A mum’s voyage through Transtopia: A tale of love and desistance

Lily Maynard lives with her husband and their family in the UK. Her daughter, Jessie, was 15 when she first began identifying as trans.

In this post, Lily chronicles her grueling journey of self education on trans issues, and her determination to share what she learned with Jessie, who at first utterly dismissed her mother’s efforts.  But after 9 months, Jessie, now 16, eventually desisted from trans identification, and, with the support of her mother and another formerly trans-identified friend, came to recognize and embrace herself as a young woman.

Jessie adds her own observations at the end of her mother’s post.

Lily and Jessie are both available to interact with readers in the comments section of this post.


by Lily Maynard

My youngest daughter Jessie was not a ‘girly’ girl. As a small child she was often mistaken for a boy, despite her long hair, because mostly she wore jeans and dinosaur tops. She didn’t care much for the pastel, glitter, hearts and lace that tends to fill the girls’ section of most stores. Growing up, she liked Dora the Explorer and Ben 10; she liked Lego and Bratz dolls. Occasionally, she chose a pink sparkly top, or a crystal ballerina for the Christmas tree.

Once, when she was about 7, a woman in a second-hand shop said to her, “Oh you’re a GIRL! Why are you playing with that dirty old truck? Here’s a nice doll.”

So I bought her the truck to make a point, and on the way home we talked about how silly it was to have different toys for boys and girls. We always applauded the strong women in movies and cartoons. My kids would tell me, “Mum, you’d like this film, there’s a Strong Female Role in it.”

Jessie played with both boys and girls growing up; she had siblings; she was sociable; she had a wide circle of friends. She did ballet for half a term, but tripped over her feet and hated it. She tried football, but tripped over her feet and hated getting up early. She liked jujitsu and roller skating, drawing and writing stories. She hated skirts and dresses and tomatoes.

By age 12, she was spending a lot of time online. She had a Facebook account and loved YouTube, music videos, cat videos; Naruto and Hannah Montana. She hung out mostly with a small group of close girlfriends, but mixed well with anyone. At 13 she had her own iPhone and laptop, and worshipped One Direction. At 14, she began watching videos by lesbian YouTubers Rose and Rosie, and ElloSteph. For the most part, I liked them. These young women were funny, happy and confident, and they gave out good life advice. Their videos were well composed, although there was a bit too much of the obligatory YouTube navel-gazing  for my liking.

Jessie, slightly goth, long dyed dark hair and occasional black eyeliner, always in jeans and a band T shirt, Jessie came out as gay just before her 15th birthday . I wasn’t surprised. She’d briefly ‘dated’ a boy she’d known since she was five but it was obviously no great passion, so I had suspected she was going to tell me weeks before she did. Shortly afterwards she made a ‘coming out’ YouTube video and posted it on her Facebook page. She said she was ‘gay’; she didn’t use the word ‘lesbian’. I did think she was quite young to define her sexuality so suddenly and utterly, and declare it to the world before she had even had a relationship. By this time, I was very aware of the part YouTube youth culture played in the decision to ‘go public’ with a video. I told her that, but I wasn’t shocked or discouraging.  I had a few girlfriends myself when I was younger. If she was a lesbian, so be it. I just wanted her to be happy and healthy.

Soon thereafter, Jessie began watching ‘transitioning’ videos on YouTube with her friends and siblings: cute boys who became girls and cute girls who became boys; endless slideshows of their stories, entitled, ‘My Transition Timeline’.

The girls all had the same sideways smiles and little bum-fluff beards. “I never liked pink,” they declared, “I never liked dresses, I wasn’t attracted to boys. I wore guy clothing.” The boys twisted their long hair as they spoke through heavily lipsticked lips, leaning forward coyly and peering out from over-mascara’ed lashes.  “I always liked pink,” they cooed, “I played with girls’ toys.” I wondered why this generation seemed desperate to put itself into boxes and mark them with labels, but mostly I worried that my kids were spending too much time online.

“Read a book; go outside!” was my mantra. “Turn off the internet and put down your phone.”

Jessie took me to a YouTube convention and we sat at the front during the LGBT discussion. She had a crush on a high-profile teen who identified as a boy. Chris was on hormones and had had a double mastectomy. Chris was kind to Jessie at the ‘meet and greet’ afterwards and posed for a photo. I didn’t see Chris as a boy, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. What I do remember was those eyes, like a frightened rabbit, a frail little thing despite the smiles.

Jessie asked to cut her long hair short. I said, “Of course.” I was surprised how much it suited her. We donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust, to be made into wigs for children with cancer.

Jessie still had her phone 24/7. I ‘trusted’ her, despite knowing that many of her friends were online half the night. I knew some of them self-harmed, or starved themselves, or posted half-naked pictures online. I know now that it isn’t about trust. No one ever thinks their child is doing that stuff. Social media cliques are like a spiral, ever more insular and self-serving. They are more than the sum of the parts of their users. The internet can be a great source of support, but whole online communities have grown up to normalise disturbing behaviours: from the personification of eating disorders with Ana and Mia, through forums where kids discuss who cuts the deepest or most frequently. If my bright, happy child was vulnerable, anybody’s child can be vulnerable. You can’t ‘trust’ your child not to get drawn into a cult, any more than you can trust them not to get run over by a truck.

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A month after cutting her hair, Jessie said she had something to tell me. She was distraught, red-faced and bleary-eyed. There was a tiny part of me that knew what she was going to say, although I didn’t realise it until later. After almost an hour of pacing the room she grabbed a pen and wrote on a scrap of paper, ‘I am transgender’.

Despite having half-known what she was going to say, I was shocked. I had heard of people who said they’d always known they were ‘in the wrong body’ but there had never been anything in Jessie’s past to suggest that might be the case with her. She insisted the signs had always been there. She hated wearing dresses, she used male avatars in video games, she didn’t want to flirt with boys. She didn’t ‘feel’ like a girl.

“Do you want to go on hormones?” I asked, at one point during that first conversation. “You’d grow a beard.” I added, pointlessly.

She nodded. She never mentioned surgery, but I saw it looming in her future. The prospect terrified me. I didn’t know what to say.  So I said, “It’ll be ok.”

She seemed much happier after telling me and then went to bed, a million miles away, in her room next to mine. I went to bed too, and the darkness screamed at me. I got up again, and spent the night googling ‘transgender’ and crying. I tried to be open-minded. I wanted to support Jessie more than anything; to do the best thing to help her, but I was sure transition wasn’t the answer she needed. I told myself I was open-minded, but was I really? Was I in denial? I slept very little over the following weeks.

I spoke to a lesbian friend, in a panic.  “What does he want to do next?” she inquired.  I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach.

One of the first places I looked for information was the National Health Service website, because I presumed there would be impartial advice: something about helping people with the issue of reconciling their bodies with their identity. I thought that thinking you were transgender would be treated as a mental health issue; surely  transition would be recommended as a last resort.

I typed ‘NHS transgender’ into Google, and the first article that appeared was the story of a boxing promoter who came out as transgender  at age 60; about  his ‘dreams, diaries and dress-ups’. A link on that site led to the children’s trans support group, ‘Mermaids’. which is run by parents who believe their children are born in the wrong bodies. Their advice to confused teens, in the section ‘I think I’m trans, what do I do?’ is ‘you can speak to your GP  without your parents being able to know if you are not comfortable with coming out to them yet.’ Next, I flipped through the testimonials from parents. Mermaids receives UK lottery funding and is often the first port of call for concerned parents in the UK.  As far as I could tell, every single child mentioned on the site has transitioned.

Another link on the NHS transgender page led me to a glossy brochure called ‘Living my Life’, featuring studio photos of good-looking transgender people. It struck me as more of an advert for plastic surgery than an information booklet.

A spikey-haired 20-something plays a guitar and shouts into the camera. ’We’re here for a good time, not a long time.’  A coiffed and manicured blonde wears a low-cut salmon pink top, and a pair of surgically enhanced breasts take up most of the bottom half of the picture.  ’I was always me but I just didn’t look like me.’

There was nothing on either of those two links about helping kids to reconcile with their natal sex. Nothing about working through it; nothing about learning to love yourself as you are. I saw nothing stating the obvious: that a healthy natal boy has a penis and testicles and a healthy natal girl has a vulva and vagina, and that both sexes should be able to do all the things they love while wearing whatever damn outfit takes their fancy.

I typed ‘Am I transgender?’ into Google and clicked on the link to amitransgender.com. One word filled the screen: a black YES on a white background.

“I want to change my pronouns,” Jessie announced. “I’m a boy in a girl’s body.”

“How can you know what a boy feels like, when you’re a girl?” I demanded.

She couldn’t or wouldn’t answer.

“You’re a girl,” I insisted. “You can do anything as a girl, achieve anything as a girl that you could if you were a boy, but you can’t just become a boy any more than you can become a cat. It doesn’t work like that.”

“Go away.”

My eyes were opened over the next few weeks. Staying up most of the night, every night, Google led me beyond YouTube, to Reddit, to Tumblr, to Pinterest and Instagram. To posts about pink, clothing, hair and make-up. To seemingly endless pictures and slideshows of men, dressed like pornstars, claiming to be women. Vague explanations about ‘feeling’ different; about ‘being yourself’. It led me to videos of girls in checked shirts with cute quiffs and bound breasts, who genuinely believed they were gay men. They talked of ‘gender identity’ and the sex they’d been ‘assigned at birth’, as if births were attended by a gender fairy who absent-mindedly distributed random gifts of genitalia. A huge amount of importance was attached to public bathroom access and locker rooms of one’s choice. Endless posts claiming, in all seriousness, that ‘misgendering’ transpeople is an act of violence tantamount to trying to kill them, and how the only way to stop the feeling of dysphoria is to embrace transition and start living as your ‘preferred gender’. Immediately. There is no shortage of gender therapists offering to help a child do that, because if you even suspect you might be trans, then you probably are. Type ‘child gender therapist UK’ into Google and you get over 15 million results.

Everywhere I looked, the internet seemed eager to affirm that transition was a simple and marvellous thing, the one and only solution to all the problems of physical and social dysphoria. If you don’t support your child’s transition, parents are warned over and over again, they will probably try to kill themselves.

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I learned a lot. I learned that if you don’t believe a man can become a woman; if you are gender critical, you will be called a TERF, transphobic and told to ‘educate yourself’ at best; ‘die in a fire’ at worst. I became familiar with the term ‘die cis scum’ (‘cis’  are non-trans people). I learned that if you are a lesbian who doesn’t want to give fellatio, you are transphobic. You may be called a cisbian and you are responsible for the ‘cotton ceiling’. Men get pregnant  and you should say ‘chestfeeding’ not ‘breastfeeding’. Vulva cupcakes are violent. Women who menstruate should be called ‘menstruators’ so as not to trigger transwomen who cannot menstruate, or transmen who don’t wish to be reminded that they do. The term ‘female genital mutilation’ is ‘cis sexist’. Often, middle-aged people with names like Misty or Crystal will be the ones helpfully explaining this to confused ‘non-binary’ youngsters. If your child thinks they’re trans, there are a host of interested adults out there. They’ll help you select underwear, they’ll advise you to start transition as early as you can. Some will advise you to keep your feelings from your parents because they may become ‘crazy, hateful people’ if you come out to them. Worried siblings are told to keep quiet if they don’t want suicide on their hands. A few clicks will get you tips on how to get a binder without your parents knowing; some sites will even post you a second-hand binder for free. Tips on how to get hold of hormones illegally online and how to get ‘top surgery’ quicker by lying to a therapist are just a few clicks away.

I started taking Jessie’s phone away at night.

Here’s the thing – teenagers are dysphoric. Dysphoria is defined as ‘a state of unease or generalised dissatisfaction with life’ and that just about sums up being a teenager for a lot of kids. Many teenagers feel they aren’t in the right place, the right life, the right time. It is not such a huge leap, especially for a lesbian girl, to conclude that she is in the wrong body. Transkids call the name their parents gave them at birth their ‘deadname’. The appeal is clear. Society demands such impossible things from our youth. Our boychildren are expected to be tough, to ‘man up’, to scorn women yet acquire them, to value money and power above everything else. Is it any wonder if they shirk from what they are told is manhood? And if it is hard for them, it is so much worse for our girls. They are faced with endless images of airbrushed physical perfection in a society where women are told they can ‘have it all’ but are everywhere portrayed as constantly sexually available and intellectually and physically inferior. We are raising our girls in a society where women still earn nearly 20% less than men for the same work hours; where online porn is only a click away; where a third of young women age 18-24 report being sexually abused in childhood and only one in twenty reported rapes ends in a conviction. Is it really any wonder when young women want to cut off not just their hair  but their breasts and fantasise about emerging, as if from a chrysalis, to join men in their position of power and privilege?

