Many parents and clinicians now reject corrective therapy, making this the first generation to allow boys to openly play and dress (to varying degrees) in ways previously restricted to girls to exist in what one psychologist called that middle space between traditional boyhood and traditional girlhood.
These parents have drawn courage from a burgeoning Internet community of like-minded folk whose sons identify as boys but wear tiaras and tote unicorn backpacks. Even transgender people preserve the traditional binary gender division: born in one and belonging in the other. But the parents of boys in that middle space argue that gender is a spectrum rather than two opposing categories, neither of which any real man or woman precisely fits.
There have always been people who defy gender norms. Late-19th century medical literature described female inverts as appallingly straightforward, with a dislike and sometimes incapacity for needlework and an inclination and taste for the sciences; male inverts were entirely averse to outdoor games.
By the mid-20th century, doctors were trying corrective therapy to extinguish atypical gender behaviors. The goal was preventing children from becoming gay or transgender, a term for those who feel they were born in the wrong body.