*All names and identifying details have been changed.
Last summer, our 14-year-old daughter Allena told us that she was a boy. We were devastated. She had never showed any signs of this before. Always a girly girl, shopping, art, doing makeup, and creating music were her things. I remember as a toddler she only wanted to wear pink and even being mad that her underpants weren’t pink enough.
I look back at pictures and try to get a timeline of when things changed. Her best friend had moved away and she was very sad. She started to hang out more with the boys in her class. The boys were all socially awkward outcasts, into computers, video games, cosplay, and anime. Allena said the girls were mean and she was not like them—and many were. She had started puberty much earlier than others in her class and was bullied for being so developed.
She looked like a mermaid, with long, curly white-blond hair. She was so striking, people would often remark on how beautiful she was.
She looked like a mermaid, with long, curly white-blond hair. She was also striking, even in grade school. People would always remark how beautiful she was. They thought she was much older.
She was 12 years younger than her older twin sisters, so she was always very comfortable with adults. As parents, we found it strange that she was very insecure with girls her own age, but had no problem with adults, or performing the lead in the school play, or singing in front of hundreds of people.
Our first real sense that something was very wrong came when she butchered off most of her beautiful hair one day.
Our first real sense that something was very wrong came when she butchered off most of her beautiful hair one day before school. This happened a few weeks after being the youngest performer in a teen-based music camp, which was the first time she was exposed to the LGBT community, as far was we were able to tell. We had noticed it while she was there.
Our second clue was when she refused to wear any “brands” or clothes that were nice. It was like she was embarrassed to have parents that had money to buy her nice things. We live on the beach, but it was a challenge to get her outside. She also developed a bizarre obsession with sunscreen. She wouldn’t go anywhere without it. She started to want to just stay in her room, or hanging out with her few friends in coffee shops, complaining about “white privilege” and how hard their lives were.
We learned that she was struggling with anxiety and depression. Then we found out that she was experimenting with cutting herself.
We learned that she was struggling with anxiety and depression and brought her to a counselor. Then we found out that she was experimenting with cutting herself. She went for a while and things seemed to be better, but then a cousin her age died unexpectedly of natural causes, and she was very sad. This seemed to set her on a downward spiral.
After she told us about being “trans”, we immediately made an appointment with the local pediatrician, who told us this happens sometimes if there is a trauma during pregnancy, and that she wished her daughter would have done this because she thinks she would have been happier as a male.
We brought her to the local pediatrician, who told us she wished her daughter would have transitioned because she thinks she would have been happier as a male.
The paediatrician prescribed antidepressants, ordered some bloodwork to screen for medical issues, and referred us to a gender clinic six hours away. The earliest appointment was six months out, as gender dysphoria is now such a “popular” thing. I reluctantly filled the prescription and didn’t give it to her until my pharmacist sister urged me to fill it, saying that it could only help her.
We were hoping the gender clinic would help us through this, given it was now such a trendy thing, and so far outside anything anyone had any experience with. This is some kind of new phenomena, right? Someone out there must be trying to get to the bottom of this and figure out why this is happening, right? Not in the least.
We are thankful the appointment with the gender clinic was six months away, giving us space to help her and have some parental control, instead of trusting a dysfunctional medical system.
We later found out that the gender clinic was really all about affirmation and hormones. They make the change happen, and send you on your way. In retrospect, we are thankful the appointment was six months away, giving us time to do our own research and come to our own conclusions. It gave us space to help her and have some parental control, instead of trusting a dysfunctional medical system devoid of any common sense.
I found a psychologist in a community two hours away that listed “gender disorders” as one of her specialties. When I spoke with her on the phone, she said that she would talk to our child and find out where we were at. But at the first meeting, after only five minutes of talking to our daughter privately, the therapist informed us that transgender is no big deal, that her son was gay, that she was happy for him and she wanted to go to parades with him.
This therapist said it was easy for girls to become boys. “Just start wearing cargo pants and wear your hat backwards.” She also said all teenagers sleep with everybody regardless of sex nowadays, anyway. And “any day that your kid is still alive is a good day.”
This therapist said it was easy for girls to become boys. “Just start wearing cargo pants and wear your hat backwards.” She also said all teenagers sleep with everybody regardless of sex nowadays, anyway. When we told her we were worried about how the kids at school will treat our daughter when school starts, she said the kids would be fine with it. And they were. Most kids didn’t talk to her anyway because she had alienated so many of them over the last year or so.
The therapist told us we just needed to relax, “Any day that your kid is still alive it’s a good day.“ I felt like she was telling us that the rest of the world is fine with this and we were the ones with the problem. Basically, that is what we had been hearing from counselors and her pediatrician all along: We were the problem.
This counselor was so diametrically opposed to our family values and how we had raised our children that I cried for an hour after leaving.
