18-18 Segment 1: Parenting A Transgender Child

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As a parent, how do you come to terms with your child telling you they were born as the wrong gender? Is it your job to counsel them to meet traditional gender norms?

Dr. Michele Angello, a gender specialist, and Alisa Bowman are coauthors of Raising A Transgender Child: A Complete Guide for Parents, Families, and Caregivers. The book was the result of a call for help to the doctor by Bowman, a mother whose own child was constantly struggling to identify with the female gender. Angello explained to Bowman the science behind transgender children.

Contrary to what some believe, there is evidence that gender identity issues are based in biology. While in utero, the fetus is flooded with different amounts of two hormones that impact gender identity. Typically, male children are born with more androgen and female children more estrogen. Although the anatomical gender of a child is determined by the number of chromosomes present, their brains can contain an imbalance of these two hormones.

Therefore, a child can be born anatomically female but identify as male due to an increase in androgen during development. According to Angello, how parents raise their children has no impact on whether or not they identify as a different gender. In fact, the scientific evidence clearly shows a biological explanation for the behavior. Apart from the science, Angello says we need to have open minds instead of basing our views on prejudice and conventional gender roles.

To learn more about transgender children visit the links below or buy a copy of Raising A Transgender Child: A Complete Guide for Parents, Families, and Caregivers at bookstores across the country.

Guests:

  • Dr. Michele Angello, therapist and gender specialist
  • Alisa Bowman, journalist, author, mother

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18-18 Segment 2: The Ethical Implications of Genetic Screenings on Children

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Genetic testing is the new frontier of the healthcare industry. It’s advancement has uncovered new diagnoses, treatments, and ethical implications.

Genetic testing can help doctors identify issues much sooner than with previous technologies. Certain indicators hidden in genetic code can diagnose diseases such as breast cancer. Increasingly, genetic testing is being used to screen for irregularities, and even identify increased odds of mutations occurring in unborn children.

This can place families in the middle of ethical dilemmas. For example, carrier screenings performed before pregnancy can tell parents the likelihood of passing on a fatal genetic disease to a child. If there’s a good chance, is it ethical to try to start a family?

Even though this can be an extremely scary proposition for parents, Rochman asserts that the more knowledge we can gain from this kind of testing the better. Although, she cautions that genetic technology is much further along then our understanding of it.

To learn more use the links below or buy a copy of The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies are Changing the Way We Have kids—and the Kids We Have.

 

Guest:

  • Bonnie Rochman, journalist and author of The Gene Machine: How genetic technologies are changing the way we have kids—and the kids we have

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Culture Crash 18-18: True Crime

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture.  What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Since Truman Capote published his 1966 masterpiece In Cold Blood, America has been fascinated with true crime. Our current version may occasionally take different form: TV shows like The People vs. OJ or docu-series like Making a Murderer have obsessed us in recent years and the Serial podcast took true crime into the digital age… but the idea is the same: to document how crimes have happened, and occasionally, to launch impromptu investigations.

Sometimes, true crime has found rousing success beyond just sales numbers and cultural imprint: The Thin Blue Line, a documentary by Errol Morris was so persuasive that Randall Dale Adams, its subject, was released from prison. Serial shed enough reasonable doubt that the podcast’s focus, Adnan Sayed, is set to receive a new trial. The list goes on…

Most recently has come Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer, a true-crime book that was published posthumously after McNamara died suddenly while writing it. I’ll be Gone in the Dark tells of the grisly crime spree that terrorized California in the 1970s and 80s by a man she dubbed The Golden State Killer, but who had previously been called the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker.

The book was published in February and immediately shot to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list for nonfiction. Last month, HBO announced plans to make it into a documentary series.

But it’s true accomplishment is this: Just 8 weeks after its publication, police arrested the man they believe to be the Golden State Killer. In their announcement of the charges, the police insisted McNamara’s book did not help their investigation… a claim that seems to be tenuous at best if for no reason than the timing. The case had been cold for decades, the investigation began over 40 years ago and suddenly, after receiving attention stemming from a best-selling book, a suspect is apprehended.

Regardless, the glory of catching a suspect isn’t really what McNamara fantasizes about in the book. She wrote emphatically that she wanted the Golden State Killer apprehended for the victims.

True crime, as a genre, can get a bad rep- that it delights in others suffering. But at its true heart, if it is approached with the appropriate reverence, it can help inform people how to protect themselves, inform future investigators what techniques have worked in the past, and maybe just maybe, help bring along some well-deserved justice.
Michelle McNamara’s book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, is available now.

I’m Evan Rook.