SEXUAL IDENTITY CONFLICT IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS by

SEXUAL IDENTITY CONFLICT IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

According to Dr. Green's clinical research, transsexuality -- sex-role identity contrary to an individual's physical anatomy -- begins in early childhood. The earlier the symptoms -- for boys dressing in their mother's clothing and jewelry, playing with dolls and make-up, a preference for gifts as playmates, avoidance of sports, etc. -- the less the likelihood that they are reversible. So parents beware -- your effeminate son or (less frequently) tomboy daughter may not be in a passing phase. (Almost invariably, Green demonstrates in excerpts from his interviews, deviant behavior has not been discouraged by the parents.) Although not all feminine boys will become transsexuals (homosexuality and transvestism are other possible behavior patterns), they will inevitably be harassed by their peers and society. Through therapy their sense of masculinity should be strengthened in the hope that they ""will be less driven towards behavior which the culture continues to stigmatize."" Green is not a dyed-in-the-wool sexual conservative, but he believes that it is easier to change a single individual than society, and that, in any case, ""there are hints that some toy and activity preferences may not be entirely learned."" But in calculating the psychic costs Green does not count those a child incurs when trying to please the doctor and his parents, nor does he seem unduly aware that ""normal"" males often experience considerable anxiety when trying to live up to the masculine mystique. Some primitive societies, Green admits, allow room for deviance: why must our own be less tolerant? Green's diagnosis may be medically correct, but he is offering life-adjustment therapy which may get some human libbers' dander up.

Pub Date: Dec. 14th, 1973
Publisher: Basic Books