This counselor was so diametrically opposed to our family values and how we had raised our children that I cried for an hour after leaving. She had really shaken my faith in the world, but my daughter liked her, so we reluctantly went to her a few more times. When school started, I told her that we couldn’t take a day off school to do this since it was such a long way from our home.
At the beginning of 9th grade, she still identified as trans. As parents, we assured her how much we love her, no matter what. We agreed that it doesn’t matter if you are a girl or boy, and encouraged her to just focus on being the best person she could be. She agreed that she was too young to make any permanent life changes, which was a relief—but then she asked everyone at school start calling her “Al”. We also found out from her cousin that she had a secret internet name and account (Instagram), where she represented as a boy.
Our daughter agreed that she was too young to make any permanent life changes, which was a relief—but then she asked everyone at school start calling her “Al”
We met with the administration and counseling at school regarding her trans identification, as she was “out” at school. The school asked us if we wanted to call her “Al”, and offer her other bathrooms. We declined. They suggested we meet the school counselor.
I had learned my lesson from the disaster with the previous therapist, so we met with the school counselor first, before allowing her to see our daughter. She said she also ”affirms”, but listened when we told her that we really wanted Allena to focus on her anxiety and depression, and on being the best person she can be; rather than making her life about gender dysphoria and “the struggle”. I also told her that we, her parents, would not use male pronouns.
The school counselor recommended that we use male pronouns, and to make family time and conversations priority. Talking and family time was always a priority. We had, until this point, always had a good relationship with our daughter; which our daughter confirmed.
The school counselor recommended that we use male pronouns. She gave us books about “embracing the transgender child,” and reminded us of the high suicide rate among children like ours.
She gave us books about “embracing the transgender child.” She also reminded us of the high suicide rate among children like ours. According to the counselor, it was never acceptable for us, as parents, to have any doubts about anything any of the ”experts” said, nor was it our place to question what our child was telling us. (So, if she identified as a giraffe, were we supposed to treat her as a giraffe? What if she believed she could fly?)
We devoured every book and article that we could find on this subject between nights of no sleep and tears. The only book that gave me hope was “When Harry became Sally”, by Ryan T. Anderson.
During this time we devoured every book and article that we could find on this subject between nights of no sleep and tears. Our daughter was not a boy, and she adamantly affirmed that she was not gay. I have no issues with persons who are gay and am a live-and-let-live person, but this is something totally different. We are not uneducated bigots, we just know our daughter. The only book that gave me hope was When Harry became Sally, by Ryan T. Anderson.
She was not doing well on the antidepressant medicine. It made her exhausted and zombie-like. I contacted the pediatrician, who encouraged us to try it a little longer. Suddenly, in the middle of the night we had a call from the police, and a visit for a “wellbeing” check. A friend of our daughter was worried that she had harmed herself when she didn’t hear back from her. (She had been talking to her friend with an old phone when the battery died mid-conversation.) This was a parent’s worst nightmare.
She was not doing well on the antidepressant medicine. It made her exhausted and zombie-like. Suddenly, in the middle of the night we had a call from the police. This was a parent’s worst nightmare.
She eventually confessed to keeping a hidden phone, and said that the whole thing was blown way out of proportion. We went through her room and found and the old phone hidden under her bed, as well as a notebook where she had copied all the buzzwords from the internet about being trans, such as “Better to be hated for who I am than be hated for whom I am not,” and so on.
I took her back to the pediatrician very the next day. When I told her that I wanted her off the medication, she said that our daughter needed to be on even more! I refused to allow her to go on more drugs, so she told me that I needed to be on medication. Wow!
The paediatrician said she needed to go on even more medication. I refused. She told me that I needed to be on medication.
So here we are, 10 months later. Allena is doing much better. She has a new pediatrician who is really focused on her nutritional deficiency. She is eating better and feeling better. As parents, we are keeping her busy with things that she likes; more art classes, the school play, the school international trip, JROTC, more exercise, no time to just hang out, and no phone or internet!
She now has a boyfriend who treats her very well, and she has said that she is no longer a boy. We savor this.
Allena is doing much better. She has a new pediatrician who focuses on her nutritional deficiency. We keep her busy with things that she likes. No time to just hang out, and no phone or internet.
We are somewhat relieved, but still very conscious of this situation. I have never felt so helpless in my life as trying to get someone to simply help our daughter. We feel like the medical and therapeutic communities embraced the idea of turning our beautiful daughter into a boy, but they didn’t want anything to do with common sense, and focusing on why she is anxious or feels depressed. It seems like no one is asking why this is an epidemic among out teenage girls or trying to stop it. They’re just content to say, “Here’s some drugs. Buy some cargo pants. Next!”
So much of what we have gone through is a result of the conditioning she received from searching for answers to her teenage problems online. When we perform the same searches, we are led down a very similar path. There are whole virtual worlds out there, assuring our kids that they are something they are not. Our children are not encouraged to persevere through their difficulties, experiencing, growing, and figuring them out on their own—with the help of real people who love them.