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Letters: Gender Identity

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Letters: Gender Identity

From Our Listeners

Letters: Gender Identity

Letters: Gender Identity

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Michele Norris and Melissa Block read listeners' responses to Wednesday's story about the families of two boys who are struggling with gender identity issues.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Alix's story from yesterday about gender identity issues among very young children brought in a flood of your comments.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

That was one of the saddest stories I've ever heard, writes Robert Chiles(ph) of Columbia, South Carolina. He took issue with one prominent psychiatrist's method of insisting that a boy who thinks he's a girl abandon all trappings of that feeling, such as toys. And Mr. Chiles echoed many of your sentiments, why can't they just let the boy be who he is?

NORRIS: Gail Quam(ph) of West Lafayette, Indiana, agrees if Bradley want to be a pianist would the psychiatrist suggest they take away all music and break his fingers? Thank goodness you also gave us the uplifting story of Jonah and her parents.

BLOCK: Cliff Abbott(ph) of Birmingham, Alabama, couldn't disagree more. He writes, there is simply no evidence that God or Mother Nature or whatever entity erroneously traps people in bodies of the wrong gender. A much more likely scenario is a set of parents who dress boys up like girls and provide toys designed for girls, and then can't figure out why their children are confused about their gender.

NORRIS: We received a personal story from listener Judith Stafford(ph). I was married to a transgendered man for 16 years, she writes. In the marriage, I was isolated and confused by the lack of intimacy, and blamed myself. Now, as the mother of his/her children, we are seeking therapy, and confronting his, her transition into a female identity. Much pain and confusion on the part of myself and my daughters would have been spared if their father had been encouraged at a young age to become the she that he really is.

BLOCK: Finally, this from Matthew Barruby(ph) of Washington, D.C., I hope and pray with your coverage of this issue comes a groundswell of support, encouragement and acceptance of transgendered people. And that we can learn that the more diverse our society becomes, the healthier it will ultimately be.

NORRIS: We welcome your feedback about our program. You can write to us by going to our Web site npr.org/contact.

BLOCK: And please don't forget to let us know where you're from and how you say your name.

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