Discover more from Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT)
Outside influences: how our spirited daughter boarded the trans train
Our daughter was unique and spirited from birth. As a young child she was imaginative, highly intelligent. She loved learning about new things and developing theories about how the world around her worked. She also was extremely girly and loved dressing up, makeup, posing for photographs, and dancing. She never met a stranger and would carry on long conversations with anyone willing to listen to her.
Adults were captivated by her intelligence and ability to carry on a conversation about nearly any subject matter. She was a voracious reader, having read the entire Harry Potter Series in second grade. She had strong opinions about fairness and right and wrong. While she could relate to adults rather well, she would somewhat regularly get into disagreements with kids her own age over things that she considered wrong or unfair. She could be rather rigid in her thinking, but for the most part, still had a number of good friends through elementary school.
Much of this changed in middle school. There appeared to be more disagreements with friends in 6th grade and she seemed to start to having trouble fitting in. She became much more quiet, declared she was an introvert, and didn’t share her thoughts with us like she had just a year earlier. In 7th grade she told us she was pansexual as she learned more about sexuality and gender. Since she was just 12 years old and knowing that she knew little about real sexual attraction, and that sexuality tends to be more fluid in young females, we encouraged her not to label herself. She also had been very involved in our church and had previously believed in the traditional view of marriage. We reminded her of the churches beliefs on marriage. Soon she started telling us she no longer believed in God and had decided she was an atheist.
During the summer between 7th and 8th grade she had a lot of unfettered access to the internet. She spent hours on YouTube. One of her close friends came out as nonbinary and we started seeing evidence in her writing and drawings that she was becoming more interested in gender issues. At the beginning of 8th grade her and her female friends became obsessed with the KPop group, BTS. We found that they believed they were actually talking to members of the group and that they had made plans to meet with people who they believed were band members. Multiple girls in her friend group were now identifying as transgender or nonbinary. We confronted her saying we were going to only support her as a girl. She got very angry with us and would not discuss anything with us regarding gender after this point.
We started researching gender and found affirmative advocates that pushed the idea that she would commit suicide if we didn’t affirm her gender identity. We wanted a connection with her and were scared she would attempt suicide, so we apologized and told her we would support her to the best of our ability. She soon told us that she was nonbinary instead of trans.
Later in 8th grade she had a falling out with her friend group and lost all of her friends. She also developed a crush on a girl in her grade, but got turned down when she told the girl she liked her. Being a precocious child and an excellent artist, she decided to apply to a specialty high school. It is a school for art and technology and has a rigorous application process. Given her history, we were concerned that if she went to the school she would encounter gender affirming teachers and administrators, but we also knew that there would be a lot of students and teachers like her, and that she would feel accepted and get an excellent education. Believing that finding her tribe was important, we encouraged her to apply to the school and hoped that as she matured she would outgrow her gender confusion. She was one of two students from her middle school who were accepted to this prestigious high school. We were elated for her but, at the same time, anxious about the potentially affirming environment.
In 9th grade she made friends pretty quickly and it became obvious that many of her 100 member class identified as transgender or nonbinary. She developed a romantic relationship with another natal female that identified as trans, but that relationship ended quickly. By the winter of her freshman year, she was identifying as a gay transboy, had claimed a new name and was using he/him pronouns.
A few short months later the pandemic hit and she was home doing virtual school for the next year and a half. We have slowly seen an improvement in our relationship as we have worked hard to reconnect with her, but three years into this journey and she is still identifying as trans. Recently she asked us to allow her to start testosterone. She had completely rewritten her childhood claiming she always knew she was a boy but that she felt pressure from us to conform as a girl. It was clear during that conversation that she had been coached online regarding what things to say in order to make us think she had always been this way, so that we might consent to medicalization. She continues to tell us that she is going to transition medically when she turns 18 and that she thinks her anxiety will improve once she starts T. At one point during another conversation she told me that when she turns 18 she will move out and never talk to me again. She cries and uses emotional blackmail to try to get her way. We haven’t caved and pray that she doesn’t actually do these things when she is old enough. We sometimes see glimpses of who she used to be and hope that she’ll come back to us little by little.
Besides her school we have run into two other authorities in her life that have undermined our parental authority and connection. We suspect that she has high functioning autism. We took her to a psychologist that we thought was safe to get a diagnosis. He told us she is likely on the spectrum but never formally diagnosed her. When we tried to push him on this he said needed to do a psychological evaluation on her. He did that, and despite the fact that there were multiple questions she never answered, he said she wasn’t depressed, anxious or suicidal. He told me that she just needed to learn how to live as a nonbinary person despite never digging into any of these issues for more than an hour. In recent months we have found a non-affirming therapist that suspects she has generalized anxiety disorder. The other issue we have recently ran into is that our Governor and state legislature have passed laws and guidance that require schools to allow students to use whatever name, pronoun, bathrooms and locker rooms they prefer without any documentation or notifying their parents. They have also been encouraged to actively hide a trans identification from parents if the parents don’t appear to affirm.
We have gone back and forth in regards to using preferred pronouns and name. When we first started researching we found the information about suicide and tried to follow her lead, but the more we have checked into real research, the more we are convinced we should stand our ground and not affirm. We now use a nickname that is more gender neutral and the name she first requested when she thought she was nonbinary. We mostly try to avoid pronouns, but if forced, we use she/her. She seems sad if we deadname her or call her she. But, even when we were using her desired name and pronouns she didn’t seem any happier.
We are still hopeful that the lies that are being told to our child and to the world in general will come to light soon. There is still time for our daughter to wake up to this cult that she is in. We, like so many other parents just hope it happens before she irreversibly damages herself.