Airing originally in October 2015, the documentary “Girls to Men” will be airing on TV as part of the “Born in the Wrong Body” series initiated by the UK Channel 4. Here are a few things to note:
The documentary revolves around three young Brits who were assigned a female gender at birth, but believe that they were not born in the right body. These young individuals are part of the 20 percent transgendered people assigned a female gender at birth in the UK. Statistics show that the vast majority of transgendered people are males who identify as females.
Jamie Raines, one of the characters in the documentary, first realised something unusual about his body at age four. Studies suggest that some children with gender dysphoria begin to report feelings of being “not the same as others” at a very young age, and some can even begin to resist the norms believed to be appropriate to their gender at that tender age.
The desire for transsexual people to change their gender is attributed to the unique neurodevelopment of the foetal brain. Studies show that one section of the brain of young people beginning to experience gender dysphoria – that is known to be uniquely different in males and females – starts to develop in opposition to other sex features. Typical differentiation is claimed to be linked to hormones affecting brain development, but in young individuals experiencing gender dysphoria, this hormonal impact is believed to be atypical.
Young people find it very difficult to admit that they’re experiencing gender dysphoria, mostly due to the stigma and discrimination associated with it, and so they don’t make any effort to transition to the gender that makes them more comfortable until later on in life. In fact, studies suggest that the average age at which transgender people decide to transition is 42 years.
One of the first steps when transitioning from female to male (FTM) is cutting one’s hair, which is what Jamie Raines did at just eight years in his desperate attempt towards getting a male identity. Cutting your hair is the first major step to getting that masculine appearance, but young people who are ready to transition are cautioned to brace themselves for many questions after doing so.
Although transgendered and gender dysphoric people still encounter discrimination and ignorance, there are now more avenues where they can seek help than ever before. For instance, there are support groups for gender variant families, children, teenagers, and adults, as well as societies that treat trans people and raise awareness with families, employers, media, educators, and health providers, among others.