PITT - not just for parents
Gender ideology is a concern for all
I'm a man, traditionally defined, that is biologically male. I am predominantly heterosexually attracted, but not completely without some same-sex attraction. I suppose I embody the dictionary definition of a bisexual man. Although my exploring has been done, I'm relationship-oriented, and I'm unlikely to pursue a relationship with a man. I'm 57 years old.
In my younger days, I misidentified as gay. I had a childhood history of sexual abuse by a family member, as well as physical and emotional abuse by my parents. I was a classic abused kid - a bed-wetter, often acting out, a smart kid who was hyper and unfocused, a discipline case at school. I was sexually confused as soon as I was aware of any sexual feelings at all. I had no idea who I was.
I ran afoul of my parents as an adolescent for my gender-bending, new-wave fashion sense and for what appeared to be emerging ambiguous sexuality. I left their home shortly after high school after being confronted about it. I fell into a series of sugar-daddy/boy-toy relationships and sporadic street prostitution. I developed a serious alcohol addiction and I'm intimately familiar with a laundry-list of other drugs. I've used plenty of them. I'm in recovery today.
What I'm getting to is that the current trans phenomenon - and "affirming gender care" - are horrifying to me. I hang on every story told by a detransitioner because I absolutely would have been one, had the trans phenomenon been a thing when I was young. My models of masculinity growing up had been utterly dysfunctional. I had actually said, many times, "if that's what a man is, I don't want to be one."
I was affirmed in my adopted gay identity by half of the people around me - condemned for it by the other half. Looking back, I didn't even matter. I was grist for the mill of a cultural brawl between two absolutist ideological camps - homophobes and those who were gung-ho to affirm gayness at any cost, whether it was real or not. Bisexuality wasn't one of the options, and nobody, on any side, ever considered the comorbidities of childhood sexual abuse and mental health issues. Nobody ever asked any real questions about how and what I was feeling - not without an implied agenda.
I'd love to go on, and I will if you'd like. Ask me questions, and I'll answer them. I could address further incidents of exploitation and abuse by people in recovery programs - my first AA sponsor, twice my age, drew me into a predatory sexual relationship - a "13th step" - look it up if you must. Counselors and other helping professionals simply assumed my gayness. This was all in my late teens and early twenties. I attempted suicide at twenty-three.
So, seeing what's happening with trans-identified kids today - the affirmation-only model of care, the role of social contagion, the glitter families, alienation of family members, underlying mental health issues being routinely ignored or denied - it's all, for me, and I imagine for many others, if you'll pardon the terms, triggering and re-traumatizing. That should be deeply disconcerting, but triggers and re-traumatizing don't count when they fly in the face of the dominant gender narrative. Detransitioners get ignored, and so do people like me.
I’m not a parent so it may seem odd that I sent this piece to PITT. But Tomorrow is Gender-Critical Coming-Out Day and I want to share my story. I'll add that I'm a lifelong political progressive, still very gay-friendly. I have the occasional shameless man-crush. I am a man and a Feminist - just not the kind that is fashionable at the moment. I'm not right-wing, nor terribly religious. I did finally get a college degree - SOC/PHI - at forty.
My gender critical position isn't coming from a place of right-wing politics, hate, bigotry, religion, or ignorance. It is coming from a lifetime of experience and a feeling of dread that I escaped the fate many confused youngsters are facing today. I felt I had to write. This isn’t a battle just for parents and I’m happy to join.
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