A Small Sigh of Relief?
I finally took a breath…but only a small one.
It’s been two very long years since my son began identifying as “trans”—two years of me living in fear that my child would choose to medically harm himself in the name of an identity. But finally, after two years of me loving him unconditionally, but never “affirming” him, my son has told me that he no longer feels that way, that he is male and straight, not a transgender lesbian, as he had believed himself to be. For all the worry and angst this has caused me, the stress, the unceasing anxiety, I would have thought that the day of his revised announcement would be the best day of my life. But, now that I am here, it doesn’t feel as good as I imagined—because I fear it’s not over. As long as the delusion of trans grips our society, I will have to worry that my son will be unable to truly break free from the claws of the trans religion.
My son told me that he is not trans in a heart-to-heart conversation between just the two of us, mother and son. I think a large part of his realization stemmed from the end of a relationship with a girlfriend who had been his biggest trans cheerleader. Once they were no longer together, he had the space to find out who he really was. And, apparently, his true self is not trans. I knew this all along, but some things teens have to figure out for themselves.
However, he has not “come out” to his friends or school as no-longer-trans. He still goes by the girl name he gave himself while immersed in the escapist teenage trans fantasy. These lingering ties to the identity he says he’s ready to shed concern me. I can guess why he clings to trans—it must be extraordinarily difficult to admit he was wrong about his identity. How can he do that, and save face with his friends? My son is just plain lonely. He is on the outskirts of his friend group in high school and wants to fit in, but doesn’t know how. He needs a good friend but, if he doesn’t find one, will that loneliness pull him back in?
The new name has always been especially painful to me, plucked, as it was, from thin air. My husband and I spent nine months thinking about his name; we knew early on that we were having a boy. We wanted a Celtic name to reflect our shared heritage, with two syllables so it would have a nice flow with his last name and, eventually, we narrowed down the list to four, two syllable names. On the day I gave birth, it was time to choose. As we read the finalist names to my newborn son, when we said the special name that would be his own, he cooed. It was a sign and he was right, the name that he chose suited him to perfection.
This new name, on the other hand, has never fit. It is a name with ethnic/religious connotations that I know for sure he is ignorant of, being the teenager that he is. That stupid new name—is it his way of keeping one foot in and one foot out of this decaying trans identity? I’m sad that my son still does not have the confidence to be fully himself, to be what he was born, and embrace it—although I understand that it may be too much to expect that level of self-assurance and confidence from a kid his age, especially one whose social awkwardness set him on the trans path to begin with.
Apart from the name, he says that, even though he is straight, he wants to be considered queer, so he can still be a part of the LGBTQ community. He just can’t seem to let that final bit go, even though membership in this “community” hasn’t served him at all. He will be going to college next year. Will he fail to find a new crowd and feel obligated to fall back into trans belief ideology by joining in with that LGBTQ crowd? Will he be like an ex-addict hanging out with addicts thinking he won’t get addicted again? We all know how that story ends.
I discussed with my son that he could be any kind of male— that stereotypical manliness wasn’t the only path, that there were other examples, like David Bowie, who paved the path for gender stereotype rejectors. Or metrosexual guys who are often very appealing to women. Or like his dad—a very kind man who is fully involved with raising our son, and who in no way models toxic masculinity. I think my son is starting to get it. He wants to reinvent himself in a new, fresh, role. He wants to find a style that’s all his own. But, I see the struggle still, as he tries to wrap his head around this new way of thinking, after spending so much time and energy rejecting his true self.
I am able to take a breath now, finally. But, it’s a shallow, uncertain breath. He is 8 years away from his brain being mature enough to make good decisions. Until then, I will sleep with one eye open, and wait for that deep sigh of relief that hopefully awaits me.