This is how it feels to watch my child embrace gender ideology:
It’s like I am watching my daughter jumping into the abyss. She is falling in slow-motion, having purposely leapt past me into a gaping hole with no bottom in sight. I am holding out my hand to catch her as she falls past, but she refuses to take it. I have tried before to grab her and pull her out of the darkness before she fell too far, but she pushed me away, which made her fall a little faster toward the bottom. Seeing this and trying to learn from my errors, I stopped trying to grab her. Now I just leave my hand dangling where she can see it, where she can easily grasp it and be pulled to safety, should she want to. I’ve tried other things too. I’ve left a few ropes hanging into the pit that she can grab onto (the seeds planted in her brain), if she so chooses. I live in hope that she will take my hand, or latch onto one of those ropes I left hanging and then, tied to reality, she can carefully climbs up the wall on her own before hitting the bottom. Or maybe she will pick up the pieces of rope and supplies I’ve nailed to the wall for her and create her own rope or ladder that she can use to climb up.
If she falls until she hits the bottom, she will likely sustain severe injuries. I’ve seen this happen to others. I know some who have fallen into this same abyss and recovered completely from the fall. Others I’ve seen make their way out of the abyss, still struggle with their injuries, but will ultimately survive. It’s unclear how many of the survivors will thrive. It surely depends on how quickly they fell, and how they fell (what body parts were injured in the fall and how severely)— and how determined they are to recover from their self-inflicted descent.
I have also heard of others who fell to the ground, and chose to remain where they fell. The way they tell it, they don’t feel the injuries, they actually feel better than before, they say. Maybe that means there are some who will always feel okay and will totally survive the injuries, and make a life for themselves at the bottom, never feeling the need to crawl out of the abyss. Will my daughter be one of them? Will she be one of the ones who crawl back up and eventually lead a great life? Will she hit the bottom, suffer injuries, crawl out and learn to live with her injuries but never be quite the same? Will she grab my hand, a rope (mine or her own), or scale the wall rock-climber style before she hits the bottom, thus avoiding any injuries? Right now, I simply don’t know the answers. And that’s why the wait here, with my hand dangling in wait, is so devastating.
I’m angry that there are many parts of society encouraging my daughter and myriad other young people to take this leap of faith into the abyss, cheering them on, saying that to jump is the best thing—the only thing— they can do if they simply “feel like it.” These cheerleaders don’t caution these young people about the dangers (in fact, they likely are unaware of the dangers themselves). They don’t tell those they egg on of the potential injuries, of the fact that many don’t survive, or survive but are left hurt and debilitated. They tell these young people that if they feel like jumping into the abyss (ie. if it seems attractive to them) they must. Our children ( who, in a great many cases, are somehow “different” (autistic, ADHD, suffered trauma, gay or lesbian, etc.) are told that their anxiety about being teenagers means they must jump into the abyss or they literally can never be happy and never be their “true selves,” as if jumping into the abyss is somehow braver and more authentic than trying to avoid falling into the abyss.
Those who never have the urge, or easily resist the urge, to jump into the abyss are dismissed as “cis,” which is supposed to mean people who have no struggles, and could not possibly understand the tortured souls who are born with the need to jump into the darkness.
Of course, the reality is that we all struggle. Some of us just don’t buy into the idea that jumping into the abyss would be helpful. We try and deal with our struggles in other ways and are not attracted to the obvious dangers of the abyss. Most of us, particularly if we are over a certain age, realize that jumping into the abyss won’t bring us happiness, and we also are in touch with our mortality and don’t take our healthy bodies for granted. Thus, we would never encourage anyone to risk their healthy body in a futile search for unearned happiness.
These societal messages about jumping into the abyss are dangerous, inaccurate and create a cult-like environment for our children. In fact, if any of our children question these messages, they are ostracized, criticized and laughed away. And parents who counter these messages are called out as ignorant, narrow-minded, hateful fools just because we advise caution, we advise being mindful of your precious body and your health. We don’t really understand why it would be a good idea to jump into the abyss when there is no evidence whatsoever that it is necessary or even helpful for anyone in the long-run, and the risk of injury is so damn obvious. Again, even if some people survive the fall and the inevitable injuries and manage to thrive, who is to say that those people would not have also been able to thrive without the injuries and risks of jumping into the abyss? The claim that some people were born with the requirement that they jump into the abyss to ever be happy sounds very much like a cult to me.
We need to put up guardrails around the abyss, and warning signs, indicating the dangers. We need to create a minimum age for those who choose to jump, regulate the line of adult jumpers, and make sure each adult jumper is ready to go and aware of the dangers before they take the leap. And we need to close the gate when a teenager attempts to jump into the abyss.
To be a parent of a teenager who has bought into this ideology is to see the danger of the abyss, to see no guardrails around it, and to see signs everywhere - in schools, posted in mainstream media, in doctor's offices, in governmental offices - instead of warning of the dangers of jumping into the abyss, actually encouraging young people, and all people, to jump into the abyss. It’s difficult to watch edited videos of those who jumped that look like vacation videos, that don’t even contain the types of warnings that are given during every medication ad on tv. Instead, jumping into the abyss is sold as the most fun ride ever, with the lie that only a small handful of people ever regret hitting bottom, and even then, that those people either knew they weren’t supposed to jump, or that the jump was good for them despite the injuries from which they still suffer. How many young people will have to be hurt before the rest of the world sees what to me is clear as day?