Teen decides she’s not trans, after all, but struggles with peer pressure

The guest post below, by pj white, is the personal account of a mother whose teen daughter temporarily identified as “trans,” but at 16, desisted.

While “gender specialists” and researchers often discuss younger children who persist in their gender dysphoria as they reach puberty, next to nothing is said about a phenomenon that more and more of us parents have personally experienced: the teenage daughter who, never having had a problem with being female as a child, suddenly insists she is trans at puberty–after a heaping helping of social media propaganda. And often these girls, like pj’s daughter, have other mental health issues that, once explored and addressed, help alleviate the desire to “transition.”

Every parent will respond to this situation in a different way; I’m grateful to pj for sharing her own parenting journey with us in such detail. And I’m particularly glad to hear directly from a parent about how difficult it can be for an adolescent to desist from trans-identification once they’ve started down the road. The glib insistence by trans activists and some “gender specialists” that social transition and puberty blockers won’t accidentally ensnare kids who really don’t want to persist is clearly unfounded. Peer acceptance and pressure is a real thing—yet another truism about adolescent developmental psychology that is ignored by the media, as well as too many providers entrusted with the care of young people. Luckily, a few researchers and clinicians, notably those in the Netherlands who pioneered the use of “puberty blockers,” are beginning to recognize the impact of media and “social transition” on those who might want to desist.

pj white notes that her daughter could have pursued her desire for “top surgery” had she been 18. But as I wrote a couple of days ago, the trend (supported by WPATH itself) is to allow such irreversible surgery at younger and younger ages. Can a move to permit total hysterectomy for 15-year-olds be far behind?

Pj white is available to respond to any remarks or questions you may have in the comments section of this post.


by pj white

My daughter has always been a dynamo. She hit the ground running as a toddler and didn’t stop until puberty hit her and knocked her flat. She never had the slightest interest in traditional girly gender roles. When she started middle school, I expressed fear that she’d be negatively influenced by other kids and want to start acting like a “Barbie Girl.” She put her hands on her hips, rolled her eyes, and said, “yeah, right, mom – I can’t wait to get in touch with my inner plastic doll.”

But when she started to develop breasts at a young age (11), and men started hooting at her from their cars, her sense of strength and power evaporated. She stopped washing and brushing her hair. She wore baggy dirty clothes, and her hair hung over her face in greasy knots. The other kids made fun of her, and eventually, she became more depressed and started skipping school.

Right after turning 13, she told me she was really a boy. This shocked me, because she had always expressed such pride in being a girl. She was proud when her period started at age 10 (we called it “the good blood”) and I taught her from a young age to be proud of her vulva, too. Girl Pride had been a big part of her life. Now she told me she wanted to have her breasts cut off and to inject testosterone.

I was devastated, but I tried to hide it from her. I didn’t want her to be damaged by my “transphobia.” I had been a single mom for most of her life. It had always been the two of us – mother and daughter – two strong females taking on the world. But my daughter was telling me she didn’t want to be a girl anymore. And I was afraid I would damage her by challenging those feelings.

At her request, I took her to a barber to get a “boy’s” haircut (she looked adorable). I also took her shopping in the “boy’s” section of Target to get her a new “boy’s” wardrobe (which was silly, because her clothing choices had always been androgynous). She also asked me to order her a breast binder, which I did.

Perhaps luckily, I couldn’t afford a psychologist, so I took her to the Castro Mission Health Center in San Francisco where we live. The staff there is absolutely lovely, and did not pressure my daughter to transition. They just accepted her where she was. (This is actually a great resource for kids who are LGBTQ). But the staff could not protect kids from the peer pressure they felt to follow through on transitioning once the decision had been made. And to my knowledge, the topic of having room to change one’s mind was not addressed.

The pressure I felt came more from the pop psychology I’d read on the Internet than from professionals (I couldn’t afford private appointments with professionals). According to social media, I was supposed to wholeheartedly celebrate my daughter’s sudden desire to transition, and was forbidden to question or feel sad about it. I felt as if I had only two choices: to be evil and transphobic like the Duggars, or to be a great mom who loved having a transgender son. There was no room for doubt or fear or grief about losing the daughter I thought I had.

I sent my daughter to a free support group where she met truly wonderful kids. I would gladly have adopted the two young trans men I met through my daughter’s participation in that group. I’d have been proud to have them as my “sons”. But I couldn’t help noticing that they came from very traditional families (one’s family was devoutly Muslim and the other’s had come from rural China). I feared I was being transphobic for thinking they might not have felt compelled to transition had they come from backgrounds more accepting of gender non-conformity/lesbianism.

My daughter stood out like a sore thumb in this group for trans boys, because she suddenly decided, for the first time in her life, to start performing femininity. Her femme performance was so over the top she put Ru Paul to shame. Somehow, identifying as a boy gave her permission to perform femininity as an experiment and a game.

My head was spinning. My daughter was now claiming to be a gay male drag queen in a girl’s body. She also insisted, to my relief, that she did not have to cut her breasts off or take testosterone to be a man (I did an internal happy dance). But when I tried to explain to her that gay men would probably not be attracted to her (she looked like Drew Barrymore after an assault by a drunken makeup artist), she got very upset with me. She said only transphobic gay men would refuse to date her. I tried, as gently as I could, to explain that gay men are not usually attracted to people with female bodies. She angrily reminded me that she did not have a female body. When I persisted in explaining that gay men might disagree, she burst into tears.

That was checkmate. She had won. I assured her that any gay man would be thrilled to be with her. Ugh.

During this time, while she was doing female drag and looking more girly than she ever had in her life, she decided to assert her maleness by using men’s public restrooms. I was with her at a park, and when she went off to use the restroom, I assumed she’d use the women’s room. Nope. She walked right into the men’s restroom. And I walked right in after her and dragged her out (The LOOKS we got!). I angrily lectured her on the dangers of men’s public restrooms, especially when, to all appearances, you are a 14-year-old girl. She accused me of not affirming her identity. I said I didn’t give a damn about her identity when her safety was at risk.

Slowly, the hyper-femme drag phase passed, and at 16, my daughter has regained some of the self she lost at puberty. She once again identifies as female, but wears the same type of gender-neutral clothing she wore as a child. She currently identifies as a lesbian, but has not yet had a serious dating relationship.

When I was finally able to take my daughter to a psychiatrist, she was diagnosed with ADD and depression. The doctor explained that many kids with ADD miss out on developing social skills, and when puberty hits, they become very self-conscious – feel inferior – and become depressed. This is compounded in girls who also feel an acute loss of social status when puberty hits. They go from being cute little human beings to pieces of meat subject to adult male harassment and assault. I believe this is what happened to my daughter. She didn’t fit in socially “as a girl” and she loathed the degradation that came with being an adolescent female. She saw transitioning to male as a way out of her pain (sounds crazy, I know, but these are adolescents we’re talking about).

In our case, it was the trendy trans-ideology promoted on Tumblr that caused us the most difficulty. We both bought into the trivialization of a very profound and rare condition: sex dysphoria. I believe we all should be very suspicious of the sudden desire to change sex at puberty. People are so irrational and malleable at that age. Kids need room to experiment and grow without committing to permanent life-altering medical treatments and labels.

It can also be mortifying for an adolescent to change his or her mind about transitioning. My daughter is too embarrassed to face the sweet kids in her former support group. An adolescent’s need for acceptance by peers, and the pressure to follow through on transition when that’s what your peers expect of you, should not be underestimated. This is particularly true when a kid is celebrated as “brave” and “heroic” for coming out as trans. How do you change your mind about transitioning under that kind of pressure? And what if “the courage to be trans” is what people celebrate most about you? My daughter was too ashamed to tell her friends she’d changed her mind – she just withdrew/disappeared from the group. She was homeschooled at the time, which was likely a key factor in allowing her to pull back. If her peer group had been unavoidable (i.e, in school), I don’t know if she’d have been able to desist.

I worked extremely hard not to pressure her during the whole process, because I didn’t want her to defiantly assert her “right” to transition. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done: having to cry alone in another room over her desire to have her breasts cut off. I was terrified and horrified. And although I would never have let her do that under my watch, I knew she could if she were over 18. It was so hard to let her come to her own decision not to transition. In our case it worked, but I know every situation is different. In some other families, more assertive parenting might be necessary.

I am incredibly grateful that my child passed through her desire to transition. I think her depression, ADD, social awkwardness, and “gender nonconforming” personality all contributed to her falsely believing her gender was the problem.

My heart goes out to other parents struggling with this – it’s horrible to be accused of transphobia/bad parenting for not wanting your child to do permanent medical harm to herself. And while I’m very glad my daughter found her way back to herself,  it saddens and frightens me that current trans ideology made her journey back so guilt-ridden and difficult.

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169 thoughts on “Teen decides she’s not trans, after all, but struggles with peer pressure

    • I watched 53 seconds of that video. And now I know that Norman Spack is an out and out cheerleader for this crazy crap. And that Ted Talk sets are made out of the bottoms of aluminum pop cans. WTF? He’s a doctor. He’s not supposed to do propaganda. He’s certainly not supposed to spread misinformation as he appears to be doing about intersex. 😠

      Liked by 8 people

      • Spack is behind this push to medically “transition” children. I did a search on him a few years back and had to dig and dig before I found a quote where he admitted that cross-hormone treatment likely would sterilize adolescent children. My understanding is that he was a mediocre physician and is in this for the fame. He should lose his license.

        Liked by 8 people

    • I do believe there are people that were born the wrong gender. My daughter who was a beautiful little girl, who now says she is a boy, never acted like a boy or ever talked about being one. She used to say girls rule boys drool. When she started puberty she said her boobs would be bigger than mine and she would be taller. She loved when people said you look just like your mother. Then all of a sudden stopped dressing like a girl ( she was never a fancy Barbie girl but a girl just the same. The only thing she does like a boy is dress that’s it. I was at her school for a play and could not believe how many kids were like this. She even says you can’t believe how many kids think they’re transgender, or nether sex. She made fun and laughed like she was real and they were just trying to fit in with that group. It seems to me if my daughter never heard of this she would never come up with this on her own. I have a few autoimmune diseases and suffer from ovarian cysts endometriosis migraines heavy periods surgeries you name it. All she heard was its not easy being a woman. She says that’s not it. We’ve been against this and tried the wait and see. She was seeing a physiologist but didn’t want to go there anymore. Now she wants to see a transgender therapist. Her father and I said we will all go to a dr psychologist together and take it from there we said we will contact the school so that she may use her male name. We had to give a little it was getting bad here. It seemed to me the more we didn’t acknowledge this the more she dug in. I’m hoping if she is not so angry with us she may feel more at ease to figure it out. Again I do believe it is true for some people but I’ve also seen at school what seems to be a fad for lack of a better word. She said it herself they were just trying to fit in somewhere. Which is what I think my daughter is going through . Now if you’re a trans or gay it’s a badge of honor with in your group how brave you are. I think Drs need to look into why so many kids are doing this and not and not trying to be so politically correct. Anyone who questions this is made to feel like a biggot. My heart breaks for anyone going through this. To me I feel like my daughter is dying. I know that sounds horrible but inside that’s how I feel. She doesn’t even want to talk about her childhood girlie things she rolls her eyes. She had a wonderful child hood. She will even tell you that. Anyway there is just so much to say. Good luck to all.
      To the haters that will no doubt rip me apart in comments. These are my feelings and I was just hoping to find someone that can relate

      Liked by 2 people

      • Believe me there is nobody here who is going to rip you apart. That may be your experience on other sites, but there are a lot of us who have been there, or who are there, and can really relate to how you’re feeling.

        Stay strong! Keep coming back!

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      • I know EXACTLY how you feel – I also felt as if my daughter were dying. I thought I was the only parent devastated by what my daughter was telling me – except for “bad” religious parents who opposed transition for religious reasons – I only saw parents who were supportive & happy about their child’s transition. Like you, I believe there are people with such severe sex dysphoria that transition is their only option. But I believe these people are RARE. What’s happening now among teens is very different and extremely dangerous. I have friends who transitioned late in life, and who say transition should ONLY be done if you would rather die than go through it. And they do NOT recommend that young people go through this. Teenagers are not rational beings. They are not. They believe they are immortal and do not understand consequences. And so many are desperate for an acceptable & unique identity. I hope your daughter changes her mind. My did and I am grateful for that everyday. But she DID lose her peer group. Not many teenagers can handle the pain of that. Once a child declares herself trans, she is expected & pressured to transition by her peers. She has been lauded as brave and the pressure not to back out – or to be a “traitor” to the cause – is extreme. All I can suggest is that you prevent her from making any medical changes. My daughter’s first steps toward changing her mind about transitioning were when she said she didn’t have to change her body to be a male. I encouraged this thinking, because it protected her from harming herself physically. It was a back door to easing out of the idea of transing. It took 3 years but I got my daughter back. I deeply hope you get yours back, too. She is proud to be a woman today, and I cry with relief when I think about how differently things could have turned out. I am SO sorry for what you are going through. No loving parent would want their child to medically transition. It is dangerous, physically and socially. I hope your daughter changes her mind sooner rather than later. Sending hugs & support.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Totally agreed on medical changes and on the thinking that one “does not have to change one’s body to be a man”. This is actually very widespread on the very same tumblr so vilified here, and originates with queer theory classics like Judith Butler. There is really no need to make enemies with queer culture when you can make friends with it.

        Now, a question. If this thinking be accepted, and if medical interventions be off the table, what’s the “dying” about? It’s just words! It’s just pronouns and names! It’s just clothing! What’s “dying” about that? I know countless females who went through such a phase right into, or already in, adulthood and some who persisted in using male pronouns, including a few who persisted in that while married to men and having children, and so what?

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      • Nobody here is going to rip you apart. Most of us here are going through the same thing as you, feeling your grief and frustration and fear and hopelessness.

        this is the safe place to share these feelings without being accused of being bigoted, uneducated, phobic, TERFy, or anything else.

        all the best.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ramendik: Totally agreed on medical changes and on the thinking that one “does not have to change one’s body to be a man”.

        There is no way whatsoever that a woman can become a man or the other way round. Anyone who claims that this is in any sense possible is either engaging in magical thinking or knowingly promoting a lie.

        Any woman can live as she likes, wear what she likes, put up two fingers to the dominant culture (and good for her). This does not change the fact that she is a woman and will always be a woman.

        Some of us find this harder to accept than others. But moving beyond immature fantasies and learning to recognise material realities is a crucial part of growing up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • These are not material realities, these are words and social categories. If “marriage” can be, and was, redefined, so can “woman”, “man”, and pretty much every other social term. The Obergefell decision explicitly ties social categories to personal identity choices, what with the right to “choice in intimate identity and beliefs” that is the foundation of marriage in the US after that decision.

        Material realities exist in the matter of body biology and reproduction, and they belong, mainly, between the person and their doctor and their intimate partner (if any). Social presentation of “man” or “woman”, including names and pronouns, does not have an intrinsic objective connection to material realities.

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      • I’m going to let responses come in to your last comment, Ramendik, then I’m closing this discussion. This blog is not really the forum for pushing queer theory and postmodernist deconstruction of meaningful language.

        You’ve come here before and have been provided a limited platform. That’s what you’ve enjoyed here with these two comments, but it’s over again.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ramendik: These are not material realities, these are words and social categories. If “marriage” can be, and was, redefined, so can “woman”, “man”, and pretty much every other social term.

        You are making a category error. ‘Marriage’ is a word that relates to a social institution. And yes, over the centuries its social and legal meanings have changed and developed in a number of ways. Nothing new there. The primary meanings of ‘woman’ and ‘man’ relate to human biology, not to ‘social categories’. You are not equating like with like.

        Material realities exist in the matter of body biology and reproduction, and they belong, mainly, between the person and their doctor and their intimate partner (if any).

        Spoken like a man. The material realities of reproduction include menstruation, impregnation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and, by an extension, childcare. All these realities materially affect women’s bodily experiences and social interactions. In a very big way. And this applies in various degrees to all women, not only those who have children.

        There is another material reality that applies to all women: however strong and fast a woman is, there are males who are stronger and faster.

        Social presentation of “man” or “woman”, including names and pronouns, does not have an intrinsic objective connection to material realities.

        Of course not. But nor does it alter material realities.

        Let’s be clear about what a body is. I am my body. I don’t live in it; I am it. That is the reality of who and what I am. I am able to think, imagine and remember because I have a functioning brain. I receive sense-impressions of the environment around me through my skin, eyes, ears, nose. And so on and so forth. If I have a separate ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ it exists in some dimension to which I have no access. Same goes for you and anyone who happens to be reading this comment.

        I can change my name to one that is generally recognised as masculine or sex-neutral. I’ll still be a woman. I can try to insist that people use masculine pronouns when speaking of me in the third person. I’ll still be a woman. I can wear clothes sold as menswear — hell, I often do. I can have my hair severely cropped. I’ll still be a woman.

        I could take testosterone and have a double mastectomy and turn my visual appearance into something resembling a short, bearded, unusually wide-hipped man, and maybe fool many of the people for quite a lot of the time; I would still be a woman.

        I could do all this and more, and I would still be conscribed by material realities: my body would still be female. I would remain a woman. And if I tried to persuade myself that this was not the case, I would be embracing a fantasy and heading into delusion.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I think this response is going to go in the “wrong place” so I apologize! I am adressing it to Artemisia’s reply to Ramendik.

        First… this post is so eloquent. I am continually impressed at the quality of the thinking and writing that I have been pleased to read on this blog.

