Just Like Other Girls
This essay was written by a woman who lost her best friend to trans ideology. We make rare exceptions to our policy of publishing only parent and detransitioner pieces and this is one of them, as it is an important reminder of the devastating and personal impact that trans ideology can have on everyone in the trans identifying person’s orbit, including extended family and friends.
I write to you from the lonely generation. A generation that can hardly make eye contact, let alone share their true feelings. A generation conditioned into complacency and silence through years of corporate programming, a toxic food system full of hormone-altering pesticides, and heavy-duty medication. A confused generation, who lack the necessary vocabulary to articulate their lived experiences.
Mia thought she wasn’t “like other girls”. Mia, in fact, was the quintessential normal human girl, full of personality, complexities, specialness, and specifics, who, like all of us, was thrown into a world that seems to prefer machines, stereotypes, and obedient consumers to actual human beings. Mia struggled with anxiety. She tried to embrace her authentic self outside of the television-based narrative. Mia longed for the people around her to reflect the enthusiasm she had for life. She had friends, hobbies, and a voracious mind that was bored easily by shallow interactions. An old-school feminist, Mia also had what she described as a contentious relationship with her mother, and a competitive relationship with her sibling. Mia was a creative individual who longed for depth in a community otherwise programmed for passivity.
We were a generation raised by television. We were a generation taught to stay away from drugs, unless it was prescribed, often in the form of Adderall or a novel SSRI. This left many of our counterparts in states ranging from complete apathetic numbness to bouts of mania. Their doctors never seemed to get the dosage right. Social media only added to the mental distress, making it impossible to escape the watchful eye of the social hierarchy. We found solace in our natural emotions; good and bad, useful and frivolous. Neither of us could engage fully with the media stereotypes of womanhood, so we dreamed of greener pastures.
Trying to Fit In
Mia was adventurous. She went to a school far away with big dreams, away from her tense family relationships and awkward high school experiences. In college, she met new people, but one friend in particular became her anchor. This new friend, Stacy, became a great influence in Mia’s life. I went to visit Mia, and got a chance to meet Stacy in person.
Stacy identified as non-binary, she told me. Stacy looked like a regular punk girl, someone “free from the matrix” who didn’t seek male approval for her existence. Hair is just hair, and clothes are just clothes – I assumed she just liked playing with fashion, or that she was recovering from a trauma, or that she was bisexual. I thought non-binary was just another word for fashion-based androgyny. I had no idea it was a political movement, or that it was causing people to conform to gender stereotypes medically or surgically. I didn’t know the corporate media or bad actors were hijacking girls’ online spaces and telling them to hate themselves or their bodies. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. The internet had replaced the personal diary, putting children’s imaginative play into the public interactive sphere.
The girls were attached at the hip, as girls often do when they move away from home for the first time. Mia told me all about her new life – she had gotten a therapist, who affirmed her sense of confusion in relationship to her family, and had received the ultimate solution to her woes in the form of a pill. She was prescribed an SSRI (Lexapro). Shortly after, she began using online dating apps, and told me her highlights and horror stories. We laughed, we cringed, and all seemed mostly normal. She later talked about Tumblr as another creative outlet she used to express her angst, especially relating to her old relationships. She had left a boyfriend behind in our dusty town before leaving to college. He had displayed acts of aggression against her, which she had not disclosed previously. No wonder she wanted to get away!
We met up half a year later to go on a camping trip. She had cut her hair short, like Stacy’s. It was a good haircut, and I didn’t think much of it. She was wearing punk clothes, like Stacy’s. The whole time we were together, she had her phone out, filming videos or watching them online. There was a screen between us, and she was distant. She asked me to watch one with her; on the other side of that ice-cold glass, that two-way mirror, was an old man, decorated with feminine clothing and glitter. That gaunt figure, a sleuth in girl’s clothes, swung a rainbow boa back and forth, rhythmically serving my friend the impossible promise of a world without pain. I knew social media was full of all kinds of individuals, and didn’t think much of her complete fascination with this attention-seeking influencer.
Halfway through our holiday, she suddenly called another friend, apparently to announce that she was coming out as non-binary. I wondered if she was exploring her sexuality or fashion, and didn’t know what it meant, but I was her friend, and supported whatever new-fangled fad she was exploring. It was a short trip. We didn’t talk about it. We parted ways.
What’s A Pronoun?
I called her half a year later. We didn’t talk much at that point, with both of us being busy for different reasons. She said she wasn’t talking to her family anymore, which was a bit shocking to hear. Wasn’t that a bit drastic? Stacy and Mia were no longer friends – accusations of style-theft broke up the band. She had a new boyfriend, who also identified as non-binary. The relationship was rocky. Her support network had shrunk. She was self-blaming for any abusive behavior she was receiving. I expressed concern. She hung up on me suddenly. I assumed the call had dropped.
She texted me, telling me I had misgendered her. I was lost for words. What does that mean? She demanded an apology. I didn’t see my offense, and we argued for a bit, talking past each other. Why was she being so volatile? I was completely unaware of the internet culture she had adhered herself to, completely blindsided by the language and terms she was using. These ideas, supposedly grassroots but suspiciously coordinated, seemed to appear in small blogging cloisters where girls gathered to express themselves. There was no mainstream coverage at that time. I wasn’t online like she was. The conversation became emotional, confusing. We didn’t follow up.
I know she changed her name. I know she started taking testosterone and sharing updates with online communities about her voice changes. I viewed pieces of her life from those distant vignettes – I was a bystander watching her train leave the station, one little glass window after another.
I can only hope that she is happy wherever she ended up. I will never know for sure.
I am left with these questions:
Why are children medicalized for expressing negative emotions?
Why is there so much abuse/assault against women in modern relationships?
How does pornography addiction or exposure, or hyper-sexualization generally, influence the mental health of girls/women, and men/boys? *including art/anime?
When did we normalize putting children on prescription drugs?
Is a person under the influence of SSRI’s capable of weighing the emotional impacts of important medical decisions?
Do we need to take media addiction (TV, phone, etc.) more seriously?
When did “experts” begin to usurp Parents in family matters?