Natasha Vargas-Cooper


Identity Crisis

Is transgender teens’ desire to switch their sex a mental disorder that needs treatment, or is it the rest of society that has a problem?

Elliott has two scars across his chest where his breasts used to be. He has full sideburns down his gaunt cheeks, a strong chin, and sharp jawline. His voice is not deep enough to be considered baritone. At 22, he looks like a rather boyish young man. You would not mistake him for a woman, although he was born a woman. There’s a chance you might mistake him for Morrissey, which is the look he’s going for. The asexual British rocker poet has long been the patron saint of gay and androgynous youth.

Elliott’s story is one we are hearing more and more these days. About the time he hit puberty, his body started developing in a way that was incongruent to how he perceived himself. Breasts, new thatches of hair, and an emerging feminine shape pushed Elliott toward an identity that felt alien. By 16, he felt as though his body no longer belonged to him. “It was something happening to me. Like it wasn’t even a part of me.”

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