Japanese schools are struggling to accommodate skyrocketing diagnoses of “gender identity disorder,” which have seen boys as young as 8 attend school clad in skirts and said to be “girls.”
One Saitama school has admitted an 8-year-old boy as a girl after he expressed discomfort at being treated as a boy, and was subsequently diagnosed with gender identity disorder.
His parents had the school let him attend school in a skirt, still with his original name, taking PE with girls and using toilets and changing facilities intended for female staff.
The Saitama prefectural educational board reports it has previously allowed a female high school student to register as a male, but that this is the first time it has accommodated an elementary schooler in such a fashion.
With this serving as impetus, it since surveyed its schools and found dozens of potential cases in all years of school.
A Kagoshima school in similar fashion recently allowed a 13-year-old girl attend middle school as a boy, after she expressed feelings of sickness upon wearing the typical sailor outfit. A specialist helpfully diagnosed her as having gender identity disorder.
The school is considering whether to let her change her name and use male facilities.
A therapist specialising in the disorder insists the disorder must be accommodated by schools, saying that in addition to psychological counselling simply allowing affected children to change uniforms can ease their suffering; indeed, internationally there are already moves to ban gender specific school uniforms on just these grounds.
He explains that he expects many more such children to be “coming out” in future as the process is made easier.
However, not all Japanese doctors are so enthusiastic about creating infant transsexuals. Other specialists point out that even if the diagnosis is justifiable, there is no guarantee the disorder will persist into adulthood:
“Medically diagnosing children as having gender identity disorder is a dangerous thing. Children are still growing and they do change as a result. I do think any determination must wait until after puberty.”
Parents and schools are also concerned about the adverse effects such extreme treatment may have on the future of their children.
Similar cases of pre-pubescent children being diagnosed as having “the wrong gender” in the UK and elsewhere are also seeing ever younger diagnoses, with some as young as 12 or 9 – there too, many have questioned the wisdom of making drastically life altering decisions for children at such a young age.