Forks in the Road
Early this morning I lay awake in bed thinking of the forks in the road during my daughter’s childhood.
She is nearing 16 and has been trans-identified for over 2 years now, starting with middle school peer group influence, and the customary deep-dive into internet/social media/anime during Covid. While she has shown some signs of desistance recently, she has also told me that she’s committed to her daily chest binding and plans to have a double mastectomy at age 18.
I reflect on the decision I made to send her to public school instead of a small parochial school when she was diagnosed with ADHD. Could that fork in the road have propelled her in a different direction? Instead, she was in a public school that placed 5th graders in middle school, where she was exposed to older kids and older kids’ ideas.
In 6th grade, we moved her to a smaller private school, but one with a more liberal culture. Already in 6th grade, her peer group was discussing their different sexual orientations and/or gender identities. That year she told me, “It’s okay, Mom, I’m a girl”. Had I known the continued influence and insidious nature of gender ideology on the internet and in her peer group would lead her to believe otherwise a year later, I would have made different decisions. Was this comment another fork in the road, where I could have somehow taken action to shield my daughter from this ideology?
By the next year my daughter was identifying as “non-binary” with they/them pronouns. Then a few short months later, she was “trans” with he/they pronouns. Today, she has settled on “non-binary”, sporting pins proclaiming“He/They”.
I go by a shortened version of my daughter’s legal name to keep the peace, and I typically just avoid using pronouns around her. I have never actually affirmed my neurodivergent, intelligent, and artistic daughter’s transgender identity. Like most gender critical parents at some point, I have argued with her against it. This has basically gotten me nowhere. The big lie of gender ideology is something she will have to eventually realize herself.
I continue to support her in all other areas of her life and love her with my whole being. I have told her that I will always love and accept her no matter what, but that I do not believe in gender ideology. Furthermore, I know it isn’t her truth. It’s like agreeing with an Anorexic who thinks they are “fat”; it is a lie and a delusion, a maladaptive coping mechanism that will ultimately cause more pain, damage, and regret. Kindness and inclusivity have no relevance to gender ideology.
Her mental health has suffered throughout this period of trans identification. The first therapist I brought her to due to her severe depression, low self-esteem, and self-harm behaviors, was instantly affirming: “A lot of these kids commit suicide, otherwise”, she told me.
We are approaching another fork in the road. My daughter is going to leave her small private school after this, her sophomore year, and enroll in our public high school to take classes at a local community college. A couple of her friends will still be there, others will have moved on. They are nice friends, although they do affirm her identity. Overall, the school has been a good fit for her. It has been a supportive environment which has made accommodations for her ADHD, and she has received the personal attention that she needs to succeed academically. One might say removing her from this environment is foolish… to just have her finish high school there, even though she has proclaimed herself that she ready to move on.
If I don’t take this opportunity for a potential trajectory change, what do I do in two years when she graduates, when potentially nothing will have changed regarding her “identity”? Should I then send my daughter off to a 4-year college campus, when she is 18, and of age for medicalization? The first piece of advice I received when I reached out for support as an ROGD parent was to not send your child off to a 4- year college campus. Colleges, I was told, act as a “catching mitt” for your gender-confused child. I wholeheartedly believe this and have witnessed it happen to other kids. After all, gender ideology started on college campuses; they are literally ground zero for the gender cult.
So here I am, at another fork in the road, hoping and praying that I am helping my daughter make the best choice for her future. I am trying to guide her on a trajectory where she will have a happy and successful future as an adult. I want her to accept her female body and understand that emotional pain cannot be fixed surgically. I want her to have new experiences that will change her perspective on herself, and on life. I hope she will abandon the lies she has been fed before she makes choices she will regret in the future. I can only hope and pray that I am guiding her on the right course. That I help her choose the right fork, if such a thing even exists. I can’t see where this road goes, but I have to keep moving, to act. I must do whatever I can right now to save my daughter. I have to try, even if it’s just another decision that goes awry—another mistaken fork that keeps me up at night.