        Second… while I certainly agree that the “gendered intelligence” philosophy is built on shaky ground indeed, really – how many 11 or 14 or 17 year olds do you know who would or could wade their way through it in the first place? Post-modernist or structuralist critiques are notoriously obscure and convoluted and involve lots of jargon and specialized terminology – .Ramendik’s posts being a case in point. The vast majority of teenagers are not going to make an in-depth study of the intellectual underpinnings of the trans movement. This is really a problem because all they are “fed” are the end results of a thought process, and the process itself is highly unclear. People should know why they believe what they believe, which is almost impossible in the trans case.

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      • Re Ramendik’s comments:

        Thinking that the terms “man” and “woman” mean something concrete is labeled as some kind of outdated, restrictive “essentialism” these days, even if you are only talking about biology and not social roles/presentation.

        But IMO the pomo/deconstructionist stuff, as proposed by Ramendik, is crazy. The ultimate result (and not just regarding this particular topic) is an inability to discuss/converse/analyze issues in any coherent way. Words don’t actually mean anything in that view; they only mean “what I say they mean.” There’s no good or evil, there’s no black or white, there’s no basis for any social structure or moral action other than “what I think is good.” It’s all based on perceptions, which are of necessity limited to the individual who’s doing the perceiving.

        That’s not the Brave New World of improved human development. That is the abyss of meaninglessness. That is the place where “woman” means only “my idea of woman.” Yet (as Artemesia so cogently points out) these pesky bodies keep asserting themselves, in all their warm-blooded material reality.

        I like this quote by Daniel Dennett: “Postmodernism, the school of ‘thought’ that proclaimed ‘There are no truths, only interpretations’ has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for ‘conversations’ in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.”

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      • Pomo BS can be discouraged if universities refuse to grant degrees to anyone who hasn’t studied math through calculus and taken at least 5-6 physical or life science courses. This should be a general ed requirement. At least 1 science course should heavily stress scientific method. Pomo believers are faith-based believers every bit as much as religious zealots are. They simply lack raw brain power and critical thinking skills. They think their uninformed opinions deserve equal consideration with learned opinions. Everyone deserves a participation trophy! …and then the real world comes along and they are ill-equipped. Ramendik exemplifies this.

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      • worriedmom: People should know why they believe what they believe, which is almost impossible in the trans case.

        If the transactivists had faith in the power of their own arguments, they would not resort so readily to bullying and threats. Thank you for your kind remark about my post.

        lovetruthcourage: Pomo BS can be discouraged if universities refuse to grant degrees to anyone who hasn’t studied math through calculus and taken at least 5-6 physical or life science courses. This should be a general ed requirement. At least 1 science course should heavily stress scientific method.

        I studied calculus for ‘O’ level maths (the old UK 16+ qualification) but all I remember now is that it bored the hell out of me. I’d like to see much more emphasis on the practice of formal debate in schools and universities. If, as worriedmom kindly says, I can put a case across eloquently, that is where I began to learn how to do it.

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      • I love your suggestion of formal debates being part of a school’s critical thinking development mission. I am not familiar with the UK system, but the point isn’t that calculus “bored” you. The point is that it takes logic and critical thinking skills.

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      • Puzzled: … these pesky bodies keep asserting themselves, in all their warm-blooded material reality

        This is from a fine essay by Adrienne Rich:

        Begin though, not with a continent or a country or a house, but with the geography closest in–the body. Here at least I know I exist…

        The politics of pregnability and motherhood. The politics of orgasm. The politics of rape and incest, of abortion, birth control, forcible sterilization. Of prostitution and marital sex. Of what had been named sexual liberation. Of prescriptive heterosexuality. Of lesbian existence.

        … Marxist feminists were often pioneers in this work. But for many women I knew, the need to begin with the female body–our own–was understood not as applying a Marxist principle to women, but as locating the grounds from which to speak with authority as women. Not to transcend this body, but to reclaim it. To reconnect our thinking and speaking with the body of this particular living human individual, a woman. Begin, we said, with the material, with matter, mma, madre, mutter, moeder, modder, etc., etc.

        Begin with the material. Pick up again the long struggle against lofty and privileged abstraction. Perhaps this is core of revolutionary process, whether it calls itself Marxist or Third World or feminist or all three.

        from ‘Notes Towards a Politics of Location’

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      • lovetruthcourage: I am not familiar with the UK system, but the point isn’t that calculus “bored” you. The point is that it takes logic and critical thinking skills.

        Yes, I grasped that. I was being a bit sarky, in that dry British way. I think that a basic grounding in maths and science is valuable, but there are other disciplines that, properly applied, develop logical and critical thinking skills: among them literary criticism, history, philosophy. Each to her own, we can perhaps agree.

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      • Yes, but in the USA, many of those classes are in the gen ed curriculum— as they should be. However, math and science is weak for non-majors in the USA.

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      • I went through a phase myself. I am still on my journey. The pressure to be Trans is real. Being a butch or a masculine identified woman is not as easy. You are being treated by everyone like you are less of a woman because you don’t fit into the societal definition of a woman. Add to that, internalizing that homosexual relationships are inferior to heterosexual relationships. Admiring the strength of a guy (for some may lead to jealousy) and accepting certain limitations of being a woman. And somehow internalizing that men are inferior to women based on which “gender stereotype” you’re drawn to. Eg, you may think its cool that men have beards or that they are strong (hard skin). If you dont fit in with women (youre not yappy), you may wonder why youre not like other girls and boys aren’t yappy(emotional).
        Add to that, people looking at your chest and crotch areas to figure out your gender. Imagine, people assume you are a guy because you’re a tomboy and you sound like a girl. Add to that never seeing lesbians hold hands or make out in public but seeing heterosexual do these things. The reason why women are more likely to transition is because it easy to “pass”. Add to that men still being attracted to you even when you look like a boy.
        But my main point is that you should ask your child to define a boy. Ask them what a boy is and you will realize, it is what society is telling them a boy is. Let them know that there is more to being a boy than testosterone. Let them know off all the cool things beside child birth that a boy can do. Teach them to love their body. Tell them that men may have strength but women have resistance. Tell them they might have to work twice as hard but are they willing to loose their entire past for an illusion? Ask me what a boy is and i will tell you i don’t know. Is it a beard, flat chest, penis? You’ll realize it is physical because there is not that much of a natural difference between a boy and a girl. And transitioning doesn’t change those girly things because our experiences are what define us. Tell them it is not that easy being a guy. Guys don’t do feelings and you still might not fit i with the guys because you will come to realize men are dumb(they talk about dumb things). I am 22, now i don’t even see trans guys because they get lost in the crowd. I often think its just a weird guy and he turns out to be trans. Trans people may advocate for gender non conformity but they are actually the ones performing gender. Now, i know there are real trans people out there!! But maybe there is no such thing as trans, maybe some people just don’t fit into the construct of gender. As i keep saying “if all a man is testosterone” then i’m good. I get so mad when they complain about gay guys or straight women not wanting to date them. I just want to scream “stop contradicting yourself”. Don’t preach about how gay relationships is more than sex organs and includes the emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical aspects” and then go around hating gay men because “you look like a guy, so why wouldn’t they want to be intimate with you”. Not only do they love penises but other grounds are not covered here. A trans guy might say “but i feel like a guy”. You should ask, how do you know “what it means to feel like a guy”. Guys have grown up being guy, so, its a totally different experience. Hence the psychological, physical(yes from those years of doing “stereotypical guy stuff” and having certain bones that cant be developed) and emotional aspects are different. I know i sound like a hater but i have to deal with people(some trans people and some lesbians) thinking i am trans just because i work out a lot and dress like a guy.

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  1. pj, I’m so glad your daughter desisted. The business about acting super feminine is so strange. But as you say that’s adolescence. People try things out. And they don’t have the life experience to recognize the significance of some of the things they try on. By which I mean the ‘changing your sex’. If you’re 13 years old and you see people talking about sex changes on the Internet and now it’s in the mainstream media as well how are you gonna understand how ineffective the operations are and how strange other people really do regard that. You’re a kid. I’m so glad your daughter escaped these strange, unrealistic and fanatical ideas.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. I enjoyed reading this:

    “When she started middle school, I expressed fear that she’d be negatively influenced by other kids and want to start acting like a “Barbie Girl.” She put her hands on her hips, rolled her eyes, and said, “yeah, right, mom – I can’t wait to get in touch with my inner plastic doll.”

    This reminds me of my daughter too. As she was growing up I encouraged her to like what she liked. I didn’t make her conform to female gender roles (which she recently thanked me for). And, from my example, she knew that it was OK for women to wear comfortable clothes and not be obsessed with their appearance. Up until puberty it seemed like she was on the path to becoming a strong, confident woman.

    It is sad that even though strong female-positive foundations were laid, it did not protect our daughters from claiming to be trans. That really says something about the current environment that our kids are growing up in.

    Glad that your daughter has desisted. And glad that you are speaking up about it.

    Liked by 10 people

  3. Every time I read one of these stories I see my adolescent self in it (I’m 58). It is a monstrous phenomenon, the Internet popularization of transgenderism, and the concurrent erosion of appropriate medical boundaries. We were originally sold the idea that these treatments, drastic as they are, should be considered an absolute last resort for intractable body dysphoria, and now children take them on in an atmosphere of silencing honest discussion.

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    • “We were originally sold the idea that these treatments, drastic as they are, should be considered an absolute last resort for intractable body dysphoria,” EXACTLY! I have a dear friend who is a trans woman and advises people not to get the surgery unless they would rather die without it. She has actual sex dysphoria, which is serious and rare – and she is horrified by the trans trenders who trivialize this condition – she is also horrified by the children who may be hurt by over-zealous intervention. This silencing is truly dangerous.

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      • Exactly so! Sex dysphoria is as you’ve said, a serious and more importantly, a rare condition. And as one who was so affected (long since corrected). It drives me to distraction as I’m inundated with social medias shouting gender, gender, gender!
        Actual sex dysphoria hasn’t a bloody thing to do with gender, other than it’s affectations are a constant reminder of what is wrong!
        What’s worse, is that this headlong tumble of conflating gender dysphoria and sex dysphoria there’s going to be a sizable backlash when 5-10 years down the pike these kids, particularly the young girls, grow up and realize what an absolutely horrible mistake they’ve made… but it’ll be the ones with sex dysphoria who’ll bear the brunt of it!
        Strange as it seems, I’m gladdened by the right wing getting up in arms over bathrooms as its forcing the issue. Maybe, just maybe… it’ll force there to be an actual defining of “transgender” and with it might come a stop to this unfolding lose lose disaster!

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    • This whole comment is superb. My favorite bit is “concurrent erosion of appropriate medical boundaries”. None of the normal rules for how you make diagnoses and how you assess the risk versus harms of the treatment are being used in trans. Including on children. This will never cease to be shocking. This whole thing would be so much less of a problem if the medical system would just follow its own flippin rules.

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  4. He is saying that a male can transition to female(and vice versa)? No they can not. Also, is there really a gynecologist that would mistake an actual vagina for a cosmetic vulva? And seriously, he’s referencing the d00ds dna when spouting how he has more womanly look to him than the other models. Also, why the bleeding heart thing about them committing suicide? Hint: If you are contemplating suicide, you have mental health problems that need to be addressed. Cosmetic surgery and cross-sex hormones do not address the mental health issue. Why is the medical establishment being allowed to experiment on minors? I find this to be terribly disturbing.

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  5. I’m glad to hear your daughter found her way back to her authentic identity without starting down the path of “T” and irreversible surgeries. It’s really frightening to read about what the power of social media and peer suggestion have done even to intelligent people. As someone in a lot of science-minded, skeptical inquiry groups, I’m doubly-disappointed to see so many people blindly accepting this new trans narrative instead of applying the same skeptical principles they use when someone makes any other kind of wild claim.

    The part about how your daughter began acting super-femme while claiming to still be a boy reminded me of a Scarleteen letter from a young woman insisting she was a boy, yet loves wearing stereotypically feminine clothes and makeup, and doesn’t think of her very female parts as female (http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/as_a_trans_person_how_can_i_navigate_authentic_gender_expression_and_avoid_the_identi). I’m all for shattering stereotypes and expressing oneself outside of the box, but I just can’t understand why someone would feel she’s a boy while dressing in a very identifiably female way.

    It really makes me angry how so many young people who never had any problem with their natal sex suddenly declare they’re trans just because of binge-watching YouTube videos and hanging around Tumblr and Reddit!

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    • I was curious about the hyper-femme thing, too. My unprofessional theory regarding my daughter’s behavior is that she was acting out her desire to retain some connection to being female – she had nothing left to cling to but superficial stereotypes cuz she’d rejected her biology (a scary comment on what happens when we equate gender performance with biological sex). I have no idea what the other girl is doing, but perhaps this is her way of acting out her desire to retain her female identity despite pressure from peers not, to. Or maybe it’s just for attention. I don’t know – but I am deeply grateful that my daughter no longer feels a need to cut her breasts off or take T.

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    • Carrie-anne, thank you for the comment about skepticism. Yeah where’s the application of skeptical principles to this stuff? Trans people online when they pretend to formulate arguments about this are so obviously just repeating talking points like robots. But there is still plenty of ground for noticing that this makes no sense and that it denies science. Have you seen the rabidly pro-trans stuff on rationalwiki? Wow. Mouth meet Kool-Aid.

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      • I have one idea about what happens to the skepticism – I was terrified that I would drive my daughter to suicide if I questioned her gender identity. There are so many horrible stories about TG kids killing themselves, and I was petrified of that. Perhaps this is what silences questioning on gender identity. As a parent, the thought that you might kill your child by not absolutely accepting their gender identity is horribly frightening – even worse than the fear of what hormones and surgery could do to them. I felt as if there was no safe place I could turn with my doubts and questions. I’m so grateful I told my daughter she would have to wait until adulthood to receive medical treatment.So grateful. But I understand parents who are frightened into intervening earlier – we are literally told we could be murdering our children by declining to do so.

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      • This was stolen from homosexuals and framed in complete reverse. Instead of “you are traumatizing your children by not accepting them as they are” it became “you are traumatizing your children by not accepting their inability to tolerate themselves as they are.”

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      • I’ve seen several of their trans-related entries at RationalWiki, and I’m just blown away at their complete lack of skeptical principles! At least some people on the Talk pages show sense and reason.

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      • Yes! Rationalwiki deciding to just bin all its principles on this is so dreary. If you can’t rely on self-described skeptics, who can you? Some weird pseudo-movement says ‘hey, don’t be skeptical about this’ and Rationalwiki is all ‘Yeah, ok, no problem.’ 👎🏼😠

        Liked by 3 people

      • It doesn’t come off as a lack of skepticism to me, it comes off as a lack of intelligence. I wonder if the H.G. Wells book- Animal Farm will be considered ‘transphobic’ now because:
        “Four legs good, two legs bad” = “transwomen are women” for the sheep[le].

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  6. Thanks for sharing. We absolutely need to get these narratives out there. Of course, the trans community will just say she wasn’t really trans, and miss the point. They are not interested in screening the social-media influenced out, so those of us who are, must make this point to all of the Social Justice Warriors out there. These SJWs, are desperately trying to be hip and progressive by supporting all things trans, never thinking deeply about any of it. We need to introduce some doubts. Supporting trans ideology unquestionably, is harming our children permanently, and we can not be complicit with this crime.

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    • I completely agree with you. I post great blog posts like this on my Facebook page, and add a note to read the comments section below, also. And while many trans will dismiss these stories as “she wasn’t really trans,” I think other people may be less willing to deny or dismiss stories of trans regret. At leastvit will be an eye opener. And while some trans may deny, it supports and paves the way for them to question and to be more honest with themselves.

      Regardless, you are absolutely right these personal stories need to be shared, as do the many trans-critical discussions occurring online and sometimes in the news. Much appreciation to the caring mom here who shared her and her daughter’s story, and kudos to her for bringing up a feminist daughter. She will remember, with gratitude, as she gets older. Lucky her to have a great mom like you.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Yes – the fact is, my daughter is not really trans – but what about other kids, like her, who are not really trans (do not have sex dysphoria) but who are corralled into life-long medical changes due to the taboo of challenging gender identity? If it could happen to my daughter, it could happen to other kids, too – and is happening.

    Liked by 5 people

    • It’s happening all over the place, and it seems to be scooping up an awful lot of girls in particular. Thank you again for sharing your experiences with all of us.

      Regarding whether young children can be “really trans,” I know that I (and quite a few regulars here) have serious doubts about whether that diagnosis is based in solid science. While I know the *experience* of dysphoria can be quite real, I question that there is any such thing as a “transgender child.” Several of my posts have sought to delve into this question. It appears to me that the evidence for inborn “gender identity” is scant. If anything, the latest evidence from neuroscience argues against any innate gender identity. But are there children who truly would rather be (or even claim to be) the opposite sex? Absolutely. But why? And what to do about it?

      But whether we agree on that or not, your post is so vital in helping to bring to light the social contagion that is pushing many kids who actually never even experienced dysphoria to feel they want to identify as “trans” as teenagers.

      Liked by 10 people

      • The TED talk with Dr. Spack is nearly dormant in the conversation section but comments to still trickle in. This comment posted yesterday:

        Start of TED talk post from “Clarissa” 1/19/16

        If you force transgender individuals through puberty, body changes that are irreversible, occur. This will bring harm to transgender individuals and often lead into suicide. Your claim clearly shows that you don’t have enough knowledge about this topic. So you shouldn’t make decisions about it. Transgender people do not decide about their gender. This is no decision at all… And it is nothing anyone could change by waiting. But if you had watched this movie clip where Norman Spack talked about his experiences, you would know better. So I presume you haven’t watched the clip? Forcing transgender humans through puberty actively harms them. It is inhumane to want this. Hormone blockers are essential for a perfect outcome and helpful. Which means they are not discussable. They are a risk that is way lower than the risk of suicide at puberty… End of post from 1/19/16.

