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ABC News' 'Primetime Nightline' Wednesday night to feature families of three transgender youths

From ABC News media relations:

“Primetime Nightline” goes on a remarkable journey inside three families, struggling to do the right thing for their transgender kids.  One biological boy who at age ten is now going to school as a girl and who will soon be given medicine to stop him from going through male puberty; a15 year old biological girl who is taking testosterone to make her more masculine; a 19 year old biological male who goes to Mexico to have six surgeries in two hours to make him more feminine.

Nightline's Cynthia McFadden looks at the challenges that these children confront, the difficult decisions they and their parents have to make and, at times, the risks they have to take in order to become the person they feel they were born as.

We look at the social, medical, and surgical changes, as well as the emotional journey on which these children are embarking.  We talk to the leading experts.  And find a grim reality:  transgender kids often are rejected by their families.  One estimate has over 33% of them attempting suicide.

We also profile Kim Petras, a burgeoning pop sensation who became the world’s youngest person to have a complete sex change operation at the age of 16.

We also interview Charles Kane perhaps the only person in the world to have sexual reassignment surgery twice…going from man to woman and back again…he regrets his decision to have sexual reassignment surgery and believes children should not be given these therapies.

Meet some of those we follow:  

Jackie is a 10 year old from Ohio who was originally born as Jack.  As a toddler, Jack was drawn to his sister's dolls and clothes, and enjoyed dressing up in tutus. At 10 years old, with tears in his eyes, he told his parents “I’m a girl on the inside.” Within months, with his parents help, Jack becomes Jackie. She now attends school as a girl, wearing girl’s clothing, heels, and makeup.  We watch as Jackie navigates her transition and meets relatives for the first time as a girl.  Soon Jackie will begin taking puberty blockers, a controversial treatment, which will prevent her from going through male puberty.

Nathan is a 15 year old living in Arizona and was originally born Natalie.  Always feeling out of place as a girl, he came home from his first day of pre-school to tell his mother, “I’m a boy.”  He started

dressing in gender neutral clothing in pre-school.  As Natalie grew up, her parents became convinced this wasn't a phase and are now helping him transition.  We watch as Natalie changes his name to Nathan in court and prepares to start testosterone treatment, which will give

him physical attributes of a boy.  Harassed into home schooling, Nathan has no friends his own age.  Cynthia McFadden introduces him to his transgender idol Chaz Bono, who offers him and his family a few words of advice and hope.

Vanessa is 19 years old living and working in New York City. Vanessa was born as Pierry.  At first, her immigrant family had a difficult time accepting their son as their daughter, but now that she has decided on surgery, they have come to support her.  But neither the family nor Vanessa can afford the transition, so she has turned to prostitution to pay for the body she feels she should’ve been born with in the first place.  We go along with her to Guadalajara, Mexico, where a wad of $6500 cash will buy her six surgeries in two hours as she struggles to become the woman she’s always wanted to be.


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I would have liked to have seen the full story of Kane put out there since you decided to show some of it. Though nice to see him starting to take some responsibility for his actions, I say some cause now instead of blaming the doctors he's now blaming the medication(which doesn't cause that which he suggested) Kane after his divorce for whatever reason, maybe cross dressing(based on his saying in the interview that he found himself hanging out with people born with transsexualism who were not judging him) Wanted to be like those people he had some reason become transfixed with being around all the time. He made several attempts to get into a Gender Clinic, the first few knowing he wasn't born with transsexualism and refused him hormone support as well as putting him into a surgery trac. program.

But he learned through those failures of what he was saying wrong and finally after a few tries went to another clinic who didn't know him and said all the right things. Got his hormones and got his surgery. Later when he decided to change back he made claims that it was the doctor's fault that they made him think he should have it etc.

So now people know a bit more about the man, who stupidly had a surgery he never should have and later figured it out and had yet another to attempt to make things better. When you have alot of money, as he did and I suspect still does, you can jump any cue and find someone to do your bidding.

Charles Kane is bisexual. He is attracted to men and to women. He was interested in a boy during late adolescence. He was not a cross dresser.

He hung out at a gay bar after his divorce in 1995. There he met trans people. Those trans women were very happy. And he thought he would be very happy too if only he could become like them. Through those trans people, he found a therapist who was a lenient gatekeeper. That therapist easily gave him a letter for hormones and for surgery.

It was indeed the therapist's fault. Kane was depressed. The therapist should have first resolved his depression through therapy and medications before considering his gender identity. He was not a trans person. He were merely bisexual.

The actions of that therapist and the loud-mouth Kane have ruined it for several genuine trans people.

Most trans people never undergo genital surgery. Some due to financial constraints. Some due to medical constraints. ... And the remainder because genital surgery is not right for them.

I must point out though that there is a problem which Kane exposes, and which must be legitimately tackled.

When trans people are shunned by society, they seek support. With the limited time you get to speak to a therapist per week, and with the lack of friends, most trans people find their peer support groups as the key resource to discuss how they feel.

Most peer support groups of trans people consist of many different kinds of people. Not only across different strata of society, but also different types of trans people.

Some trans people are merely cross dressing and they are happy being male. A few are transvestites. Some are fetishists. Some need to transition, but without surgery. Some need to get surgery.

When all of them hang out together, the ones who are most advanced along the path of transition seem to lead the discussions within the support groups. Their opinions often sound like expert advice to the rest.

Most trans people joining support groups also lack self-confidence and self-esteem. Their compromised ability to discern between the correct and wrong advice often results in them going down the wrong path.

When they hear phrases such as "always felt like I was trapped in a man's body", "it was a choice between suicide and death", "always felt like a woman", etc, from the more advanced trans people, they begin to believe it themselves.

Then they go and say these phrases to the therapists and doctors who approve their hormones and surgeries. Peer pressure to follow down the path of transition does influence many.

Something's not right here. The loopholes must be fixed. Methods of diagnosis must improve. The genuine trans people needing surgical intervention must not be denied or delayed, while others must be kept out of surgery.

While this is not a frequent problem, the loophole exists. And Lynn Conway's website lists several such cases on a page titled "A WARNING FOR THOSE CONSIDERING MtF SRS". This is not only bad for those individuals, it is also bad for the genuine trans people who will encounter more detractors on account of these cases.

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