Mistakes in Gods Factory

Spiegel.de – Stephan Elleringmann

Even as children, transsexuals have the feeling of living in the wrong body. When should they be allowed to switch genders? Two years ago, a twelve-year-old German boy became the world’s youngest person to start hormone treatments for a sex change.

Kim P. is 14 years old. She wears light eyeshadow, a navel-baring top and embroidered jeans. She plays with strands of her long hair as she describes her dream of going to Paris one day to be a fashion designer. Her attic bedroom in her parents’ house is a girl’s paradise in pink, with the requisite fashion magazines, a makeup table, a sewing machine and even a clothes mannequin near the window.

She’s had enough of psychiatrists who ask weird questions. She’s had enough of doctors who reject her case because this fashion-conscious girl — previously called “Tim” in her patient file — unsettles them.

She was born as a boy. Her body, chromosomes and hormones were all undoubtedly masculine. But she felt otherwise. For Kim it was clear from the beginning that, as she says, “I wound up in the wrong body.”

At the age of two, Tim tried on his older sister’s clothes, played with Barbies and said, “I’m a girl.” Her parents thought it was a phase, but at the age of four Tim was still bawling after every haircut. At last he ran into his room with a pair of scissors and hollered that he wanted to “cut off my thing!” — and it was clear to his parents that the problem was serious. From then on, at home, Tim went by “Kim.”