        I think it may be time to have a new perspective on this subject. Perhaps someone can arrange a new TED talk by young people who have desisted (or retransitioned) or perhaps a new talk by a Urologist, psychiatrist or theory medical professional could present current information on the rise of post transition complications, suicides and desisting/retransition. There has to be some qualified professional or a team of desisters/detransioners or perhaps a representative form transgednertrend.com could organize a talk?

        People who have witnessed the disturbing trend in unfavorable outcomes amongst transitioned youths are often unwilling to speak out due to threats against them but someone may be qualified and willing. Perhaps something could be said about the four suicides that occurred in San Diego last year or the young person (FtM) who jumped from the UCI parking lot. From what I understand, these young people seemed to be doing well (outwardly) socially and academically and many were involved in the GSA an were well liked by their peers prior to their tragic suicides.

        If one searches Transgender on TED talks, several talks will come up and these conversations are occasionally active but I think it is time for a new TED Talk on the topic.

        Liked by 6 people

      • @4thwavenow.
        First of all I want to say how much I admire the work you are doing! This “trans-insanity ” has gotten so far outta hand it isn’t even remotely funny! Suddenly, every person who, however lightly, experimented with any of the peripheral trappings of gender is now “trans?!” By that definition, all seven billion people on the planet are “trans!”

        That’s utterly insane! Someone has to declare BS on it and they need to do it ten years ago! Which is why I love the spotlight you are shining on the problem!
        However, that said, I would implore you to not throw the baby out with the bathwater… kids with sex dysphoria are quite real, albeit quite rare! For them, and them alone, transitioning and surgery is life saving… and the younger the better… How to distinguish those rare unicorns from the masses of confused kids? Before social media, it was actually quite easy to tell who they were! They tell you! And what’s more, it wasn’t all that hard to believe them! Everything about them, other than their physical sex screams opposite! And that extends so far beyond their choice of toys or liking certain clothing… their entire vibe as a human was that of the other sex.

        For them, if the problem isn’t addressed? The split between their physical body and their own sense of self WILL drive them to madness, and eventually to suicide. For them, being this way untreated is a terminal condition. (Something that had been so shamelessly coopted by the trans-trenders!)
        But the thing that’s been lost in all these conversations is the rare part!
        The NY Times published a study that used hard data from Social Security and Census to find out how many Americans had actually “changed sex.” Between 1931 and 2010? It was exactly 30,009! That makes them a whopping .008% of the US population and it also correlates perfectly with Harry Benjamins figures of no more than 1/36,000!
        Yes, they are real, but they are hens teeth rare!

        As to what causes it? Who knows! There are conjectures of course, but it’s unlikely that we’ll have answers anytime soon as the data is becoming more and more soured by this tsunami of trans-trenders!
        And as one who suffered through that affliction it drives me to distraction that it’s suddenly become cool? Thats like cancer becoming cool! Being sex dysphoric is a curse of the highest order, one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone!

        Liked by 2 people

      • The problem with your position is that it suggests that there is some way to determine that some children have intractable body dysphorias that cannot be addressed without hormone treatment and subsequent surgery at the age of majority, and can be identified as such, when still children. There is no evidence supporting this position.

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      • In the “olden days” it may have been necessary socially and economically for women to pass themselves off as men, so they could earn a living and support their families better. This is not being transgender, but it is counted as if it was. The suicide threats are just emotional blackmail. The approach should be to get people to accept themselves as they are, not to “transition” them to something they can never be. Our individualistic culture celebrates uniqueness and “choice.” However, people were better off, emotionally and mentally, when they realized and accepted the fact that not everything in life is a choice. We can do nothing about our sex, age, ethnic background, circumstances of birth, etc… We can accept ourselves as we are, and learn to expect great things from ourselves. It takes more courage to accept the skin one is in, than it does to buy into the “transition” fantasy. DNA tells the truth about our exact ancestry and our biological sex.

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      • In response to Mizknowitall: I think you have an extremely valid point. There are those extremely rare cases of children who should be medically treated for sex dysphoria, in addition to therapy. I think you also nailed the problem with identifying those children today because of the way the narrative has changed. We don’t get to consider each child as an individual anymore when it comes to gender. Your child doesn’t fit into a neat little gender box? He or she must be trans. And you must accept that diagnosis and commit your child to a lifetime as a medical patient. I’m afraid that we have done this to ourselves. Don’t feel well? Take a pill. Experiencing stress and anxiety? Take a pill. Have ____ condition? There’s a pill for that. We have raised a generation of young people who want to medicate away all of their problems, and that’s simply not possible. Most of the kids who have some gender confusion as children will grow up without a need for medical intervention if they are left alone. Some will need therapy to work through gender dysphoria and other underlying issues they may have in order to be happy in their natal sex. The very rare person will need to medically transition. Each person’s case should be taken individually, with careful consideration for what is best for that person.

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      • @ miep, like you, I most certainly question the sudden influx of “trans-kids,” particularly the young girls who are clearly trying to escape the disney princess / slut role society is fostering upon them… That said these kids are really not all that hard to pick out…
        The flaw in the 80% won’t feel compelled to proceed studies is that they include all gender non conforming kids, most of whom as you know do grow up to be gay, not transsexual, with the much rarer kids who continually and persistly insist from day one they are the opposite sex… As a rule those kids don’t and won’t change their minds…

        Pity is, and its something that I think we all agree with, it’s getting so much harder to just let things proceed on their own, and in the doing, letting these kids with a severe and intractable sex dysphoria self select, because of the storm of misinformation and the never question anything therapists…

        One of my girlfriend’s daughter, brilliant girl, high functioning autistic, possibly lesbian, wasn’t in college a week before she’d been fed the Kool-aid and “came out as a trans-man!” Another GFs nine year old son, having watched the social media asked her if he could dress as a girl… and he was “diagnosed” trans, and put on thevtransition path not six weeks after he’d put on a dress for the first time and liked it. Neither of these kids had ever voiced any issue with their body, nor given even the slightest hint that they might have issues with their sex until they were exposed to social influences.

        The kids I’m referring to, no matter what you do, will fight you with every fiber of their being from the moment they become aware of the duality of sex with their insistence that “god” got it wrong, and that insistence is continually unwavering!

        Is that 100% accurate? Of course not. We’re talking kids… and with kids anything is possible, and we need to approach this with caution because of that. However an early onset and an unwavering insistence are fairly good predictors.

        Liked by 3 people

    • “an early onset and an unwavering insistence are fairly good predictors”

      No difference has been found between gender-nonconforming children who go on to identify as transgender as adults and those who do not. None. The whole reason we are in the situation we are now is that it’s assumed that we do know which kids would want to transition as adults.

      When long-term studies were done on gender-nonconforming boys, researchers expected that many or most of them would grow up to be trans. To their surprise, they found that a significant number grew up to be gay or bisexual – but very few were transgender. *even the ones who began, early, to insist they were girls”.

      This whole idea that we can identify the “real” trans kids from these sorts of indicators is simply not true. Even if “real” trans adults had these histories (and not all do), the established fact is that children with these behaviors most often do not grow up to be trans.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Kathy, can you provide a cite to the text you put in quotes above? Because, as you likely know, the proponents of child transition like to use that “insistence” thing as “proof” of “truly transgender”. Would appreciate citation for quoted study. Thanks!

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      • Kathy, one of the biggest problems in trying to discuss any of these things is the amorphous and nebulous language created by the transjactivists.

        When I’m speaking of gender non conforming, I’m referring specifically to those we used to call pink boys, and tom boys only! (interesting how the patriarchy considers “boy” as the scale by which these things are measured.) These kids are markedly different than the kids who insist from age 3 or 4 and every year there forth that they ARE the opposite sex!

        Now, that said, given the almost constant coverage of the one size fits all, we want the world to assume we’re transsexual, but we’re not, because we really only like to play dress up, or we just hate being objects for the male gaze “trans” kids are being taught “the trapped in the wrong body script” at younger and younger ages. (Side note, in almost 60 years I’ve never heard a kid with a sex dysphoria describe themselves that way unless they are coached!)

        Which one can only aasume makes an accurate diagnosis more and more difficult… My overriding concern is that we don’t throw any kids under the bus, because all their lives matter! But it’s problematic to do so because the treatment for these three very different groups are diametrically opposed.

        For the gender non-conforming of either sex. Transition is a huge mistake. These kids need to be allowed to fully be who they are, and yet be helped to know that they can do so as the sex they are! For the transsexual kids… that same line of thinking, no matter how lovingly applied it may be, is an act of cruelty! These are the kids are for whom transition was invented. And while it may be still mostly a palliative therapy, it is an effective therapy, which is a good thing because to date, there has never been anything else tried that has been proven to work at all.

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      • mizknowitall, you describe the current situation beautifully. I agree with everything you’re saying except that transition is an effective and OK treatment. I’m not convinced. Even for the subcategory of people you’re talking about. Sex dysphoria sounds to me like one of those body self hatred conditions like anorexia. I just can’t see amputation as a treatment for a psychological condition. And given the trans mania I’m not convinced that anyone has really tried to treat people who really really have sex dysphoria with a different “palliative” treatment. In other words with the kind of drugs that people with depression or anxiety take. Which don’t erase the psychiatric condition. They just make it livable. At least that’s my understanding.

        Also sex change operations were invented for adults, that’s for sure. And it’s unclear, having just the other day read the Wikipedia thing on Lili Elbe, that it wasn’t invented by the homosexual psychiatrist Magnus Hirschfeld for gay men. It’s a giant mess whatever the real history turns out to be. [Elbe was a man who died from a sex change operation under Hirschfeld’s supervision in the 1930s. The way they went about doing the operation was guaranteed to kill him. They didn’t know or didn’t pay attention to tissue rejection. They implanted an ovary into his abdomen. Horrifying.] And yes if Hirschfeld helped invent an operation that would effectively get rid of gay men by making them into women that doesn’t make any sense given his belief in equality for gay people. But Hirschfeld was a very confused guy. The Wikipedia entry on him is fascinating.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank goodness that some of these young people are finding their way to an authentic life before they have damaged their bodies irreparably. Raising awareness is key – we must keep the dialogue going that there are many ways to live and to naturally express one’s self.

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    • I agree. What I meant is that she did not have actual sex dysphoria, where a person’s anxiety about their biological sex is so severe it can only be eased by medically transitioning. I think transitioning would have been an absolute disaster for my daughter, as it’s been for many young people who felt pushed into it.

      Liked by 6 people

      • surgery shouldnt be an option for medical treatment any more than liposuction should be a treatment for anorexia, or boob jobs a treatment for being female & unhappy with your body. period. it doesnt matter that you came up with a new label and stipulated greater severity. First do no harm and bodily integrity are values to be respected in medicine, even when it isnt convenient. If it doesnt, it isnt medicine, its cosmetic. Cosmetic surgery never has and never will cure severe emotional problems.

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  9. I’m so happy to hear about your daughter, especially that she’s getting the help she needs for her ADHD and depression. Having just been thinking a lot about the issue of puberty blockers and transitioning in childhood, it’s much nicer to go to bed with the thought of catching the actual mental health issues early, getting help and coping skills that will serve her psychological well-being for the rest of her life. Thank you for sharing your story, and all the best to you both.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Exactamundo. This is why it is so incredibly frustrating for those of us living in states where counseling involving ‘trans’ kids and adolescents that is going anywhere but a straight path to transition has been legally lumped in with ‘conversion therapy’ and outlawed. My kid has ADD too, and mild OCD, and attachment disorder — and though she’s gotten help periodically for these things when she was younger, as soon as she announced ‘I think I’m trans’ after a tough freshman year of high school, the discussions about these things stopped, and the psych’s focus was only on gender and a happy life being trans. Needless to say, though this psych was great in many other respects, we are not seeing this psych any more.

      We’re not seeing ANY psych any more. Kid is doing well, got involved with some positive activities at school, made some great friends who accept her presentation without assuming she’s ‘really’ male and without spending a lot of time fixating on identity issues in general. She’s still highly gender nonconforming and still, alas, binding, but I have heard zero from her about being trans for nearly two years now. What happens when college comes, Lord only knows.

      Would I like to take her to a good psych who could help her parse out her feelings about gender and sexual orientation, which I think are in limbo but still fairly unfocused/confused? Not to mention any connection between early life trauma, early menarche, and disassociation with the body? Yeah, I would like to do that. Am I going to do that, as long as she seems to be in a pretty good state of mental health? Nope.

      Obviously if stuff took a turn for the worse, and her mental state became dire, I’d suck it up and find her a psych, despite my grave, GRAVE concerns about the state of mental health services for young people who announce they are trans. For now, I’m grateful she’s doing OK. I wonder how many hundreds of families are in a similar state of frustration with the current situation, or if we’re really only oddball outliers among an onrush of folks on the high-speed trans express . 😦

      Liked by 4 people

      • I really can’t imagine the tension you are under as parents, knowing that the *right* help might not be out there for your child if and when she needs it. My fingers are so crossed that this whole “innate trans” thing – which seems to be at the root of so many arguments to just accept transition and move on – gets torn apart by some much-smarter-than-me scientists and researchers very soon.

        I wanted to mention though, if you haven’t looked into it, some simple mindfulness training – whether along the lines of at-home cognitive behavioral therapy or Buddhist-based “mindfulness”. When it gets down to it, nothing helped me work through it all – and continues to help me – more than being aware of what’s going on in my own mind and keeping it “on track”. Instead of flying off the rails into dangerous, irrational responses to things or delusional fantasies, I can watch what my brain is doing according to the stimulus at hand, and make sensible decisions about what thoughts and actions to hold in my head.

        For an example of how this can help someone with gender issues, it just happened yesterday in the grocery store my mother and I ran into a man I’d worked for ten years ago, and ten years ago we had shared some friendly dinners with him and his wife (who has since passed.) I hadn’t been a big fan of the friendliness for a number of reasons, but seeing me after ten years he was all overjoyed, giving hugs and one of those unavoidable cheek kisses (I don’t like to be touched by men, period, no less by people I’ve tried to get away from, no less in the grocery store) and then asking the usual battery of invasive questions i.e. are you busy how is work are seeing anyone, have you lost weight, etc. which are all “triggers” for me.

        Halfway through the conversation I realized I wasn’t there anymore, that I was so uncomfortable my brain had spun off into the empty land of disassociation. That disassociation thing has lead to more irrational stuff I’ve believed in than I care to put here, simply because when real life goes empty the brain will try to fill it up. But I’ve been meditating for over two years now and I noticed what was happening, and immediately went to pick up some cheese and involve myself with the real world again. I couldn’t do anything about the situation, and it still bothered me for some time after, but at least I had noticed what my brain was doing and was able to make a move to correct it, without falling into scary delusion places.

        I wish I had a book or video or something to recommend – my own training has come from sources as disparate as this old “Attacking Anxiety” CBT audio series from I think the late ’90’s, to audio talks from Pema Chodron, to books by the Dalai Lama. Thich Nhat Hahn also speaks beautifully about mindfulness and you don’t have to be spiritual at all to “get” it. It’s just an amazing tool, and I wish I had had it in high school and college to work with all my anxiety attacks and dissociative spells and everything else I *could* work with in my brain, even when my environment was harmful and confusing.

        Just wanted to put that out there – wishing you both all the best.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. mizknowitall, here’s the thing about those child “persisters”: As you acknowledge, too many desisters are getting caught up in the trans net. The focus amongst the more ethical providers right now seems to be more accurately figuring out who the true persisters are going to be, with fewer false positives. That’s a step in the right direction–as far as it goes.

    But even if we grant that there is such a thing as a “truly trans” child (and I don’t think that’s as much of a slam dunk as you think it is, despite your personal childhood experiences and apparent relief now), your assumption that medical transition “and the sooner the better” is definitely best practice bears a lot more scrutiny. I’ve said repeatedly on this blog that adults (obviously) can make their own medical choices, but “transitioning” adolescents to avoid the “wrong” puberty, sterilizing them for life, and all the rest–it’s an extreme solution. How do ANY of us know that some of today’s persisters won’t come to terms with themselves later on and have happy, fulfilling lives in their unaltered bodies? We DON’T know that. Just because science and medicine **can** create a facsimile of the opposite sex in a young person, that doesn’t mean it’s the best solution.

    I don’t doubt that a few rare people (obviously, including you) experience hatred of their own genitalia/sex characteristics (I am defining that as “sex dysphoria”; “gender dysphoria” seems to me a dissatisfaction with stereotyped roles, appearance, and activities of one’s natal sex). But if a child feels that kind of self-rejection and hatred at an age before sex and genitalia are even relevant to their lives, how do we know this isn’t the result of true body dysmorphia/dissociation (recognized as a psychiatric illness and not treated with amputation)? And if it drives them to want to kill themselves, that’s a cause for alarm about their general psychological health. A child with a healthy body should not want to die. Do we have records of how many children (or adults, for that matter) in earlier historical times actually completed suicide because they didn’t like the body they had? I haven’t seen such data, have you?

    What I HAVE seen (and have also published on my blog), increasingly, are accounts from adults who were miserable and suicidal as children because they hated their sex, but grew out of it and are now very glad they weren’t offered medical transition at the time. Should we discount their personal experiences, while we place such value on the personal anecdotes of adults who DID choose to transition?

