This is a disturbing, or perhaps better described as heartbreaking story which popped up this weekend and set off all sorts of alarm bells for me. NBC News is featuring the tale of a child named Lia (until recently, Liam) who is being fully encouraged and supported by his parents on a “journey” to become a girl. The child is ten years old and began this “trip” at the age of five.
We moved from Indiana to New Hampshire when Lia was 4. She was still wearing boys’ clothes and playing with trucks through preschool, but she really wanted girl things. We started buying her Barbie dolls and girl’s costumes.
For awhile, Lia was happy wearing pink dress shirts outside and princess costumes at home. Family and friends were curious, but no one made us feel judged. However, It was when she started kindergarten, that we saw the dysphoria start, the depression and anger. It was clear she couldn’t be comfortable anymore.
Lia is the most mild-mannered, peaceful warrior, a deep thinking, soul-searching child. The minute she begins talking, it’s just pure love. But we could see the frustration building in her.
She would say desperately, “Why can’t I just be a girl, Mommy?” At just 5 years old, she would look in the mirror in the bathroom and say, “I am a girl in my head and heart.”
This goes further than a young boy being dressed up in a skirt. The parents have already gone through the legal process and changed his name from Liam to Lia. But even that, while no doubt opening the door to all sorts of confusion, isn’t the most serious aspect of what’s going on here. The introduction to the article (and the soon to air television special) informs us that Lia will soon take hormone blockers to ward off puberty.
Let me repeat that in another way just to ensure that no person reading this misses what’s going on here. The parents of this prepubescent ten year old boy have found a doctor willing to work with them and are about to chemically alter his body to halt the onset of puberty.
Just in case anyone misinterprets where I’m coming down on this story, I would insert one exhortation to the public at this point. Is there nobody in the state of New Hampshire who can call Child Protective Services, find a public defender and/or judge, call the police, or do something… ANYTHING… to get this child out of that home?
When these stories crop up in the media on a regular basis involving adults, I’ll admit that I’m a bit conflicted as to how to react. Part of it is, no doubt, a hesitancy to dig into the complicated matters of what sorts of behavior do or do not qualify as true mental disorders of a medical nature and the difficulty we have in dealing with many of them. There’s also the issue of individual choice and personal responsibility to consider. If you are over the age of 18 and want to dress as you wish, alter your system with chemicals or whatever else, I lean toward saying that it’s your choice as long as you’re willing to deal with the results. Even if you’re a man who wants to go to a doctor and have his privates lopped off or a woman who goes and schedules a procedure to do whatever it is they do to their lady bits, I don’t think it’s my place to say you can’t.
But we’re talking about a ten year old child here. And the process apparently started at the age of five. Something has gone terribly wrong in that house and this child is in serious peril. Are we now at the point where our legal system will take the “decisions” of a five year old into serious consideration on such a permanent, life altering situation? We don’t allow children to get a tattoo, give meaningful consent for sexual intercourse or even take an aspirin (without adult supervision) until a decade or more later than that. Last winter I saw a nephew in the same age group answer the question of what he wanted to be when he grew up. He responded by saying a fire truck. Not a fire fighter. A fire truck. It was a hilarious moment around the Christmas tree, but it also reminds me now that I wouldn’t be leaving it up to him as to whether or not he should start on hormone therapy next week.
But our media has clearly enabled all sorts of insanity to now be taken as normal and it’s spreading in dangerous ways. I can only hope that this television special will draw some attention and get someone on the case here, not to mention seeing if this is going on in other homes as well. Whatever doctor agreed to do this not only needs to have their license taken away… they should be in jail. And Liam needs to be gotten out of that home and into the care of a responsible adult.
I only hope it’s not too late. This isn’t an abstract question of social debate. This is a crime in progress.