“Gender is a social construct.” I repeated. “You are a biological girl. You can have no idea what it feels like to be a boy, because you aren’t a boy. Being a girl doesn’t have to dictate what you like to do, or wear, or who you love.”

She said, “I’m a boy.”

“No, you are a girl.”

“You can’t tell me how I feel.”

I worried myself sick that, at almost 16, my child was only a few months away from being able to visit a doctor privately and start hormone treatment. In fact, as I later learned, some UK children are receiving cross-sex hormones from private doctors as young as 12.

When I first started my research into transgenderism online, I could find nothing that questioned the trans narrative. Everything said transition was the answer, the only answer. Then I found 4thWaveNow, Transgender Trend and Gender Critical Dad. Those websites were saving lights in the blue glow of my laptop on those sleepless nights. From there I was led to others who questioned Transtopia. I read, with a mixture of relief and dismay, articles showing the huge increase in young people identifying as ‘trans’ and presenting to gender clinics in the last few years. Those most likely to be sucked in seemed to be white, middle class girls who spent compulsive amounts of time on social media. I read blog posts by thissoftspace and crashchaoscats. I watched YouTube videos by the inspirational Peachyoghurt. I read Sheila Jeffreys’ ‘Gender Hurts’. I joined online radical feminist groups and met wonderful women full of love and anger who taught me a lot.  I read stories about five year old children transitioning, and about parents discovering their child had ‘changed pronouns’ at school months ago, but the school had a policy not to discuss  the issue with parents. I saw picture books encouraging children to question if they were born the ‘right’ sex. I read about a woman who started a fundraiser for ‘top surgery’ for her disabled daughter who was hospitalised in an intensive care unit. I watched videos where young boys donned false eyelashes and lipstick and curled their long hair, and told the world that they were really girls, while their parents held the cameras that broadcast their lives to the world via their own YouTube channels. Trans-identifying Jazz Jennings stars in a reality TV show. I read about MTT (male to trans) boxers hospitalising women in fights, about MTT golfers who suddenly became world champions, about middle-aged MTT playing on girls’ basketball teams. And I read story upon story about women and girls being assaulted in bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons and refuges, by men who identified as women and used the privilege that gave them to invade women’s spaces.  In all my internet surfing, I never found a single story about an MTT being attacked in a men’s restroom.

I showed Jessie a graph that registered the sweeping rise in girls identifying as trans over the last decade. She seemed somewhat subdued by that.

“A woman can’t become a man, it’s impossible.” I reasoned. “How can your body be wrong but your brain be right?”

She repeated, “I’m in the wrong body.”

We went round in circles. And then, in my Internet wanderings, I discovered ‘Jake’.

Jessie had created an elaborate online persona as a transboy, as Jake. As the story slowly unravelled, I discovered that Jessie hadn’t met her new girlfriend, Beth, at a party, as she had told me. Instead, they had met online, and as far as Beth was concerned, she had a boyfriend, a transboy called Jake. As far as Beth was concerned, Jessie Maynard didn’t exist.

I was devastated, I was lost, I was furious. We’d had a strict ‘no fake profiles online’ rule and she had broken it, and then had lied to me.

“It’s not a fake profile,” she yelled, as she slammed her bedroom door. “It’s me!”

I changed the internet passwords and I bought her a ‘brick phone’, a phone without internet access. She was not impressed.

But I didn’t try to stop Jessie seeing Beth, or any of her other friends. Beth lived two hours away from us, but I paid Jessie’s train fare to visit her fortnightly, and gave her back her old phone to FaceTime most evenings. I was touched when Jessie wanted me to meet Beth, and I took them out for dinner. I had mixed feelings. On one level I felt the relationship was reinforcing her confusion. On another I felt it might help clear it. Yet I was horrified that Jessie had created this online world, slipped so easily inside and pulled it back into reality with her. There were others calling her Jake now, friends she had met online, and a few ‘IRL’ friends. Even some of her friends’ parents, I discovered, used the new name and pronouns.

“Do you think Beth really sees you as a boy?” I questioned, one afternoon.

“Yes.” Jessie didn’t look up from her book.

“Really?”

“She says if that’s how I identify, that’s how she sees me.” Jessie looked up this time, and seemed a little uncertain. “I have wondered about that,” she admitted.

Sometimes I would sit with her, coaxing her to explain how she felt, trying so hard to understand how she thought she really could be a boy; telling her what a talented and creative person she was and what a great life she had ahead of her.

Sometimes I couldn’t bear it any longer.

“Whatever you do to yourself you will always be a woman,” I shouted, exasperated. “Do you want a life where everyone around you creeps about pretending they think you’re something you’re not? Do you want to spend the rest of your life on hormones? Do you want a half-beard, phantom breasts, a life based on a lie?”

Sometimes she would not speak to me at all. And I didn’t blame her.

As I’ve said, the internet told me repeatedly that my child might kill herself if I questioned this new identity or whether transition was the best response to her feelings. I didn’t believe it. Jessie did not seem suicidal. Angry and confused, yes. There seemed to be no space for question, no one out there to tell these kids they might be ok as they are – that it was society’s expectations of what makes a man or a woman that should change, not them. This self-diagnosed condition seemed to be accepted without question by most therapists and health professionals.

I started a Facebook group just for Jessie and me, where I posted blog links, news articles and reports I found online, and checked if she had read them by bringing them up in conversation.

Sometimes I’d say, “You can have your phone to call Beth after you’ve read that article.”

Or, “I’ll wash up, you go and look at that video.”

Many of the links I shared with her explained gender as a social construct. Some unravelled the myth that our brains are gendered; some discussed what makes a woman a woman. Many linked FTT (female to trans) transgenderism to male domination, some discussed internalised misogyny. I made sure she knew that detransition was ‘a thing’ and that detransitioners were rejected by the community that had encouraged them to transition in the first place. Sometimes we read articles or watched videos together. She rolled her eyes a lot but didn’t seem to mind too much.

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I read everything I could get my hands on. I stayed up most of the night, most nights, reading and copying and pasting appropriate links for Jessie to read. It was easier than lying in the dark, thinking about my perfect child removing her breasts a few years down the line. I learned about breast binders and the problems they can cause. I learned that the facial hair produced by testosterone often remains even if hormones are stopped. I googled pictures that I now wish I could unsee. A pre-op torso sporting breasts and chest hair. Photos of badly scarred, crooked chests; of nipples that looked as if they had been glued or badly stitched back on, reports of nipples that had ‘fallen off’. A photo of bloody breast tissue lying in a silver surgeon’s bowl. I saw pictures of constructed penises that looked like ready-rolled pastry and the raw exposed flesh that was cut away from arms or thighs to build them. I learned about how an artificial vagina can be constructed from a scrotal sack, and how, in the words of one MTT, “some of the tissues get starved of nutrients and oxygen (and) tends to die off”. I learned about ‘phantom penis syndrome’ and how it can affect some post-op MTTs when they become aroused.

It was horrific. It was nothing like the ‘My 2 Year Transition Story’ YouTube videos. I did not make an appointment for Jessie to see the doctor. I did not take her to a gender clinic.

“You’re not a straight boy, Jessie. You’re a lesbian.” I reasoned.

She shouted, furious, “I am not a lesbian!”

Her 16th birthday came and went. She had a party and her friends took over the ground floor. I kept one eye out from upstairs. Some cross-looking little goth girls smoked and drank beer at the bottom of the garden.

“Who were those girls?” I asked the next day.

“Those boys were Ryan and Jake.”

I snorted.

I did try to find Jessie a therapist who would help her reconcile with being female. The only openly gender critical therapist a Google search threw up lived in Texas. No use to us, then. I was put in touch with several people by email, but I could find no-one who worked in our area. Those I did communicate with were wonderfully supportive but asked me not to name them, not to give out their email address or talk about them. The message was clear – publicly questioning Transtopia could be professional suicide.

Jessie talked disparagingly of ‘otherkin’, the world of people who seriously ‘identify’ as animals. Cats, mostly, or wolves, and sometimes dragons. She didn’t take them very seriously. I said I couldn’t see a lot of difference between their beliefs and her own. She scowled–but then she laughed.

I showed Jessie photographs of Danielle Muscato and Alex Drummond: both men who consider themselves to be women.

I showed her a picture of an FTT (female to trans), who claimed she was a gay man, breast-feeding her baby.

“Man or woman?” I pestered her. “What makes a woman? What makes a man?”

We watched a video about Paul Wolscht, a man in his late forties who now ‘identifies’ and ‘lives as’ a 7- year old girl. Jessie was horrified. She said it was gross. I said that if gender really is all about identity, then his identity is surely as valid as any other. She looked at me, incredulous. I shrugged. There was a silence.

I showed her Peachyoghurt’s YouTube channel and we watched the videos together. Peachyoghurt made Jessie laugh. Sometimes I felt like we were getting somewhere, but when I asked her, the answer was always the same.

“Nothing’s changed. I’m still a boy.”

“What about Rachel Dolezal?” I asked one day, in the middle of dinner. “She was born white but honestly feels as if she is black. How is that different?”

“It just is.”

“Why?”

“I’m eating my dinner, mum.”

I taught her about how gender is a hierarchy; I gave her articles that showed that ‘transwomen’ are as likely to be arrested for violent crime against women as men; and that wealthy, older men are investing huge amounts of money in the transitioning of children.

Sigh. “I’m still a boy, mum. Nothing has changed.”

When Jessie was due to register at college at 16, she told me she wanted to register as a boy, as Jake. I had seen this coming and I was not keen at all. I felt that the more she indulged Jake; ascribed the good things in her life to being perceived as a male, the less there would be left of Jessie. The deeper she waded in the waters of Transtopia, the harder it would be to turn back. I worried about the effect on her education, and the damage that would be done by people in authority appearing to buy into her delusion. I was determined to at least find her some time and space to think a while longer before stepping into a life in which her ’transness’ was either the elephant in the room or the main focus of her being. She’d been offered a place at an excellent college an hour away from us. I took a gamble.

“You can do what you like when you are 18,” I told her. “But for now, you register as Jessie- as a girl- or you go to the college two blocks away from our flat.”

To say she was not pleased is an understatement. There were tears and there was shouting.  But she registered at college as Jessie Maynard.

We know that we are supposed to say that transwomen are real women. We know that it upsets them when we don’t. We also know, although we think about it far less, that we are supposed to believe that teenage girls who think they are boys, are actually men. The reason the cry ‘transwomen are real women’ is so important is that the minute we stop buying into that ‘reality’ the whole house of cards collapses.

I talked with Jessie about the way we treat boys and girls differently and how their brains develop differences because of that. I reminded her that in Victorian times, and well into the 20th century, pink was considered to be a boy’s colour and boys wore dresses until they were as old as eight. Gender expectations are different in different cultures. How could your brain be right but your body wrong? Is Caitlin Jenner really a woman, and is the hardest part of being a woman really deciding what to wear? Can sixty years of male privilege be wiped away with surgery and a lipstick? I talked a lot.

After a while I would always ask, “Do you want me to go away?”  Usually she would say, “Yes,” but sometimes she would shake her head. “No, you can stay.”

I told her how angry it made me feel that she had friends whose parents used her ‘preferred pronouns’, because I wouldn’t tell an anorexic girl she looked better thin, or comment on how cool the cutting scars on a boy’s arms looked.

I tried to give her support and let her know that I would always love her, but I never wavered for a minute from the idea that a woman cannot ‘become’ a man. Jessie and I went out for walks, to the cinema; out to lunch. I watched her and thought how clever she was, how compassionate, how thoughtful, how beautiful. I couldn’t bear the thought that she might mutilate herself in pursuit of something she could never really have. I wore sunglasses far too often that summer, but it helped to hide my eyes.

Then, at a party, Jessie met up with a friend she hadn’t seen for a year. Hazel had lived as a boy called Harvey for 8 months and then re-identified as a girl. Unbeknownst to me, they talked a lot over the next few weeks.

“What does Hazel say about it all?” I asked, curious, when Jessie told me. She shrugged. “Pretty much the same as you.”

When she asked if she could stay the weekend at Hazel’s house, obviously I said yes. I began crossing my fingers and hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel.