    I admit to having a really difficult time with the inherent dualistic thinking around the whole transsexual issue. No one questions the very premise of it–that what we call “me” or “I” is just an idea-generator in the brain **which is attached to and actually indivisible from the body**. Mind and body aren’t separate entities. For the idea/identity-generator in the skull to reject the rest of the self–because, in reality, the body and mind are NOT two units–to the point of wanting to cut things off or commit suicide–why is that increasingly seen as “normal”? No one questions this. No one talks about it in the trans world.

    Again, we are talking about **children** here. No matter how severe a person’s body dissociation may be, I don’t think we should be taking steps that can lead to irreversible surgeries and sterilization “as young as possible.” If some people, as adults, want to do that, OK. Maybe instead of arguing for early transition (which includes “social transition,” a conditioning experience that entraps many would-be desisters), what the “true transsexuals” like yourself should be doing for these kids who MIGHT persist, is this: Reassure them (and society) that “passing” doesn’t have to be the be-all end-all. Make it more OK for EVERYONE to wait until adulthood to make these decisions. Stop telling kids it’s so awful to go through natural puberty, that they’ll be “ugly women” or not “manly” enough trans men if they do “transition” as adults. I think this is going in exactly in the wrong direction, even for the small handful of persisters we probably both agree are out there.

    I like what lovetruthcourage said above: “However, people were better off, emotionally and mentally, when they realized and accepted the fact that not everything in life is a choice. We can do nothing about our sex, age, ethnic background, circumstances of birth, etc… We can accept ourselves as we are, and learn to expect great things from ourselves. It takes more courage to accept the skin one is in, than it does to buy into the “transition” fantasy. DNA tells the truth about our exact ancestry and our biological sex.”

    The people in earlier times who felt they “really were” the opposite sex were amazing human beings, some of them. How do YOU know they weren’t happier in their healthy, original bodies, than the surgically-altered transsexuals of today? Answer: You don’t. I don’t begrudge you your own medical treatment. I would just beseech you to consider whether the best thing for children–even persisters–might be learning to accept reality (i.e., who you are is not a disembodied “me” in an alien meat-shell), and that childhood is not the time to make such permanent decisions. Waiting is not inherently a bad thing. And feeling suicidal because of the facts of biology may not be best treated with a surgeon’s knife and hormones.

    Life is full of disappointments–BIG disappointments–as any adult can attest. Is it really the best approach to teach a child from the youngest age that the answer to life not being the way you wish it were is to threaten suicide and spend their life in doctors’ offices? That’s not exactly a good lesson to prepare them for the rest of what they’ll encounter in a very imperfect world and body that won’t always live up to their most fervent desires.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thissoftspace, thanks for the comments re CBT, mindfulness, meditation. Very good advice and one I’m working on taking to heart for myself as well as trying to teach my kids.

      On the transsexual/transgender/transition topic: It just blows my mind how the GRAVITY of transition is a notion that has been so eroded. The formerly accepted idea was that this is a serious choice with serious life-long consequences and health risks. (Especially for natal women, they are ndefined/unknown/unstudied health risks.)

      IMO it should be an absolute LAST RESORT for intractable sex dysphoria.That’s what it used to be, until social justice took over the med/psych business. All the stuff about lengthy real-life experiences and ages of consent that used to be integral to WPATH is being steadily discarded. Even the idea that it’s a treatment for a serious mental illness is morphing. The most recent writings of “cutting edge” providers make it sound more and more like a nose job: just something you should be enabled to do at a pretty young age, to make yourself happier about how you look, within your self-described gender identity du jour. Preferably at taxpayer/insurer expense.

      Increasingly, it sounds less like a treatment for a dire condition and more like getting some nifty tats.

      How these providers can live with themselves, given the actual health implications of the treatment, I … really can’t understand.

      I can tell you for sure that the number of ‘happy persisters’ is destined to rise and the number of statistical desisters is destined to fall, because early social/physical transing has powerful results, and it’s becoming much more the de facto path for gender-nonconforming kids and adolescents. It is going to be increasingly hard to reverse that process, even for people who might want to go back. Future studies will likely show a lower percentage of desisting and then … there will be even more momentum for early transition. (Until and unless serious health effects start to emerge and become well publicized.)

      ‘Transkids’ might end up having OK lives in their new genders. But would it not have been preferable if they’d been able to find any livable path that did not have such extreme, lifelong health consequences — one that (not incidentally) results in a lifelong marriage to the med/pharma industry, and the permanent loss of any opportunity to become a biological parent to a child?

      Liked by 5 people

      • Exactly. The blogger Dirt pointed out recently that women who transitioned medically later in their lives, say 40’s, don’t seem to live to be too old, she had noted what seemed to her a disproportionate number dying in their 60’s. She didn’t have the data to prove anything beyond a suggestion, but she made the very good point that we have zero data as to the predicted lifespan of women who start in their teens, and commented as to what a tragedy it would be if these young women started dying off even younger. And women like Maritza Cummings, who transitioned relatively young, freely admit that it will cut years off your life. Why any ethical medical practioner could freely go along with such a dangerous narrative without fighting to consider any possible alternative is beyond me.

        Liked by 5 people

      • So, with this type of logic, weight loss surgery, liposuction, and gastric by pass surgery should be available for life-long anorexic people with BID- like me.

        Got it.
        🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • The woman who blogs “Culturally Bound Gender” wrote once about how if some doctor in older times had discovered this supposed phenomenon of children who had such intractable body dysphoria, he would have pounced on it and named such an exotic-seeming condition, which does strongly suggest that it’s (a) a recent development, and (b) culturally driven.

      Liked by 3 people

    • 4thwavenow,
      First, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me partake in this dialogue. It and many like it are way overdue by all concerned… and it’s a pity, because these very real discussions and explorations are so terribly needed but when they occur these days, they are almost always shouted down as “hate” simply because one doesn’t agree with irrationality and dogma.

      Now then… let me see if I can maybe help to make this less muddied? As one who was this way from my earliest memories… I can say that the pain that comes with sex dysphoria is caused by an intractable feeling of being astride the sexual dimorphic fence. And with all candor and honesty? When you’re sitting astride it, it really doesn’t matter which side you land on… just that you get the hell off that damned fence.

      That said, ever since the creation of Psychiatry as a profession, until very very recently, there has been an almost nonstop effort to “cure” folks such as myself by trying to make us comfortable with the sex of our bodies as they were… and like trying to change gay to straight, it’s been an abject failure. Electroshock, Insulin shock, Lobotomy, Aversion Therapy, CBT… you name it, it’s all been tried. Why even the Bible Thumper and Crystal Thumper laity have taken their shot at it and they too have come up blank… Sex dysphoria as we know it is incurable. That’s why SRS was invented… it’s supposed to be the last ditch therapy… Because if you can’t fix the brain, and they have tried, oh how they have tried… Then the reasoning was, why not palliatively make the body align cosmetically when everything else came up empty.

      Would that it could have actually made me female? I would have sold my soul to make it happen, but for all it’s imperfections, and there are many, SRS did get me off that fence and allow me to live fully on this side of it. and I have, with zero regrets.

      Now as to your thought of why now allow puberty to progress normally and then decide? Let me ask you this… in the patriarchal world we live in. What sort of life does a straight 6’2″ bearded woman with brow ridges, male hair lines and a deep booming voice have? Conversely, what sort of life does a straight 5’2″ man with wide hips, narrow shoulders, and DD breasts have? And why would you want to sentence any child to such a future when it was within your power to prevent it?

      In and ideal world there are so many other ways to approach this, but unfortunately this isn’t an ideal world and it’s not going to be one in our generation, our kids generation, or even our grand kids generation… and until science finds some other way to fix this, hormones and surgery are still the best answer… for, and this is key, the kids with an actual sex dysphoria.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think we are all aware of the arguments for starting transition prior to adolescence, but this doesn’t address the fact that it is unethical to engage in medical practices for the benefit of one cohort of people, if these practices simultaneously victimize another cohort of people. And the complete failure of medical research to find a way to reliably predict in which children sex dysphoria will persist is telling, and to date still argues that this is a subjective experience.

        Liked by 3 people

      • “I can say that the pain that comes with sex dysphoria is caused by an intractable feeling of being astride the sexual dimorphic fence. And with all candor and honesty? When you’re sitting astride it, it really doesn’t matter which side you land on… just that you get the hell off that damned fence.”

        This is a powerful statement, and I thank you, Miz Know It All, for sharing your thoughts and experiences. This is where my daughter is–on the fence. The feminine and the masculine trying to duke it out. She did not have issues prior to puberty–she was what used to be considered a tomboy. She doesn’t want to hear this, but I was a lot like her as a child. Now she is in therapy with a therapist who is encouraging her to examine her feelings and look at all of the different ways there are to be a woman. My hope is that one day she will find happiness without hormones and surgery. I feel there are many professionals in this industry who instead of helping those kids who are on the fence to really sort through their feelings, they are pushing the kids off the fence. The cases of people who really should transition are incredibly rare. In my opinion, we have some doctors who are creating an epidemic where there isn’t one and experimenting on our children.

        Liked by 4 people

      • mizknowitall (and others who feel sure that medical transition for a subset of children/teens is justified), I get your point about the 6’2″ bearded woman having a hard time “passing.” But in my view, we shouldn’t be tampering with kids and their natural biological development. Full stop. There is no way to definitively know that some of the kids chemically sterilized before puberty, and who have their breasts and other organs removed at a young age (as in, before they have the legal right to make medical decisions for themselves), won’t be regretters as adults. To me, even ONE of those kids being a regretter is too many. Going through the “wrong puberty” at least allows these kids to ALSO experience the brain development that accompanies puberty, and to live a few more years and hopefully be more mentally prepared if they do choose a decision which will irrevocably alter their bodies.

        Are there children who will persist in desperately wanting to be the opposite sex into adulthood? Of course there are. And although they won’t “pass” as well as adults (particularly natal males) if they do ultimately decide to pursue full medical transition, let me ask this: Why **should** they pass? What is wrong with a surgically altered person being seen as what they are–a facsimile of the sex they wish they were? Why don’t “true transsexuals” (which I gather you consider yourself) start a movement for recognition of this special class of people who don’t “pass” as the opposite sex? The fact that activists and clinicians have (as with so much of this transgender “agenda”) made a proactive decision for the rest of society that it’s worth sacrificing ANY child (even one) on the altar of future “passing” as the opposite sex is something I seriously question.

        As to whether there is any solution to severe sex dysphoria outside of medical transition, I personally don’t feel options have been explored in depth, mainly because the activists have managed to shut down any reasoned discussion of the matter. Just because some psychiatrists and others have not found a solution in years past does NOT preclude one being found in the future.

        Unlike you, I am not convinced that the desperate desire to be the opposite sex is necessarily intractable–particularly in children. As I mentioned in my comment above, I have trouble with the very notion that “who we really are” includes the need for surgical and chemical intervention on healthy bodies.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Exactly. The whole idea that one must “pass” is highly culturally driven. The idea that it’s okay to cruelly label people who are of one sex and are performing gender roles culturally assigned to the opposite sex, is as well.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow, I thought my mom actually wrote this at first. I’m in almost the exact same situation but on opposite ends. I’m the daughter to a single mother, I’ve never been feminine, I started developing at a really young age, I went through a trans phase, I’ve now realized I’m just a butch lesbian…

    My mom didn’t take it nearly as well as you did but I think it was for the better. She didn’t take me to a gender clinic or therapist, didn’t get me on hormones, didn’t buy me a binder, and at the time , I hated her for it but now I’m glad she didn’t. In a weird way, it strengthened our relationship.

    I wish all this transgender nonsense would end, I fell victim to it and plenty of other girls have too. I wish all girls knew that they don’t have to be feminine to be a girl and being a girl is nothing to be ashamed of. I especially feel for the other young lesbians out there, I think that we’ve all thought at one point or another that it would be easier just to be a straight guy…But the proud lesbians and unfeminine girls make me proud to be who I am 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

    • Hey, Briar, thanks for stopping by. It’s great to see the different ways parents and their kids are dealing with this (as you put it ) “transgender nonsense.” Your experience sounds a lot like what happened with me and my daughter: “She didn’t take me to a gender clinic or therapist, didn’t get me on hormones, didn’t buy me a binder, and at the time , I hated her for it but now I’m glad she didn’t. In a weird way, it strengthened our relationship.”

      As you likely know, the trans activists work very hard to drive a wedge between young people and their parents. Just today on Tumblr, I had the dubious honor of being added to a list of “TERF” sites and being called a “child abuser.” What these Tumblr parenting experts don’t see is stories like yours (and mine).

      Can we hear more from you? Would love to have a guest post from you and/or your mom. Here’s a recent one written by a woman, with thoughts from her mom, that you might appreciate:
      https://4thwavenow.com/2016/01/05/to-crush-every-doubt-just-pronouns-and-a-name/

      Liked by 6 people

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Briar. It helps us parents of teen daughters who are going through these gender identity issues to know that other girls found a way to accept themselves and be happy in their female bodies. It upsets me that people are using propaganda to try and steal my daughter and make her remove body parts and be a permanent medical patient just because she doesn’t like dresses or cheerleading. Preferring to watch football and play video games doesn’t make her a guy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • “Disembodied ‘me’ in a meat-shell”. … that bit of medieval Christian mysticism

      An orthodox medieval Christian would have recognised this as a heresy, with its roots in Gnosticism. Note, for instance, that the Apostles’ Creed (an ancient statement of Christian belief) asserts: ‘I believe in the resurrection of the body’, implying the indivisibility of body and soul.

      I write this from a historian’s concern for accuracy, and with no intention to put you down. Oh, and I am not a Christian. (Or a Gnostic, come to that.)

      Transgenderism bears some resemblance to Gnosticism in its concept of an inner spirit (‘identity’) at odds with the body in which it is trapped.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I believe, based on my training in neuroscience, that any kind of sexualized identity is bunk. The whole concept of transgender hangs on the idea that the brain is “sexed” in some fundamental way, something male supremacists have been trying to prove since science began. In rodents (a major animal model) reproductive function is controlled by a tiny subconscious part of the brain that is sexually dimorphic, but it is not clear that this is true in primates like ourselves.

    I’m also the mother of a female child who considered transgendering. She was always what we used to call a “tom boy,” as was I!! I noticed the signs of her interest in trans when she was 15 or so, and more than once I said to her that women can do anything ourselves, we don’t need to BE men, right? She’d just give me one of those withering looks. I mentioned to some lesbian friends my fear that she was heading down the transgender path and they told her (unknown to me) that I was concerned. She confronted me, called me transphobic but seemed to appreciate my concern. She is currently a butch lesbian in her 20s, trans “friendly” and I remain transphobic in her eyes. I can live with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to see you here, Militant Mama. Do you think your daughter is still at risk of wanting to “transition” herself? Also, it sounds like you’ve had formal training in neuroscience. Would you be willing to write a guest post for 4thWaveNow? Even if not, would like to hear more from you–lots more.
      I assume you’re aware of the recent large MRI study by Daphna Joel et al? Seems to put to rest any notion of male/female brain.
      http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/11/brains-men-and-women-aren-t-really-different-study-finds

      Like

      • I have examined this recent MRI study. When bringing it up with trans-advocates, they poo-poo it and say that autopsies are the only valid evidence and that basal brain areas are supposedly gendered in humans. I am also a scientist, I have examined human cadavers, and I do not agree with them. But, I wanted to let you know a popular retort.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s ridiculous on its face to say that autopsies prove anything, given that these cadavers are adults who’ve (many) imbibed cross sex hormones. Not to mention, the brain is plastic and responds to experiences and **changes** because of those experiences. I know they have one autopsy study they fall back on. The only way to prove innate sex differences would be studying newborn brains before there has been ANY life experience. And that still wouldn’t prove “innate gender identity.” And a newborn brain is a newborn brain (with a lot more development to take place), but that’s the closest they could get. Beyond babyhood, experience molds the brain, and how are they going to control for exposure to sex role stereotypes in babies, toddlers, children? It’s why their “studies” showing that little gender nonconforming kids identify with the opposite sex are bogus. No way to remove “nurture” from the equation.

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      • Unfortunately, no study will ever put to rest any notion of male/female brain. We have to keep fighting the same battles over and over. I liked the phrase in that article to the effect that you can’t tell the sex of a brain by looking at the images, that seems to discredit the pink vs. blue brain thing pretty well. Good books you probably already know but worth repeating for your readers: Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender and Rebecca Jordan-Young’s Brainstorm.

        I’m not sure where my daughter’s head is at these days. She still doesn’t like her body but I think she understands some of the social pressures behind that problem.

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    • What do you think of the claim that trans make that basal areas of the brain in humans are fundamentally different in males and females and that the basal areas of trans always correspond to the sex they identify with? I am also a scientist, BTW. However, I do not want to bias you with what I think. What do you think of this claim, since you studied neuroscience? Thank you for your input.

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      • Which studies are you referring to? Way back when Simon LaVay got a study into Science arguing that the brains of homosexual men were different that heterosexual men and it turned out all the homosexual men had died of AIDS and had been on medication and none of the other subjects had. I recently saw an article where Cordelia Fine discussed with a female neuroscientist a new study that shows all sorts of environmental issues affect brain structure, at least temporarily. I can’t seem to find it at the moment, it was recent, maybe in Nature? I know of data suggesting that there are sexually dimorphic regions in the basal hypothalamus but they’ve never been able to connect any FUNCTION to such differences and now we have data suggesting that structural brain differences come and go! I’ve stopped looking at it carefully. You will never convince true believers. What studies do you find important?

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is exactly what my understanding is. As you stated, even if some regions are sexually dimorphic, there has never been any connection to function. I am not surprised that some research shows brain structural differences can come and go. The brain is far more plastic than we used to think. You are right that I will never convince true believers. I made exactly this point about function to a true believer and he just threw out some science-jargony words that did not add up to anything.

