A lesbian couple in California, US, who say their 11-year-old son Tommy wants to be a girl named Tammy are giving their child hormone blockers that delay the onset of puberty, so that he can have more time to decide if he wants to change his gender.
The couple's supporters say the Hormone Blocking Therapy has only minor side effects and is appropriate for a child who is unsure of his gender.
"This is definitely a changing landscape for transgender youth," said Joel Baum, director of education and training for Gender Spectrum, a California-based non-profit group"
"This is about giving kids and their families the opportunity to make the right decision."
But critics of the treatment say 11-year-olds are not old enough to make life-altering decisions about changing their gender, and parents should not be encouraging them.
The boy's parents, Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel
"This is child abuse. It's like performing liposuction on an anorexic child," said Dr Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University.
"It is a disorder of the mind. Not a disorder of the body. Dealing with it in this way is not dealing with the problem that truly exists. We shouldn't be mucking around with nature. We can't assume what the outcome will be," Professor McHugh said.
Dr Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FOXNews.com, said the hormone blockers also may pose a medical risk.
Thomas Lobel, who is now called Tammy, in a photo from his parents' Facebook album
"Potential long-term effects can include other abnormalities of hormones, vascular complications and even potential cancer. I think that if this child - as he finishes his puberty and teenage years - decides to undergo a transgender procedure, then there are proper channels to do so," Dr Alvarez said.
"But to do it at the age of 11, to me, could be potentially dangerous to the health of this child," he said.
Tommy's parents, Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel, told CNN they support their child and feel this is the best way for him to find an answer to a question he has been asking all his life.
They say Tommy - whom they now call Tammy - began taking GnRH inhibitors over the summer to give him more time to explore the female gender identity with which he associates.
Tommy began saying he was a girl when he was three years old, his parents said. He was learning sign language due to a speech impediment, and one of the first things he told his mothers was, "I am a girl."
The child's parents also said Tommy threatened to mutilate his genitals when he was seven, and psychiatrists diagnosed a gender identity disorder. One year later, he began transitioning to Tammy.
After much deliberation with family and therapists, the child began taking hormone blockers a few months ago. The medication, which must be changed once a year, was implanted in the boy's upper left arm.
Tommy will continue the treatment until he turns 14 or 15, at which point he will be taken off the blockers and pursue the gender he feels is the right one.
"She suffered for four years for a crime she did not commit."
On Monday Italian town of Perugia court acquitted 24-year-old American girl Amanda Knox and her 27-year friend Rafael Solechitto charge of murder. In 2007, the British student Meredith Kercher - her neighbor in the apartment of Amanda - was found dead. Her body was found with more than forty stab wounds. Before her death, the girl was raped. Two years later, Amanda was sentenced to 26 years in prison. The prosecution insisted that it was Amanda, under the influence of drugs on Halloween, cut the throat of her friend, because she refused to participate in orgies.
"I want to go home. I want to go back to my life. I don't want to be punished. ... I don't want my future taken away from me for something I didn't do because I am innocent," she said.
In the photo: Mother and sister of Amanda Knox.
"We're thankful that Amanda's nightmare is over," her younger sister Deanna Knox told reporters outside the courthouse. "She suffered for four years for a crime she did not commit." She then asked for privacy for the family so they could "recover from this horrible" ordeal.
Amanda Knox maintained an amazing calm.
The court's six jurors and two judges deliberated for hours Monday after listening in the morning to impassioned pleas by Knox and Sollecito to throw out the guilty verdict and set them free.
Amanda Knox and her boyfriend, Rafael Sollechito were found not guilty of the brutal murder of his neighbor, a young British student Meredith Kercher, which took place in Perugia the night of 1 November 2, 2007. Turning to the jurors and judges during the hearing Knox said: "I did not kill, I was not there."
Crowd gathered in the streets expressing anger about the justification of "murderer." About a thousand protesters chanted "Shame!"
Amanda heard the court decision cried and jumped for joy.
Amanda Knox now can safely prepare to return to his native America.
From the court the girl was taken to jail, so she could pick up her belongings, after which Knox was finally released.
UPDATE:7 OCT 2011
Amanda Knox family invites Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and his family to US
FREED US student Amanda Knox's family has invited her former Italian boyfriend and his family to visit them in the United States.
The 24-year-old, who flew home on Tuesday after being acquitted of murder and sexual assault which saw her jailed for four years, is adjusting well back in Seattle and wants to resume her studies, her father said.
"She's actually doing remarkably well. You know, it's almost like she hasn't missed a beat with the family. That's been really nice to see," Curt Knox told CNN today.
A court in Perugia on Monday freed both Ms Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito after acquitting them over the gruesome 2007 killing of British student Meredith Kercher.
Ms Knox's father said the pair - who were shown kissing shortly after the murder, in a widely-played video - had sent mail back and forth to each other while they were in prison in Italy.
"They have stayed in contact," he said, adding: "The Sollecito family were invited to come to Seattle. Raffaele is going through the same thing that Amanda is right now and really needs to get reconnected.
"I think at some point they may come over and that would be really nice to see," he said.
But he said it was probably too early for Ms Knox to contact the Kercher family, who have been put back to square one by this week's acquittals, with no answer over who killed their daughter.
"I think right now, it's a little bit premature. The Kerchers are still trying to work through the whole verdict and so forth. Hopefully in the long run, they will see that really the truth is Amanda and Raffaele had nothing to do with the death of Meredith.
"As they hopefully get there and are allowed closure with this horrific crime and the loss of their daughter, they'll be able to really recognise that Amanda and Raffaele had nothing to do with it," he added.
While Ms Knox is keeping a low profile with her family at the moment, experts say she could make millions of dollars by selling her story either by writing a book, or by selling the TV or film rights.
Her father said Ms Knox planned to use her experience to help people facing similar plights to hers, although she also wanted to resume her studies - she was in Italy as part of a language course.
"I think at some point down the road, she will be some type of activist for wrongfully convicted people," he said, adding that she "definitely wants to finish her degree through the University of Washington".
UPDATE:08 OCT 2011
TV says Knox claimed sexual harassment in jail
Amanda Knox claimed she was sexually harassed by a prison official in Italy during her four years behind bars, according to a TV program to be aired this weekend.
Knox, who has returned home to Seattle after being acquitted of murder and sexual assault, said the "high-ranking prison administrator" ordered her into his office, alone at night, to talk about sex.
"He was fixated on the topic of sex, with whom I'd done it, how I liked it, if I would like to do it with him," said a letter from Knox, quoted by the "48 Hours Mystery" show which airs Saturday on CBS.
"When I realized that he really wanted to talk to me about sex I would try to change the subject," she added, the program's makers said in a description of the show ahead of broadcast.
Knox, now 24, wrote: "I realize that he was testing me to see if I reacted badly, to understand me personally. He wanted to get a reaction or some information from me. I did not get the seriousness of the situation."
A court in Perugia on Monday freed Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito after acquitting them over the gruesome 2007 killing of British student Meredith Kercher, allegedly after a violent sex game.
Knox, who was dubbed "Foxy Knoxy" by some tabloid newspapers, hopes to return to her studies after settling back at home, although experts say she could make a fortune by selling her story as a book, or in TV or film rights.
It was not clear when the letter cited by the TV show was written, or to which prison official it might refer.
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