A week later she said “I’m thinking about it all, mum. I’m not sure what I think anymore.”

Jessie started at college and had never seemed so happy. Slowly, she seemed to begin reconciling with her femaleness. Then she told me she wanted to tell me something ‘later’. I thought I knew, I suspected, I hoped and I hoped. I waited and time passed slowly.

One day she texted me on the way to college,  “I am a girl. I was never a boy.’

She has told the group of friends that called her Jake the same.  Beth has been accepting, saying “Now you’re my preferred gender.” The only friend who is disappointed is a boy.

“You are becoming problematic.” he told her. “You need to educate yourself.”

Jessie saw the irony.

Jessie wrote a respectful but trans-critical post on her Tumblr account, and two of her ‘transboy’ followers messaged her saying they had also been feeling that way for some time and asked her to tell them more. She is currently messaging with several young people who are experiencing gender confusion. I hope she can help them, as her friend Hazel and I helped her, to realise that your potential should not be governed by your genitals; that the problem is gender and the solution is to try to change the system, not yourself.

I realise that it could have all gone horribly wrong: Jessie could have turned her back on our family and bought into the myth that anyone who questions trans ideology is phobic, full of hatred, and should be discarded in the name of liberation and finding yourself. If things had gone that way, I could have lost a child as well as a daughter. Every family is different and I would not presume to tell another parent how to deal with their child’s assertion that they are transgender. It is a minefield. If I had ever felt that Jessie needed to transition to stay alive, I would have acted differently, but I never once felt that she was in danger of taking her own life. Of course, I had never expected my daughter to tell me she was my son, either.

I do not dispute that, for a very small number of people, their gender and body dysmorphia has gone so far that the only comfortable way for them to survive in this culture is to live as the opposite sex. These people should have the same rights as the rest of us, they should not be discriminated against and they should be able to move about their business in safety. Housing and jobs should be open to them, just as they should to any member of society. I don’t want to belittle their suffering and I would not ‘misgender’ someone to their face. But a man is not a woman and a woman is not a man. These are biological differences, and biology is the fundamental basis of female oppression. To claim that being a woman is no more than a feeling is to instigate the erasure of women. The idea that we should buy into the myth that our young people are ‘born in the wrong body’ because they do not want to conform to contemporary gender stereotypes is doublespeak worthy of an Orwellian dystopia. The fact that teenage girls, predominantly young lesbians, are rejecting their womanhood in an attempt to become their oppressors should fill society with horror. Instead we are making ‘being trans’ into the latest fashion and parading these children in newspapers and on reality TV shows. I don’t know where it will end.

What I do know is that if I had let Jessie register at college as a boy and taken her to a gender clinic, we would be looking at a very, very different picture now. My beautiful 16-year-old daughter would have stepped down the road to public transitioning and a lifetime on medication. She would be looking towards a very different future.

Thank you to those of you that gave me support. To the women and men who have written so honestly about their experiences as parents, or as gender questioning young adults. Words cannot describe the strength you gave me when I needed to believe that I was doing the right thing in not supporting Jessie’s immediate transition. One more strong, healthy young woman is growing up a feminist.


Thoughts from Jessie Maynard:

Although at the time I didn’t appreciate it, the constant repetition of “you can’t be a boy” did me good. A lot of good. I had been spending too much time on the internet and I had got it into my head that somehow, biological girls could really be boys, if they “identified” as such (& vice versa).

As someone who’s always had a mostly realistic grip on the world, for some reason I had been pulled into a world where boys could become girls and girls could become boys. I felt that because I said I was a boy, I was a boy.

At the time, I felt that my mum not immediately calling me Jake and using male pronouns was horrible and transphobic. But in the long run, without her resistance, I probably wouldn’t be as happy as I am today, as I would still be thinking I was a boy and trying to “pass” as a boy (which I would never be able to do without body-altering hormones.)

I think that if I had changed my pronouns in September, and registered at my college as a boy I would be a lot more unhappy as I would constantly be trying to “pass” and I wouldn’t be making the friends I wanted to, as I would be trying to fit in with the “male crowd”. When I arrived at my college, making friends wasn’t my primary motive, however the friends I have made are almost all female, and I don’t think I would have those friends if I had been trying to fit in as a boy.

Most of all, understanding gender as a social construct has taken me a long way in my personal life, and in my ideas about feminism and the way women and men are treated, especially women by the trans movement.

I’m glad that I realised before it was too late, as I am now happier in my own body and identity. I think that as a whole, many girls who wouldn’t’ve identified as transgender 10/20 years ago are now thinking they are which is dangerous and harmful to them, and that talking to them maturely and explaining gender as a social construct could really help them.

 

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381 thoughts on “A mum’s voyage through Transtopia: A tale of love and desistance

  1. Although the comments to this thread have reached a truly impressive level, attesting to the impact the “teen-trans” issue is having on so many families, I hope that I can also point something out without it being lost in the shuffle. (It’s a great shuffle, no lie!).

    That is… although I can’t possibly know the views of all the parents who post here, I think I know enough of them to confidently say, the vast, vast majority of us are accepting, not only of our children’s varying appearance choices, but of their sexual identity as well, as being gay or lesbian. Moreover, again not all, but a big chunk of us would be considered traditionally politically and socially liberal.

    It doesn’t even make any sense that as to this ONE issue, that of our children being trans, that somehow we’ve all suddenly been transformed into “phobic,” irrational, prejudiced, reactionary, crazy bigots. Sure, if this were a religiously-oriented board, or a conservative political group, you might say that it logically flows that a parent would also be resistant to “trans ideology.” But for most of us here, it’s actually really, really hard to go against what our general world-view, and our peer groups, are saying about trans.

    For myself, I was about as well-versed and sympathetic to sexual minorities as a person could be. I led a support group for parents of LGBT kids for almost a decade, and worked very hard to encourage families to be supportive, accepting and kind. I don’t deserve to be labelled as a “phobe” or any other kind of bigot, simply because I have reasonable reservations and questions about the realities of transition, especially for children and teens.

    Liked by 10 people

    • I am late to this posting. Thank you Lily for sharing your experience. This is a lovely piece. And thank you worriedmom for your excellent work. Our daughter is out there somewhere flying through Outer Space. She has destroyed herself from the inside out. There are times I fall to the floor and cannot get up. Nothing in life prepares you for this horror.

      Like

      • The worst part about it is that they seem to care less about how it all affects the rest of the family. They have blinders on. My daughter refuses to see my point of view. I feel if she saw the right therapist she would be able to accept her body the way it is. She says she has tried to accept it and can’t. If that is true then she is seeing the wrong therapist in my book. I have struggled with body issues my whole life. You learn to deal with them. That’s life. Life is also about compromise but with this culture there is none. I know how you feel when you say you just drop to the floor and can’t get up. You feel everything is hopeless. It’s a terrible feeling. I just have to take it day by day. That’s the only way I get through it. Hang in there.

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  2. I agree, worriedmom. Although I am new to this site, I have been impressed with the intelligent and insightful writing, and definitely get the impression these are not the rants of reactionary parents. The more that I read, the more puzzled I am as to why we don’t see any of this discussed in the mainstream media. It is either a full affirmation and embrace of the transgender movement, or a hostile, hateful critique. Where is the intelligent, thoughtful journalism on this? I am also wondering why the large and powerful autism groups don’t speak out on this issue. Since their constituents are so vulnerable — and statistics supports the significant co-occurrence — why are they silent?

    I truly believe that if a big powerful voice from the left spoke out on this topic, it would help legitimize what we parents see with our own eyes. Has anyone tried to reach out to the media or autism groups to get to speak out?

    Liked by 6 people

    • Most people will not touch it with a barge pole. Anyone who questions transactivism is ‘no platformed’. It has happened to Germaine Greer and many other high profile people. Speak out against the transitioning of children and you will be boycotted and called a transphobe. It happened to me only yesterday! Any group with something to lose is unlikely to champion the gender critical cause.

      Liked by 2 people

      • When I say, ‘it happened to me only yesterday’ I mean that I was called a transphobe for speaking out against the transitioning of children.

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      • Wow! I had almost given up on the BBC. Thanks for the link, FightingToGetHerBack.

        The programme is due to air on 12th January on BBC 2 and will feature Dr Kenneth Zucker, on TV for the first time since the closure of his clinic.

        Taken from the programme description……
        ”The film presents evidence that most children with gender dysphoria eventually overcome the feelings without transitioning and questions the science behind the idea that a boy could somehow be born with a ‘female brain’ or vice versa. It also features ‘Lou’ – who was born female and had a double mastectomy as part of transitioning to a man. She now says it is a decision that ‘haunts’ her and feels that her gender dysphoria should have been treated as a mental health issue.”

        There will also be input from trans-affirming doctors and activists.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Trans activists are attempting to shut down the programme, and plan to harass the producer. They also have a change.org petition:
        Bile spewed here:
        goo.gl/fbQMF7

        Petition:
        goo.gl/jwUXTw

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      • I have emailed the producer in support of having a more open debate about what is happening to our children. I got the address from the WPATH Facebook link.

        Let’s hope the programme lives up to the hype! At least it is a start.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t speak out publicly, but as soon as my kids are adults I’m going to. I’m keeping a written record of all of this. I’m also working towards a fine arts degree followed by an art therapy/ counselor degree that I should finish right around that time. I plan on being gender critical professionally. And I think it’s going to be the subject of my thesis in some manner. Not anti transgender completely, especially not for adults because I do feel that discrimination is wrong, but I’m going to try to give other options and advocate for waiting until adulthood.

      Liked by 2 people

      • As the parent of a trans “kid” who said nothing to me until right after turning 18, I suggest controls be in place with a period of time for young adults…they are still impulsive with growing brains into mid-20s.

        So all of the freedom to do as you wish after you turn 18…well, trust me, it is no picnic for families to see an out-of-the-blue transitioning of your young adult kid. Young adulthood is also the age when a number of very serious mental health conditions first appear. So mental health screening with family input is still important.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Nervous wreck, I don’t see a reply button for your comment but I agree with you. Ideally the process should taken seriously, with a minimum of therapy and begun at the time that the individual becomes an adult, at the age of consent, not before. So if an 18 year old started the process it would be a few years until the full treatment. I had always thought that it wasn’t an easy thing to get a sex change before I went through this.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Totally agree with worriedmom. I mean honestly, if it was someone else’s kid who declared themselves trans, I am sure I would have been eager to demonstrate my support by using the “correct” pronouns and showing how accepting I was of this change. I totally get why other parents and well meaning teachers and counselors think my skepticism is just denial — I can imagine I might feel the same way if I weren’t in the middle of this. And that is why I am so grateful for this forum — and why I cringe sometimes when some commenters talk about how beautiful their daughters are and how they hate seeing them appearing more masculine — because that seems a bit retrograde to me and to represent the unattainable standards that I think many of our daughters are trying to opt out of (but to be clear I am a hypocrite here and have these thoughts about my own child whose eyes are so much more noticeable with just a smidge of mascara). If this whole thing resolved with my daughter leaving her body as is, but demanding lifelong to be called by a masculine name and pronouns I could be at peace because then I would know she had come to terms with her body as it is. Transition is highly overrated and we are at the mercy of the medical and mental health community coming to recognize that. I really hope that the growing numbers of detransitioners will provoke some realignment, but I’m not holding my breath. I am just being grateful for time and the fact that I have four more years while my daughter is still a minor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also cringe a bit when some commenters focus on makeup and clothes and/or how “feminine” their daughters were before. At the same time, it’s natural to be distressed when kids abruptly change their “presentation” to more stereotypically “masculine” behavior, clothing, or hairstyles. Appearance is so important to trans-identified teens; it often seems appearance is all that matters to them, in fact.

      But taking a neutral position on a kid’s presentation is important. After all, a woman who defies gender expectations; who cuts her hair short, doesn’t shave her legs, wears a t-shirt and jeans and no makeup is still a woman. This shouldn’t even need to be said in 2017, but here we are. Parents who give the implicit or explicit message that conforming to gender stereotypes is a good thing are likely to only reinforce their kids’ conviction that they’re “born in the wrong body.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree; it can be difficult when your child doesn’t fulfill cultural expectations. It is a blow to a parent’s ego when other kids constantly get congratulatory “good girl” head-pats while mine gets rude stares and even snarls of disgust. The hair on my daughter’s head is short, while the hair on her legs and underarms is long. Her clothing choices are sometimes bizarre compared to what other females her age wear.

