On November 18, 2009, I appeared on the Tyra Banks show, debating the question of what treatment was best for children who identified as transgender. Sitting next to me was Dr. Marci Bowers, himself a male to female, and known as the rock star of transgender surgery, and Kim Pearson, a straight, married woman who is an advocate for transgender youth. (See here for the clip.)
Prior to our segment, Tyra Banks introduced a number of children as young as 7 or 8 to the live, in-studio audience, explaining, “This is Joe, who used to be Jane.” The parents joined their children on the stage and told their stories with tears as their kids sat by.
According to Tyra, this was the first time kids this young had been introduced publicly in this way. The audience ate it up.
There were even video interviews that were played where these precious children were asked about their private parts. One explained that it was simply a “birth defect.” No big deal. Presumably, when the child got older, that defect could be removed.
When it came time for our segment, Tyra set things up by saying how controversial the subject was and explaining that we would