On May 20, 2019, my then 14-year old son left me a message on Discord that put a bomb under the foundations of my entire world, although I did not fully appreciate it at the time: "I'm trans" he told me, "...because a friend of a friend has recently come out and changed their name on discord, and I don't really know if I can describe why, but it just feels right"
Four-and-a-half years later, here I sit in my local library of a new neighborhood that I've moved to, to write this account of what has been my experience of parenting this child through the ordeal of the transgender bomb that landed in our home that day. He's 19 now.
Naively, I thought he would outgrow this stupid fad. I thought my son is way too smart to choose this life path. I just need to get him back into a sport, more connected with his body, and his family, and possibly help him find a part-time job or some charity work to bring him more into the real world and take him out of his own teenage self-obsessed life.
Then the pandemic hit. All the schools closed, and the people who have conspired to groom our children into this anti-truth cult of self-hatred and self-harm had their perfect opportunity to work their evil clutches even deeper into my young son's developing psyche.
I work as a nurse, so staying home with my son during this time wasn't an option. In fact, I have another younger child so the older one was left in charge of looking after her doing 'online school' while I was out all day earning a living as a head of household single mum of these two kids.
I tried so hard to keep things together during that time. The place was always a mess. I made the breakfasts, and lunches for them every day before I went out to work. When I came home after work, I sent my children out together to grocery shop for dinner. If I had not done that, they would not see have seen the outside world at all. I chose weird ingredients that you could only get from the further-away grocery stores just to get them to be outside in fresh air and away from their computers. I sent them out to put a letter in the mailbox even though my building has a built-in mailbox. I found any excuse I could think of to get them to do anything outside. But of course, my government had closed, not only our schools but also our playgrounds. Basically, everything was closed, so it was really difficult. On my days off we went hiking. I was truly exhausted all the time. My best friend could not understand how working mothers paid the highest price during the pandemic when I tried to explain that to him, but it didn't matter anyway since that 20-year friendship wasn't destined to endure, due to my “anti-trans” stance around my son, and my overall "bigotry".
I think it was in May 2022 when my son started taking anti-androgens and cross-sex hormones. That's when the bomb just exploded. Not quite 18, he wasn't eligible to get them himself from the doctor, so he just ordered the drugs from the dark web and had them sent to a friend's house. Very soon after that, once he did turn 18, he changed his name legally. I was not celebrating any of this, of course. In fact, I was dying inside. I don't know how I kept on showing up for my life at all, going to work, somehow parenting my other child. My son was so mean and hostile to me during these years that I have wanted to die, and I fantasized about dying every day. I don't know if my younger child is what kept me from taking my life, or if it was the hope of my son coming back to his senses one day. Perhaps both. But I felt the need to move out of our home, since he wasn't about to. For anyone reading this and wondering why I didn't ask him to leave, it's because I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of that narrative, or to drive the wedge between us even deeper.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, I have found community with other mothers going through similar circumstances with their gender-confused children. Their help and support have literally held me up many days. I cannot imagine the isolation I'd be feeling a thousand-fold, if they were not in my life.
So, I escaped to a small, cute town nearby with my 12-year-old daughter where we live in a 500-square-foot studio apartment together with our cat. She hates the place and is angry with me. It has several beautiful walking trails that I enjoy, though. I try to walk them although I feel dead inside almost all the time. I tell my daughter that we will go back to the old house "someday" and I do think she understands.
My son has now moved his trans-identifying male "girlfriend" into that prior home, temporarily, so for this reason we do not go back there often. But it is my place which I own and pay all the bills for.
My daughter misses our family as it was, as do I. I've been truly broken by all this. Even though I understand that he's been the victim of a cult, I'm angry that he allowed himself to be susceptible to it. I'm devastated that he gave up on himself. I hope he wakes up one day and if he does, I hope it will be in time for me to still be around to forgive him and to help him heal from all this mental and medical injury.