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  13. I’m a 61 year old single father and I had some number of conversations with my daughter about some of these issues. She was not one to wear her emotions on her sleeve; kept a lot hidden at times. She was very gay-friendly in high school, belonged to the gay and lesbian club, but I don’t know if that was because she was confused about gender issues or saw them as wounded puppies that she could help.

    I stressed to her that when puberty hits, the brain sort of rewires itself. We don’t know how, but a lot of changes can take place during that time. I also stressed the importance of trying to see things in all dimensions. I related how children can get locked into things when they are little. My example is, “Did you have a good day at school?” makes a kid do value assessments on things that they may not be prepared to assess. After that, they get locked in and can’t reassess them. I always asked my kids about things that happened. Events require little assessment and from they events, they can tell if things were good or bad. The goal is to get them to seen all sides and see both the good and the bad. And since she was very scientifically minded (much smarter than me, and I’m an computer design engineer), I appealed to her skepticism and fact finding, rather than truth seeking. The difference between facts and truths are that facts are events absent context, truths are facts and context. On the internet, people push things that they verify as truth; it is presented as a package, but often the facts are deprecated for some overarching and more important narrative that purports to be the ‘truth’. But it is important to know the facts also.

    She’s in college now and just told the family that she has a boyfriend. There are still a lot of things I don’t know about her. But the goal of parenting is to raise a child that can function as an adult, be responsible, be a community member, able to think for themselves. I think she is that. A secondary goal as a parent is to be able to have an adult relationship with your children. I think we are on our way to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi, I am the mom of a girl who is getting sucked into the trans-identity also. She’s never been even the slightest bit butch or tomboy, though! I think she just wants to be a gay guy who dates girls?? She’s arty and goofy and “fabulous” and I think just can’t see exactly where she fits in with a traditional media model of femininity.

    She was super NOT-trans or boyish until this fall. Not much at all. She loved to wear pink sparkly things as a kid and as much as I tried to introduce gender neutral toys and trucks and sports she was mostly into stuffed animals and My Little Pony and dance and art.

    I blame it all on Tumblr. Well, not all of it really, but I do actually think it was a huge factor. I know she’s made friends with trans kids on there and has met one in real life, too.

    She’s such a gentle soul, but she’s suffered from anxiety her whole life and maybe some ADD and a bit of depression this past year (she’s just turned 15). I really feel like she was looking for some answer to the question, “why am I so weird?” which I think is something a lot of (most) adolescents struggle with. When it’s happening to you, though, it seems like no one else is going through it the way you are. She also diagnosed herself with Borderline Personality Disorder (so not her — it’s just anxiety, honey). I think she just found a community of kind, weird kids on Tumblr and has been trying to find someplace where she fits in. She has plenty of kind, weird friends in REAL LIFE, too.

    Last year in 8th grade she stopped wanting to wear dresses much. I didn’t think much about it at all because I don’t like to wear dresses or skirts either (pretty much just for weddings and funerals for me). She wore pants and a black button down to her 8th grade graduation (small funky school, not a big deal).

    This year she joined the QSA although she seemed to want to keep it a secret from me and have it be a thing she did behind my back. I have no idea why. We’ve been out supporters of gay rights for years and have a lot of gay and lesbian friends and relations. I think she also had a big crush on a girl in the QSA and I asked her about it (kept finding love notes in her pockets when doing laundry), but she wouldn’t say for whatever reason. I told her I didn’t care who she dated, boy or girl, as long as they were good to her.

    This is getting long. Sorry, but it helps to type to people who understand.

    Anyway, a few weeks ago she baked a cake and then the next day left a letter for me to find coming out as trans (pretty sure she got those ideas from the internet, too). I just told her I’ll always love her no matter what, but inside I REALLY don’t want her to go down this road. I have absolutely no problem at all if she wants to date girls or boys, but this kid is NOT TRANS! She’s NEVER been interested in BOY things, she’s barely even had any friends that are boys, certainly not any close ones.

    What I’m struggling with now, and would love some advice on, is how to deal with this. We went to Target yesterday for some new spring clothes and she shopped in the boys department, which I normally would not have a problem with, but I know she only did it because she wants to be in the Trans-club. We’ve shopped at Target for years and she’s vehemently opposed my suggestions of looking at anything in the boys department (cool t-shirt with a band she likes or anything like that).

    I don’t want to come down too hard and have her dig in her heels (which she can do), but I really feel desperate to right the ship before she strays too far off course. I could be okay with some good old fashioned androgyny ala Bowie, but I want her to be comfortable in the body that she has. I don’t care what she does to her hair or what clothes she wears for the most part (no to binding), but not going any further down that road.

    She is seeing a therapist (just started recently) about the anxiety. I haven’t outed her to the therapist, but I did tell her that she’s been involved in QSA this year and I thought she had some identity questions around that. I don’t know maybe I should just go ahead and tell the therapist the whole deal. She does not specifically deal with the trans community, but she is open to LGBTQ kids. She really specializes in anxiety, etc.

    Any tips for how to turn this back around??

    Like

    • Is she actually mentioning any body modifications?

      If you give a good look to the Tumblr people, you will find that many of them pursue a total disconnect between gender and body. “I can be a boy/girl/whatever while looking like whatever”. If she is following that particular route, then all she wants is a bit of play-along in the pronouns/names/clothes department. Which really isn’t much.

      I note she is in a “QSA” not GSA. They might just be using “queer” as a fancy modern word – or they might be pursuing queer theory in depth. You can google it. And if she *does* mention body modifications. I would suggest that a queer theory approach to discussing them (“you can be a wonderful gay boy with breasts dating girls because Judith Butler sayeth so, your body is not a problem for your identity”) could be the most productive – because much of Tumblr is behind it, too.

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      • I don’t have a lot of time, but I would advise you to ignore ramendik. This is a poster who accused parents of being abusive.

        You could read a post by skeptical therapist mom about her own situation. It’s recent. And search Lane Anderson for some good advice about looking for a therapist.

        I would also have a talk, without your daughter, with the therapist. There is no telling if that person will be ethical and treat any teen speaking of identity with care and also respect where you are as a parent with a minor child.

        Know that most of the posters here are mothers of daughters who have found themselves in this situation. Our stories are pretty similar in having girls who seem to feel a little different at adolescence who take to social media and decide that those feelings, which are very normal, actually, mean that they aren’t girls. We simply want to keep our kids safe and healthy and help them through a time fraught with anxiety and questioning for even the most well-adjusted.

        Good luck to you! This is a place to find camaraderie and support and information. Welcome.

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  15. Thank you both for your comments.

    I think I will wait and watch a little bit more before bringing it up with the therapist. I actually really like the therapist and think they could connect. The therapist is not into the interwebz. My kid mentioned something about “dank memes” when they first met and the therapist said she didn’t really know so much about “mims”. I think her focus is more on CBT and DBT in working with anxiety and although she mentioned she helped start a GSA in college or somewhere when I called her with my concerns about my kid’s identity and the QSA at school. I don’t think she’s really focused on LGBTQ issues and I seriously doubt if she knows what goes on on Tumblr. When I called her and discussed my fears with my daughter’s self diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder she suggested putting limits on computer time, which is very sensible, if easier said than done.

    I’ve discussed it with my husband and I don’t think we can get her off Tumblr without a huge stink/backlash, but we are going to go the route of requiring her to friend/follow us on all social media. She can still have her online friends, but she doesn’t need to be out there unsupervised.

    I know she can try to sneak around, but I think if she knows we’re out there we can at least put out the other side of the message. I found thissoftspace on Tumblr and I hope that by finding some more Tumblrs like that and continuing a dialogue IRL that we can pull her back from the precipice a little. I’m also going to try to encourage the idea that she may be a “Highly Sensitive Person” which is a real thing and she does tick most of the check boxes. If she wants to find a label for herself that one seems fairy innocuous.

    Today she texted me some links to bindings and pronouns. I am so not going there. I will meet her in the middle and try to avoid pronouns altogether and let her shop in the boys dept (I would usually never care, but it does bug me since she started id-ing as genderqueer masculine) and she can wear sports bras, but no binding and I’m not using male pronouns.

    This site is a huge help. Thank you so much! There’s a lot of good out here on the interwebz, too, along with all the mixed up kids on Tumblr.

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    • Momwantingtoturnitback, it is hard to know what to do. I’ve been there with my daughter.

      I echo Katiesan, though, to ignore ramendik’s advice. Playing around with gender sounds completely harmless, but I don’t believe it really is. There is so much misinformation online reinforcing the idea that if you don’t fit in, then you must be trans. I feel parents need to counteract this influence.

      I personally let my daughter wear the clothes she wanted to wear and get the haircut she wanted, but would not allow binders nor would I call her my male pronouns/name. I think it is important to have boundaries like this.

      I eventually was able to find a therapist to help her with some underlying mental health issues. And I got her involved in extracurricular activities that kept her busy. She is happier when busy and it has the fringe benefit of reducing the time she spends online. Now she is back to feeling female again.

      I wish you luck with reaching your daughter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yeah, me too. my kid is all-male presentation, short hair, boy clothes, binding (alas, a bad earlier decision on my part) but still has her girl name and identity. For the moment. She is petite and flat even without the binder, but with the short hair and no female ‘signifiers’ she passes as ‘young teen boy’ out in public constantly. I do not know what she does when she gets ‘he’ and she’s out alone — probably celebrates that internally. But when she is with me and we are doing some sort of business, I will correct the ‘he’ and verbally affirm that ‘this is [insert girlname]’.

        I am sure I would be labeled an oppressive and abusive and unsupportive TERF for that, and (depending on the context) I will let it go at times. But if it’s official or semi-official business that she needs me to help her with, then I will firmly correct them regarding her name and the ‘she.’ I have agonized over this and agonized over it and … yeah.

        Because … bottom line? I think my kid needs to see that I believe a woman, a ‘she,’ can present exactly the way my kid is presenting and still be a ‘she.’ I think my kid needs to see that a person with [girlname] can present exactly the way my kid is presenting and still claim that name. (The kid LIKES the [girlname]; in fact, I think she does not want to give it up as a ‘deadname,’ which is one reason she has not pushed to transition thus far.) My kid tolerates this behavior on my part. I don’t know for how long. Maybe not forever. We continue to have a very good relationship. But I know what the transactivists would say about what I am doing here.

        In fact, it is hard to know what to do, and if my kid appeared to be distressed/depressed/anxious about the whole business, eh, I don’t know. Re-evaluate. Right now her head’s in a very good place so I just act like this is all just normal stuff and go on with life. Some pretend games are not healthy. Expecting me to pretend that this kid has ‘always been a boy’ when … I know that’s not true? Reinforcing the idea that she can physically become (or IS) an actual male somehow? That’s not reality. I can’t go there.

        Aside from the “bathroom wars,” some of me actually hopes this “call yourself what you want without messing with your body” business takes hold. At least it would keep some kids from screwing up their bodies, whatever they are calling themselves and however they are “identifying.”

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      • Thanks Overwhelmed. That’s about exactly where I am now. I’m just wanting to say to her, “no you’re not!” I’m really considering having that conversation. I keep replaying it in my head, but I don’t think it’s particularly respectful. I do want to respect her struggle and help her through this. I need to go read SkepticalTherapist’s post again and lift those therapy phrases, but also, “no you’re not!” just keeps playing in my head.

        My gut instinct is this kind of playing around with gender is not healthy at all. It’s only adding to her confusion, not clarifying it. It’s confusing for me to even parse out how I feel about it all. I am so pro Gay Rights that it feels weird to be unsupportive of people who say they are trans, but as someone else mentioned there are parallels with disorders like anorexia.

        My kid is just so not trans! I feel like I need to step in here and pull her back from the edge and say, no you can’t go over that cliff, what are you thinking!?

        We had a nice chat yesterday in the car about Hilary Clinton and feminism. Funny thing is I don’t think that not wanting to be a girl is what’s driving my kid to explore a trans identity. I think some of the things that are going on with her go on with all teens — feeling weird in your changing body, getting noticed for having a body and being a girl, not getting noticed, wanting attention and not wanting attention, wanting to explore sexual feelings/make-out/get kissed, and not wanting to, wanting a really close friend to talk about these things with and not wanting to talk about these things, wanting to separate from your parents and declare your independence and wanting someone to take care of you. I think she’s also very susceptible to magical thinking also.

        We have started her on an antidepressant and have her in therapy for some underlying issues she’s had all her life (way before she ever knew about Tumblr) and I really like the therapist so I’m optimistic that will work out. She’s kind, easy to talk to, doesn’t seem to mind if I call, and seems to respect my judgment. I don’t think she will reinforce the trans-id, but I’m reluctant to even bring it up with her because I don’t think my daughter has brought it up with her yet. The fewer people she tells about playing with feeling trans the easier it is to step back away from it.

        I really need to reel her back from Tumblr. I know she has made some good friends on there and she wants to keep in contact with them, but I just think it’s not healthy. I think I’m going to try to get her to go back to watching TV!! I think that’s healthier — whodathunkit!

        I think the biggest problem is going to be getting her away from the computer and her phone. She is really super attached to both as a means to communicate with her friends. I think she also gets a little hit of serotonin or dopamine or whatever whenever she gets a reply online or a follow on Tumblr or anything like that. She feels _liked_ and she’s always been insecure about that. She was having horrible anxiety and big crying jags in the fall when her friends, J, (one of whom I’m pretty sure she had a crush on, but she would never admit it) didn’t text her back in 5 minutes. I mean like falling apart.

        That’s when she asked to see a mental health professional. I think that her request for therapy also probably was actually helped by Tumblr people listing all their neuroses and diagnoses in their profiles. I had thought about taking her to someone for years and had offered it up several times, but she was always vehemently opposed. She’s always seemed just on the borderline of needing help, but coped fairly well, so we didn’t push it, but just worried about it. When she was open to the idea and the emotion was so intense in Nov/Dec we went with it.

        She does seem a little better now since starting on the Lexapro, but that kid is so funny. She won’t admit it. The nurse practitioner who is managing her meds asked her if she thought they were helping at all and she’s like, “no I can’t feel a thing!” I hated to seem like I was correcting her, but I had to step in and say, well I have noticed that she’s not crying as much and she seems to be doing better in school so I think it may be helping and my kid is like, “I’m always crying inside!”. It’s like she is hanging on to her distress, y’know? She wants to paint it black which I guess is fairly typical teen/early 20s behavior, but I do worry about it with her since she has such a tendency toward anxiety anyway. She’s just built that way. I’m hoping the therapist can give her some techniques to draw on for managing that because ain’t no pill ever gonna make it completely go away for her.

        The magical thinking really frustrates me. She’s always had that, too, and has never been able to take a clear-eyed look at herself. I’m hoping the therapy will help with that, too. She used to climb 4 feet up in a tree and say “I climbed to the top of the tree!” Well no, not really. I think the gender-id is another manifestation of that magical thinking. Really, no you’re not a boy, and the mixed up feelings you have are normal teenage feelings, and no you don’t even really feel like a boy. She’s getting some positive feedback on Tumblr and maybe in real life with a few QSA friends for id-ing as trans, so a little dopamine hit there, too, and that plays into her insecurities about people liking her.

        She’s such a gentle, sweet kid, if a little self-centered. I think it would really help if I could get her focused on something outside herself, too. She’s not as inclined that way as my younger daughter who is all about helping the puppies and the kitties of the world. I love that older girl, but sometimes I do have to remind her to think of others. She’s not the kind that naturally thinks, what can I do for Father’s Day for example. She’s happy to participate, but not somebody who would spend weeks thinking about it in advance and would be fine with dashing off a quick homemade card without much effort put into it. A little natural inclination toward self-centeredness now pushed into the middle of the most self-centered time of our lives, teenagerdom, has her completely focused on herself and how other people perceive her. She’s getting positive feedback for id-ing as trans which plays into the self-focused nature of the teen years and her natural inclinations, too.

        I don’t mean to belittle her confusion, though. I think that is very real, but I think maybe that has more to do with having the crush on her girl friend, J. I think the friend is pretty solidly lesbian. I’m not really sure about my kid. I think she really likes this friend, though. She has friends at school and outside of school and they’re good friends, but she’s never had that one BEST friend that you just connect with on a soul to soul level and I think that’s what she’s always craved.

        Thanks for letting me run on at the keyboard about this. It really helps to talk about it with people who understand where I’m coming from. So grateful to have found this community and not to have to dance around being pro Gay rights but skeptical about teens id-ing as Trans. Just typing all this out helps me clarify my thoughts on it. I think I will have to have a big talk with her about it. I off-handedly mentioned last night at dinner that I wanted to follow her on Tumblr and I could tell she didn’t like that idea, but I will pursue it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Momwantingtoturnitbackaround, glad that you’ve found us. This is so stressful to go through and no one knows what will work best for their child. I think most of us are stumbling around on this, but trying our best. This is such a new phenomenon.

        It sounds like you are doing well, though. It is likely a good thing that you aren’t being so confrontational. I know it can feel so wrong to us, but it’s such a serious thing for our children. With my daughter, I kept telling her that I believed her distress, but told her that I wasn’t convinced that it was due to gender dysphoria. I think it helped her to realize I was sympathetic to her pain. And I kept reinforcing that I love her and want to do the right thing as her mom.

