Our story of trans-identification in our child doesn’t start with loneliness stemming from the pandemic as many others’ stories do. It started about a year prior to the pandemic. I was taking time to deal with some childhood trauma of my own, with the help of a therapist. I dove into my healing, was fully engaged in it, and consequently my daughter may have felt abandoned by me, for a time, in the process. She had just finished an animation camp and made some friends there who told her about an online drawing group. She was very excited and convinced us to let her have one of our old iPads and join the group. I was nervous about her being online at all at 10 years old, and we watched closely by becoming one of her online “friends” in this drawing forum. It seemed to be mostly young girls and seemed harmless, but looking back I realize we didn’t watch closely enough. This was where the ideas about sexuality and transgender identities started. At the time I didn’t realize what kind of actual physical and mental harm these ideas could lead to.
This is my story, my family's story, I feel as though I could have written all of this myself, however I have been struggling to articulate mine at such length like this beautifully written and deeply moving article. Thank you with all of my heart.
Though, there is one part of my story that is not included here... the part where I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for 7 days following a nervous breakdown. The unkindness, the confusion, the hatred, the loss of control, the grief, the worry, the powerlessness, the disbelief, the surrealness, the destruction of my relationship with my daughter, our whole family, led me into a spiral of despair... It has taken me months of daily self compassion to regain my resilience.
And now we must fight!
Some of the details of your story sound eerily similar. I haven't had an issue with the schools and our (just turned) 15 year old's transition did occur during the pandemic (when she was 13/14), but there was a period of time where I was less present for a few months, just prior to the pandemic. At that time she got involved with animation and an online drawing group. Coincidence, perhaps. I imagine she viewed a whole variety of inappropriate online content during that period, we were not as careful as you, much to my regret now. That summer she declared she was bisexual and had a girlfriend (her best friend), then declared she was lesbian, then pansexual, then came out as trans this past February. Her two best friends (one of them was the girlfriend) in per pandemic pod also came out as trans subsequently. She had no history of GD or even gender non-conforming behaviors and neither did they (though we don't live with strict gender role expectations so I hesitate to even qualify that). She also had no history of mental illness aside from mild ADHD and now she is suffering badly from depression and self-harm. Anyway, my husband quickly got on board with the new name and pronouns in February while I resisted for a period of time. However, this only resulted in me not getting to speak to my daughter for a few weeks, so I acquiesced and have since been able to repair the relationship. I found her a counselor who I think straddles a middle ground and helps her with her depression and self-harm issues (she also has a psychiatrist and is on antidepressants now after being diagnosed with severe depression), but I am also aware that it's unlikely he would perform truly exploratory therapy to help her root out her core issues that caused trans identification and he probably thinks I should just fully embrace it. They like to say we are parents who just ignored clues for years, but we are actually involved parents who are close to our children and are also intuitive and observant folks. We are not naive. It's comforting on some level to know there are so many other parents out there who were similarly blindsided. I could probably use a counselor myself, but am distrustful of most. I had one for about 6 weeks, but her entire focus was on getting me to just accept that my daughter is now my son (and she of course had never met my child). I have always considered myself a strong LGBT ally, but why do so few people understand what is happening now, especially to our daughters recently, is different. I should mention, 3 of our best friends also had daughters begin identifying as male during the pandemic. This represents about half of our close friends who even have daughters! It feels like the world is gaslighting us and it's us against every institution we thought we could trust. The latest push from my daughter is medical transition, which is a really hard NO. I am praying her counselor isn't working against me here, but he may be to a small extent. I read stories of people removing their children from the current environment altogether and that seems to be successful, but I don't think that would be a possibility for our family. Anyway, I'm seeking out parent support groups. I see comments about lawsuits. I don't personally have anyone to sue and, thought not a litigious person, I find myself rooting for the lawsuits to start flying! I'm not sure what else can help us collectively at this point. Sorry for my disjointed rant, your piece really spoke to me.
I am as a parent just starting out on this with my 13 year old son and its terrifying. I agree with everything that you have said. Knowing where to turn or who to get help from is daunting because I want someone who is not going to pursued them that they must pursue their idea. If you don't agree with your child and allow them to do exactly what they want you are deemed trans phobic and are failing your child and messing them up. I am not as I already have a daughter who is bisexual and has a girlfriend. The garbage my son has seen online is frightening and he now has supervised access only. For us this came out of know where and seems to have started when they did it over a week at school discussing all things regarding the Lgbt community. We will always support him but I feel that this generation are bombarded and inundated with information and mostly the wrong information because its mainly online. If they don't say they are on the Lgbt scale somewhere then they are not normal, it's almost like a cult and is seen as wrong to not identify as something other than the gender you were born with.
Great story, thanks for sharing. Gonna translate for our website, if you don´t mind. We are a Brazilian campaign against ´transing´ kids
Hello, as a therapist in a liberal state, I want to thank you for sharing your story. So so so many parents need to hear about this. I agree that this is medical malpractice and that the school intervened when it should not have. For liberal parents who see nothing wrong with what happened to your child, I would ask them how they'd feel if their child was indoctrinated with a religion, say Christianity, without their knowledge or consent? And then the school perpetuated that narrative and did what it could to keep it from them, the parents? It is a strange paradox, this idea that gender is fluid and has to do with social values and narratives, and yet their gender identity is "who they are". This narrative is also confusing to so many of my teen clients. The trans community is a valid community that should be allowed to be heard in many social environments but it is becoming an issue of confusing them as their own community within a system to actually being the system. This is concerning to me because I can see so many of the things you have pointed out in this article about the narratives that often come from this community about being a victim to a system or to a family, about the system knowing them better than their parents (or even themselves) knows, and that keeping secrets from their parents about what they are going through is encouraged. It's an epidemic within itself, and I am grateful you are bringing light to it for others.
