In The Dark
My daughter phoned me a couple of weeks ago. She sounded almost like her old self.
‘Have you seen what’s happening at Mermaids?’ she said.
I had. There was a chink of light. Could a bit of sanity be shed on that mad enterprise?
The head of Mermaids had resigned and it looked as if the whole shambolic caboodle could be up for investigation.
‘That’s great,’ I said. ‘It will all be all right. The whole thing will be torn apart. It simply can’t last. It’s too mad. It’s too unnatural.’
I was referring not only to the vile organization that was Mermaids, intent on destroying the lives of children, but also to the entire weird philosophy of ‘trans’ that had taken hold and was choking the life out of us. I had been repeating to my daughter for a long time, maybe a couple of years or even more, that the madness couldn’t last, the bubble would burst, the truth would be out and the prosecutions and investigations would begin.
She, though, could not afford to be so laissez-faire. She was in the thick of it. Her daughter, my darling granddaughter, was thirteen when the mad cult took hold of schools, therapists, clinics, doctors, friends, neighbors, family members, and scooped up any uncertain and hesitant individual as it swept through society. My pubescent granddaughter was a prime target and my daughter was distraught.
She was on her own. Separated from her daughter’s father, she was reasonably confident that he would not be pressuring their daughter into making radical changes to her still-childlike body. But other members of the family could not be fully counted on. It was as if they could be swayed by any random factor or plea. The ground we walked on was unstable.
I was the only one my daughter could be sure would support her and her daughter through thick and thin. To me it was absolutely obvious that the cult for ‘trans’ was negative, disturbing, perverse, sick, soulless, unnatural, dangerous and, quite frankly, mad.
‘It can’t last,’ I kept saying. ‘Nothing that mad can last for long.’
And I compared it to the Nazis and other dangerous cults with horrendous beliefs that seemed to come from nowhere and took over entire populations so people no longer seemed able to think for themselves. True, the Nazis didn’t last. But they did last long enough to wreak havoc and destruction and cause untold suffering to millions.
I had been born just after the second World War, when London was a bomb site where we children played in the rubble. I had asked my parents questions about the war. My father had said that, even in the darkest of times, he had held to the belief that the Good would win out.
It was all very well for me to stand back and philosophize. My daughter, though, felt as if she was in the front line. She had followed the ‘trans’ issue closely, horrified by the attacks made on women like JK Rowling for simply saying that women were women. She had looked carefully at Mermaids and at Stonewall and was up to date on the measures that girls were prepared to take to fit in with the trend. She knew about puberty blockers and her dreams were disturbed by images of knives chopping off breasts. She knew, too, about the big money behind this weird cult and the lengths to which surgeons, doctors and pharmaceutical companies would go.
She had watched her daughter try to conceal her budding breasts—we all had done that at that age, embarrassed and confused by the changes in our bodies. But my generation had only worn ‘sloppy joes’ (enormous baggy jumpers) and hunched our shoulders. It was my daughter’s generation that had first displayed the effects of anorexia and bulimia. And now my granddaughter was sending off for binders—and was receiving them in anonymous envelopes in the post, no questions asked.
My daughter’s anxiety was made a hundred times worse by the fact she didn’t know what to do. If she tackled her daughter, would that alienate her and make it more likely that her daughter would not listen to her advice? If she didn’t challenge her, her daughter would wear the binders and the health consequences could be dire. Would she be sending secretly for puberty blockers? Would she be planning for surgery? And raising money for it?
Stories were in the air of girls and boys who had rejected their parents and gone alone into the hell of gender surgery. Children and young people were being advised to reject their parents if they objected to the trans ideology. Teachers were being instructed to ‘affirm’ any child claiming to have been ‘born in the wrong body’ and to be ‘really’ of the opposite sex. Parents were being forced out of the discussion. Mothers were being denied their role as mothers—as supports, comforters, advisers and confidantes for their pre-pubescent and pubescent children.
My daughter’s daughter was caught up in it all.
I was a three hour drive away and the Covid restrictions had made visits almost impossible. But I spoke to my daughter every day, sometimes several times.
What should she do? Should she intercept the binders in the post? Should she destroy them? Should she write letters of complaint to the manufacturers? Should she speak to the school? Should she find a therapist?
Without any of the other things going on - Covid, Lockdown, Trans Ideology and Cults trying to subvert her daughter and taking over the structures of society - without all that, there was puberty, a highly sensitive and crucial time when children need to be given space while also being held and cared for. A time when emotions are high and sometimes uncontrolled, when huge changes are happening, both physical and emotional, a time when stability and security are essential. A time when mothers have to tread carefully and sensitively and choose their time to speak.
It is a cliché to talk of a perfect storm but, if ever there was one, this was it. Covid had taken hold and the Government had ordered lock-downs. Old people were being abandoned in care homes, families were split apart and, perhaps even more disastrously, children could no longer go to school. My granddaughter was on her own every day. She stayed in her room with her curtains drawn, up most of the night and asleep most of the day. Her only company was the Internet.
My daughter went on running the house and cooking her daughter the meals she liked. She tried to get her some online education and tried too to get her therapy.
She knew her daughter was getting fixated on being ‘trans’ but didn’t know how far it had gone. She was not permitted to know what went on at school, whether her daughter had chosen new pronouns or had given herself a new name. She was in the dark. There was nowhere to turn. It was like a scary movie, perhaps Rosemary’s Baby. No one could be trusted and people who should have been safeguarding her daughter, like therapists and teachers, had become instead the opposite, a danger to her daughter.
‘It will be all right,’ I kept saying but by now I had got onto Twitter and Facebook and was learning new words like ‘terf’ and new concepts like ‘transphobia’ and ‘self-identify’ and I could see that this cult that appeared to be only about a few people wanting to change sex was in reality a lot more than that. Whatever else it did and whatever else it was, it was clear that it was bad for women and very bad for children.
If it could rampage so easily through society taking over our institutions and values, then society must have been ready for it. In some way, we must have been preparing for it. The ground had been laid.
When my daughter phoned yesterday, she told me about her daughter.
‘She’s saying she wants to have children,’ she said. ‘And she’s been nicking my eye-liner.’
‘And what about the binders?’ I asked.
‘She hasn’t worn them for some time now,’ my daughter said.
‘There,’ I said, ‘she’ll be fine. No need to worry any more.’
‘It would be nice to believe that,’ my daughter said, ‘but the threats are still huge. It’s one step forward, two back. We can never relax.’