        I tried to balance that sympathy with occasional talks challenging her belief. Sometimes they went well, but sometimes they really didn’t. It is hard to know how much to say, what to say. I know I was far from perfect on getting the balance right. It is far too easy to get frustrated. Overall, I think Skepticaltherapist’s advice is the way to go. Do your best, but realize that you are human if it doesn’t go perfectly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I don’t know; Where do you draw that line and say “thus far, no farther?” Where do you draw the line between “healthy” and “not-so-healthy” in terms of expression? Because there are parents out here who would say that even letting your kid have short hair and all “boy” clothes is a bridge too far, you know? But I can’t put my kid in such a box, even if she is “pretending,” for whatever reason. I can’t just say “you’re a girl, you have to act like a girl.” When the notion of “girl” is so superficial, so pink-dresses-and-sparkles. So superficial. What the hell is ‘act like a girl?’ So much of that is just patriarchal bullshit. After a lot of years of buying this kid legos and hot wheels instead of dolls that sit on a shelf, I’m not gonna say “you have to be whatever society accepts as a girl” in order to avoid confusing people (or, more to the point, to protect HER from having to deal with people’s confusion on a daily basis).

        Maybe there would have been some earlier point to say ‘No, you’re not,’ more flatly. Maybe if my kid had been a lot younger when she stared fiddling with the trans idea. As it was, she was already 15 with her own thoughts and her own will and a long history of psych issues already. It is a very delicate dance here and so damned difficult. And no psych help available here now that I can find. No one I trust not to say to her at the FIRST appointment: ‘you think you’re trans, then you’re trans, let’s get you started with T.’ No one I can trust not to admonish me thus: ‘your kid is trans, your kid is not going to change, you have to accept this, you have to support this, or you’re going to kill your kid.’

        You know? There is no one but you guys. And I’m beyond grateful for you guys, speaking what seems like such common sense to me. But there are days when the old social justice voice, the voice I’ve always had in my head since I was a rebellious adolescent myself, whispers to me: ‘These people are phobic, these people are wrong, you’re abusing your kid, you can’t fight the movement, you’re on the wrong side of history, you need to get with the program, this T-infused future is inevitable. Say goodbye to your daughter and get on with it.’

        I look at my kid, still using [girlname] consistently but striving every day to look like ‘boy’ to the world and see ‘boy’ in the mirror, playing ‘boy’ consistently in her vid games, envisioning ‘boy’ as the prize, somehow. Part of me thinks that every day I let that look/vision continue without a more active level of parental pushback is a day where her ‘male’ identity is becoming ever more solidified. But at this point it’s far too late to say ‘forget this crap, let’s buy you a prom dress.’ Not gonna happen.

        Honestly, limbo is as close as we get to victory at this point. As unhappy-making as it is. (Right now I am a lot more unhappy than the kid appears to be. I just stuff that all down and smile and pretend like everything’s fine. I hope everything WILL be fine, one day. Though I don’t have anything like confidence in such an outcome.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • puzzled, I’m right there with you. We have tried to split the difference — she socially transitioned at school and there wasn’t really anything we could do about it. I mean, the school wasn’t going to back us up, so why fight it? Also, I just had this entrenched thought that taking on a new name and getting everyone to use male pronouns was NOT going to really change anything. And I was right. In fact, things just spiraled into The Very Bad Place. She became suicidal and we had to make it through several hospitalization in a little over a month and in-and-out of an outpatient program and calling the police. In the middle of that, some new psychiatrists started to voice that maybe she was bipolar and that the meds she was on were causing the violence and abuse and all manner of behavioral stuff.

        And, I can’t help but blame the mental health professionals who drove us away, you know? A good therapist might have clued in that our kid was freaking DELUSIONAL and that we were refusing to give in to the trans stuff for the reasons we kept telling them — that she had never expressed any of this stuff until she met a trans-identified kid in high school and started spending so much time online; that she had long-standing and deep-seated behavioral and relationships issues since early childhood; that we WEREN’T the controlling, gender-obsessed oppressors she claimed we were. But, no, both the therapists we tried to work with insisted that our daughter’s self-identification was key and that we were obstructing her progress to set our own boundaries and insist she had mental health issues vs and identity issue.

        Well, things are getting better, but only after we got some assistance from psychiatrists in mental wards who thought maybe she was misdiagnosed and was bipolar instead of anxious and depressed because of all the identity stuff. Getting off meds which exacerbate that and on a mood stabilizer has been super-helpful. We’re not out of the woods, but she’s no longer telling us we owe her because we ruined her life and we’re mostly not called “gross” and “haters” for continuing calling her her actual name and using female pronouns. I am certain that she can’t really go back to identifying as female and reclaiming her name and female pronouns until she’s out of high school. She spent a lot of time and gained a LOT of social benefits by insisting she was super-different and deserved to be seen as spectacularly special. I think a therapist could be really useful to help her navigate this. But no way in hell is anyone in our state going to be helpful at this point.

        And, how much more difficult would her life be if WE had gone all in when she started this? How could she ever admit that this was tied to her mental health and move away from it? Frankly, I think the mental health professionals almost allowed my kid to kill herself because, as thirdwaytrans has said, they value social justice over actual therapy.

        Liked by 2 people

      • katiesan … so glad your daughter is doing better. i’ve been wondering. i hate that you had to go through all you did to get to this kind of a Dx. It’s a hard enough diagnosis without all that static.

        i hope everything stays on an upward trajectory.

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  16. This really stood out to me: “…gay male drag queen in a girl’s body.”

    I know a woman in her early 20’s like this. She’s literally gone from, “I’m a straight girl obsessed with gay guys and drag” to, “I’m actually a trans gay drag queen YASSSSS BETCHHHEZZZ!!!” and it’s… well, to be perfectly honest, extremely offensive.

    A lot of straight women befriend gay men, we all know why. But the tragic, obsessive “f*g hag” has become this weird idea of what it means to be supportive of gay rights, and I’ve seen a lot of young women living it out. (And of course you have the inverse issue of straight women using gay men as fashion accessories, which is nasty.)

    I mostly hang with other women now, but a couple of years back many of my close friends were gay men. I remember the sexist slurs, the white gay boys doing “I’m a fabulous black woman who don’t need no man” impersonations, the obsession with drag… and I saw a lot of straight girls around me getting on board. Once I was at a friend’s house and they wanted to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race and they insisted I’d love it. I very gently mentioned that I was a bit put off by all the sexist slurs and stereotypes of women they were acting out, and was promptly “called out” for being homophobic. (Despite the fact that I couldn’t give two shits if men sleep with other men or even if they wear wigs and makeup, you do you!)

    It’s just one more step from idolising drag queens to becoming a woman who thinks she’s a man pretending to be a woman. After all – we couldn’t possibly know how to be women all on our own, right? MEN define “womanhood” so who better to perform it than a man? We women surely fail at every point.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Puzzled, I am really grateful to have found this blog fairly early on in this (although I wish I had taken action much earlier when I first had the inklings of something going on online).

    I think you’ve been much further down the road and have been dealing with it much longer than I have so I can’t really give advice, but to echo what you and others have told me, can you try to help her to focus on other things besides her gender-id? Can she also id as a Taekwondo-ist or an artist or a basketball player or a volunteer at the animal shelter, or a non-LGBTQ activist like helping with the refugee crisis (something that has nothing to do with politics in the US and gender issues)? That’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m also going to try to keep the door from slamming shut on her gender id by just keeping up with telling her to keep her options open and to point out all the things that women can do. I think Hilary’s presidential campaign gives us a good opportunity to talk up feminism.

    Truth be told, in my heart I think my kid would come back around anyway, but I think the sooner I can help her to do that the easier it will be on all of us. It’s a pretty big huge hairy deal and I regret not acting on it sooner and just hoping it was a phase that would pass.

    Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately her main ID is ‘gamer’ — a quite misogynistic world alas — and she’s heading for an IT career — ditto. Hates physical activity but will do it grudgingly for school. Does do a lot of volunteer charity work with a school group and that is wonderful. She actually is not LGBTQ-aligned; I mean, there is a GSA at her school and she has chosen not to get involved with it at all. She’s in several other clubs. Honestly, she is very firm on the presentation but she’s not asking for anything else at this point. For which, thank God.

      Maybe in the end she’s just going to be a masculine lesbian as women have been, like, forever. I think it’s just taking her some time to get there. I hope those comp sci guys in college don’t screw her up. Pretty worried about that but she is GOOD at it. So, yeah. We shall see.

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  18. The issue of girls being subjected to a loss of status, degradation and harassment as soon as they reach adolescence is something society has to address. Noone should have to deal with this, especially at a young age but it happens to a lot of girls and women. I am glad that your daughter discovered her gender identity, and hope she continues to be happy!

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  19. WOw, momwanting to turn it back around. My 16 year old daughter sounds exactly like yours. My husband and I are trying to turn her around now. Some of her so-called trans friends will be leaving for college in AUgust and we are trying to get her away this summer to clear her head. She has a whole history of mental health issues dating back to 3 years old. Anxiety the biggest problem. SHe just wants to belong to a group so bad, that she will do anything. We are thinking about pulling Tumblr plug as well. It’s almost like she’s been brainwashed and we need to deprogram.

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    • My heart absolutely goes out to you. I do think this is about a desperate need to belong. Your daughter may be terrified of losing her friends and sense of belonging if she loses her trans identity, which is no small thing for a teenager (actually, what could be more disastrous?) What I would recommend is to support her in claiming her “gender identity” while forbidding her from using any hormonal or surgical treatments. Pronouns and name changes are fully reversible – hormone treatments and surgeries are not. Protecting your daughter from hormone and surgical treatments will give her the opportunity to outgrow her desire to transition. Helping her find a new peer group (if possible) might also help. Kids do not understand the seriousness of transition – what it could cost them physically, psychologically, socially, and economically. It’s not a game, but the media treats it as if it is. If you can support your daughter’s pronoun and name changes, this may keep communication open and buy her the time she needs to realize the seriousness of altering her body to “fit” her personality. I understand the sense of helplessness and terror this brings up for parents. I hope you will be as lucky as I was and your daughter will outgrow her desire to transition. I’m so sorry you and your daughter are going through this.

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      • I love your comment and think there’s real insight here.

        I am on the fence about pronouns and names. While I agree that names and pronouns are the things which are reversible, they are also the way that people signify their support of a person who is having this kind of identity crisis. And, if the trans-identifying kid starts to question, who can they, in essence, talk about not identifying as trans anymore? Or even talk about it from the other side? If even parents are going along, I would guess that feels like a trap. I would even say I bet this might be why we’re seeing a rash of suicides among trans-identified teens and young adults who seemed to have complete support of friends AND family. If you have seen your family burn genuine social capital for you and now you’re asking them to reconsider? That is a HEAVY load.

        I’m taking the other side — I am refusing to call my daughter by her new name and by male pronouns. I am not going out of my way to do this in front of her friends or others, but I definitely call her her legal name in MY home. We have extenuating circumstances — she’s diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder which distorts her thinking in a massive way. She has conflated the feeling her disorder causes with being trans. So, I stand firm. I don’t talk about it at all anymore and the ONLY time she even says anything to us is when she’s having an episode or has engaged to argue with us.

        In our family, this is probably a moot point. My daughter is violent and destructive and she is a liar. We have a plan in place to invite her to live independently at 18 because of the damage she has caused to our family. It’s not her fault, technically — she’s severely mentally ill. But the rest of us are now being treated for PTSD because of her instability and unpredictable behavior. Her abuse. And the identity stuff is just a cherry on that abusive cake.

        My situation isn’t the situation of everyone, I know. But, I do think the name/pronoun topic is a little more nuanced than “it’s not permanent so just go along to get along and it will all turn out fine in the end.”

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  20. Excellent point! I just happened to go along with my daughter’s “gender ID” cuz I thought I had to – I really believed I would harm her by not doing so. But you are right – it could just as easily have gone the other way, and I could have inadvertently pushed her in a dangerous direction. You have to do what you believe in your heart is best for your family. I’m so sorry that you are also dealing with violent and abusive behavior. It sounds like boundaries are extremely necessary for your protection & the protection of all those involved.

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  21. I am not going to recognize pronouns because I don’t want her to think that we are fine with thinking she is somehow a different gender. I also call her by her given name, although she has shortened it to a nickname that could be either girl or boy. All her friends call her that nickname, but our family does not and she has not insisted on it yet. I am going to stand as firm as possible because my daughter has a history of mental issues that make her the perfect candidate to blow this entirely out of proportion. She always thinks there is something terribly wrong with her when it’s usually something only minor or nothing at all. She does have anxiety which feeds this desire to fixate and make things bigger than they are. I’ve already drawn the line about some things she has wanted to wear that wear that did not conform with traditional dress code for her school. She’s mad about my putting my foot down and we have a stressful relationship right now, but I’m going going with my gut that this is just not her.

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  22. Am I still able to comment and talk to Penny White please? I have just come across this and I feel like you are writing about my daughter. I am desperate, sad , frightened and in need of talking to others who understand and won’t judge me.

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    • Lostmom, you can find Penny White on twitter at @unbreakablepenn with the screen name Penny White XX . Are you on Twitter? If not, perhaps 4thwave admin can put you in touch with her. Admin, if you’d rather I not mention Penny White’s twitter, feel free to delete or edit this comment.

      Best wishes to you, Lostmom. You are not alone.

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      • Thank you so much for that info. I got up this morning and felt like I could not cope any longer with what’s going on, and you do feel so alone. I’m not on Twitter, am pretty hopeless with all that but I guess I could join. Admin, I am new to this type of thing but just really need support from other parents like me. If I want to share something or need advice, do I just keep posting it in these comments? Please forgive my ignorance, and thank you SkepticalMom for reaching out. I’m also happy to talk to you!

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      • Lost mom you can post here and I’ll respond. I have a daughter who decided she was trans last year. Understand your distress completely. You are not alone.

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    • Lostmom, you can communicate with us on any of the blog posts here. The “about” page has lots of comments where we support each other, but comments on just about any 4thwave blog post will be seen by regulars. Most of us get notifications of new comments, especially if we have already commented on a particular post.

      We are all getting through this –together– as best we can. Feel free to ask questions, cry, rant, otherwise vent or post your own observations. You will find support here.

      Sasha Ayad, M. Ed., LPC, a therapist in Texas, is setting up her practice to offer Skype sessions to those who do not live in her area. This is a terrific development as I believe she is the first of her kind. For most of us it has been very difficult to find a therapist who will agree to go slowly and attempt to uncover body issues or underlying mental issues rather than jumping right into transition body modification. Here is her website: http://inspiredteentherapy.com/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks again, I have posted in the ‘About’ section but I wanted to get some advice please! I am in the process of trying to find a good doctor for my daughter. I was referred to one place and have just talked to them, but the person said the doctor would ask my daughter what pronouns and name she wanted to use, and talk to her about where they could refer her for assessments!! Has the world gone mad?? I don’t want any of this at the moment, and when I said that I got the same lines about self harm, being inclusive, etc…. Any advice about this, and about the whole ‘pronoun’ thing in general? Thanks so much!!

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  23. Lostmom, me too! So glad to find this thread. the original post was like reading my mind. That described my daughter to a tee, how she viewed her girl power. My daughter (12) just “came out” to me yesterday about being bi/lesbian. It was indirect, she showed me a thread of LGBTQ jokes, one of which was about a young person trying to tell their parent and using the metaphor of a mixed dessert (“mom, I’m mixed berry!”). I am very concerned that it’s a–shall we say–“performance” of coming out. And have the same anxiety about showing worry or disappointment or any negativity if it’s organic.
    But there’s a context here. I noticed several things about her puberty transition: she actually was shaving her newly forming pubic hair for a while; she started avoiding form fitting or other feminizing clothing like the plague; tall for her age, rather well developed, started cycle at 11. She also used to express a lot of anxiety (in humorous play, but a definite preoccupation) about rape, the possibility of being raped and how she would fight off her attackers. She’s also hyper aware of earthquakes, other natural disasters (follows news reports and newsfeeds when they occur, giving me blow by blow, asking if we’re in danger). Insomnia, bedwetting (until age 11), and suicidal ideation. She’s just about always had “fitting in” problems, we have some hurdles to overcome with me under financial strain and having to care for my mom most of her life (2-12 yrs old). The latter led to a kind of neglect that I’m just beginning to understand the dimensions of. Her social life is her cyber world: anime, fan fiction clubs, and that’s where she is most of the time. This is a bit rambling but..jeez…I dunno, my baby has issues. She said to me once, when we were walking in a neighborhood that she did not feel safe in, that it was ” times like these” that she feels like she has to come across male (I don’t remember how she phrased it) in other words so she could feel less vulnerable.
    I don’t see her declaration/ assertion as organic. I really think it’s a combination of coping with social anxiety, extreme loneliness, a desire to transform her feelings of being outside the social circle, into a feeling of being part of a special class or group that may somehow be superior to the others that reject her. And when we picked up the conversation today, –because it was clear she wanted to talk about it–part of the conversation was that her new (and only) buddy at school thought of herself as “pansexual”. My eyes do roll. At 12? Really? I mean, spell it.Use it in a sentence, ya know! And yes, these are mega bright kids learning these sophisticated sexual definitions online primarily–so she could definitely spell it and use it in a defensive, pc treatise about homo/trans/other-sexual phobia full of all the right talking points. It’s a script. I was so glad that she had this one friend, someone to text with and hang with at school, someone with whom she shared some interests. Im still glad about that, but concerned that the influence of perhaps a stronger, more defined personality who has given the precious gift of friendship is at the root of making this identity move.
    I remember a time in my adolescence when I was so lonely and unconsciously needy of approval and acceptance that I would have squeezed myself into about any shape if it meant acceptance. I’m blessed that I was not just totally used and abused by the male peers I had my teen sexual experiences with. I was ripe and totally unaware. I would have definitely accepted/participated in a homosexual relationship (partly from early experiences related to molestation made me comfortable expressing sexually with female peers). In college, I had an encounter, and you know what, i’m not lesbian or even bi curious. All of this is to say…yikes! I was able to reflect on and understand my sexual patterns as a more matured adult, as I saw the connection between my emotional vulnerability/ personal insecurities and making myself available sexually to anyone who would have me. I remember how deep and hard I crushed– for years!–on the first person I met with whom I shared a nerdy preoccupation with meditation. The pure magic of connecting with someone after years ( and at that age, a “lifetime”) of feeling awkward and misfitted and being a tragically sheltered kid.