I feel so thankful that one more girl got away, sadly, this author is correct. In our town, there will be many detransitioners who started this in 2015. Running away from home was the only path, and the clinics and trans lobbies help these kids find housing, means to separate from their families and financial help with the surgeries. It's so very sad. I am sure the media will cover up the post transition suicides, just like they are complicit in pushing the trans journey has a fun way to get famous. Thank you!
The schools should be hit with lawsuits, to recover for damages and the costs of therapy. And vote accordingly.
Letters like these have to be put out to the media for publication, and not just at right of center news outlets. This story is being repeated, and most people don't know about it or get it, because they are not affected. It could be my story, except my child only briefly flirted with being non binary. I only found out when I saw her report card. It was shocking, and horrifying - and when I spoke up to the head of school, they simply dismissed my concerns. Like the author of this piece, I live in an extremely liberal town, and I'm sure the school felt I was merely transphobic. We parents know our kids best and unless the child has been identifying this way since a very young age, they are simply succumbing to the latest fad. Are these schools paying for the therapy most of these kids really need? I had to do research on the issue in a culture where most of the research out there says you must affirm and accept. Only when I had all the counter arguments pro and con could I debate with my 16 yo. Only by speaking her language could I convince her that this was not her path. The lawsuits need to start flying. In order to protect the truly gender dysphoric, we have opened up Pandora's Box.
This is a superb and devastating article. I'm so happy that the author was able to save her daughter’s life.
The last paragraph says it all. This scandal reminds me of the half-century of protection by the Catholic Church of its pedophile priests in the victimization of children. I won't weigh one scandal against the other, because they're both horrendous. Still, given its ubiquity, transgender ideology is especially evil in the way it has infected the institutions of education, medicine, politics, even sports and prisons. The counselor who lied to the author was not acting alone or on a whim. She had been indoctrinated. Hitler had doctors too.
Our well-meaning friends and families have likewise been brainwashed into sacrificing their relationship to the truth. Now, it’s the uncooperative parents of a "trans kid” who are the villains, and the schools and doctors who are their saviors. No wonder parents dealing with this feel so isolated and alone. It’s bad enough to lose your children to an unspeakably toxic ideology. But then to be labeled a bigot, from whom your own child needs protection, is an all-time low in depravity. Progressives speak of “dismantling" our society in order to improve it. To accomplish this, it’s necessary to attack the institutions that support our society, in this case the family and the bond between parents and children. How easy it is to intimidate liberals with these accusations and bring them into compliance. You're not a transphobe, ARE YOU?
For those who think I sound conspiratorial, consider for a moment who benefits. This supposedly grassroots movement is anything but.
As long as we still have a functioning court system, there’s hope. It will be the detransitioners and parents who turn the tide. It will take courage, persistence, and strength in numbers, but it will happen. It can’t be soon enough.
Bravo to this parent and family for finding a way out of this madness!
This is one of the best-written essays covering all of the complicated nuances of this topic and it still barely scratches the surface of the layers and misinformation we need to overcome to save our children! Colleges handing out Cross Sex Hormones are the next target of parents in this mess. We have to keep fighting for our kids - and YES - it is a war we will win one battle at a time. TRUTH will prevail! The age of detransitioners tells us that we need to get gender ideology OUT of education! Nobody knows what is best for our children - not even parents all the time - but robbing us of the opportunity to navigate this with OUT their involvement would be a good start!
I would love to know where this poster lives. I’m also in a liberal area and we feel like we have nowhere to turn to get our daughter support without he gender questioning being instantly affirmed. We’re are seeking a therapist but fear the same experience the poster had.
Thank you for describing this widespread tragedy-scandal so very well.
This is so incredibly well-written and one would hope, persuasive. I intend to share it with a slowly growing list of friends who are also professionals working with adolescents or families in various capacities and who have agreed to look at information I send along. I may share it with the educators at the small school where my teenage girl pretends to be a boy--it's a complicated situation, but conversations are starting to happen. What I want most for these (young, idealistic) educators to understand is the harm of unquestioning social transition at school (including the damage it does to the familial attachment) and the reasons for the fear/paranoia that parents in our situation experience, both of which you so eloquently describe. My husband and I have tried a variety of scenarios to "restart" and recognizing the pervasiveness of the ideology, decided it's time to stay put, focus on connection, and trust that the foundation we gave our girl will be enough for her to eventually leave the cult, hopefully before she consents to permanently damaging her body. I also want to second Sad Parent's comment: no guilt please! We are grateful that you are still here fighting with us and for presenting such a complete and beautifully-written account of the nightmare we're all experiencing.
okay I have now read it through twice. is there any way to directly DM the parent? Mostly just because it would be nice to talk to someone who gets it. I’m in year two and have given up talking to any of my friends or family about it.
I need to read this entire thing again, it’s so similar to my story.
I know you said your lawyer said that suing your therapist would not succeed, but I urge you to file an Ethics Complaint with the licensing bureau that oversees her therapy license. File with the local level & then follow the chain up, if there is a state licensing board and to the APA ethics committee as well. Once you've written the complaint, filing multiple copies is not difficult. If Enough Parents file such ethics complaints, eventually our voices will be heard.