Letter to a NY Times Columnist
Sent in December 2022. Not surprisingly, I never received a response.
Mr. Kristof, let me start this email by stating that I am a lifelong Democrat. A center-left one to be sure. An issue of personal importance to my wife and I are the issues swirling around transgender children. We have experienced this first hand with one of our daughters. If you are ever interested in hearing the details behind our journey, we would be happy to share them with you. From the outset, when our daughter first started to speak about gender dysphoria we were immediately told by therapists to affirm her as a boy. No questions asked - "Do you want a dead daughter or a living son?" was how we were told to guide our behavior. It was a shock to us as she had never displayed any dysphoria or any stereotypically boyish behaviors in the past. In fact, her trajectory from feminine presenting and boy crazy to bisexual to lesbian to transgender was completed in a matter of weeks when she was 15 years old. After our initial shock wore off, we began to look into our daughter's personal issues and also the macro-level issue surrounding transgenderism.
When we began to ask questions, we were told we were homophobic. Funny, since my closest sibling is a lesbian and I happily officiated her wedding. Anyway, what we don't understand is the following:
Why do discussions on the issue seem to begin with a conclusion - the child is trans.
It seems to us that an awful lot (a majority?) of these children have pre-existing conditions (i.e. emotional and/or mental). Are many of them on the autism spectrum, having juvenile identity crises?
Why should we not treat the whole child first before rushing into permanent life altering drugs and surgeries? We believe a lot of parents in this situation comply due to ignorance of the procedures involved and the advocacy (coercion) of "medical experts".
Why should the medical profession readily accept children’s self diagnosis without thorough investigation? Does this practice exist for any other physical or mental condition?
Have there really been adequate long-term studies performed on these drugs and procedures before we recommend them so easily? No one would suggest that anorexics be prescribed diet pills in order to conform to their distorted body image, but a child who declares an opposite sex identity is readily affirmed and prescribed puberty blockers or cross-sex synthetic hormones?
Why do people like us, who are really trying to get a deeper understanding of this issue get accused of being homophobic and/or transphobic? We're not trying to deny anyone their "rights". However, I wonder if there isn't a bit of social contagion going on here as well. The proliferation of the numbers seems to indicate something is going on.
There seems to be a dearth of this aspect of the topic being reported in the media. There is a plethora of "affirming" stories out there. Why? We have come across some abominable outcomes from these surgeries and procedures on these children.
I appreciate any thoughts you may have on this topic or would be happy to provide any info regarding our parental experiences/journey.