    Im afraid this could be a gateway drug to extreme behaviors we use to feel special, loved, accepted and to mask profound feelings of insecurity and deep sadness and loneliness.

    Sorry this is so very long. Hope it progresses the conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. It’s so interesting how our daughters seem to share a lot of the same issues/traits, which I also agree is what pushes them into a trans identity. I agree it’s another unhealthy coping skill my daughter is using to deal with her other mental health/self esteem issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you everyone who has replied to me and posted comments, I can’t tell you how much it helps to know you are not alone, even if we are likely on opposite ends of the earth!!! It’s interesting to me that, from what I have read, a lot of us have daughters who are saying they are transgender, rather than sons. That alone should set off alarm bells. What I have found most distressing is not actually the fact that my daughter thinks she is transgender, (although I don’t exactly love it!), but more the reactions of the medical professionals. We live in a world where everything is instant, and they seem to think we need to instantly ‘fix’ our children as well. Whatever happened to allowing kids to ‘sit in the muck,’ to try on different hats, to take their time working out who they are? To be teenagers, like all of us were? To have a crappy few years making mistakes and learning from them? It’s all about the rights of the kids, but what about the rights of the parents, who don’t want an instant fix but some support for the journey? Thank god for this site!!! And thank god I live in a country which, for now, prevents my daughter accessing any medical stuff for a few years.

    spprtmykid, thanks for your thoughtful post, please don’t blame yourself. We are not to blame, we all love our kids and do the best we can for them.

    My daughter told me last night she has a girlfriend, I know the girl in question, she’s gorgeous and has been a good friend. When I asked my daughter if that meant the other girl was gay or straight, she said “We don’t talk about things like that mum!” Goodness know what the next chapter will be.

    The whole thing is so confusing, but I am starting to listen to my gut, not the professionals who made me feel so distressed initially.

    Let’s all stay strong. x

    Like

  26. The absolute paucity of articles regarding the idea that maybe “transgender” is NOT ALWAYS transgender is astonishing. My daughter decided she was transgender at the age of 14 — after living with her lesbian mother for two years and having a best friend who claimed to be transgender. The thing is, my daughter has always been just about the girliest girl imaginable (and still is, despite trying the short haircut for a year, and still sticking with a girly-sounding man name).

    She likes men, so she claims she’s transgender and gay. In other words, she is, for all practical intents and purposes, straight — she’s a physical girl who likes boys.

    Personally, I have no doubt that my daughter is NOT transgender, she was simply trying to fit in with her environment during the two years she lived with my ex — but God forbid I say anything of the sort to her. The problem is, now she’s locked herself into the trans social circle (as this article discusses) which is currently huge (because it’s “trendy” to be a transgender teen these days, if you can imagine) and there seems to be NO HELP WHATSOEVER for kids to get out! Everything you read is “oh, you need to support your transgender teen.”

    You know, sometimes TRULY supporting your kids means helping to guide them in a direction different than the one they think they “want.” If my 7 year old wants to run out into traffic, does it make me a non-supportive parent for stopping him? This pop idea that kids can raise themselves is dangerous.

    Anyway, my point is that there is nothing out there talking about: “How to help your teen come to terms with their sexuality and probably realize that they’re not transgender.” Instead, hormone therapy is being encouraged for younger and younger kids — hey folks, there’s a reason you’re not considered a legal adult until you’re 18. Yet we’re encouraging kids to mutilate their bodies at 14, 12, 10… It’s ridiculous, it’s outrageous, and it’s g-damn dangerous the way society is approaching this issue.

    Where are the voices of sanity? Oh, that’s right — they’re drowned out as “haterz” and “phobics.”

    How to we return society to some semblance of maturity and reason in this discussion…?

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Thank you SO much for posting this. I’m dealing with a very similar situation in my home and have questioned if I’m a good mother, if I missed signs of sexual abuse, I’ve berated myself for every single thought or feeling I’ve had in every single direction.
    I have tried to google “parents of trans kids” many times over the past few months but this is the first article that really represents how I’ve felt and gave voice to my current personal situation.
    I wish there was more support for this. A more nonpressure and non heroic based support. I want this to be something my child comes about on their own terms- not because it was glamorous or made them believe they were brace vs cowardly or anything so binary. Simply becoming who you are is hard enough without the society pressure and influence of gender.
    This is the hardest thing I’ve ever encountered in my motherhood journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have had those same thoughts over the past few months. Questioning everything, and so consumed with making the right choice and saying the right thing as a mother. Im so overwhelmed.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I am currently struggling with many of the same issues you brought out in this article. My child is a transracially adopted 12 year old who struggles mightily with social skills. In 4th grade the bullying, and difficulties my child suffered with a few girls in the school, coupled with his issues around adoption, identity, anxiety, and ADD had him saying quite often, “Maybe if I were a boy it would be easier.” When he started playing with the boys, and things WERE easier he slowly transitioned via clothing, hair, name change, and this year gender identity.
    It would be SO much easier if my child at 3 had come to me saying “I’m not a girl, I’m a boy.” I have no issues with people who are transgender. My concern is that my child’s choice to “be a boy” is one that came from his struggles in school socially. I would love to just allow him to be himself now, as a boy. We fully embrace him as he is, and the school has done so as well. But I am concerned about putting him in support groups as I fear he will ‘take on’ the ideas, and stories of others. THis is very common for him as his identity issues run deep.
    I have watched as he has gathered info and started to tell a story that is very different from the one I saw over the last years. He now tells me, “I’ve always been a boy.” Perhaps it’s true, but there was never any indication of this at all until the social issues at school.
    I do not want to deprive him of a support group. At the same time, I’d like to allow him to just BE who he is right now, and allow for him to continue to explore. At one point I told him (before he was asking to be identified as a boy), Lesbian love is a wonderful thing, it’s totally cool to be a girl and like girls. (He started “liking girls around age 11). His response was, “Not at my age it isn’t.” Again, what I am hearing is my child is choosing to be a boy because being a girl was fraught with complications, and being a lesbian is NOT acceptable at 11 in his eyes.
    I guess I’m just looking for advice on whether I should just allow things to unfold without finding support groups etc. Or if I am somehow depriving my child of something.

    Like

    • Your child sounds SO MUCH like my daughter. If you want my advice, do NOT put her in a transgender support group. My daughter, being very sensitive like yours, absolutely DID take on the stories of other people. It was also very painful for her to desist; she felt like a traitor & cut herself off from her friends. Being a lesbian (like being gay) is still seen as something ‘creepy” in our culture, especially among school children. Kids are still extremely homophobic, and transing can seem like a more celebrated & acceptable way to escape that. If you can find a gay & lesbian support group, that would probably be much more helpful. What I found is that my daughter was suffering from anxiety & depression. When she was treated for that, her social skills VASTLY improved & she no longer felt a need to ID as trans.(She was older than your daughter, who at 11 may be too young to accept treatment for these stigmatized issues). Being trans gave my daughter a group to belong to that is currently very much celebrated by society. Being a lonely, depressed, socially awkward young lesbian does NOT have the social cred that being a transgender boy does. There are no depressed socially awkward young lesbians gracing the covers of magazines or being celebrated as heroes right now. My daughter slowly outgrew her need to ID as trans. I did not push her to desist, I simply let her know that as her mother I had an obligation to protect her from harm, and that I could not allow her to take dangerous puberty blockers & hormones, or to consider unnecessary surgery. I respected her pronouns until she came to me herself & said “You know, mom – maybe I’m okay with being a girl.” (I swear to god I held my breath for 15 minutes after she said that – I didn’t want to do anything to mess it up). Pronouns can’t damage your child’s health – so another bit of advice I’d give is to pick your battles. Call her he/xe/xir whatever. That’s all harmless & reversible. If you can support her while seeking ways to help her cope with & resolve underlying issues, there is an excellent chance she will slowly outgrow this on her own – long before she is old enough to get hormones or surgery. My daughter’s insistence she was trans emerged at puberty along with her awareness of her sexual attraction to girls & her feelings of social isolation. This is a very familiar story. Love her, support her, bite the bullet & use her preferred pronouns (do not be surprised if these change frequently) while keeping her the hell away from hormone treatments, surgery, & transgender support groups (they will pressure her into transitioning without realizing what they are doing). Also TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR SELF! What you are going through is EXTREMELY stressful. Find people in your life whose shoulder you can cry on. This is hard. The more support you get for yourself, the better you will be able to stay strong for your daughter while she figures things out. Thank You for reaching out.

      Like

      • I agree with most of your advice, but I would NOT use inaccurate pronouns. While they don’t do direct physical harm, they add the expectation that the world is required to dance to whatever tune a confused kid / teen plays; that will end badly with a HUGE, abrupt reality check. We all know the difference between males and females and most people will not cater to the delusion. I would stress that people can defy stereotypes in the bodies that they were born into. They will probably take flack, but ultimately our likes, aesthetics, career choices, and personalities aren’t sex-based.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. I am so happy I found this article. Just last night my daughter finally told me her “goal was to look like a boy”. She is 13 (almost 14) years old and up until last year has never shown any indication she was unhappy in the body she was born with. She played with dolls and dress up. She was never extremely girly but she also wasn’t a tomboy. She wore dresses and ponytails as much as dirty t-shirts and shorts. She was herself, and I’ve always supported that. As with the article and comments I’ve been reading, something seemed to change internally with her when she hit puberty. She all of sudden grew taller (taller than me even now at 13), growing breasts and widening hips. A few times over her childhood, other children would make fun of her voice “sounding manly”. I feel all of this has now caused her to want to “look like a boy” as she puts it. Just six months ago she begged me to let her color her beautiful, long dark hair. I agreed (I’m liberal on that stuff – its just hair) then one day a few weeks ago she just flipped and now she wants to cut it all off and get a much shorter, “boy” looking haircut. She stopped wearing her makeup recently, as of a week ago and she had tried to lie to me about needing new bras because her old ones had a hole and stated she wanted a sports bra (because it was more comfortable). However, I know my child and something inside was telling me, something isn’t adding up. My daughter and I have always had a close relationship (still do) and I’ve always maintained she can talk to me about anything. I gave her several opportunities to talk with me about what was going on, but at the time she would make up some excuse or basically lie. Then afterwards, she would come in and tell me what I was already suspecting. However, last night was when she finally told me that she does want to look like a boy. I asked her why, she answered that she “just didn’t feel comfortable as a girl”, I continued, gently prodding as to what made her uncomfortable. She couldn’t give me a solid answer. Her circle of friends and her entire school really, is heavy populated with kids who believe they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. It seems to be celebrated (as like PJ said in the article, because its brave) and it seems to be a way for the kids to “fit in”. My mind is reeling right now, I have thought every thought possible, I think. Im scared, Im confused, Im trying to make sense of whats going on, Im also empathetic for my daughter and what she must be going through. But here is my ultimate thought at the moment, is this a phase? Is this because she is insecure about her height, shoe size, voice, body, so this is her way of dealing with it, is to take the attention off of that and put it on her being “trans”? During our conversation last night, I told my daughter I love her, always and forever, you will forever be my “child”, I was careful to not say daughter at this point, because honestly, its wasn’t about that at the moment. It was about letting my daughter know how much she is loved and adored. But at that moment she asked me about a binder, I very clearly (and still feel this way) told her no. Her body is still developing and I dont think thats safe. She was upset, but didn’t get hateful. I let her know, I love her and support her and will always be here for her, but that doesn’t mean I will go along with all her wants and desires.

    I just need some perspective here, is this a phase? What do I do to ensure I dont push my daughter away but also be her parent. Help to guide her? Help her to make sense of everything thats being thrown at her from friends, school, social media. I am just at a loss right now.

    Any insight, advice, kind words are so appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like you, but to add to the very similar story, my daughter seems to bring this up when she is in trouble at school, like she throws a curve ball to teachers and myself to put us on the back-foot. A couple of years ago I found out she had been pretending, yes, pretending to self harm; I know my daughter, she has always been the biggest wooss and exaggerator whenever she hurt herself. A tiny cut was always ‘gushing with blood’. The slightest dot on her finger was ‘killing’ her. She sneezes, she’s ‘dying’. She has never stuck at any clubs she has started, has always has a real short span of attention, she is so damned bright it kills me to see her throw it away. She has the most awesome voice and has self-taught many instruments in the last 12 months. She thought she had a mental health problem about 12 months ago, and wanted to be ‘tested’ to see what was wrong. I suffered with depression when i was younger, really bad, I know the signs of mental issues, that need intervention. My best friend was bi-polar. My daughter is 99% of the time, a normal, confused, hormone-filled stroppy teenager, I see nothing untoward, then out she comes with the latest ‘thing’ she wants to be part of; it scares me so much. She doesn’t see how many of the standard you tubers are getting paid, marketed even. I am hoping this is just the latest ‘phase’ But I am at a loss right now; do i switch off the internet, as this is where it all stemmed? I know this isn’t a born-with a chemical imbalance, I too have no issue with that. I am very liberal myself. But I do blame myself, because during the era my daughter was growing up we didn’t know what a monster, You-tube was going to become. It was random people, uploading silly cat videos, kids singing songs, but now look at it. We let them go on to Stardoll, moviestar planet, penguin Club. We like that they are growing up in a world that embraces the internet and computers. I am 51; I looked at a computer in my last year at school, we never used them, we think our children are lucky cos they grow up with them, But beware, watch what they watch, and don’t be so quick to let them loose on social media. I took my eye off the ball after two bad relationships and look where its got me. I feel so responsible and now I don’t know what to do, except wait and love her. .

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Welcome Noell – like they say, glad you found us, sorry you had to.

    Your situation with your daughter is incredibly similar to that experienced by so many parents on this blog. The “trans revelation” seems to come almost out of nowhere, although once you start connecting the dots (onset of puberty, discomfort with physical maturation, peer group pressure) it all seems like a narrative. And you are right! The fact that the “trans alternative” is available to girls now, whereas it wasn’t when we were teenagers, is a huge reason that girls are adopting it. It’s hard not to look at the media nowadays and not see trans everywhere you look, it seems – and as parents, we’re not even immersed in the Tumblr and Youtube worlds.

    At this website, we believe that as parents, we have our children’s best interests at heart in a way that no “helping professional” can. It just stands to reason! And what also stands to reason is that we are in possession of the full history and all the complicating factors and facts about our own kids, again in a way that no therapist or doctor, no matter how skilled, can ever possess. Finally, as parents we are also able to take the long view. We are concerned about the quality and quantity of our children’s lives from the day of birth until the end. We are resistant to fads and popular trends because we plan to be there for our kids decades into the future. A doctor or therapist is never going to have that long-term commitment.

    I strongly suggest that you start by reading on this site, and connecting with other parents in our same situation. You will find that there are so many smart, articulate people, exercising critical thinking, around this subject. Also know, there are a LOT of forces in our culture right now that will tell you that your well-reasoned doubts and skepticism can be dismissed as bigotry. Even asking questions is off-limits … it’s “toe the party line or you’re a hater.” This community has been a God-send for me in helping me stay strong and sane in the face of this trans craziness.

    Knowledge is power, and support is comfort. You will find both here!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Wow. For the past 5 years i have been living the same story. However, I did send my daughter to a counsellor and quickly realized I was cut out of the conversation and my daughter was being encouraged to pursue fully becoming a male. I was dumfounded. Shut out by her counsel and her doctor I was so scared. I am liberal. I do believe some ppl are reassigned at birth wrongly and I think I understand how hard that would be but I do not believe for 5 minutes that the sudden sweeping increase in transgendered teens is deeper than a fashion trend but oh so much more harmful. My child was so girly. She started to develop and started to be teased. Suddenly we were in this zone where she changed her name at school to her actual brothers name and for almost 5 years forced herself down this road. I said very little. She could not expect we would call her by her other name since it was her brothers name and her name was gender neutral to begin with. I would not buy her binding devices because I was so worried she was hurting herself. I cried with Cher over the loss of her daughter and wondered if i would be saving my daughters voice on an answering machine too someday.

    My child recently turned 18 and announced on facebook she identifies as female. Facebook. The binding stopped. She dresses the same as always and is growing out her hair. I feel like she was robbed though. I feel the medical profession has a lot to answer for and we are only just going to start seeing the real damage. Thank god my daughter didnt like the anti depressants she needed to take to move on in the process. She has never been depressed but its part of the process to taking the hormones so she needed to be on them to add to her checklist. Crazy!! I cant even get antibiotics when I know I have an infection.

    So … We are in the clear I think to myself. Until about a week ago when I get a kik message from my 12 year old son telling me he is really a girl and has been feeling like this since he was 10. I will not let this persist for another 5 years. I think it does damage and it is increasing by the day. Most kids are just regular old boring kiddos … And something rather disconcerting is right there willing to encourage their belonging … Making them special and different and socially marginalized so also numbers to add to this bizarre social movement …. And just to reiterate. I do not believe there is no legitimacy to transgenderism. I just do not accept that 1 in every 3 people are transgender all of a sudden. My own child was, in my opinion, allowed to diagnose herself and was protected by no one in the medical field. I think this is really scary ….

