The therapist advised that I should work towards accepting my “gender variant” kid as they are, and she could help me with that. I blindly thanked her for the advice, assuming she was the expert. I eagerly participated in joint talk therapy sessions. I willingly discussed gender topics with Leah and listened to her feelings with an open mind. I made efforts to use her pronouns, and embraced her new name. I researched and learned from trans-identifying individuals, especially autistics, most part of the “neurodiversity” movement. I helped her pick out clothes that felt comfortable to her. I covered the mirror when she showered so she wouldn’t have to see her body. My daughter was seemingly happier, her anxiety level had decreased, and she was able to trust me and have a close, loving relationship with me again. I decided that maybe the therapist was right: this radical “acceptance” really was key to improving our relationship.
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.