My story about my daughter
A year ago, during the pandemic lockdowns, I started noticing changes in my daughter's dress. (She was 11 at the time.) She went from a girl who liked to wear dresses to wearing all black. She cut her hair extremely short, even though she had always worn it long in the past. She would only wear sports bras and slouched considerably to hide her developing body. One day, I even noticed her trying to change her walk and how she swung her arms.
Then, one day, I walked in on her and asked to see what she was looking at online. She was on TikTok and YouTube viewing trans influencers (without my permission). She looked up at me with tears and terror in her eyes. I was terrified, too.
I am educated with a Masters degree. Before all this happened, I was on the left side of politics. I continue to think that there is a very tiny percent of the population that genuinely struggles with gender. But what was happening to my daughter seemed different, starting out of the blue, during a time of high anxiety and forced isolation. She was lonely. She was noticeably unhappy.
I talked to her English teacher. I learned that, because of Covid, she was forced into a learning pod at school of only eight kids. In her pod, many of the kids were looking into the LGBT+ community and multiple were identifying as trans. I learned that my daughter had used the pronouns 'they/them' on one school assignment, and she had even decided on another name. With the new kids in her pod, she would use both her given name and chosen name. I was distraught to hear all this, and I felt helpless—I had been left out of all of this.
I quickly locked down the internet and, letting her know the reasons why I felt I had to do this, I began monitoring her digital interactions. I had her read articles with me about how dangerous TikTok is. My kids started attending the Youth Group associated with my faith.
It has been a year, and my daughter has desisted. (I hold my breath.)
She has new friends now. She smiles more now. She wears different clothes and listens to different music. I have not seen any mention of 'they/them' pronouns or the use of the other name. At the last parent-teacher conference, her teachers confirmed that she has a different social group at school and that the pods were a disaster for many students.
I am still unsettled, though. This issue sits heavy in my heart. I am ready to share my story to whom ever will listen and stand up to this trend.