*Names and identifying details have been changed.
My daughter suddenly identified as trans over the summer at age 13 with zero childhood markers. I have since read all I can find on this topic, which is limited since it is such a new phenomenon.
In my daughter's case, she is highly intelligent, artistic and has struggled with finding a peer group. She has been a typical girl but also has been involved in sports. At the age of ten, she started a new school and was bullied. Soon after, she hit early puberty very quickly and very noticeably. At this time, she developed an eating disorder and often complained about being "fat." She certainly was not at all fat. However, she started to look like an athletic woman and compared to her "stick-thin" peers, she felt fat. She became body obsessed, refused to wear her "revealing" sport uniform and quit the sport she once loved.
Over the next year or so, she obsessed about her looks and image. She explored several styles of clothing and tried to fit in with certain groups with some success. Beginning junior high, she was determined to fit in with the popular kids. She approached this deliberately by watching videos, and shopping for the right clothes and make-up. She successfully achieved her goal until she decided the girls in this group were mean. In a dramatic fashion, she renounced the group, making an announcement during lunch by refusing to sit at their table.
She then joined the "misfit" group. She soon took on a new style of clothing and adopted a strange adoration for phobias and disorders. She also became infatuated with Japanese anime and wished she were a "petite Asian." She is tall and blonde. Her eating disorder worsened, and she was online much too often, where she was exposed to unwelcome sexual advances, porn, boys sending her dick pics, etc.
She is attracted to boys but says she hates how they all expect girls to act like porn stars. Being a boy must, in some ways, seem easier. Fortunately, she spoke to me openly and expressed her fears in this regard. Meanwhile, her breasts developed unusually large for her age and she began wearing baggy clothes to hide her body.
She started isolating herself from friends, chatting with boys online and spiraled into deep depression and self-harm. The friends she had online were sexually active boys and she started taking on their behavior, using vulgar language etc. Limiting the phone became a power struggle and she began to self-harm to manipulate us into having her phone. She has been in treatment for her eating disorder and seems disturbingly all too comfortable with being "disordered."
Her best friend from preschool,a very girly girl, came out as trans. At first, my daughter said it was silly, a phase, and that she was doing it to fit in, but my daughter was exposed to the YouTube, Redditt trans propaganda—yes, that’s what I call it—and now she claims to be a boy. Her mental health has dramatically deteriorated and she is currently in a therapeutic residential treatment center with the idea that she needs to educate adults on the trans topic.
Before she left for treatment, she had invented a whole different childhood in order to confirm that she is truly trans and not a "transtrender." She is well versed in all the lingo and catch phrases. She is also very articulate and convincing because she is very clever, yet has spent a lot of time online being brainwashed. I have since learned these are grooming sites and very cult-like.
In an effort to keep a good relationship, I went along with it. I bought her boy clothes, and took her to a barber, where she cut off her beautiful, long blonde hair and died it dark brown. She even managed to order a binder online. I told her she can try this out but that I am unable to call her another name or support a permanent change of any kind.
She wants to start hormones and surgically remove her large breasts. In our state, a 13-year-old has legal control over their own medical decisions. How insane is that!? Yet, another obstacle.
Her eating disorders clinic recommended a therapist for depression and anxiety. After 90 minutes with my daughter this "therapist" affirmed her as male. We no longer see the woman, and in my opinion, she should have her license revoked. However, my focus is getting my child help.
My husband and I are so angry, scared, defeated and crushed. We need to help our daughter. It is so clear to us that she is NOT trans. No one in our extended family believes she is male, even the most progressive family members. My very progressive mother-in -law is stunned that therapists are affirming and approving the transitioning of minors. It is insanity. Yet most professionals view us with suspicion, as if we are bigots and haters.
We just want to help our child. In my daughter's case, we believe her dysphoria is an extension of body hatred, discomfort with being sexualized early, and a lack of having a strong sense of self and belonging. Both my husband and I will love my daughter no matter what happens, always and forever, but she is, and will always be, female. No surgery can ever change that.
We are finding few who dare speak truth. We do have a great therapist now who has taken the time to explore the root of my daughter's problem, but she is surrounded by others pushing an agenda. What matters most are our kids getting the help that they need. This generation needs adults to stand firm in doing what is best for these kids, which means taking the time to explore what is truly going on.