This is a guest post by long-time 4thWaveNow community member overwhelmed. She is available to respond to your comments and questions in the comments section for this post.
Most trans activists and gender specialists will concede that at least some prepubescent children will grow out of gender dysphoria. (How many? No one knows, but it’s a current hot topic which I’ll be tackling in a post in the near future). But it’s touted as if it were gospel that once puberty hits, if a teen says they’re trans, then they are–case closed. Gender dysphoria at puberty = gender dysphoria for life.
As my own personal story attests, this is simply not always the case. I’ve been hearing from more and more young people who have bucked this supposed hard-and-fast truism. And now we hear from another mom whose daughter has changed her mind.
It has long been known that upwards of 90% of gender dysphoric girls are same-sex attracted, but overwhelmed‘s daughter is one of a growing number of young women who are opposite-sex attracted but who also believe themselves to be transgender.
As I experienced with my own teen, overwhelmed tells us that most of the medical and psychological professionals she encountered–far from being cautious and methodical about handing out a trans diagnosis–rushed to the assumption that her daughter was transgender simply because she claimed to be.
Seeing a pattern, readers?
Another mom listens to her gut
Earlier this year my daughter revealed that she really was a gay boy trapped in a girl’s body. She had never shown any previous signs of discomfort with her body so I was confused by this belief, especially the urgent desire to medically transition NOW!
I called my pediatrician’s office for a referral to a psychologist for my daughter. The nurse who answered the phone had just attended a transgender educational seminar and felt like she knew all about my daughter, even though she had never met her. This nurse completely dismissed my over 16 years of knowledge of my daughter. Just like that. She told me that my daughter’s pre-existing depression and anxiety were symptoms of her being transgender, not the other way around. I told her that my daughter had been online in Tumblr communities and had watched a lot of YouTube transition videos that had likely influenced her. The newly educated nurse, however, basically told me that I needed to accept that she was transgender, and to start supporting my daughter in being her authentic self.
My daughter’s first psychologist also completely dismissed any knowledge I had about my daughter. At the time I was just relieved to have found someone to talk to my daughter who I was concerned might be suicidal. I was happy that this psychologist had experience working with others who were transgender. I mistakenly believed that she would be able to tell that my daughter wasn’t an authentic trans boy. While traveling to and from her therapy sessions, I shared transgender scientific research with my daughter— that many people identifying as transgender have mental health problems, that the vast majority (80%) of kids outgrow their gender dysphoria, and so forth. I didn’t realize it initially, but my daughter was also sharing this information with the psychologist. And, the psychologist was telling my daughter that the information I was telling her was bogus, made-up information. She mentioned that she had a PhD and knew much more than I. She told her that I shouldn’t believe everything I read online. She told my daughter that she wanted to include parents during the next session so that she could “set me straight” on the facts.
I fired her.
In the meantime, I felt the need to get information out there, so that other parents could benefit from the information I had found. There is such an overwhelming amount of information online touting that gender is unchanging, that transition is the only cure. I know this is wrong. All you have to do is look at the scientific research, or even to the growing number of detransitioners who are speaking out. I started submitting comments to transgender media articles and even on some parenting forums. I am a person who tends to be pretty careful in what I write, never intending to be offensive, but one site I went to banned me immediately because I recommended googling “transgender regret” as a way to get information from a different perspective! I have also had quite a few comments on media articles disappear due to similar recommendations.
Overall, as a parent who did not buy into my daughter needing cross-sex hormones and lopped off breasts, I am ignored when I voice my concerns. I’m silenced. I’m vilified. I’ve been called transphobic and gleefully told that it isinevitable that my daughter will commit suicide due to the lack of support.
Unfortunately, parents concerned about their trans-identifying children face a perfect storm of opposition. They are battered from many directions, told that they are wrong, warned that if they don’t start supporting their child that suicide is a likely outcome. These messages come from their own children, the overwhelming pro-trans voices online, the news and media, medical professionals, government officials, and even school districts.
I admit that there were times when I doubted my gut instincts. But, fortunately I was able to find a group of parents in the same situation (thanks 4thwavenow!) and have greatly benefited from their support. And, fortunately I found another therapist for my daughter who was able to uncover the reasons she felt disconnected to her sex. She had once felt powerless as a female (due to some traumatic experiences) and thought a male identity would be a better fit. Now she no longer identifies as transgender. While still eschewing most things considered conventionally feminine, she has embraced the fact that her presentation and passions don’t make her any less female.
Although I am able to relax about my own daughter’s status, I am still very concerned about the vast majority of parents in this situation. I fear that many won’t find the support system that was so beneficial to me. I fear that they won’t be able to find a mental health professional that will try to uncover their child’s underlying reasons for identifying as trans. I fear that many parents will succumb to the pressure.
It shouldn’t be like this. There shouldn’t be so much pressure against parents who are genuinely concerned about their children’s health.