I am a teacher and my daughter goes to school in my district. Two and a half years ago, right before the pandemic, my daughter, then 13 years old, told me she thought she was trans. She said she had studied me for a long time before deciding she could trust me with this information and then swore me to secrecy. I didn’t overreact, and worked to radiate my unconditional love but, meanwhile, part of me sank into dread.
Instinctively, I knew I was in for the long haul, that conversations would be guarded and I was now playing a game of chess. Over the next few months, our few gender conversations led me to say “you are being lied to on the internet”, “we don’t make decisions based on our feelings” and that “what you and your friends are into is dangerous”. Each of these statements was met with the slamming of doors. I said no to her request for hormones and surgery with the practical “we can’t afford it and not on my insurance” while, behind the scenes, I searched for information and help. I got lost in the rabbit holes on the internet before I could sort out the truth and find the “adults” in the room. It was overwhelming. I read and listened to so many great stories from around the world in the last 2+ years, at least two a day. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It seemed like there was an enormous group of adults indoctrinating the children, while at same time taking advantage of other adults who are just trying to be kind. To these indoctrinating adults I say: Please don’t.
I am a Christian, and my faith is an important facet of my life. At the time of her pronouncement, my child had already been seeing a Christian psychologist for years for other problems (which I now realize are related), including anxiety, depression, and ADHD. I started seeing a Christian therapist myself shortly after her trans announcement. At that time I didn’t realize how rare it was to find the right people who wouldn’t bully us into affirmation only, and how lucky I was to find help. For the sake of other parents who were not as lucky as me, to these affirming therapists I say: Please don’t.
I am a teacher and an adult. Part of that means taking responsibility for my influence over a group of people, especially teenagers. I am acutely aware of the power dynamic involved in an adult/teen conversation—something that many of my well-meaning liberal colleagues haven’t realized yet. If I can’t preach Jesus in my classroom, why can you preach pronouns? Because you want to show students unconditional acceptance? That is exactly what Jesus is all about. Because of their safety? It is not safe to lie to children. To these teachers taking advantage of their positions to preach their gender religion in the name of kindness I say: Please don’t.
I stay curious and ask questions for the sake of keeping the lanes of communication open with my daughter. I say “something is going on in the world because growing numbers don’t lie”. I bought Abigail Shrier’s book and directed my daughter to Pique Resilience Project. My daughter showed me a YouTube video where trans man Sam Collins said the book was transphobic. My daughter said there is a part of her that knows she will always be female, and I told her parts of trans man upperhand Mars’ story, who believes biological sex matters. To those who resort to cries of “transphobe” rather than engage in cogent debate I say: Please don’t.
I told my daughter: You have a great brain and you will figure this out. I told her she is so much more than gender. She told me that when her friends call her “Max” at school, she feels like her true authentic self. Hmm, where have I heard that before? I make sure she spends time around people who still call her her real name, including all of our family. Then there are two of her friend’s moms who use male pronouns for their child and mine. To those other moms that think you are being helpful by using the male names I say: Please don’t.
At the beginning of the school year, I asked my daughter, “Please don’t ask adults to use he/him pronouns with you”. I avoid it in my own classroom. My school pronouns are you/me because everything else means I am talking about you, not to you. I had a meeting with her teachers to ask that they please not use male pronouns with my daughter and I explained why—opposite sex pronoun usage is a powerful psychosocial intervention for children that teachers are not licensed to give. I only got pushback from two teachers, including a millennial-age science teacher who believes that people can be born in the wrong body. It is easy to love my trans students in class and just avoid pronouns. I avoid them at home and it is easy to love my kid. Children tend to believe the adults in their life that they admire, including their teachers. When these respected adults tell my daughter, “yes, you are a boy” this is very harmful. To those teachers that think they are being kind by asking for preferred pronouns I say: Please don’t.
I want to speak with my school board before gender ideology comes to our district full force. I am afraid of being targeted, bringing trouble to my district and then possibly getting fired. Most importantly, I am afraid of damaging the relationship I now have with my daughter. It is a true blessing from God and I wonder if we would have gotten here any other way. While I pray that my own daughter comes around, there has to be something I can do, on a bigger scale. I want to get information to the parents of my child’s friend group—at the very least they should know about Genspect and PITT, who are speaking up for the parents who are not going along with gender ideology. I know God will use me at the right time to speak out but for now I am just building my story and waiting to help.
For everyone in this fight, when you get discouraged and tired, look at how far it has come since Susan Evans raised the alarm, Keira Bell bravely took a legal stand—Tavistock the British clinic that permanently harmed so many children, has been deemed no longer safe and will be shuttered. Eventually, the US will have to follow Sweden, Finland, Belgium and the UK in their dramatic dialing back of medical interventions for children’s identities. To all those parents who are hanging on by a thread, ready to give up I say: Please don’t.