Intersex on House MD
I am a huge fan of the TV show House MD. I love the mystery (perhaps it stems from my *former* deep desire to become a doctor) and I’m intrigued by House’s character. The newest episode is about an intersex child. The episode starts with the birth of the child. The doctor tells the parents that their child has genetic mosaicism, in which the body has cells of two genotypes, and that they can choose what gender they want their child to be. The parents are perplexed, but eventually choose their child to be a boy. Cut to present day. The child is around 12 (don’t remember the exact age) and is taken to the hospital when he faints from pelvic pain while playing basketball. He is taken to the hospital and the parents ask the doctors not to tell him about his testosterone supplement since they haven’t told him the truth. As House’s team tries to figure out what is wrong with the boy, we are shown what the parents go through and why they did not tell their child the truth. He tells one of the doctors that he wanted to learn dance, but his mother made him choose basketball. At one point, the doctor tells the mother than they have to stop the testosterone, and the mother says, “…he’ll never grow up to be a man.” The parents are also shown wondering whether they made the right choice. The father often wants to tell him the truth, but the mother thinks it will make him more confused, and that his present confusion stems from the fact that he is a teenager.
Eventually, the kid is told the truth. When a doctor asks whether he feels like a girl, the response is, “I like dancing more than basketball.” Again, it’s highlighting the gender stereotypes that exist even in the minds of children.
I thought it was interesting that a show was trying to portray this issue, but I wish they had spent more time on it and let us deeper into the minds of the the child and the parents to learn more about what they were going through.