        However. Leg hair, armpit hair, short hair and odd clothing are not harmful to her health. I don’t appreciate the rude stares, but I am thrilled that (so far) my daughter is not using testosterone, nor is she asking for it. And while she binds occasionally, she could bind much more often or schedule a mastectomy. She still insists that she is a boy, and because she is 18 could decide to begin abusing her body with drugs and surgery any day, but so far she is resisting and for that I am grateful. Strangers can glare at us all day long if they want. Every day my daughter resists harming her body is a great day, no matter how she appears to strangers and all the dirty looks we get.

        Our culture is so hung up on beauty. My in-laws, in particular, seem to think beauty is a person’s most important attribute. They were thrilled to have such a beautiful granddaughter and showed her photos to all their friends (which of course is normal grandparent behavior). But they seemed overly focused on her beauty, and while my child was present, talked about her looks as if she wasn’t there. I have to wonder how much my kid picked up on this and if it played any part in her pushing back and making the decision to defy all those BS stereotypes.

        Just as 4thwave stated above, I also feel for parents whose kids undergo a startling change in appearance, seemingly overnight. It is worrisome and can be a sign of trouble, such as drug use or depression, so this behavior should not be ignored. But at the same time, clothes and hair are just clothes and hair, and teens have always used them to rankle parents and assert their independence. Parents have to learn to tune out the messages they are getting from our beauty-obsessed culture, but unfortunately, the importance on looks has become so deeply ingrained in most of us that it can be difficult to unlearn. (Like losingsleep, above, I also admit to having my own bouts of being hypocritical on this issue.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s the binder that I have the most trouble with. The men’s clothing and short hair I don’t struggle with much but the binder is a tough one…..

        Liked by 2 people

      • A binder is the opposite of gender nonconformity. A gender nonconforming woman wouldn’t despise her breasts to the point of crushing and damaging them. A short haircut, no makeup, comfortable clothing? That is self-affirming, not self hatred.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well here is the new National Geographic article and program that will be airing putting the transgender reassignment surgery in the limelight. What’s sad is the explanation as to why people aren’t happy or successful after …. they claim it’s the lack of support… but fail to examine that maybe it’s the wrong thing to be doing!!

        http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/01/04/national-geographic-films-teenager-undergoing-gender-surgery/?utm_source=ET&utm_medium=ETFB&utm_campaign=portal&utm_content=inf_10_60_2&tse_id=INF_d61cc130d43611e6a03c354c456e1db2

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Today’s UK media is warning of risks children face online. While the concern is generic they BBC news site is looking for specific stories. It might be good if 4thwavenow could report on the link between submersion in social media and the online trans grooming and vulnerable teens falling prey. The media will resist demonising Transpeople. But even raising awareness of the issue would offer support for families and gender confused who have not found this site. I agree with poster above, there is no dialogue that reassures young people their feeling are normal and do not require surgery to appease.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. AARRGGHHH!!! As the mother of a young adult male who suddenly decided after internet bingeing that he was really a woman, every time I hear “Would you rather have a dead son or a live daughter?” I just want to scream. According to their own propaganda, the rate of attempted suicide INCREASES after sex reassignment surgery:

    “Those who have medically transitioned (45%) and surgically transitioned (43%) have higher rates of attempted suicide than those who have not (34% and 39% respectively).”
    http://www.transcentralpa.org/_content/downloads/Preventing_Transgender_Suicide.pdf

    And rates of actual (not just attempted) suicide among those who have undergone sex reassignment surgery is 19 TIMES HIGHER than the general population.
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885

    So tell me again why I should be supportive of this?!?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you for these links. They’re extremely useful in counteracting the ‘“Would you rather have a dead son or a live daughter?” argument.

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    • Thanks for sharing those statistics. Yes, that is the very talking point that got me and my husband to support the name change and binder usage. Of course we wanted our child alive — it didn’t matter what they called themselves or if they caused a little damage to breast tissue! Looking back, it makes me sick that we were all victimized.

      Concerned, make sure to check out the link I posted above. The BBC is running a documentary next week about this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for writing this. On the day I read it there was an opportunity to speak to my (self diagnosed) transgender teenager about it. Using some of your arguments I got her to a point where she said she now has a lot of thinking to do because what I said made sense!

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Its a very interesting article. While this is about kids specifically, my experience is a little different. I was married for 15 years and in the last year of marriage, my husband decided he was a woman and was taking hormones. I kicked him out and have never spoken to him again – but that’s different then your children going through this. He is now set for the surgery this month – this has all taken place within a year and a half. You can’t get your knee replaced that quickly, but you can get trans surgery – something is really wrong in this world. The message to me – the spurned wife – is get over it and support him. I am the worst person for not helping him through this – it is irrelevant how I actually feel about it according to the world. We have a 14 year old son and this has been difficult guiding him through what is going on. Everything on the internet screams at us to accept it. My question is this though – why does this always focus on the physical aspects? I lived with my husband for 15 years – believe me there wasn’t a feminine bone in his body. I don’t mean liking pink – I mean what makes women, women – caring, compassionate, helpful. My husband never had any of those qualities and when I questioned what that meant to be a woman, all I got for a response was about the physical appearance. In fact his impression of a woman was an insult to all woman – all he cared about was how he would look. With all the media coverage I don’t think anyone even properly asked him if this is the right decision for him – everyone is just in a hurry to show how supportive they are. I am glad to see parents who are really looking at this and what is best for their kids.

    Liked by 6 people

    • My heart is heavy thinking of dealing with all this yourself and of course, your son. I was so thankful to find this group. It has been a true source of strength in trying to ask the right questions and seek good, solid answers, not just be a cheerleader for the cause. I wish you the best with your son. I pray I can save mine.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Wow, Jessie sounds a lot like my daughter who identifies as a gay man. She is 17 and a half and came out 10 months ago but has claimed to be a boy among peers for about 2 years. We simply don’t discuss it. She went to counseling for depression, but even therapist felt she was experiencing teen angst, not suicidal. I feel a need to speak out. We have a 14 year old son, showing the obvious signs of puberty. It should be obvious to her that she is not a boy. I could really use some advice. She still spends a lot of time on the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. So, I was a “supportive” mom and took my daughter to a gender clinic which is part of a prestigious children’s hospital. I was under the mistaken assumption that once they heard my concerns they would have their doubts as well. What an assumption that was!! The therapist was a very kind and easy to talk to woman but alas she is bound to the gender identity bandwagon! She spent a total of 2 hors talking with my daughter and then about the same with me. I was clear from the start that I was not supporting hormones or surgery. The therapist would have gladly written the prescription for T had I not been so vociferous about all my concerns and doubts . So instead recommended Depro provera for menstrual cessation and family therapy with a trans competant therapist. That I could live with , even though Depo provera is scary to me as well. Then a few days later while my daughter was ranting and raving just because I asked her to make the appointment and read about the
    Medicine and it’s possible side effects she told me her gender therapist(from a very prestigious hospitall , mind you) said that family therApy wasn’t for my daughter… it was for me!!!!!! I was furious and made sure to email her therapist and tell her how unprofessional and destructive what she did was. So now my daughter has it in her head that she doesn’t have anything to learn from anything me or my husband has to say. So I told both my daughter and the gender therapist I’m out… meaning anything she does as far as medically transitioning I will not be a part of. She is a legal adult so she can take the responsibility. I really feel soo helpless. I can’t turn to psychiatrists or anyone in the medical field. It’s so incredibly frustrating!! If I didn’t find this sight I would have been even more helpless. At least I had some information going into it. One thing I found so interesting was I told the gender therapist that groups of girls are doing this together and she very calmly said “oh yes I’m very aware of that”!!!!!! This doesn’t concern anyone????? Am I crazy? She very blithely said that this generation is redefining sexuality and gender. That’s all fine and dandy until you medicate yourself for life and have surgeries to remove healthy body parts!! Ugh! I just really wish this whole thing would crash and burn … and fast!! I feel like my kid is a zombie with no real words to give me insight into why she feels this way. Her answer is I just know I’m a boy. When I say what besides your clothes makes you think you are a boy her response is “I can’t explain it”. Bingo!! There is nothing to explain because you are biologically female!!!!! This world is so crazy!! So, my only bit of hope and sanity is that I have control over what I will support and finance. Adults take responsibility and when they really and truly think something is best for them they will do whatever needs to be done. My kid just says but I can’t or I don’t know how. She wants me to do it all from picking out a new name to telling friends to making and taking her to appointments and paying for it all. Does this sound like an adult to you?? Sometimes it really frightens the hell out of me how someone so down to earth could be so hypnotized by all this bullshit😡😫😡

    Liked by 3 people

    • Awakened, I feel exactly the same way you do! So frustrating. My daughter has an IQ of 150, yet she’s been sucked into this cult of nonsense. I too will not be supporting any changes, medical or otherwise, either. I told her if she wants to change her name at 18 she can, but I’m not helping her go through the process or pay for new legal documents to be issued. I’m surely not paying for hormones or surgery. I’m not going to make any of this easy.

      Liked by 4 people

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this. You are not alone. Reading through the stories here I do not see one single parent who has said any of the following: ‘the gender therapist suggested my daughter might wait until she was older to transition… the gender therapist asked my daughter how she could possibly be a boy… the gender therapist told my child this was a big step… the gender therapist explained that hormone changes are not all reversible… the gender therapist spoke to my child about detransition… the gender therapist said it was fine to be gender non-conforming… ‘. In EVERY case mentioned in response to this article, the child has been rushed towards transition and the parents told there is no other option. If the parents are gender critical, the therapist dismisses them – often directly to the child – as unsupportive or uneducated. Carried along on this tide of ‘there’s no time to wait!’ parents are then left blaming themselves for being ‘taken in’ by the therapist, or having been rushed into taking steps they would have preferred not to take. We are taught to trust medical professionals. I hope you manage to get through to your daughter.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Thank you for pointing this out, Lily. We have worked with a gender clinic (very well-respected and well-known) as well as a private gender therapist. Gender therapist scared us into supporting binders, name change, and pronouns saying that most transgender suicides are because of non-supportive parents. In the meantime, every session that my daughter had with the therapist was asking her “so what is your next plan for transitioning?” even though we told the therapist we don’t believe this and we wanted her to come to this understanding herself through therapy.

        The clinic that we worked with told us that we should put her on hormone blockers right away as this would give her more time to figure things out. They told us the blockers were well-studied and perfectly safe. While they acknowledged to us that she may not be truly transgender, they said that it was ok to make all of these changes since they were reversible…but that she should start testosterone before graduating high school. Despite their acknowledgement that she may not be trans, they did nothing to question this with her.

        Awakened, I had very similar experiences. I am so disgusted by these people that we turned to for help and people that we trusted to do no harm.

        Concerned Mom, my daughter is also brilliant, but at the same time on the autism spectrum, so her rigid thinking and difficulty with perspective-taking make this even harder. There would be no logical argument that I could possibly make that she would find persuasive. The bottom line with her is “I am a boy because that’s what I am.”

        Liked by 2 people

  10. I am a parent of a beautiful girl who thinks she’s a trans and in a secret relationship with another trans – both are biological females. The “boyfriend” picked up my beautiful daughter one day while I was gone and she has not been back since. She met this person in college and she is 6 years older than my daughter. I am just very frightened all the time and very sad. This has devastated our family. The college taught her how to be independent financially from us and this person seems to have total control over her every move. We see her sometimes but overall, we are afraid as she suffered from depression and social anxiety, spending a lot of time online in high school. There is nothing to prepare us. Can you pray for us please? Any suggestions?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am so sorry that you are going through this unimaginable nightmare. I wish I had an answer for you. The only thing I can think of is when you see her, just LOVE her, make her feel safe, don’t criticize, don’t argue…treat her like you would if she were part of a cult. She needs to FEEL that she has a safe place with you so that when she starts to feel doubts or feels scared, she will return to the safe place where she knows the love is unconditional. If you know her mailing address, I would send her things — cards to remind her you love her, stuffed animals, whatever it is she likes that might stir up good memories from the past.

      Liked by 2 people

      • FightingToGetHerBack, below is a link to a tumblr post from a detransitioned woman; I don’t know that she does or doesn’t have autism/aspergers, but the post addresses tumblrites’ general collective opinion of people with neurological or mental diagnoses. Basically, they object to being challenged on their beliefs or feelings simply because they have neurological or mental diagnoses; they feel it is offensive; they feel they should be accepted as they are and that all their feelings and beliefs are valid despite any mental or neurological challenges they might have. (Ironic, yes, as they do not accept themselves as they are. Sorry I just had to include that observation even though we all know it already and surely see the irony.)

