I fully agree with you that wearing dresses or playing with dolls should be okay whether you have girl or boy parts. My older son played with dolls and sometimes wore a tutu during dress up when he was a child. My older daughter played with toy guns and she hated wearing girly hair bows. My youngest was different altogether.
Liking (or not liking) particular gendered toys/clothes/things is not the problem. But it can be one of many symptoms that manifest in trans kids, that, along with a host of other symptoms, form a constellation known as gender dysphoria. And gender dysphoria is a beast. Parents who’ve dealt with this firsthand know the difference. Gender dysphoria isn’t “a phase.”
I also wonder — so many people who aren’t raising trans kids tend to express sentiments just like yours:
“The main thing I worry about is how the puberty blockers, hormones, surgery do harm…”
First, you say they “do harm,” but I think just the opposite — they save lives.
Second, with comments like these, I have to wonder: does it really worry you?
I mean, people all over America alter, as you say, “a perfectly fine functioning body” through various cosmetic procedures and plastic surgeries — breast augmentation (male or female), rhinoplasty, lip augmentation, liposuction, face lift, hair transplantation, tummy tuck, “butt lift,” dermal fillers, fat transfers, brow lift, neck lift, Botox injections, etc. Are you equally worried about them?
Likewise, people all over America take hormones/hormone replacement therapy, testosterone therapy… for any number of reasons. Are you equally worried about them?
Sometimes, teens as young as 16 have easy access to cosmetic procedures. Sometimes 16 year olds need hormones for reasons you may not be familiar with. And puberty blockers, which merely put a temporary “pause” on puberty — with puberty resuming as soon as blockers are stopped (unless the individual moves to cross sex hormones) — are life-saving for many trans individuals entering the Tanner stage II of puberty.
Puberty blockers have also been used safely since the 1950s for precocious puberty. In longitudinal studies, they’ve shown no harmful long-term effects other than the *possibility* of less bone density later in life.
And, as most trans individuals will tell you, they’d gladly take that risk if it meant they could be spared the beast that is gender dysphoria. (I think people such as Kristen Browde, Kira Wertz, Laura-Ann Marie Charlot, Louise Carole Sumrell, Branwen Rhiannon Drew, Andy Waller, Ames Simmons, Parker Molloy, Rachel Anne Williams, Jenny Boylan, Cassie Brighter, and so many others would affirm this.)
So, I guess my question comes down to this: is it that you’re genuinely worried about altering (what you perceive as) “a perfectly fine functioning body,” or is it only a concern when that body belongs to a trans person?