You Took My Joy and I Want it Back
I watched my daughter perform with her chorale group last night. She has always had a naturally beautiful voice and loves to sing. She saw me as I was looking for a seat and asked to see the program. She said "Dad's going to be mad—I'm with the tenors".
Her name - as it has been for a year - was a first initial (a reluctant compromise). She whispered “I'm sorry”. I hugged her. I told her to have fun and not worry about it, but it was I who spent the entire performance anxiously waiting for my husband to notice her standing with the boys. She was the closest one to the girls because she also sang alto, but she was clearly standing with the boys. He noticed, about halfway through, and asked to see the program.
He spent the rest of the show still and holding his heart. He barely applauded. In the past, he has walked out of similar situations, not to be cruel but as means of self preservation. This was growth in managing his feelings, but it is painful to watch. As I watched our daughter sing, laugh, and light up the stage (as she has since she was four whether it was tapping around in a pink tutu and a top hat or leaping across the room with a group of girls in lemony leotards), I became overwhelmed with emotion.
Gender Ideology has robbed us of the joy we once felt in moments like these. It has replaced excitement and pride with anger, fear, confusion, and helplessness. I am able to put that aside, rise above and enjoy the moment of watching my beautiful daughter singing joyfully.
I am able to rise above the fact that she is the only girl on stage with short hair in a men’s button down and dress shoes because I understand why she is doing that. I did that, too. I am able to rise above the use of the initial, despite the months we spent excitedly poring over baby names to find the perfect one. I did that, too. I am able to rise above the well meaning parents calling her the male version of her name because I know that they are unaware of the implications. I did that, too, before I knew better.
My husband cannot rise above any of it. He plunges into a pit of rage and despair and begins plotting his next move to sue the school or move to another country. He becomes bitter and obsessed and is prone to sending emails to the school with a lot of raw feeling but no context and spotty punctuation. Then I have to do damage control and try to justify his slightly accusatory tone and sometimes harsh words. They don’t understand. They haven’t been living this for almost four years. They see a happy, thriving student who is going off to college in the Fall. They don’t see the looming shadow of the Gender Monster waiting in the wings for a moment of opportunity. We see it everywhere, and it’s hard to differentiate between what is a sign of things to come and what is simply normal teenage behavior.
So, we are constantly doing risk assessments and analysis of everything she does, quietly questioning the meaning behind the black/red/green/blue nail polish and the significance of a moment where she calls herself “girlfriend” in passing. Is she dating her girlfriend as a girl or a boy? Was that social media post of her wearing red lipstick a sign? She is so clearly feminine and naturally gorgeous that even with baggy clothes, a lowered voice, and a lanky walk, she’s not fooling anyone.
Maybe - hopefully - not even herself. She will be eighteen soon. In the meantime, we can only rise above and enjoy these last few months before she goes to college. She has all the information—specifically the effect that testosterone will have on her voice. She has all the information. That is all we can do.