A Cocktail Hour Ruined
Not too long ago I wrote this essay for PITT to address a social dilemma I was experiencing—how to respond when people inquire about my trans-identifying daughter. Now I find I have a slightly different, but related, social conundrum—how to interact with parents who have transitioned their kids.
This evening I attended a social gathering for an organization I volunteer with. There were about 25 people present. Two of them have transitioned their daughters. Two! Counting me that means over 10% of the people there are dealing with gender ideology. And those are the ones I knew about. There could have been other parents there who are also going through this, unbeknownst to me.
But this shared experience did not make for congenial cocktail conversation. The two other moms of trans-identified daughters (MTIDs?) are affirming. One of them I’ve known since our daughters played field hockey together in high school, so about 10 years. Her daughter started transitioning when she was 17 years old. Her family is fully on board. The last time I saw this girl, she was about 5’ 2” tall and maybe 100 pounds. She’s on T now. I can’t imagine what she looks like as a faux man. I don’t know if she’s had surgery. Honestly, I don’t want to think about it.
The other woman at the social gathering is a passing acquaintance. Her 19 year old daughter just had a double mastectomy. She told me that her daughter really looks like a boy now and assured me that she is very happy.
Both separately asked me about my daughter. Both used the male name she has adopted. My response was along the lines of “She is doing well. She’s working through some issues but she’s becoming more in touch with reality. We are optimistic about her future. Thank you for asking.”
Thank goodness, the three of us did not interact. I beat it out of there as soon as I could. I don’t know how to deal with these women. For them, I feel both pity and anger.
Pity because these parents have consented to the irrevocable harm of their children. And because that is unconscionable, they will be the hold outs. These parents can never admit they were wrong to transition their daughters, even when the U.S. inevitably moves away from the affirmation model, as many European countries already have. To do so would be to realize that they have sterilized their own children. How could a parent live with that? No, they will never see the fallacy of this ideology.
For an eloquent exegesis on this see the last 10 minutes of Peter Boghossian’s interview with Helen Joyce.
Anger because, with their support of the affirmation model without any evidence of its efficacy, these parents make it harder for those of us who refuse to affirm, who refuse to lie to our children, to hold the line. My daughter has said to me that all her friends’ parents have consented to the demands of their trans-identified kids so why can’t I? Why? Because it’s my responsibility as a parent to do what is best for my child. Consigning her to a lifetime of medication with debilitation side effects, and cheerfully approving of surgery to remove healthy body parts, and a path to her infertility is something I can just never do.
I cannot understand these women. I know I am wrong to judge them. I don’t know what their daughters and families have been through. I wish I could just not care about their choices. But I can’t help think that, if you are a parent, no matter how successful you are in every other aspect of life, if you have not fulfilled your duty as a parent, you have failed. And I can’t imagine a worse failure (short of abuse) then to lie to your child, to tell them they can change sexes, to allow (encourage?) them to do irreparable harm to their bodies and then to expect the rest of us to go along with it.
These thoughts aren’t conducive to a light-hearted happy hour, which I was hoping to enjoy. How prevalent is this insanity that I can’t have a drink with friends without being smacked in the face with it? And when will it end? I don’t know but I know it will. The tide is already turning.