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Alice Dreger, a bioethicist and historian of science at Northwestern University, says, “The availability of intervention and the outspokenness of the transgender community are causing a lot more people to see themselves as transgender, and at younger ages.” A recent survey of thirty-five hundred transgender Americans found that, the younger the respondents, the more likely they were to have had “access to transgender people and resources at a young age,” and to have identified as trans at a young age.In a follow-up survey, more than two-thirds of the respondents between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two said that they had known other transgender people before adopting the identity themselves, compared with a quarter of those fifty-three and older.
Skylar took hormones and underwent “top surgery” at a much younger age than would have been possible even a decade ago.And plastic surgery, tattoos, and piercings have made people more comfortable with body modification.In such a context, gender surgery in late childhood may no longer seem extreme.A kid today who hasn’t met other transgender young people can readily find them in popular culture and social media.Such characters appear on “Glee” (naturally) and on “De Grassi.” On the Internet, Tumblrs and Listservs and thousands of You Tube videos chronicle the gender transitions of teen-agers.(Ironically, I haven’t.) This will be your ticket into your dream school.” It was an attitude that irritated Skylar, because, he wrote, “I’ve finally reached a point in my life where my transition is not consuming my life.”Many trans kids have a very hard time.
They are bullied at school, rejected by their families, and consigned to marginal—even desperate—lives.
Skylar would put it differently: he believes that, despite biological appearances, he was a boy all along.
He’d just been burdened with a body that required medical and surgical adjustments so that it could reflect the gender he knew himself to be.
Yet, in his new guise, he doesn’t labor to come across as conventionally masculine.
Like many “trans” people of his generation, he is comfortable with some gender ambiguity, and doesn’t feel the need to be, as he puts it, a “macho bro.” He is not sure yet if he will have genital reconstruction when he’s older.
Skylar lives in an affluent, wooded town near New Haven, a liberal enclave where nobody seriously challenged his decision to change gender. As he explained in his application essay, classmates kept telling him, “This is the most fundamental essence of who you are, Skylar.