        Anyway, here is the link. Perhaps it might help as it uses tumblrite preferred language and addresses their points:

        Liked by 3 people

    • I think fightingtogetherback is giving really good advice there. Keep any contact you can. Send her gifts if you can, little messages: be non-judgemental as her situation is not something you can influence at the moment. Try to let her know you will always be there for her and hope time brings her around. I hope things get easier for you, and her.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, SkepticalMom. It is helpful to read the perspective of someone who has lived this — and what doesn’t work and why. I do wish she had written about what MIGHT work. Please post again if you find anything else that could give us some insights.

      Like

  11. Does anyone have any good sites to print for my daughter concerning binding the beast?? Without sending her to a trans site. She is already having back problems but refuses to give up the binder or that the binder is the issue. We have come a long way otherwise (she was found doing her nails secretly one day w jewels and she’s not wearing her hair in clips and ponies at home 🙄 ) sigh. But I’m afraid she is doing damage to the breast.

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    • Does anyone have any good sites to print for my daughter concerning binding?

      See this comment. The post is an old one, but the comment is recent and links to (i) a video by a young woman who used to bind but has given up and (ii) an article in a medical journal.

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      • The link now works. Here is my problem…my daughter will be 20 next month and started binding a little over a year ago. I can’t make her stop binding and have given her links in the past about the dangers of binding. My biggest fear is that if I keep pushing her to stop binding, she is going to get a mastectomy at the first opportunity, which she may do anyway since she has expressed the desire to “get her boobs cut off.” She is in college for software engineering so when she graduates she will more than likely be making the money to do so. I’m going to lose her and there is nothing I can do to stop it. My hands are tied. I’ve tried to tell her it’s her aspergers that makes her feel she isn’t female and have sent her the limited information (very little) I have found on it but I don’t think it sinks in. I wish they would do more to study that association. While I’m glad I found this sight and it’s so good to know I am not alone in my feelings, sometimes it makes me sad because many of you have younger kids that you can still have some kind of control over the matter. I have none since 18 is the magic number of adulthood. Even at that age kids, because that is what they truly are at that age, really aren’t capable of making this kind of life altering decision. Just my opinion. It really sucks. 😦

        Liked by 3 people

      • Rette, I really feel for you. I have two years before my daughter turns 18 and I know I am running against the clock. I can’t imagine how much harder this all becomes once they are 18. I have been searching in vain for something about the Asperger/trans link that my daughter would find (1) not demeaning, (2) persuasive, and (3) not further evidence to support the idea she is trans. I wish there was something written directly to the girls on this very point. I think I have scanned through every Asperger and girls book there is to read their chapters on gender, and none seems to address this in the way that my daughter would find convincing. I know there are videos and testimonies from people who have detransitioned. I wonder if there is anything out there from Aspie-girls who have detransitioned. I think that would be most helpful for our kids — someone who experienced the same feelings, who thought the same way, but came to realize they were mistaken. Does anyone here know if anything like this exists?

        Liked by 2 people

    • I went with my daughter to a sports shop and bought her loads of sports bras, have you tried this? . She seems to be mostly wearing these now – but I suppose in winter a baggy top means she can disguise her boobs quite well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We bought Jessie sports bras when she thought she was trans. They’re a good compromise as they flatten your breasts without damaging them or your internal organs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SHe has four of them in her room. She will not wear them. She wears her too small falling apart binder (which I bought six months ago because she was using duck tape and bandages)

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      • Does your daughter have any autistic traits? A comment somewhere up this thread suggested that a binder could provide a hugging sensation which some autistic children use to help calm down / ease anxiety. I think called a pressure vest?
        If not, could you get her a much larger binder – i.e. less damaging?

        Liked by 1 person

      • scaredmomofteen … same here. I stupidly bought kid two binders 2.5 years ago without really reasearching the health risks. (frankly it happened during a screaming match where getting the binder was the compromise vs seeing a gender doc.) I cannot get her out of them, purchased sports bras nothwithstanding. And this kid is tiny and very FLAT naturally, so … I do not know what kind of psychological armor they are providing for her. I only know somehow they are. There is zero appearance reason for her insistence on them as she looks exactly the same with or without, you know? (They’ve been run through the dryer umpteen times and they are a nasty shade of gray — I only hope the dryer has broken down the elastic a bit.)

        It seems to me it is almost a fashion thing now among these teen and young adult natal females. YOu know? Like back in the 20s when the boyish figure was considered the best possible look. I know it’s not just transmen and would-be transmen who are binding. They all appear to think it’s no more of a health-related choice than a push-up bra.

        My kid (just over 18) does NOT want to hear about any health risks related to any aspect of transition. Like, fingers in the ears, la la la, can’t hear you. Don’t you bring me no bad news. You know?

        LIke Rette, I fear that continuing to push regarding the binders is just going to solidify a determination toward “top surgery.” So it’s kind of a standoff at this point. At least she does not wear them at home or any time when she is not out and about, as far as I know. I have heard of ppl who are so dysphoric regarding breasts that they wear a binder practically 27/7. So sad. not to mention dangerous.

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  12. This is something I have been mulling over in the last few days. Even for those who don’t transition, gender identity is going to play an important role in our children’s futures. Most young lesbian girls will have several friends in their social network who believe they are boys – for our children’s generation this is always going to be a ‘thing’, as such high numbers of young lesbians are transitioning. Where does this leave a generation of ‘baby dykes’? Many of them will find themselves attracted to young FTTs at some point, and they are going to have to ask themselves some difficult questions. Aside from the high levels of emotional support that will be expected of them, will they be willing/able to see the young women they find themselves attracted to as male? If so, does this mean they will be expected to redefine themselves as straight and reject a lesbian identity?

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  13. FightingToGetHerBack- I feel exactly the same as you. My daughter is 19 so I deeply understand the desperation and hopelessness you are experiencing. Even when reading trans critical pieces often the focus is on the under 18s. I deeply agree that automatically affirming a minor child’s gender identity is irresponsible but we hardly have our lives figured out at 19 and that is fine ! But it is exactly why we shouldn’t lock into lifechanging decisions with little or no looking into further. As I mentioned earlier, my daughters gender therapist fully and nonchalantly agreed with my observation that groups of girls are doing this…. entire friend groups!!!!!. I just finished reading the APAs report on the sexualization of girls and I can’t for the life of me understand how any psychiatrist or therapists is not making at least some connections to the rise of teenage girls identifying as trans. This sentence in particular reallY stood out to me… “Frequent exposure to media images that sexualize girls and women affects how girls conceptualize femininity and sexuality”. !!!!!!! Bingo!! Several weeks ago I read an article from a psychologist about the rise of teen girls identifying as lesbian. These girls , in my opinion, are crying out for change! Unfortunately they need healthy self affirming change NOT identifying as men!! I swear this world has no critical thinking or common sense about anything anymore! Ugh!!!!!

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    • Another commentator earlier in this thread suggested that some of our daughters don’t want to appear as men, they want to appear as boys – this struck a chord as I look at my 18yr old daughter who now looks like a 13 year old boy. Is this a defence mechanism against growing up and avoiding sexuality?

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  14. I hope I have not offended anyone in my last comment. I am not implying that identifying as lesbian is unhealthy in anyway. In fact I would. E happy if my daughter identified as such and showed pride and a healthy self respect for identifying as such. Last year she was ok with being lesbian. This year she told me “ew that’s gross!! That’s not me!” That to me is a deeply disturbing comment!!

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  15. A young woman in my local writers’ group came out as trans last night, and I was so shocked and saddened. She says she came out as gay to her family over Christmas and that now everyone thinks she’s a lesbian, but she still has to explain “gender identity” to them, and how she’s supposedly really a gay man. Whether her family likes it or not, she’s going to have an M on her university ID, and “live as a man” to all her friends. I feel so terrible for her parents, and hope they don’t unthinkingly hop on the trans train. I also hope they find their way here, and to other gender-critical blogs and news sources. It’s heartbreaking to think of yet another young woman starting down the path of irreversible body modifications, all because of social contagion and a brain that’s not finished developing yet.

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    • I was going to click ‘Like’ but that’s the opposite of how I feel about yet another young lesbian lost to the infectious misogyny of the trans trend. And the grief her self-eradication will likely cause to those who knew her girlhood, who love her womanhood.

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  16. Many of these girls need a dignified way back. They wil not readily admit to being deluded. If there was a louder narrative that they were strong young women rejecting sexualisation in a way society would not sneer at, perhaps that would help. The media needs role models who articulate this view and present an alternative look and behaviour. Time for the end of female clones. Anyone watching UK or US TV can see how female appearance determines selection. This is what our daughters are faced with, how much easier to to find refuge in a trans narrative, at least from their point of view. I am sure if forced to wait until 25 this would end.

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    • I strongly agree with all your points.

      Who might we turn to to help create and allow that VISIBLE narrative of strong young women rejecting sexualisation?

      And who might help push for a hold on making irreversible body changes before the risk-assessing part of the brain is mature (pre-frontal cortex, c age 25)?

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      • The pity is MTF seem by and large to dominate the discourse in extrovert ways. This will make it difficult for a counter argument. Sadly, non conforming women face cruel jibes about appearance, as happened on a recent TV debate. We need an Ellen for this generation. Female avatars who are not either brutish or sexualised would help. Maybe remakes of films featuring character like Scout, in To kill a mocking bird. All this and androgynous fashion could push us to a tipping point of a new presentation of femaleness

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  17. I’m ftm transgender, I was blunt about it since before I turned 15 and had attempted suicide twice before 16. My reaction to this story would be very different if it werent for how your child could go out and talk to doctors on their own once they reached a certain age. In the US, I had no such right. An adolescence spent without being able to keep the fact I was trans private or even have a name has left me paranoid to this day. There was and still is a support group in the nearest city, but most there had far worse home lives than mine so I just learned to keep my head down and ‘be patient with them’ while soaking up that older transpeople, healthier than me (less depressed and I was often ill from stress, minor cuts didn’t heal and I needed my gallbladder removed at 18) had better lives because they looked more normal than me. Reinforcing that passing and looking right (or attractive in the absence of passing) was directly equivalent to quality of life. When I got to college I could have the privacy I needed and could pursue hormones that let me gradually relax. Even after 6 months I couldn’t imagine why gender had been such a big deal, things were synced between mind and body and I no longer had much or even any sense of being a boy or a girl. It just was, and I have the life as a normal boy I’d -wanted- needed.

    My parents were dealing with their own shit when I dealt with that, and I can accept it. I wanted to leave this story because… I think you were absolutely right. If she was in such a state she would have pursued treatment on her own, and would have had any variety of other mental or physical health problems from stress, eating disorders, depression, panic attacks, a few like me who retreat and become paranoid of a world in which they have no control or option to ease their pain. I’ve found the blogs by Milo Stewart and I’m sickened. Its one thing to not be the most macho transboy, its another that I’ve actually never seen this child present as male. What you did right was to remain critical of her friends and influences, and keep a situation where it would be entirely on her to pursue medical intervention. This blog is important, because transness shouldnt be a fad, its an illness, one that deserves respect, but still an illness. Medical transition is an option to ease quality of life, it doesn’t mean being trans is easy, or the cutting edge of body modification and control.

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    • Thank you Oliver for giving us your perspective – I think you have hit the nail on the head with “Medical transition is an option to ease quality of life, it doesn’t mean being trans is easy”.

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  18. I’m glad you were able to get treatment and that you’re happy with it. My dilemma is that the age of my daughter. Not that she is transgender as much as she hasn’t started puberty yet and I do think she’s kind of following a fad. But if she persists into adulthood then by all means I want her (or him, if this is the case) to pursue transition. What a lot of us parents are experiencing is a sudden change in our kids, with groups of girls in school all doing it and having to pretend that they’re suddenly gay boys. And it’s fine but I don’t want to mess with her body development. If my child is truly transgender she still will be in a few years. It’s a gamble either way, do I let her go through the “wrong puberty” or chemically alter what’s going to happen? I’m not comfortable enough to choose for her. I’m not worried about the adult outcome. But just like I didn’t choose to have a girl I’m not ready to choose to change that. But we’re open, there’s support and I frequently tell her that whatever way she goes either way there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

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  19. Punkworked- I wholeheartedly agree that these girls need a dignified way back! I would even go as far as saying just socially transitioning is a very hard identity to back away from for not just children but older teens as well. My 19 year old daughter said to me “I know there are girls just doing this and they are not really trans but I REALLY AM!!”. The problem is these so called specialists have no idea how to differentiate between the two. Also there is increasing awareness for older teens that this is. Becoming a fad so they dig in even deeper to Prove they they are really trans. All the right words to say to your gender therapist are only a click away. They don’t know who is lying and who is really telling the truth.

