Names and identifying details have been changed.
If you were to look through Annabelle's childhood photos, the first thing you would notice is that she is always smiling. In every one. At the beach with her three siblings, at her birthday party, on vacation, making crafts. Always smiling.
And she was wicked smart, too. Anything she tried, she was good at. It almost wasn't fair. Didn't care what anyone else thought either. She had her own interests and did her own thing. She loved Dolly Parton, when everyone was into Miley Cyrus. She was never one for make up or Barbies, she loved animals and reading and playing Legends of Zelda instead. She swam like a fish and could identify any marine creature in the water or on the beach. When she grew up, she wanted to be a marine biologist. (Not a vet. She couldn't stand the sight of an animal sick or in pain.)
She never wanted to dress or act like a boy, nor did she have any use for them. With the exception of her “boyfriend”, whom she had throughout elementary school, she preferred the company of girls. When she was 13, she asked to have her hair cut and styled like her favorite (female) singer and have blonde highlights added. Afterwards, she complained that the hairdresser had cut it too short, making her “look like a boy.”
Some time around the fifth grade, something changed. She grew quiet and sullen. She began getting into trouble with the other girls at school. She did not fit in and they rejected her. She lost interest in most things except watching TV and reading.
Although she was only allowed one hour a day on the internet, she became obsessed with it. She no longer wanted to spend time with her friends, but preferred to message them over the internet. She became increasingly sullen and withdrawn, spending most of her time alone in her room, or trying to get on the Internet. She began to self-harm. She started a Tumblr account, posting photos of puppies and clouds interspersed with gruesome photos of death and suicide. Therapy did not help.
In December of her 8th grade, she attempted suicide.
At 15, she made friends with a girl two years older, who introduced her to pot and other drugs, and encouraged her to cut school. Her grades dropped like a stone, and she became increasingly defiant.
And she began dressing like a boy. I just wrote it off as a teenage fad. I had no idea of where this was headed. I had never heard of the transgender trend among teenage girls.
At 16, Belle left home and moved in with her aunt Daisy, who lived in another city. Daisy went out of her way to support and affirm Belle in her new chosen gender. She enrolled her in the local high school as a boy. She used Belle’s new boy’s name and male pronouns. She bought her boy’s clothes, paid for her boy’s haircut, and bought her a binder to flatten her chest. She showered her with “unconditional love” and support.
And they hid it all from us. I only found out about it when I saw Belle's report card, which said "Rod" was doing well at "his new school".
The school was also well-trained in the affirmative approach and went out of their way to support and encourage her new gender. She joined the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance support group.
After one year, Daisy took Belle to the city's gender clinic, where doctors readily affirmed her gender and, after a cursory examination, scheduled her to start puberty blockers followed by cross-sex hormones.
In this new environment filled with support, “unconditional love” and affirmation, Belle’s mental health declined precipitously. Her anxiety and depression exploded. She became heavily dependent on weed to manage her debilitating symptoms. My formerly brilliant daughter who used to get A's without even trying, could no longer manage even two easy courses per term and will not graduate with her class this year. She had her first manic episode and has been admitted to the psych ward several times since, including once where she was brought in by police. She has become increasingly narcissistic. Her behavior has become so frightening and erratic that Daisy has kicked her out of her house.
The gender specialists will insist that all her problems are due to a repressed desire to be transgender, to living in a “transphobic” environment, and especially due to her unsupportive, "abusive" parents. They point to a (widely discredited) study and threaten that she must medically transition or she will almost surely commit suicide.
This is transgender activist ideological nonsense.
Belle is experiencing the results of a mental illness that has not just been left untreated, but has been supported and encouraged. If we "affirmed" anorexics by telling them that they really are fat and need to stop eating, you would see similarly disastrous results.
Now that is abusive.