“The whole family is in transition": All four members of Arizona family are transgender

Yes, there are still a few “um, what?” stories left in 2017. The tale of the adult couple here isn’t that unusual, I’d guess. They met after each had already switched genders and long after one had already given birth to the two children. It stands to reason that trans people are more likely to date other trans people since they’ve reached a comfort level with transgenderism that the average joe hasn’t. If they had met, gotten married, then both transitioned, that would be unusual.

But having not one but two kids in the family also changing genders? Puh-retty unusual.

The children are 13 and 11, by the way.

[F]or Daniel Harrott, who lived most of his life as a woman, just everyday existence as a man is alchemy…

Eleven-year-old Mason — he’s the one with the bike — is living as a boy, after being assigned female at birth. And then there’s Joshua, 13, whose brown hair falls around her shoulders as she sits in her wheel chair.

Her birth sex was male, but she knew from an early age that she was a girl…

Daniel thinks trans people have been in his family for 100 years. His grandmother’s sister was what people used to call a “cross-dresser.” Her behavior scared his grandmother so much that she made sure when she had a daughter that she — Daniel’s mom — dressed feminine.

Daniel, a woman turned man and the children’s mother, met Shirley, a man turned woman, not long ago and they hit it off. “Shirley taught Daniel how to use a chainsaw. Daniel taught Shirley to memorize all the stones in her engagement ring,” notes KJZZ. You can almost hear the click-clacking keyboard of the quirky Netflix or Hulu sitcom based on this that’s doubtless being written as we sit here.

So Daniel transitioned and the impressionable kids fell under mom’s influence, right? Well, to hear her tell it, Joshua was the first member of the household to start openly identifying with the opposite sex when he asked to join the Girl Scouts. He declared himself a trans girl sometime after, then Mason declared himself a boy, and allegedly that inspired Daniel to accept the feelings she’s always had that she was really a man and to start living like one. The kids, raised in a culture that’s more accepting of transgenderism, influenced mom to come out rather than vice versa — or so she says. But what about that bit in the excerpt about trans tendencies running in the family? Could this be more of a nature than nurture thing in their case?

Eh, maybe. The answer’s always “maybe” to nature/nurture questions, isn’t it? A 2002 study of Gender Identity Disorder in twin children and adolescents found a statistically significant additive genetic component; another study six years later found that some men who identify as women have a genetic variation that makes the testosterone receptors in their brains less efficient. Other reserarch involving brain imaging showed that the white matter in the brains of women who identify as men looked more like what you’d expect in a biological male than a female. But these are just bits and pieces of data. All together, the evidence of heritability is thin — although scientists are hoping to fatten it up:

Researchers have extracted DNA from the blood samples of 10,000 people, 3,000 of them transgender and the rest non-transgender, or cisgender. The project is awaiting grant funding to begin the next phase: testing about 3 million markers, or variations, across the genome for all of the samples.

Knowing what variations transgender people have in common, and comparing those patterns to those of cisgender people in the study, may help investigators understand what role the genome plays in everyone’s gender identity…

That quest has made some transgender people nervous. If a “cause” is found it could posit a “cure,” potentially opening the door to so-called reparative therapies similar to those that attempt to turn gay people straight, advocates say. Others raise concerns about the rights of those who may identify as trans but lack biological “proof.”

If there’s a genetic component that runs in families, you might expect it to run only one way. For instance, if there’s some family mutation that produces more “feminized” brains, you’d anticipate a few male members to identify as female. It runs both ways in Daniel’s family, though, with Daniel and Mason identifying as male despite being born female and Joshua identifying as female despite being born male. What kind of gene variation would flip someone’s gender identity to the opposite of their biological sex, irrespective of what that sex is?

As you’ll see, this isn’t the first case of a kid influencing a parent to transition. And as you’ll also see, apparently there are cases of two trans people marrying and having biological children — with the husband carrying the wife’s children to term. If transgenderism is heritable, those kids will know.

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Beege Welborn 9:21 PM on June 08, 2023