Parents: The New Resistance of the 21st Century
By Code Name: Loving Parent
Code names. Secret messages passed in the dark. Covert operations. Hiding from the authorities. Are we talking about 1944 in Europe? Sadly, no: We’re talking about 2021 and our secret resistance is taking place all over the world.
Instead of spies and resistance fighters inside enemy-occupied borders, we are parents of gender questioning children, who are skeptical of the weakly-evidenced, affirmation-only approach currently being pushed by activists and activist-captured organizations (including the Lancet, whose most recent cover insults women and our girls by calling them “bodies with vaginas”).
Rather than codes and secret messages, we pass copies of Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage wrapped in plain brown paper to curious friends. We interact on secret online groups, and write articles and letters using fake names and emails to obscure our true identities due to the very real risk of cancellation and doxing.
All we have to do is look at the appalling and one-sided treatment of J.K. Rowling to know we should stay quiet. We don’t have her clout or money to fight against cancellation. And we parents must be anonymous or pseudonymous, due to unfair accusations of transphobia, or for fear of child services being set upon us, or, worst of all, for the risk of losing our relationship with the people we have borne, raised, and loved since they were in utero or pictures on adoption papers. But we realize it is nevertheless imperative to act. We can no longer do nothing. For there is a bitter war being fought, and at stake are the very hearts, minds, and bodies of our gender-questioning children.
Those on the side of these future adults are the people who care about them most— us, their parents, who hail from every political, religious, and geographic stripe. Those in the enemy camp are activists and those who would profit from our children’s mental distress. Trans people themselves are not the enemy – far from it. Indeed, since they have the real-life experience to know what is really at stake, many of them are welcomed allies in this fight, joining forces with parents.
Those of us in the parent underground have delved deep into the research with a PhD level of interest. We have seen the comprehensive reviews of trans healthcare out of Sweden, Finland, and the UK, and have realized we have been sold a bill of goods by the very organizations that claim to have our children’s best interests at heart, like the Endocrine Society (and here), WPATH, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. We have combed the neuroscience literature and know that brains don’t fully mature until age 25 (and even longer for vulnerable adults).
We parents know our children’s every behavior, tic, and nuance since birth and have confirmed or suspect comorbidities with gender dysphoria like autism, anxiety, eating disorders, and trauma. We wonder if our children might actually be gay, and if homophobic bullying is making them run from their sexuality. We wonder if gender dysphoria is the cause or the effect.
We parents are the Resistance— and even if we get bloodied, bruised, and battered on the battlefield, we’ll pick ourselves up and never stop fighting this war for the best long-term health outcomes of our kids, at least until those kids become full-fledged adults who can truly understand what is at stake: fertility and future children, lifelong sexual pleasure, permanent side effects, experimental surgeries with high failure rates, mental fragility, and much more.
Perhaps some will find the comparison to the Resistance of WWII insulting. But for us parents, it’s very real and very apt. Our kids’ lives and long-term mental and physical health are on the line. And so we fight for their future selves, for who they may become.
Because we know at least some of these kids— and no one can predict which ones — will decide to detransition (or realize they can’t because many of these procedures are irreversible). They will need help picking up the pieces, and you can be sure all the activists will then turn their backs on them and deny their existence.
Only when healthcare for gender-questioning children has been depoliticized, only when neutral and exploratory mental healthcare has been prioritized, only when conversion therapy legislation does not disingenuously conflate ethical exploratory psychotherapy with torture, is conducted fairly by unbiased academics without agendas, only when the related news is reported by journalists in a balanced manner and not influenced by activists, only when detransitioners are recognized and helped instead of vilified, only when legislation reflects reality—only then we will we lay down our weapons and make our peace. Until then, expect a fight.