Bat Mitzvahs and Testosterone: The Danger You May Not See Coming
Warning for parents: My daughter, age 16, was able to obtain gel testosterone on-line from a store in the UK, shipped to the U.S. She used her cash—saved from the bat mitzvah she begged for—to pay for it.
I’m Jewish by heritage, but totally unreligious, and my husband is a lapsed Catholic. Together we decided early on that our children would be raised without religion, although we continued to follow some cultural practices in our family. We celebrate Chanukah and Christmas by playing good music, eating good food, playing fun games, buying presents, and my husband insists on a tree. My son was just fine with that, and always told his friends “I’m Jewish and Catholic and I’m not religious.”
My daughter, on the other hand, really wanted to go to Hebrew School. Some of her cousins went, and some of her friends went, and it looked like fun. She was also curious about it. She begged and begged for two years, until I finally relented. She loved it and excelled at learning to read Hebrew. She even taught me the Alef Bet (Hebrew alphabet). By the time she was 12, she didn’t believe in any of the teachings, but she still enjoyed the experience and decided that she really wanted a big Bat Mitzvah celebration. It seemed like a big waste of money to me. I definitely was not a believer in this type of rite of passage, but she really wanted it and so we went forward with the plans and preparations.
At her Bat Mitzvah, I gave a speech about supporting your child’s passions and letting them lead the way. I talked about my son’s interest in trains, that led to several train trips from New York to Florida, about his coin-collection, and about my daughter’s interests in dance, baseball and softball and, of course, about Hebrew school, followed by the big Bat Mitzvah celebration.
Her Bat Mitzvah took place the summer after she turned 12. Just a few months later, she found out on the internet at a friend’s house that she was “really a boy” and the new nightmare reality began. The real irony is that one of the tenets of Gender Ideology is to follow the child’s lead, just as I had done in agreeing to the Bat Mitzvah in the first place, and in multitudes of train trips with my son.
When my daughter first told me she was “really a boy” in a heart-to-heart initiated by her, both during and right after, I was sure to be supportive. I told her it was fine, and I loved her, and asked what she needed of me. She asked for new clothes (easy), therapy in case it wasn’t true (I later found out she never believed it might not be true, but told me she had doubts just to make sure I sent her to an “affirming” therapist who would assure she would get the medical interventions she wanted—she had done her research on how to get your parents to go along with you.), and a binder.
I bought the new clothes (which I don’t regret), and I bought her a binder (before I realized the health risks). But I quickly did my homework and realized this was nonsense, and dangerous. I never “affirmed” her, never used male pronouns to refer to her, and told her from day one that there would be no medicalization whatsoever until she was a full-grown adult, and then only if she really felt this was the right choice for her, despite the many, many risks and side effects, which, to me, made such a choice a “last resort” for perhaps a desperate few who could not figure out any other way to be happy.
I did send her to a therapist briefly, someone who was not affirming, but unfortunately, that therapist had her own weird agenda so she stopped going pretty quickly (after only 3 or 4 sessions). The pandemic happened, and I was also very concerned about all the affirming therapists out there, so nothing more happened on that front. I did agree to let her use a new name in high school, justifying it to myself as a nickname that anyone could try out, and really just picking my battles. I hoped and hoped the tide would turn in society before she was old enough (at 18) to legally seek out hormones or other medical interventions, and that she would also mature and realize medically altering her body in dangerous ways would not and could not lead to her “authentic self.” Aside from the occasional ugly fights and moodiness, the lack of ability to enjoy the beach, a prior favorite, due to binding and wearing heavy clothes to cover her shape, things seemed to be moving along okay.
Then, just a few weeks ago, I started to hear something funny in her voice, and noticed uncharacteristic acne, which she was not otherwise prone to. Her leg hair seemed to be heavier and, I wasn’t sure, but I thought I spotted a faint mustache. I also hadn’t noticed the telltale signs that she was having her period either… so I went to empty the bathroom garbage with that thought in mind. There I noticed things wrapped in toilet paper that didn’t look like pads. I opened one up, and dropped the garbage can. It was like one of those slow motion scenes in a movie, where you just stare in stunned disbelief. I read the word “TESTOSTERONE” on the package. Those of you reading this probably can imagine the horror I felt, knowing my suspicions were real. I so hoped I had been imagining things, but there it was, staring me in the face. My daughter had been taking synthetic testosterone gel behind my back.
When we confronted her, she at first said she would never stop, but I don’t think she really meant it. I think she was expecting and hoping we would discover what she had been up to—but only because she thought we would then take her to a doctor, to get her a prescription. We did not. We did agree to get her therapy, and we are now trying out someone in the hopes this person can get to the root of her hatred of her female body. I am proceeding very cautiously, and awaiting an answer from the therapist about her stance on “gender affirming” care.
My daughter told us how she obtained the testosterone, and this is why I am writing this essay—to warn parents of this possibility. Your underage child can obtain synthetic hormones over the internet, and can do it quite easily. My daughter did the following: She used the cash from her Bat Mitzvah to buy a gift card to pay for the drugs on-line. She had the box delivered to a “friend's" home (the friend is herself a "they," was suicidal long before "coming out" as "non-binary," and thought she was truly doing my daughter a favor by helping her obtain non-prescribed testosterone over the internet).
The friend's parents claim they had no idea. I’m not sure, although I will say that even my daughter thought it was pretty insane that “their” parents are considering getting their 16-year-old a double mastectomy because she is unhappy with her breasts. These parents used my daughter’s fake name in emails with me, after I told them what had happened. They also used “they” pronouns to describe their daughter, who was not reading the emails. The mother had previously indicated to me that she believes wholeheartedly in trans kids, and that she knew one who transitioned at about age 7, who, she assured me, is truly trans. Although they assured me that their daughter would not accept new packages of testosterone for my daughter, they also made sure to tell me that their daughter looked at the packaging of the testosterone and it looked "just like the packaging many of their child's friends use." They followed up with “of course, they know that doesn’t make it right.” All told, they made it pretty clear they don’t think this was a bad outcome, but that they also realized they could get into a lot of trouble for supporting the illegal dispensing of testosterone to a minor.
There will always be people willing to help your child obtain illegal synthetic hormones, binders (some companies give them out for free to children whose parents won’t “affirm” them), and other dangerous items, in the name of Gender Ideology. My daughter took the testosterone gel for 98 days before I discovered it. I threw out the rest—I hope. This stuff is out there, and there are so many people willing to help your confused teenager obtain it. If I had only known that the big Bat Mitzvah celebration I gave my daughter in the name of being loving and supportive would lead to her having money to spend on poisonous testosterone, I would never have done it!