stereotyping, which unfortunately is a practice in many places in the world affects children gravely. Children who who have had such experiences may remain affected all their life. We should learn that people can always take different paths in life..they must not follow what we think is traditional

Not sure
Mitesh Patel | Oct 8th, 2008
I think girls like pink but boys not sure..... Real Estate India

Henry Ekwuruke | Oct 9th, 2008
Sometimes we are brought close to the nature's way of dealing with issues. Sometimes, we have the right to express our rights, but sometimes boys too get to love pink instead of the natural blue, as proposed!

b m | Oct 11th, 2008
I am transgendered, not transsexual. I read the comments of some TSs on the board. I want to let you know that we (transgendered people) will fight for you. You are our sisters and brothers & we love you. Whether you want to be mainstream or not, whether you hate us or want to disassociate from us or not, we will continue to fight for your right, not only to get surgery and hormones, but to get them more easily and more affordably. And we will fight for your legal protections and ease of living. If people think that you are lesser because they associate you with transgendered people, it is not because of what you or I have done, it is because of a cloud of ignorance in that person's mind. You must not let that cloud your own judgment. zeraph

Flawed Title
John Piermont Montilla | Oct 11th, 2008
Pink in the Philippines is a favourite colour of boys. Despite many parents may provide a pink crib and stuff when they have a baby girl or a blue for a baby boy, pink is still a masculine colour. Boys will grow choosing pink still specifically when they reached adolescence. It’s a colour that makes you feel good, attractive and cool What we should criticize is giving a boy a gun, robots, car etc while a girl a doll, tea pots, and miniature kitchen and dining sets. These social constructs are one of the reasons why male dominance has perpetuated society and females has been "domesticated" because of the gender roles that is dictated by the "patriarchal" society. I blame religion! religion should focus on spirituality, healing, and coping in the midst of the many crises that affects humanity. But this is fading but instead facilitating in nurturing hatred, violence, intolerance and etc. Of course they will always say " our basis is the holy scriptures" My God all scriptures talk about peace and equality and these religions that embraces these fundamental truths are the same religion who are fighting and killing each other. Going back to sexuality, In terms whether heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered people and etc are biological, hormonal or whatever... I disagree... there will be endless arguments but let us not deny another fundamental truth: CHOICE. The absolute truth is wherever and whatever we are now is a product of CHOICE. if you claim that what you are is not your choice, I will tell you this: I also believed in that dogma when I ran away home when I was 12, I blame everything because of my misery. I later discovered that I did not choose to be born but I can choose how to live life so why I should blame other people who also have same experience as I am. They did not choose to be born too and they can choose whether to live life in misery or live life with a purpose. If you still insist that what you are now is not your choice, there are only two things on that: you let someone choose what you are now, or you choose to think that way. Cool! But still they are CHOICES-your choice not others. Anyway, for me Choice is a basic human right, a sacred endowment of humanity that each creature has given the capacity to decide. Whatever barriers there are whether religious, cultural, tradition political and so on CHOICE is inevitable. So before getting off the tangent, blue and pink for sexuality sake is irrelevant. Choose the colour that pleases you. I remain thank you

Kermi Liya | Nov 7th, 2008
Thank you for the article. It raises a great question that most of us have yet to confront, and correctly answer.

we are what we make of us
ancag | Nov 26th, 2008
while before reaching maturity we may well be a product of both nature and nurture (biology and the environment), once we are aduls we have the tools necessary to create our own selves, above and beyond our genes and the values innoculated in us throughout our childhood and adolescence. While any type of behaviour that causes no harm to others (like homosexuality, transsexuality etc) has to be tolerated and given equal status with more traditional attitutes, let's not fool ourselves into believing adults are anything more that their own creations.

TS by our own
ANGELICA DIAZ | Jan 8th, 2009
Hallo! I am a mexican transexual woman and Courtney Holder´s opinion and my are the same. Two months ago I wrote an opinon about an article named "Transexualidad no es queer" (Transexuality not queer) posted in the Carla Antonelli´s Web. I recived favorable commentaries but other criticism too and the most interesting was one from a lgbt transgender defeder and he said that we (TS) most to make our own proposal. And... yes! he is right! But TS women and men have a big problem named fear. Just a few dare to face openly to the society (For example the Lynn Conway history) Last two years I worked whit a "Trans" group trying to move ahead two laws about gender identity and many times I feel alone cos´... I turned around the head to the sides and I asked Where my sisters, my brothers?, just TGs, TVs and supporters many of them dont´t understand transexualiy, but transgression. Yes, we have to move towards we realy need. The theories due to the dialectic one always are going to be hitting. True accept is not impose an unique criterion, real diversity is not all are gay or queer, is accept all people. Women, men,transexual, Intersex, Heterosexual, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, transgender, etc. have the sames rights to exist, to be what we want to be, satisfy their own needs. Sorry 4 my bad english

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