Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak happily updated her three-year-old “Transgender at Five" front-page story, three years later. The headline was “Transgender at 8: Tyler remains certain he’s a boy as the world changes around him.”
Dvorak said when she first touted “Tyler,” it “was before Caitlyn Jenner landed on the cover of Vanity Fair. Before Laverne Cox became a star for her portrayal of a transgender inmate on Orange Is the New Black. Before the White House hired an openly transgender staffer.”
It sounded a bit self-congratulatory, like Dvorak was ahead of the curve on compassion:
Tyler’s story challenged and inspired readers.
And in some ways, the world has changed dramatically since Jean, Tyler’s mom, found just one book to help learn about her transgender child.
“It feels like we were living in a completely different world three years ago,” she said.
The column began with testing to see how Kathryn (“Tyler”) was developing:
Tyler is transgender.
And if the X-rays on his hands showed specific bone growth and mineral density, if the blood tests showed that the estrogen levels in his bloodstream were changing, if the soft tissue on his chest was growing, it would be time for the medical part of becoming Tyler.
He and his parents would have to decide whether to visit the doctor monthly for shots or use a surgical implant to inject drugs to stop puberty and keep his body from looking like that of a young woman.
“The implant. Definitely the implant,” the third-grader told the doctor.
And Tyler is certain about one other thing: “I’m a boy,” he says....
And frankly, he doesn’t really want to talk about it anymore with you. Or me. Or anyone else in the binary-gender world.
This time, there were no photos. The eight-year-old transgender is going to school with children who think she’s a boy, so there’s no need to be quite that activist in the “binary-gender world.”