The Circleville Herald, July 11, 1934: Sex Change for Youth Turned Down By Parents
ST. CLAIRSVILLE, July 11 — Parents of Glen and John Deltrich, 16 and 17-year-old brothers, who are expected to die within a year because of a strange paralysis which strikes only male members of the family, today refused to allow their sons to become subjects of “sex change” experiments.
The suggestion had been made that the brothers be sterilized and then be inoculated with a serum that would develop female characteristics in the boys and perhaps prolong their lives.
Glen and John, their bodies twisted into contorted shapes, are victims of a mysterious hereditary spinal paralysis that has claimed the lives of seven other members of the Deitrich family in ‘the past three generations.
Because the disease strikes only male members of the family, the “sex change” experiments were suggested. Victims of ‘the malady, in the past, always have died at the age of 18 years.
Many doctors have offered to treat the boys but a clinic of 50 famous surgeons once was unable to determine the cause of the disease nor check it.
I appreciate the suggestions and help of ‘the medical profession regarding my children,” said Mrs. Deitrich, “but now they are about through with their suffering and I will let God handle the matter and net doctors who couldn’t help them in their youth. Particularly am I against sex-change ideas.”
Anyone have any ideas on what this mystery illness was supposed to have been that would be cured by a “sex change”? I mean, I can think of a ton of jokes to make about this, but I’d be interested in learning what they hell these doctors were thinking.
I find it an interesting testament to the patriarchal system of the 1930s that these parents would rather that their boys die than life long lives as women. While I’m guessing that this presumed cure may have just been quackery, that’s not the point. The point is that the parents were given 2 choices: their kids could be male and die or be female and live and they chose to not take the step that would supposedly save the lives of their children because, to them, apparently death was the better option.