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    • Awakened – that is the same situation we are in with our 18 year old. At least in the UK there is a 18 month waiting list to be seen at a gender clinic, and in our case that I think will help, while she matures and resolves her other mental health issues. Not so good if an individual is in despair. And I know there are many people living contented lives after physically transitioning, for whom any delay must have been very hard to bear. I think somewhere else on this blog it refers to this new wave of teenagers being given “social justice therapy” where some therapists are operating under a belief system; where it is the individual’s right to seek treatment even if it would not be medically indicated. I do however have some faith in the NHS system here in the UK that treatment protocols are adhered to; that psychiatrists and psychologists (of all people!) can tell who is simply trotting out the arguments they have heard online. At the same time I can see how if an individual is adamant and in a good deal of distress, there may be less harm in agreeing to treatment than denying it (because of an inability to move forward; self-harm; or use of unprescribed hormones etc) , whatever the long term consequences. It is a massive problem which is going to take a lot of unravelling.
      But two glimmers of hope – 1. the BBC documentary tomorrow evening, which will I hope at least put another side to the “born in the wrong body” argument. The other one is my younger daughter thinks on tumblr etc she is now starting to see plenty of young people defying sex stereotypes, but not declaring themselves transgender.

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  20. My youngest child walks away from conversations, online and IRL, almost every single day because all her friends are excitedly discussing their places on the gender spectrum. She can’t express her opinion (that a girl can’t ‘literally’ become a boy) because she is scared of losing friends. It is interesting that there is no historical record of teens feeling they were ‘in the wrong body’. (See the article on this site ‘Hippocrates rolls in his grave: In search of the dysphoric trans tweens of yore’). Yet suddenly there are thousands of them, identifying their teenage dysphoria as being caused by being ‘born in the wrong body’, surrounded by adults who are eager to tell them it is true. I’ve been reading about this for a year now, everything I can get my hands on, from so many different perspectives, and I honestly believe this is a mental illness with varying gradients of severity. Transition, with all it’s disadvantages of medicalisation and demands that the rest of the world complies with the illusion, should always be a last resort. I do not say this lightly, and I do not say it to dismiss the very real feelings of so many young people. Currently we are not even offering children other options. They are being marketed a myth that benefits a few misguided ‘trailblazing’ therapists, curious surgeons and greedy drug companies.

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  21. Here is the article in advance of today’s BBC2 documentary:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/12/children-believe-transgender-could-have-autism-says-controversial/

    We need to spread this far and wide.

    Autism groups must be made aware and speak out.

    I just can’t believe that among all of the “experts” I have consulted, not a single one accepted my theory as to why my child thinks she is trans. Thank God for Dr. Zucker for seeing what is so obvious to us parents and legitimizing our voices.

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      • There is clinical guidance (draft I think) that suggests a cautious approach is needed for those on the autistic spectrum. Medical practitioners (I’m talking those who are beholden to a professional code of conduct, not just any therapist) need to pay heed to that or risk a) causing serious damage and b) negligence/ misconduct claims when the damage is realised.

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      • It may be suggested but trust me, they don’t use a cautious approach. At least not in the states. I’ve tried telling her it’s her Aspergers but it doesn’t change anything. As far as I know they treat them as two separate things not one affecting the other.

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    • ScaredMum, the international consensus document that you are referring to was published last fall:
      http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15374416.2016.1228462

      It does not go far enough. I know this from personal experience as my daughter was treated following the guidelines of this document. I was told how conservative the approach was, and I found it anything but. The treatment team for my daughter affirmed her choice in every way and recommended that we immediately start hormone suppression, which they told us was perfect safe and entirely irreversible (ignoring my arguments about the psychological impact, for one). We were assured that this was the conservative approach and told that if we did not start hormone suppression our daughter would end up in the mental hospital. If this is the conservative approach to treating kids with autism — accepting their self-diagnosis and receiving immediate medical intervention — ,I can’t imagine what a more radical approach might be.

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      • That is terrifying. Do you know I think if my daughter (ASD, emotionally immature, suffering from anxiety) were told by a clinician “hormones and surgery isn’t the best route for you let’s see if we can help you understand why you might be feeling this way, and come to terms with your own body”, she would listen and comply. If she is told by a clinician “you are trans, you must have the hormones or surgery or you will suffer dreadfully”, she would listen and comply.

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      • ScaredMum, I could not agree with you more. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? What I cannot understand — and am so angry about — is that the people that I turned to for help are VERY well regarded and esteemed in both the gender and autism community. I would love to name names — and I will some day — but right now, I have to preserve my daughter’s privacy. Not only have they caused so much psychological harm that I am trying to figure out how to undue myself — something that I am sure everyone on this board is what keeps you up late at night surfing the Internet, pondering in your head, essentially defining your life — but I am also filled with anger at the way that I was treated by these people. That they manipulated me with their fear tactics….that they undermined my parental authority and wishes….that they argued with what I thought was common sense and supported by the basics of developmental psychology and Aspergers 101…and yet THEY were the EXPERTS because of their degrees and their reputations and I was the NUT who simply could not accept the reality that my child would never live up to my expectations of who she thought I was…that I just had to accept this or I will be to blame when something horrible happens.

        It is so hard for me to turn off my anger sometimes and just put my energy where it needs to be — on getting my daughter back.

        I am so thankful that at least I can come here to vent to other people who understand this. Thanks for listening.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Just out yesterday, this article by eminent child and adolescent psychiatrist Susan Bradley, on how the trans movement has gone too far in its influence on young people on the autism spectrum:

      http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/susan-bradley-how-trans-activists-are-unethically-influencing-autistic-children-to-change-genders

      Her final paragraph:

      ‘Activists would have the public believe that anyone who expresses a wish to be the other gender should be allowed and encouraged to do so. Credulous politicians have translated their demands into law. To date, however, there is no evidence that there is such a thing as a “true” trans, just as there is no marker that would identify a “false” trans. To accept the thinking and wishes of those with ASD at face value, without understanding why they feel the way they do, is not a kindness, and may in fact be extremely damaging.’

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I live in the US and desperately want to watch the documentary airing tonight on BBC Two. The site does not allow for anyone living outside the UK to watch. Anyone know how I can view it? Even if it is the next day??? PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!

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  23. From all the most recent comments it seems there is quite a different climate in the States. It is pretty much unquestioned here. Also there are plenty of independent clinics not associated with hospitals that literally prescribe T to just about anyone who wants. I think I read somewhere Planned Parenthood is now in on the gendering business as well!

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    • I’ve heard of people who have trouble getting treatment, but we were almost pushed into it. I think it’s based on insurance and ability to pay. Not necessarily fair but true. If we had different insurance I don’t think we would have been offered to start blockers so quickly.

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  24. Lorenzo’s Oil, thanks for the tip about how to watch the BBC program. I too used unotelly.com (although I saw there are several other options out there) and it worked like a charm. Atranswidow, this will also work in Europe.

    I highly recommend to all the commenters on here that they watch this. For the first time ever I finally see a tiny ray of light on the horizon. I still fear we will irreparably damage an entire generation with this abuse, but I can now finally hope that eventually we WILL turn a corner.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just watched the documentary. Thank you, Lorenzo’s Oil, for the links (would never have figured it out own my own!)

      Although it was so nice to see the other viewpoint expressed, I almost feel that there are two different phenomena occurring — the one they mentioned, with very young kids identifying as the opposite gender — and with older teens. I suspect there are many different forces at play, and obviously a different approach is needed.

      For us whose kids didn’t come out until teenagers, we have the social contagion and social media effect working against us, as well as far less control over our teens’ lives. I wish BBC2 could do another program addressing this problem more specifically.

      Would love to hear Dr. Zucker’s opinion on the best approach for teen girls, especially those like mine on the autism spectrum. Does anyone know how to contact him…or have contact info for the show’s producers?

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      • This Reddit post contains an easy link to the BBC, to express appreciation and to add suggestions:

        I totally agree with you about the different phenomena affecting teens vs children, and the pressing need to question what’s going on with teens, too – the social contagion effect, what some have begun to call ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria’, and why. And yes, about the particular vulnerability of girls, and especially of girls on the autism spectrum, to the trans trend.

        I may have written this before on this site but it bears repeating: the UK’s gender clinic for under-18s (the Tavistock) reported early in 2016 that its patients now number TWICE AS MANY GIRLS AS BOYS, and in a November 2016 Channel 4 documentary (http://www.transgendertrend.com/kids-on-the-edge-the-gender-clinic/) that HALF of its young patients are on the autism spectrum.

        Those figures ought to ring blaring alarm bells. Yet it seems that not a single mainstream media organisation has yet dared to ask probing questions about them.

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      • SO very interesting while watching GMA this morning (if anyone else caught it). But…

        Do you remember that slenderman thing where the two girls tried to kill their friend because of something they watched online on this slenderman. Well hbo is doing a documentary Jan 23 “beware the slenderman” but it’s mainly about the brain development of kids and how they can’t decipher fact from fiction of what they see online.

        They were about 12 years old. I feel like it’s the same account with what is going on with these teens who go online and believe they are the opposite sex. They think believing in slenderman is so out there yet them thinking they are the opposite sex aren’t???? Something that should be brought together. And prob a good documentary to watch if anyone has HBO. I wish we could get hbo on track with us and fight to keep our kids sane.

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      • EndTheHarms – Thanks so much for the BBC link. Just wrote my letter of thanks and suggestion for future follow-up. I have been writing to any semi-openminded journalist that I can find, sharing my story with them and giving them links to this site. Agreed that the statistics you cite boggle the mind. And yet, when provided with these statistics I have had both ASD and gender specialists tell me, well, that’s probably because kids with autism are simply more likely to be transgender, we just don’t know why. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Are these people mad? Blinded by the political movement? Scared to speak the truth? I can’t for the life of me understand what is really going on here.

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      • Tony Attwood wrote (I paraphrase) that in his experience autistic individuals who experienced gender difficulties tended to desist after a couple of years or so. Perhaps the affirmation and better acceptance of transgender people means that they are no longer desisting, where previously they may have. Someone who finds ordinary life perplexing anyway may not have a “normal” mode of being to compare to – so switching one difficult life (where your difficulties are invisible and often inexplicable to yourself) for another difficult one, (where your difficulties now are visible, have a neat “born in the wrong body” explanation and have support). Still a psychological/mental health issue, and not something I would describe as gender dysphoria.

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      • FightingToGetHerBack – Have you tried writing to the Ellen (DeGeneres) Show? I recently wrote to the show suggesting that she do a segment on the explosion of young (often lesbian) women who decide they are FtM, only to detransition later, often with scarred bodies. I truly think she has done a disservice to the lesbian community by having glowing interviews with people who have transitioned. I still wonder how many young lesbian women with mental health issues were encouraged to transition after her interview with the female Harvard swimmer, Schuyler Bailar.

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    • Thanks Lorenzo’s Oil. I’ll try the unotelly thing later today. In the meantime, A butterfly’s diary has an excellent, detailed review of the programme. https://abutterflysdiary.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/transgender-kids-who-knows-best-thoughts-on-bbc2s-this-world-programme/

      There is also a PETITION to have the programme aired in the US set up by Carey Callahan aka Maria Catt. https://www.change.org/p/bbc-air-transgender-kids-who-knows-best-in-america?recruiter=143986515&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

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      • Good idea. I don’t know much about Leah Remini, but I gather from her scientology experience she is unafraid to speak truth to power.

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      • For those of us in the US you can access the recent BBC program directly by googling: archive.org/details/BBC-trans-kids

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    • I haven’t written to Ellen, but I will now. I also plan to write to Katie Couric before her National Geographic piece airs. And will definitely sign the petition to get the BBC piece broadcast. Right now, I am dealing with a school who does not believe a word I say about this and thinks I am a bigoted reactionary about this whole mess. Any bit of legitimate press could go so far in dissuading the minds of people who think they are so open-minded and progressive, but are among the most judgmental and close-minded on this topic.