    Liked by 4 people

  32. Noell I think everything you are doing for your child right now is the best way to go. You let her know over and over that she is loved and you have always let her be herself. Really that and setting firm limits as to what you will support And most importantly… keeping her away from gender “specialists” is the best you can do right now. If she allows you to express your thoughts and concerns than believe me you are one of the luckier parents on this site. Just keep being the loving and strong mom that you seem to be! Hopefully she will come to terms with herself and learn to appreciate her healthy body! That’s my hope for all the children and teens and young adults that are now identifying as trans. My daughters best friend just started on hormones a few weeks so I know the heat will be turned up in my home. The funny thing is… my kid is 19. All she has to do is get herself to a clinic and she can have what she wants. I know she is smart enough to figure this out. So it kinda makes me wonder if maybe some part of her is hearing what I’m saying. Not that she would ever admit it! Just keep up the good fight my fellow moms!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Hey! I’ll say right off the bat, I’m actually a 21 year old trans man, and I think you guys are actually talking about something really important. I’d really like to say some stuff, so read on if you’re interested in hearing.

    I’d say I’m a pretty cut and dried case of born the wrong sex – I do believe that, that it’s a biological/neurological condition I was dealt. I’ve always been extremely masculine for a female, which of course doesn’t mean you’re not a girl or a woman, I mean that to say my masculinity has been something present in me throughout my entire life. I was really lucky growing up not to have anyone give me any shit for being gender nonconforming, and I thankfully didn’t have to experience any sexual objectification as I entered and went through puberty (it makes me extremely sad and angry knowing that *children* for f*ck’s sake have to deal with that, that’s horrible). I really had very little socially motivating me to transition.

    What did happen was recognizing how bizarre and foreign having a female body felt. How proprioceptively disproportionate my body felt with female fat and muscle mass distribution, how my breasts, even 10 years after growing them, are something my brain refuses to incorporate into the map of how my body is supposed to be configured in physical space… To the touch, they feel foreign and make my skin crawl – My brain doesn’t know how to process the sensory information. It’s “WTF IS THAT GET IT OFF”. It’s not until I’m binding that I can feel okay – I can actually pass my hands and arms through the physical space where my breasts would be and not get shocked by having a part my brain wasn’t expecting. When I bind, I don’t even think about it. It’s just normal.

    I wasn’t ever suicidal – I could have lived without medically transitioning, but a female body was never going to stop feeling awkward and foreign – my pursuing medical transition has been to free myself from that.

    And it’s been the right thing. Testosterone has made my body feel far, far more normal and natural to me. I can move, feel myself, see myself, and I actually feel /normal/. It’s like finally changing out of a set of clothes that were cut and designed for someone with an entirely different body type to your own, too loose in some places, too tight in others, constantly having to readjust and be entirely unable to move comfortably in – to wearing a set of clothes that actually /fits/, a shirt that sits right on your shoulders, that isn’t long and tight in the waist, a pair of pants that aren’t so long you’re always tripping over them, that aren’t always riding up your ass crack.

    I /look in the mirror and see myself/. I can’t tell you how utterly bizarre it is to look at old pictures or video of myself pre-t. I almost can’t believe that that’s me, that I ever looked so female. I remember feeling really uncomfortable with how female my face looked at the time, constantly contorting my facial expressions in the mirror too appear more masculine. I forget often though, because I never do anything like that anymore. I /just don’t think about it/, and that’s the whole point. It’s what feels normal.

    I hear old recordings of myself speaking and I can hear how awkward it was to use my voice – like if you were used to one voice for so long then had to switch bodies and try to use someone else’s vocal chords – you could hear it in their voice how awkward it is to try and do. It was so uncomfortable to me to be in my late teens and have such a high voice – I tried incredibly hard to deepen it on my own, simply through effort, so I wouldn’t be shocked by it every time I opened my mouth. My brain didn’t expect a voice that hadn’t dropped. Now… /I don’t think about it/. My voice has dropped to a normal post-puberty male range, speaking, singing, etc, are so much less awkward and just feel normal.

    Testosterone also allowed me to come into my sexuality – I swear it was like I was running on the wrong fuel. I’ve come into identifying, very naturally, with straight male sexuality – I want have sex with women, as a biological male – that’s the sex I’m at my core driven to have, and it wasn’t until I was on T that all of it fell into place, and it feels so much more natural and normal than I ever did before. I’m not sure how else to describe it… It’s like my brain was confused about what to do with female hormones, and things were finally able to fall into place and “click” when I started T. Phantom genitalia and proprioceptive dysphoria regarding your brain expecting to have something you don’t physically have, not being able to have sex the way your brain thinks you should be able to is a devastating, heartbreaking experience.

    So, what I’m trying to get across in my comment here is that there are people who have the experience of innate, neurological and biologically rooted sex dysphoria, that medical transition WILL help. The things that medical transition has changed, I stopped feeling uncomfortable with. Plain and simple, T alleviated all the dysphoria I had about everything it changed. If I had to stop T, and my body would change back, I’d be devastated. This would be the case regardless of whether or not my body was seen any certain way by people outside of me – this would be the case if I had to live on a desert island. My dysphoria was present before considering myself male or trans (i.e., it didn’t take a certain identity for my brain to be misaligned with my body). There’s a common theme throughout my dysphoria and transition, and that’s feeling /normal/. That’s what I want. I just want my body to feel normal to me. Being male is what’s normal for me, because my brain is male.

    Now – the people like myself who experience this does include teenagers. Of course, if you are neurologically misaligned, it’s not going to spontaneously manifest in adulthood. Meaning there are some who transition as teenagers and it’s the right thing for them.

    HOWEVER….. You guys are identifying what is absolutely a real problem that I, as a trans person, have seen myself, while watching the “culture” (I could go on for a long time about how I think having a “culture” around being trans is a harmful thing…) develop and mutate into this thing… Young people who are figuring out who they are and how to exist in the world, handle being gender nonconforming or deal with the shitty stuff that comes with being a woman are being encouraged to deal with and navigate that in a way that I, and I think a lot of you have realized, does a lot more harm than good.

    The number one danger that I think is present here is that it’s leading young people down the path of thinking medical transition is right for them when it’s not – motivated not by an innate, biological mismatch between ones sex and the sex on their brain, but by social and other outside pressures. The danger here is that, and this is very, very important – If you change your sex characteristics when your brain and body already match, YOU WILL GAIN SEX DYSPHORIA ABOUT YOUR NEW SEX CHARACTERISTICS. And that’s something that should absolutely be avoided. Take it from someone who has, and still does about a lot of things, have to deal with that – YOU DON’T WANT IT. These kids aren’t understanding that. They think that if through exposure to all the ideology come to identify as non-binary, taking testosterone so people stop using female pronouns for them is a good idea. It’s really, really not.

    There are a number of other problems… It’s difficult watching the insistence of the people who frankly have an entirely different problem than I do (think the quote: “I’m not trapped in my body, I’m trapped in society’s perceptions of my body”), using the language that was developed so people like myself could be understood and get medical treatment, muddling terms, using the word “dysphoria” to mean ANY discomfort you have with your sex characteristics, even though that can have a variety of sources, lots of which won’t actually be helped by changing the body. To have young people insist that they say, should be able to go into the men’s bathroom looking entirely female, does no help to any genuinely transgender people as far as gaining understanding and acceptance from people. I don’t hold it against a lot of these people though, especially if they are so young. It’s simply difficult to see happening.

    The problem of not being able to question any of it, any form of “invalidation” being the number one “sin”, makes for the growing monster that will be a TON of young people transitioning in the next few years, then detransitioning shortly after. This will have consequences, for both those people who were failed by our lack of information, or emotionally charged political attitudes, the negligence of therapists and medical providers, and now have to deal with permanent physical changes that they regret, and the people who genuinely need medical transition to relieve genuine sex dysphoria. The people who are waiting to have evidence that every single person who medically transitions is mentally ill and should never receive hormones or surgery will have MORE than enough to point to. I don’t know what there is I can do – I don’t think there is anything. I’d like to halt this catastrophe in it’s tracks, but I think it’s just going to be part of our cultural history in figuring this shit out. As a trans person, of course I want to see things getting better for people like myself, but I’m so sad and frustrated that this means that a lot of people are also going to suffer at the hands of it, including ourselves, if we have to work to rebuild from the wreckage, the idea that some people actually do need medical transition.

    Now, here’s the big problem we’re suffering from right now – we have bad information. The whole question of “should minors transition” is a hard enough question to ask without it being muddied by the new wave of kids falsely thinking they’re trans.

    Maybe no one should transition until they’re legally an adult. I don’t know the answers. What I do know, and what I would like any parents or family to know is there are teens who are legitimately transgender, who would ultimately benefit from transition – I’ve known them. I didn’t medically transition until I was 18, but experienced all of the same dysphoria leading up to that. The problem is that we don’t know how to tell yet who’s who. So how do we make these decisions? Maybe we can’t. Maybe the best thing is for no kids to transition, or maybe it should be a HIGHLY “gatekept” (essentially, the bar of dysphoria severity has to very very high, and the source has to be identified as not being social factors, in order to consider hormones of any kind – I’m not sure a lot of kids can know themselves well enough to even communicate that, though), I don’t know. I’m not a parent. I’m sure it’s a tough fucking thing to be going through during this time. The problem of calling anything but complete acceptance bigotry is a big one, and goes even deeper into the kind of queer and gender studies, intersectional 3rd wave feminism, privilege/oppression social justice politics of the kind you see on a website like buzzfeed or everyday feminism. It’s a growing, creepy, almost religious social/political ideology and a big problem is seeing any kind of opposition as so bad it should be completely shamed and silenced.

    So, to the parents… I don’t assume most of you do this, but please don’t immediately dismiss your own kid as being part of the trend. They could be, they could be genuinely trans. It’s definitely something suspicious when a kid didn’t show any signs until they started finding this stuff online. It doesn’t mean your kid isn’t genuinely trans if they’ve gone through feminine phases (I went through one in jr. high. It was growing up. I always felt out of place and completely uncomfortable trying to be feminine, but thought I had to be). But if they say they want hormones and surgery, but do nothing at all to dress in a way that would make their body appear more masculine, as not have to deal with the dysphoria of looking down at yourself or in the mirror, that’s definitely something to question. That’s the problem. You can’t know. But you might be making shit for a genuinely trans kid extremely difficult if they are treated like they are following a trend. I also know there’s been some writing about autism on here, and would like to make it known, as someone who’s been diagnosed with aspergers, that that doesn’t mean for sure that your kid is just confused. I think it can, there are valid concerns… But I’m an autistic trans man who’s only been happy with his transition, has only been made able to thrive more in life. Suffice it to say, all kinds of people exist, and this is one of the distinctions I hesitate to encourage people do make (i.e., if you’re autistic, you can’t genuinely be trans). But “all kinds of people exists” also mean there WILL be autistic people who mistakenly think they’re trans.

    And a side comment, responding to the people who want their kids to accept their “healthy, working body” as it is. This is noble, that’s absolutely what a parent who loves their kids wants. And if that’s an option for them, that’s what they should strive for. But there are people, like myself, who’s issues go beyond regular body image issues – the treatment of which through medical transition isn’t a mutilation or something sad, it’s INCREDIBLE RELIEF that I’m not even sure I could really truly articulate. My point is that it’s not an everybody or nobody situation. For some people, medical transition is a thing we are so incredibly grateful for. For others, it comes with no relief or mental health getting even worse.

    Again, the problem is that we don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to respond to a “transtrender” kid, in a way that will help them become comfortable with their gender. I don’t know how best to help a kid you aren’t able to determine is genuinely trans or not. I guess… Take it slow, always… Your kid is gonna be unhappy about some stuff, and you’re not gonna be able to help it, and it’s not the worst thing in the world. If it take tears and fights for your kid to work out who they are and what they need in life to thrive, that might have to be how it goes… Don’t be afraid to be politically incorrect in your parenting. Really. Your kid’s well being matters a lot more than the ideology pushed by modern “trans activists”. If they grow up to be trans or non trans adults, if you just strove to do the best for your kids that you were capable, as they mature and come to see it from a parents perspective, they will likely recognize how you didn’t know the answers and you couldn’t have known what would be right for them, and even if that made it hard on them, will forgive that.

    Keep doing your best. I’m not a parent, but I know that part of being a parent is going to be sometimes not doing the factual best, but doing your best as a human with limitations… There’s stuff my parents made harder for me, but they never weren’t trying to do what they thought was right, and I have forgiveness for that because of it.

    Just a lot of thoughts as one trans man who believe you guys have a lot of valid concerns. I don’t have any conclusive anything to offer, just thoughts to contribute to your effort in working out the situations you’re in.

    All the best to you.

    Like

    • I’ve been trying to understand transgenderism for years and this is the best written and most clearly explained thing I have ever seen. I had always assumed that true dysphoria would be like phantom limb or xenomelia but this is only the second time I’ve seen it articulated (if I remember rightly the first was by a transwoman who used to be a captain in the Royal Marines). You really make all other justifications for being trans look terrible in comparison.

      Before you transitioned did you have any other kind of treatment for dysphoria and did it have any effect? Do you think there could be any kind of neurological treatment (such as drugs or electromagnetism) that could reset the brain and make it accept the body it is wearing?

      Like

  34. Wordpileblog – your comment was very thought provoking and respectful. I appreciate that you looked at the situation from all different perspectives. I wish you happiness!

    Like

  35. Feeling sad about this trend and my teen today. We haven’t been talking about it much lately, so it’s not anything in particular going on. I had a dream about it last night, though. I can’t even remember the details, now, but it just makes me sad. I _know_ there are so many kids caught up in this who are just feeling weird, and that’s just part of being a teenager, y’know? That doesn’t mean your body is wrong.

    From my perspective on the other side of things I can see how a lot of it really is just social contagion and feeling weird and looking for a place to belong and social justice, etc. I do think some kids know about their sexuality (and maybe their gender identity) early on, but I know many people who thought they did, but then they changed their minds. My niece came out as a lesbian in high school, for example, but now at 26 is moving in with her boyfriend. And there are lots of other examples, of course.

    Coming out as trans just seems so much harder to walk back from. I wish there was an easier way to explore, but kids are so all-in with it. I am just not okay with my kid in particular making any changes to her body. And I’ve told her that and not just about the trans issue, either. We’ve been talking about eyebrow piercing lately and my answer is a solid NO. If she’s 25 and wants that, well there’s not a whole lot I can do to stop it, but at 16, no.

    Looking at old pictures of her that pop up on my timehop on Facebook or just flipping through old pictures on my computer just brings tears to my eyes. She was such a girly girl and so carefree about her body and so cute and now she is so conflicted about things and I just don’t know how to help.

    For the record I’m not a girly girl and don’t care whether she is or not, but she seemed to genuinely like it, y’know. It was fun to see the looks she would put together, but now it’s all tough punk looks and shirts buttoned up to her chin. It just doesn’t seem like the free spirit I used to see.

    No need to respond. I just needed to vent a little to folks who would understand. I live in a very trans-friendly area and see a lot of folks posting pro-trans stories on facebook, etc. There aren’t so many people in the more nuanced middle around here. I just don’t get making permanent changes, y’know?

    Liked by 2 people

    • She is probably feeling uncomfortable with male attention (harassment?) and that is why she is buttoned up to the chin. She probably just wants to be taken seriously, and liked for herself, like men are. It is tough being a teen girl!

      Like

  36. Looking at the comments I see many have partaken of the Kool-aid. Your view and knowledge of the world is limited to what some “authority” figure told you in an attempt to gain power. There is no “Choice” in being gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, etc. The only choice you have is to live your life as your true self or spend your life in misery fearing some ignorant person, man, woman, or child, will make it their mission to hurt you either through words or actions. In some cases even fearing for your life. The negative commenters here need to get off the imaginary moral pedestal you’ve put yourselves on and immerse yourselves in learning for yourselves what LGBTQIA+ is truly about. It’s about being human, it’s about not living in fear, it’s about not judging others because of some book! If you’re tired of being lied to by the media, by religious leaders and by politicians you might learn something about humanity and compassion and become a better person for it. One, or more, of your childrens lives may depend on it!

    Like

    • Shall we tick the boxes?

      1. Born this way, check.
      2. Your disagreement is actual violence. Check.
      3. You’re all religious. Check.
      4. SUICIDE!

      These stock responses move none of us who’ve been through the wars with our children and the transactivist community. We see through you. YOU are not our children.

      Liked by 4 people

  37. Is there any one i can actually talk to? I found this site and have been so tearful reading all of this. My daughter is going through the same thing, 13, drowned in you tube videos, its my own fault, and it IS NOT REAL. just looking for some sense of belonging, doesn’t believe its normal to feel self conscious at 13, it sucks being a teenager, she trots out ‘body dysphoria’ and ‘wanting T’ like she is some expert and knows all about it. she is linked up with a very manipulative group of people on facebook, which is the worst; I have only just realised what is going on, I don’t know what to do, and I need some SENSIBLE advice. Thank goodness we have a different medical system over here, and my GP has four girls, and is well aware of all the pressures growing up, although he doesn’t know about this yet. I tried to get my daughter to go, made an appointment, but she ducked out of it, cos she said she ‘didn’t know what to say’….what does THAT tell you. But she insists on telling me about ‘pronouns’ and ‘name-changing’. it has come up in the last few days. I am in the UK. Please let me know if I can speak to someone. There is a lot more to this but don’t want to reveal anything at this point. Please let me know. I am a single mum, work full time, this is so hard. Please. I don’t want to go through lots of internet horror, I want to speak to a sensible source. Thank you for this website.

    Like

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