Beware of Sending Your Smart Kids to College
Here is our story…
In August 2021 we cheerfully prepared for our youngest son to head off to college. His first real time away, just 17 years old, and heading to a great big state university. We bought everything we thought he needed, some things he didn’t, and moved him to his new college and dorm room. We were thrilled for him— crazy brilliant, a bit of a loner, and dead set on studying highly specialized Engineering—college was going to be a great experience for him and we were excited and nervous. We thought: here is his big chance—he’s going to be with his own tribe—the geeky, engineering, goofy, Minecraft-playing, and space-loving kids! Unfortunately, he found, and joined another tribe, one we never anticipated.
Fast forward six weeks, in early October: I was notified of a health center charge incurred two days before his 18th birthday. I questioned him, because he hadn’t mentioned any injuries or illnesses. To my shock, he texted that the charge was for bloodwork because he “figured out he is trans” and is “seeking hormone replacement therapy to become more feminine”. Later that night, during a FaceTime call he told me “He always felt this”, for “as long as he can remember”, and when I reminded him that we love him, his response was that “a lot of parents SAY they love them”. I was devastated, sad, furious, and confused.
I spent the next week in a whirlwind of researching, phone calls, and desperate searches for answers and information. I cried, I drank, and looked everywhere for help. Every Google search resulted in the directive to affirm, affirm, affirm. I felt abandoned and alone. Help was nowhere to be found. His pediatrician of 18 years, while he admitted this never came up during annual exams, offered minimal support and directed me to our local university gender clinic. He also suggested I speak with the head of the local Pediatric Neurology unit of the Children’s Hospital. She had some good info, but also ridiculous ideology. She questioned our family communication skills, targeted our choice of Catholic grade school and high school as likely the reason our son never came forward, and tried to assuage my worry by stating that this process will be slow. Then she said two things – one incensed me and the other brought me to tears. I felt a surge of fury when I asked why the meteoric rise in children suddenly deciding they are transgender and she answered “No – there is no explosion of these kids. We have just learned to honor them.” Then the tears poured out of me when she recommended, I NOT go to my son’s university to talk one-on-one with him: “I would NOT recommend you do that; it is just way too risky!” She made me question my ability as his mom to TALK WITH MY SON! And this after a 20-minute conversation where she has never met my son. But knowing what I know now, it was foreshadowing exactly the type of medical care my son was receiving at the Student Health Center.
Needless to say I got in my car and went to him. We talked, I took notes, and probed and prodded to try to understand what was going on. The more I talked to him, the more I knew there was so much more going on with him…and being more feminine through cross-sex hormones was not the answer. We agreed to keep talking together.
On his third visit to the Student Health Center, the Nurse Practitioner he’d been seeing prescribed estrogen. I was fortunate to have him send me the medical file. It is documented that he has expressed feelings of depression and that his “dysphoria“ came about when he “saw nail polish on his nails and liked it”. His medical records made it so evident that he needed help of some kind, either mental evaluation or even further medical tests...but now he was already several weeks in taking hormones, which he said he was taking because he "just wants to see what it does". The actual physician on record indicated “… there are some concerns with meeting criteria at this time. The first concern is that of untreated depression, which may be made worse with hormone therapy and needs a structured support plan ... more clarity is needed about goals of transition before starting hormones that will cause permanent changes … I would recommend follow up in a couple of weeks to revisit the topic and consider easing into therapy at a mutually comfortable pace.”
The Nurse Practitioner ignored this advice and handed the hormones over to him. She indicated to my son that “she just knows when someone is trans”, an endocrinologist need not be part of the process, a therapist would get in between, and so would any questions from his mom. She willfully ignored exploring family medical histories that are potential risk factors. I could go on and on at the negligence of this alleged medical clinician, whom my son continuously referred to as “Doctor” so-and-so despite her being a Nurse Practitioner, not a doctor, who had been at the Health Center for a year, and whose previous employer was…wait for it…Planned Parenthood.
My son never exhibited any of these behaviors before, but is very stubborn and unwilling to listen to any reasonable discussion about slowing down. We were dealing with a university medical community that had bypassed any mental, physical, or further evaluation of our just 18 yr old son to immediately prescribe life changing and risky hormones at this immature age and after only three appointments. We knew there was so much more to this, and we were the only ones willing to put in the necessary time to truly evaluate and undercover what it might be…and how, if at all, we could help him. In the meantime, we identified weird anime or furry porn he was looking at, the echo chamber of Reddit, some new friends at his college that were bisexual, non-binary, and of course the Pride resources rampant on campuses.
We made the hard decision to decline to continue to pay for his college for second semester. It was a tough choice, but the lesser of two evils. His hormones have run out and we will be discussing with him what we expect, and figure a plan for the future. We were fearful for everything that could happen, but right now he is more like his normal self—a little sullen, but laughing with his brothers, spouting his science stuff like he always does, etc. We aren't letting our guard down, and have no idea what the future will bring for us. We are going to be his therapist unless we are lucky enough to find someone for him.
We are forever grateful to the ROGD support forum for all the resources and help they provide. The PITT Substack stories are insightful and hopeful. The Gender: A Wider Lens Podcasts provide great support and information for us. We hope that there is a tide turning in our country and that our young genius, and so many like him, can come out on the other side with minimal harm. The past five months have done enough harm to our family, our mental state, and our lives. Our world, our society, and our future is at stake.