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      • THe other person worth writing to should be the one who’s doing the Scientology documentary right now. Gosh I can’t think of her name. The one who was in the Scientology. The actress. She would be a good one to open people’s eyes to the realty behind this transgender phenomenon.

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  25. ScaredMum – Yes, I read the paper you cited, but it really doesn’t give us much, does it? We parents have figured it out — why can’t the “experts?” Does something so obvious really need time-intensive longitudinal studies to support common sense?

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  26. ScaredMomofTeen – Missed the GMA thing, but will look it up. What was it about? Agreed the Slenderman analogy is a good one.

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    • I see now the GMA piece was about Slenderman. Yes, how strange that most of us are quick to recognize and accept that kids’ brains are still developing regarding almost every other decision where consequences are so severe — all except for gender beliefs. How did this narrative change for gender, but nothing else? The more I think about it, the more baffled I am.

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      • Exactly!!! Thats what I’m wondering where it’s OK because it’s just gender. 😞

        I will definitely be watching what they find on their brain development w that documentary. Again airs jan 23 on hbo.

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    • Are you serious?!?! How horrific! Where is the autism community? There are so many, many organizations with very loud voices and political clout. Have any spoke out?

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  27. I want to inform the community that this past weekend, MY DAUGHTER DESISTED!!! She told me she realized that for her, it was a phase…a year long one at that.
    She seems so happy and light on her feet. I think it took her a few weeks to tell us that she wanted to be seen as a girl again. We thought we saw it coming…stopped wearing her binder, fine going into the “girls” dorms, etc.

    There are two contributing factors that I believe helped her: 1: Getting her away from YouTube, etc. 2. Having her take an early childhood development program at school. She actually told my husband that helped her.

    She always knew that we did not agree with her self-diagnosis, but we showed her love and acceptance. She was one of those teens that never showed any sign of wanting to be a boy until a heaping dose of social media. The way she came out to us initially was very scripted. The discussions we had with her were not her words. I will admit, I was terrified in the beginning. I had NO idea what to do. We went to a gender therapist who basically agreed my kid must be transgender simply because my daughter said she was. At that time, I didn’t know that some teens present this way after a trauma, or having ASD, etc. I am so happy my family questioned her. Loved her. Gave her space to figure things out. And more then anything, I am so incredibly thankful for 4thwave! I felt so alone…until I found this wonderful blog. Thank you all for helping me and my daughter through this!!! I am forever grateful!!!

    Liked by 5 people

    • That is FANTASTIC news! I can only imagine the lightness that you must be feeling…the relief…the gratitude that it worked out. It has been over two years and I hope and pray that I will have a similar success story to report.

      Thanks for sharing what you think were the factors that helped the most. Your perspective and insights are very valuable. I would be so very grateful for any more insights or advice you would be willing to share.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As conversations with my daughter arise, I will be sure to fill you all in.
        Right now we are not bringing anything up unless she initiates.
        I am on cloud 9! I hope and pray that all of you can write the same thing and SOON!!!

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      • Thanks, Lorenzo’s Oil. I can totally understand why you would not want to bring any of this up with your daughter unless she initiates! But I’ll be here with open ears if/when you gain any more insights!

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    • I am so pleased to hear this, Cecille. I know how relieved and excited you must be feeling right now! What brilliant news. Are you happy to be quoted (anonymously) elsewhere? The more of us that are open about our children’s desistance, the more hope it gives parents everywhere. I’m so happy for you!

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      • I would be honored to be quoted wherever you feel it will help!!!
        I was so hopeful after reading your story. I hope that mine does the same.

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      • I can hardly imagine it either, Puzzled. But when and if my daughter desists, it will truly be the happiest day of my entire life… I will be eternally grateful…. and I will know that I can face pretty much anything else that life throws at me.

        I don’t know about the rest of you, but what it is so hard when something like this is so consuming and so serious, and yet you can’t even talk about it or get support from other people. It is such a lonely battle…and why I was so thankful when discovered this site last month.

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      • Mine announced last night via text she’s on the way to the clinic, with or without me. After 3 years of delaying tactics she is going. She is not a legal minor and I cannot stop her. Clinic will provide T for very small $ so $ not even an object despite fact our insurance will not pay. I feel like I have to go just to provide some modicum of balance though I am beyond sick about the whole prospect. But this place would give her rx for T in 20 minutes if she demands that. Even she seems a little taken aback by that idea. Meanwhile prepping a masterpost with links for her which I pray she will at least glance at. Kid is 18 and utterly convinced this is solution to all bad feelings about herself. Refuses to discuss w/me but maybe she will look at email.

        Gates of Hell. WTF do I do? She knows our concerns/objections. No interest in therapy and in our state she could only get a cheerleader anyway. My only leverage is financial. I don’t think I can say “do this and your college money goes bye bye.” I don’t think I’m strong enough to do that.

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      • Puzzled… I am so very sorry. But you will have to try to disassociate yourself from this because that’s all that I can do. You can not control children…. you can guide and hope. You taught her. But then cut ties in the choices. She is making her. It’s what I have told my daughter. I am always here. I love you. But if you decide to destroy your body and life… that’s your choice.

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      • Puzzled, my daughter is also 18 and I have told her that if she starts T or surgeries, I will not financially support her anymore. She is in college and would not be able to live on her own. It’s the only leverage left. I’ve read many stories of people who have been cut off from their parents financially for various reasons and as they get older, they realize that it was actually good for them to have been cut off. If our daughters think they are old enough to make these decisions, then they are old enough to support themselves.

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      • I’m so sorry, Puzzled. I have to believe she will one day decide the trans path isn’t right for her after all. Obviously it would be better if she came to this conclusion sooner rather than later, but later is better than never. She will come around. I just have to believe that. I’m thinking of the two of you and sending positive thoughts your way.

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      • Thanks everybody. I just can’t do it; spouse agrees. Kid is adoptee, has significant abandonment/attachment issues, early life trauma, and is really in pain. We’re not paying for transition or facilitating it, and that’s going to be a jolt since she is used to us facilitating each aspect of her life. But as long as she’s making decent academic progress we’re not totally cutting her off. Her history is a big reason for that; if she was a bio-kid of ours we might make a different decision.

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      • Puzzled, I’m so sorry you’re in this position. Whatever you and your husband decide you should do. I hope your daughter comes around eventually, that’s all we can all hope.

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      • Puzzled I don’t think I could cut my child off financially – and I am not doing so either (but would not help financially with treatment). I think my child (18) is the victim in this situation not the cause of it. It would be a different situation if she was articulate, healthy, and making robust decisions that she can defend. But she isn’t – she is anxious, not neuro-typical, depressed, confused and needing to mature. She also needs an education and a source of self-esteem and existence that does not turn around her gender identity. I would also be delighted if she could reach a point where she has the confidence to live without surgery or hormones, dress as she pleases, and use whatever pronoun she pleases (i.e. be gender-non conforming), and this in our case is more likely if she doesn’t feel rejected or stigmatised.
        If she does reach a decision to undergo irreversible medical intervention, with maturity, full consideration and in a good stable state of mental health I will give her my full and unconditional support, even if I do not agree with it – this is her life after all. Unfortunately as witnessed by many others in this blog, it appears that clinicians see helping a client reach this point as “gatekeeping”. I thought the UK had a more cautious approach but I was wrong and much more frightened now, so dreading the referral letter coming through.

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      • A side note — went to see endocrinologist for medical issue (for myself) yesterday, was quizzed about ;life stressors, ended up divulging dau’s trans self-diagnosis and determination to get T at 18. Doc shook his head, said, “yeah, I think this whole thing is going to have to be walked back” and expressed concerns re the current state of affairs regarding the issue in the med/psych/pharm world, “especially with someone that age.” He related a visit with an FTM patient being treated elsewhere and shock at this person’s sky-high testosterone levels, which he related as higher than his own. I shared our decision to continue to support our kid financially but refuse to pay for transition medical treatment due to safety concerns and concerns about kid’s maturity and ability to weigh risk. And he just looked at me and said, “this is what a loving parent does.”

        Considering the total lack of “official professional” validation for skeptical parents, this felt like quite the affirmation. And his anecdote merely reinforced my deep concerns about the safety of the whole shebang, and the health care these kids are getting. How many thousands of pros are of the same opinion but scared to speak out?

        fwiw.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Puzzled… that’s a great dr but we had the opposite effect. We took daughter to one because of thyroid numbers were off. And the dr (mind you this is at Boston children’s hospital) and she was more concerned with the trans issue with my child then her low thyroid numbers. SHe immediately urged us to seek the transgender clinic at children’s. 😑

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      • scaredmom, who knows what doc would have said if it had been my kid presenting for treatment and not me? Likely a whole different convo, which I’d not have been privy to anyhow since kid is now 18.

        Boston is the land of Spack so of course they’re going to be “all aboard” the hormone train. they’re pioneers!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Puzzled, I am so sorry about your situation. I wish I had some wisdom for you. I have two more years, and I am wondering myself what I will do when faced with what you are experiencing. If you are looking for others’ opinions, I will offer mine. I would tell her that testosterone has horrible, irreversible side effects and that you have such strong concerns that you are willing to withdraw financial support. I would show her literature to read that support your concerns and hope that she makes the right choice. I know this is incredibly hard. But if you are asking for others’ views, that is what I think I would do.

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  28. I feel it is imperative that if one has taken their child to a gender therapist and later that child desists- letters need to be written to gender therapist informing them of the child’s decision. They probably will just think that the parents coerced them into living as their natall sex but at least we can be comforted by taking some kind of action in letting gender clinics know that there are kids or young adults out there who do indeed desist and that automatically validating gender identities is dangerous if no further exploration is undertaken.

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    • Agreed. My daughter has not desisted yet, but I want to put the clinic she attended on notice that their practice has caused psychological damage and urge them to reconsider their approach. It will probably fall on deaf and defensive ears, but I feel a moral imperative to tell them. My husband, on the other hand, thinks I should let it go. He fears there may be retribution and that our focus should just be on our daughter right now. I just hope that there will be a day that she will desist — at which time I will be writing a very strongly worded letter, to the clinic as well as others.

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  29. I am starting to look into college services for transgender students and am appalled at what I am finding. My oldest (non trans identifying daughter) has told me about all of the trans craziness at her liberal college. At the first hall meeting her freshman year, the entire floor got together to introduce themselves. “Tell us your name, hometown, and preferred pronouns.” She said 5/50 had different pronouns than their biological sex. And two months later, one additional student on her floor announced he is trans.

    As my political beliefs lean left-of-center, I used to be a fan of the more liberal colleges. And now, I find them far scarier than their conservative counterparts. Is there a college or university that exists that hasn’t fallen prey to this madness? A disturbing example: https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/trans-uwm/transitioning-at-uwm/

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    • I have just tweeted about the UofM website transition page – they make it sound like an extra-curricular activity. Join the Debating Society! The Drama Club! Transition!

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  30. Hello everyone! I’m hoping you can all give me some advice about a real sticking point with my 14 year old daughter, who I have written about before. Does anyone have any ideas in regards to the whole ‘pronoun’ thing? This is the only thing we argue about, and she’s like a dog with a bone. She now dresses how she wants, which is fine with us, has the short hair, etc… but insists she wants to go back to school as a ‘he’. Her dad and I have refused, but the tension around this issue is unbearable. She is so concerned about how others perceive her, and seems to think being called ‘he’ will magically solve all her other issues. Do we just stick to our guns? Or do people have some other advice, so that she feels we are ‘with her’ without us having to resort to calling her a ‘he’? Thanks in advance, and thanks to everyone for all the great info!!

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    • Hi Lostmom, I just don’t use pronouns for my daughter and don’t call her by any name. It’s a bit tricky at times, but I’m not about to call her “he”. After she left for college I could feel my stress levels go down because I didn’t have to monitor my words anymore with my husband.

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      • Lostmom – We just used the first letter of our daughters name as a pronoun, and as her name. Same letter for her old and new name. She didn’t love it, but we told her it was the best we could do. I think by not fully going along with it gave her room within our family to desist.
        Good luck!!!

