We've all seen nesting dolls. They're the toys that open, revealing smaller ones inside. But we've never seen one like this. You could say toys are in transition.
A Canadian toy company called Gender Creative Kids Canada developed a transgender nesting doll. It starts out as a female who transitions to a male.
The video on the company's Facebook page, which explains the new toy, shows "Sam," a young girl who feels different and is rejected when she tries to play sports with the boys. We hear a song about acceptance and see Sam cut her hair and tell her parents she's now a boy, a message they readily accept, and they all hug. Happy ending.
Some may say the toymakers are attempting to normalize something exceedingly rare. It's estimated a miniscule 0.1 to 0.3 percent of the adult population identify as transgender. Perhaps the toymakers hope to encourage more youngsters to conclude they, too, are the opposite gender from what their body suggests, and the number of people who identify as transgender will substantially increase.
Since "coming out" as transgender, particularly among children, is a relatively new phenomenon, little research has been conducted on the personal, long term impact of identifying as the opposite sex from one's birth.
However, Dr. Paul McHugh, a Johns Hopkins psychiatrist, says transgender is less likely a natural event that should be embraced by all, but rather more likely a problem that needs to be fixed.
"Policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention," he wrote in The Wall Street Journal. He further says identifying as transgender can lead to "grim psychological outcomes."
McHugh cites a study that followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery. The research revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable non-transgender population.
Other research on children who reported transgender feelings shows that 75% spontaneously lost those feelings.