My wife and I are liberal people. We are not homophobic or transphobic. If all that being transgender led to was being called a different name and pronouns then we would have no problem allowing our child to explore her identity. However, in the current climate, our daughter and her friends understand transgender as an innate condition that a person is born with and that can only be treated with hormone therapy and radical surgeries which have irreversible consequences. There is no discussion of a teen possibly misunderstanding their feelings (like every teen in the history of teenagers has done) and no discussion of the long-term effects.
In the fall of 2018, she turned 21, and gave us a letter telling us she was transgender, and that if we couldn’t accept it she would simply “leave.” She knew we wouldn’t accept it, and we begged her to come home and go to counseling. We told her we would not continue paying for college while she was pretending to be a boy. So she dropped out of college, and left the state with a transgender girl she met online.
I found a psychologist in a community two hours away that listed “gender disorders” as one of her specialties. At the first meeting, after only five minutes of talking to our daughter privately, the therapist informed us that transgender is no big deal. She 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.“
At some point during 7th grade she renamed herself Jake online, which I only discovered following an endless online chain. At the end of 7th grade she entered a partial hospitalization program for severe depression, anxiety and cutting. It was then that we became more aware of her transgender thinking.
She withdrew from her friends and family over a period of a year and a half. Over time, many more connections were made online with incredibly dysfunctional people. In seventh grade, she became engrossed in the online world far more than we were aware.
She can still only recite what I consider the online mantra of explanation of being transgender. Her tolerance for any other views is limited.
A year ago, when our teen was 14, she told me she was pansexual. This announcement came shortly after joining the middle school Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) as an "ally". Fast forward 3 months and she tells us she is a trans female-to-male (FTM). There were no signs at all until that day when she came out as pansexual.
We had agreed to let her see an endocrinologist after six months of therapy, but the therapist neglected to tell us that this meant instant hormones.
Nina has been going to a therapist near the college for 2 years as well. She asked us to come to therapy with this therapist last week, which we did. It's obvious to me that this therapist never challenged her on this path.
Nina now wants to do top surgery which my husband and I are really, really opposed to. The therapist seems to be backing Nina's decision, which I feel is absolutely criminal. The therapist also said that Nina would go ahead with this without our support, implying that we were abandoning her.
She obsessed about her looks and image. Beginning junior high, she was determined to fit in with the popular kids, until she decided the girls in this group were mean. She then joined the "misfit" group, took on a new style of clothing, and adopted a strange adoration for phobias and disorders. 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 started isolating herself from friends, chatting with boys online and spiraled into deep depression and self-harm.
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."
She has Asperger’s, now termed autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She has always been “high functioning”.
She is so caught up in this she has herself thinking that she was always trans. She tells us she was always trans because she didn’t like pink frilly things or dresses. She has always had sensory issues with clothing but never wanted male clothes. Never did she say she was a boy or wanted to be. I have yet to find a professional that would consider her diagnosis of ASD to possibly be driving this.
We haven’t had any communication with her for two years. I could write about the emotional impact this has on our family, especially on her younger brother, who is heartbroken and must keep this whole story a secret or face death threats…
A few years after my daughter’s declaration, I finally moved her bin of dolls and their clothes to the basement, even though they will smell a little musty when she finally comes back. At first, I had tried to go along with the transgender thing, despite the bin of Groovy Girls…
“Please wake up! Please wake up!” I wish I could scream that to my daughter some days.
I am desperate. My 14 year old daughter just told me that she is trans. These past weeks have felt like a hundred years.
Before this happened we went to see a therapist because of her depression. She had been bullied for years, and witnessed my horrible divorce from her abusive father. After two visits with the therapist she told me that she is really a boy.
Having been a far left progressive my entire life, a bisexual who married another woman before it was legal, I had not given much thought to the recent widespread emergence of trans activism and acceptance other than to think, fantastic, another group gaining civil rights. I vaguely wondered why there were so many trans kids when I had never before heard of this phenomenon in childhood, but I assumed increased visibility came from decreased stigma. I was confident that rigorous psychiatric evaluation must precede any gender reassignment procedures, to address any confounding issues. I celebrated people being accepted for who they are. LGBTQ is my tribe, and social justice is my religion.
All the kids in the new school already had their cliques, and weren’t open to her, but there was one group that was willing to welcome newcomers, and that was the QSA kids. They were nice, smart kids, who were all a little quirky, and I was grateful that they were welcoming of Liv, but I noticed that they all seem to have created these micro-identities. For example, one girl called herself a demi-boy aromantic. They all seemed preoccupied with identity and presentation. Shortly after becoming friends with them, Liv cut her hair and dyed it pink. I saw this as normal teen exploration at this point. I was uneasy about how preoccupied she and her friends were with these issues.
In her 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. 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.