When Marty was about six, doctors said she was no tomboy. She seemed to fit the diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID), and though dubbing it a disorder whips up a maelstrom of controversy, the basic sentiment is this: not only feeling an intense discomfort with one's biological gender, but also feeling profoundly, compellingly, like the other.
Enrolled in a new school last year as a boy where only the staff knew otherwise, the nine-year-old passed without a hitch in his wardrobe of Nike trainers and T-shirts, paired with a crew cut, boyish build, and aggressive basketball moves at recess. (To keep his secret, the names of the boy and his parents have been changed.) But the days when the only outward markers of gender lie in haircuts, clothes, and personality only last so long. Deep inside Marty's brain, a time bomb known as the hypothalamus waited to stage a hormone-armed mutiny. Breasts would sprout. Hips would widen. The uterus would shed blood on a monthly basis. Marty didn't want any of it.