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    • I did not give in to the pronoun thing… and thank goodness I stuck to my guns. It has given her the ok to go back to mainly acting and being herself again. I had told her I refused to send her back to school as a boy. We homeschool so…. that’s been easier. At home I would just call her child. And if I slipped oh well. It took a good six months for her to get over the pronoun thing. But what caused it to be more a concern were the psychiatrist and programs who would ask her “what pronoun do you want?” Before that she didn’t even know I think it existed to change. Got to love those drs. Sigh. Now she’s over it. And I can actually call her a big sister now (we are having a baby boy). I keep trying to put things in there on how wonderful it is to be she and female. It just takes time. Lots and lots of time. It’s been a year now. Sigh

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    • Hi Lostmom, I agree not to call her “he” We started using the initial of our daughters first name, rather than call her by her name. We never said she in front of her when she came out and is now on the desistance path. Which we are thankful it happened so quickly. But we are still being cautious. So we called her the child when talking about her in front of her. I just avoided using pro-nouns altogether and refused to call her a he. I also refused to call her by her preferred gender name and said as I was her parent, so she should at least give me the respect to choose her new name. She was about to call herself a name of an ex boyfriend of mine, to which she had no knowledge of. But he was not a nice ex boyfriend, put it that way. It stirred up anxious feelings. Anyway, forget the pro-nouns. Just use child, or child number # or the initial of her name. Hugs

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    • I refused to change my daughter’s pronouns, but only you know how your child would respond to your continuing refusal.Unfortunately, the chances are your daughter’s school will change her pronouns without your permission: they don’t even have to inform you in the UK.

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    • We initially tried the approaches described by others to avoid changing pronouns and names, but after a suicide attempt decided that in our case it wasn’t worth the fight and the distress. She goes by male pronouns everywhere now, but is just as depressed as ever. I can’t say whether my choice is right or not, but there really wasn’t a workable alternative in our situation– we needed our child to know that we were not going to do things that made her feel worse at a time when she really needed to rely on our support. Occasionally she will complain about how disrespectful it is that we won’t even consider testosterone etc., but mostly we are just avoiding the topic and focusing on her mental health issues without a focus on gender identity. And in California she had the power to get school to call her he. We discouraged it but in the end there wasn’t really much we could do. She did agree to mollify us slightly by opting to change for PE in a private restroom adjacent to the boy’s locker room although she stores her clothes in the boys space. Unsurprisingly the first day she used the boy’s locker room, someone stole her phone. I am hopeful that over time she sees that she has little actually in common with most of the boys she knows.

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      • I’m so, so sorry you’re going through this. If your child is suicidal then going along with her pronoun choices is completely understandable. Have you thought of trying to contact a gender critical therapist? I’m not necessarily suggesting someone who tries to ‘talk her out of it’ but someone who won’t immediately confirm her ideas without discussion. I have no experience of one personally, but I know they exist.

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      • The gender critical therapist are a needle in a hay stack. We have been through so many and have yet to find ONE. And we live in Boston. I’ve even had child services called on me for not allowing my child to transition since I didn’t care for one therapists approach (which was to hand my child a pamphlet on how to transition… after talking w my child for 30 min). So. Def afraid to go to anyone else anymore. It’s a scary world out there. And I feel like I’m just waiting my time until the truth unfolds. Praying my child doesn’t become a guinea pig

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      • There are a couple of gender critical therapists who work online. I have no personal experience of them so can’t recommend them, but they might be able to help you?

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      • Unfortunately we are not in a place financially for someone online and not through her insurnace. The other issue with online therapist… i really feel she needs someone in person. Trying to get her OFF online things but then putting her online for therapy seems counterintuitive

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      • Luckily her current therapist is pretty agnostic on the gender identity stuff for my daughter (she acknowledges that it’s hard to tell at this point why she suddenly felt this way) and understands our perspective and does not think we should be pursuing any kind of medical transition while acknowledging that our child feels otherwise. She is also a lesbian who works with other trans people so our daughter trusts her. Because my child is only 14 I am prepared to take it slow for awhile and see what happens. I understand those who refuse to use the preferred name and pronouns (that was my initial approach), but I just wanted to provide an alternate experience — not one I am recommending exactly, but just for those who might also feel like they need to take this step which does not change their child’s body to preserve short term mental health and functioning. And if my child were to come out of her depression and eschew the desire to self-harm and still felt overwhelmingly that she was male I would need to re-evaluate the approach I was taking.

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  31. I am feeling reallt stressed and hopeless. I am terrified for my daughter. I tried to talk to her again. I really believe this is dysphoria with life not gender. She has displaced this focus. The talk we had this weekend confirmed to me that the way people treated her, not liking herself, geoup of friends, depression and obession on Youtubers got us here. I am terrified for her safety. I am scared for her future. I am scared if she doesn’t “grow out” of this. She is in therapy. In the beginning the therapist siad she thought this was true. My daughter doesn’t tell everything. She will dress girly once in awhile. She Tells therapist it is for x reason, however, it was to meet a guy she loves in a band and she dressed like a girl for days after. There are other things…I tell her and she agrees ahe is all over the place. I just want to take her a run away somewhere.

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    • I am sorry ScaredMom. I have no answers and no advice. All I can offer is that I am in a very similar situation and can relate to all of your feelings of desperation. I also feel more and more that they only chance I have of getting my daughter back is to run away and isolate ourselves from society and the Internet. She is depressed, lonely, and autistic. This trans stuff has messed with her mind and I don’t see how weekly therapy is helping undo all of this damage. I wish so much there was a special therapeutic place — like they have for drug addictions — where our kids could get the help and perspective they need while we parents get validation and support. This is such a lonely battle.

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    • I am so sorry as we’ll sccared mom. I wish I could say it’s better over here. It’s about stable and that’s it. Psychiatrist is useless. Your at least farther then I have gotten in conversations with daughter. I sadly had to buy her two new binders as her old one is so small it’s giving her chest pain and problems. (And to those who say just don’t buy it… you come over and rip the tape and bandages off her that she will use instead. And watch her constantly for the cutting).

      But… we are trying to isolate ourselves from media and social media. It’s impossible!! Even during the Super Bowl were commercials for that stupid gender revolution show that’s on Mondays soon. Boy did my daughters ears perk up.

      I feel hopeless. There are days the tears don’t stop flowing.

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      • I feel your pain. The binder is clearly self harm, but it seems less harmful than her alternative strategies — cutting or punching herself in the face. After research I settled on the Underworks sports bra/binder because it seemed like the least worst option and at least it was designed for female bodies. She was really pissed at first because she wanted a binder made by trans people for trans people, but when she got it she then admitted on tumblr that it was way more comfortable than what she was doing (like 10 sports bras at once) and also more safe.

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      • I don’t think anyone would say ‘just don’t buy it’. It’s not that simple and most of us here know that. You’re doing the best you can by your child, don’t blame yourself, don’t add that to all the stuff you are already bearing. Keeping away from social media is a really good idea, so you are doing something positive. Your child knows you are there for her. I know how awful it can feel; try to make a bit of time for yourself if you can, distract yourself with a hot bath or a TV show once in a while, just something to stop the endless cogs in your head from turning. Recharge your batteries. I know that’s easier said than done. You aren’t alone.

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  32. Fighting – you could be describing my daughter “depressed, lonely and autistic. This trans stuff has messed with her mind”. How can it be that the medical profession can’t see what is happening?

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    • ScaredMum, I can’t understand it either. I thought surely after the autism diagnosis they would see what I see, especially after I told them about all the kids she knows that think they’re trans. The school is equally oblivious to what is going on right in front of them. And now with more and more media coverage celebrating the trans is wonderful message, our job gets harder and harder.

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  33. This is such a wonderful and resourceful thread for me. I too have a daughter who has pretty much the same story. After a breakup with her boyfriend she immersed herself into Tumblr for hours at a time and 2 months later said she was a lesbian. We were a bit surprised as she has always had boyfriends, but encouraged her to be herself and love who she wants to. About 6 months and a few online girlfriends later she told us she was trans and was a boy trapped in a girls body. She wanted to immediately go shopping (in the boys department only) and buy new boy clothes. She cut her long hair. She researched everything she could find and quickly adapted…practiced a new swagger, lowered her voice (when she remembered) said “dude’ excessively, started slouching when she sat, all thinking this was going to magically transform her into a boy. It was so obvious she was trying to fit a stereotype that she was not accustomed to. It is like she was an actor in a play. She has never in her previous 17 years showed any remote sign of wanting to be a boy or expressing as a boy. She told me she didn’t know what she was till Tumblr helped her. I went into Tumblr and searched “FTM Transgender” and found way more than I had anticipated. I was floored by all the young teens proudly showing their T needles and prescriptions, having T timeline videos, before and after pics, what to tell your parents, how to get your therapist to prescribe T (make sure you tell your therapist “I am a boy” firmly and don’t be hesitant or you won’t get your prescription…be insistent!), there were bucket lists for once they become ftm and what to eat to increase testosterone. I was overwhelmed and saddened by the amount of info that my socially vulnerable teen could get her hands on. It was all so suggestive and encouraging and virtual high fives were passed around to fellow ftms. In the beginning we didn’t say much to her as I could not imagine my smart daughter actually falling for and believing what she was seeing. She seemed more to have trans fantasy and i would catch her looking at trans hairstyles and trying on masculine outfits in her room. We didn’t want to give it any more presence in her life and she wasn’t bringing it up. She was her usual happy self and went about her way dressed more masculine but otherwise things were the same around the house. Her group of girl friends came over often and she enjoyed a fast paced and fun summer with friends before college. If she was struggling with all her new identities you would never know. So we left well enough alone. It’s been 6 months since she announced her trans status. She is off at college with a new name now (not a legal change and not on her transcripts) but her new friends and teachers all call her the new name and use male pronouns, she was wearing a binder when she came home for Thanksgiving. She has new friends who applaud her and I like what one mom said on this thread: “that everyday is like walking in a pride parade”. Who would want to leave the praise and parade? So in 6 months she went from lesbian to trans and wanting testosterone and top surgery. Her girlfriend does not identify as a lesbian and this all started with this new girl who she met before college, so then I’m thinking does she want to be a straight male to keep her gf happy? I am thinking way too much these days.This has been the hardest test of being a parent and I have no guidelines except “affirm affirm affirm” which seems so wrong in my gut for my daughter.There are too many inconsistencies with her stories. She told me she knew all her life, then when I challenged that she researched more and a week later told me she felt it in highschool. She said she was born in wrong body, then said she had a boys brain, then lately said her soul is male. She changes with the narrative. She also brought up the male avatar like Lily’s daughter. It is like they are following a script. My daughter is very smart but socially vulnerable. She absorbs everything and does become fixated on things.She has always been a happy, carefree girl and I think if she forced testosterone on her system it would cause her mental health to decline rapidly (not to mention her physical health). At this point we do not call her the new name or use male pronouns.I have told her this is just something we cannot do. I am very close to my daughter and know in my heart she is not a boy and is very very confused. But, she believes she is a boy and the media tells her she is a boy and that keeps me up at night and scares me so much. Thank you Lily for sharing your daughter’s experience and the resources which I have used and showed some to my daughter too. This many parents, having such similar experiences, should be a red flag to therapists and clinicians…I hope they catch up soon our children/teens need and deserve better. I will keep fighting for her.

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    • Hi I have been going through a similar scenaria. My daughter has always only been interested in boys,and acted like a typical female growing up, no indications that she thought herself to be in the wrong body. After her last break up with her boyfriend she started hanging out with trans friends they got to her and since then, about a year and a half ago, she decided he was trans. She also started wearing mens clothes for a while, cut her hair short and wanted us to call her them or they which we just could not do.We try to avoid using feminine pronouns and substitute her name instead. She is now growing her hair long and wearing make up and not wearing mens clothing but still wears a binder as she has not found a sports bra she likes.I think a lot of it could be from being tired of boys n general, and getting harrassrd by them on the street and being bothered constantly,at least that is what my daughter complained about. By abandoning their womanhood perhaps it is insulating themselves against being hurt and bothered by men. Thats the only reason I have for my daughter suddenly deciding this.

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      • Cecille, I agree with you and I feel that this rapid transness is some kind of coping mechanism for whatever my daughter is feeling uncomfortable or unsure about. I think she was at an emotionally vulnerable point and after searching for answers or validation found it in an online transgender forum. The acceptance these kids get from the online communities is very seductive. The UTube transition videos alone are mesmerizing. You are so right about abandoning womanhood, it lets them escape themselves for whatever reasons.. It sounds like your daughter may be finding her way back slowly and that is something we can all hope for.

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    • Starbright – my daughter has also gone away to university under her new male name, which we now use too. I try and avoid pronouns altogether. She too is clever and socially inept. She has made no friends and spends a lot of time on her own, but has yet to come to the conclusion herself that the reason for this (apart from her intrinsic shyness and comorbid mental health issues) is that she is not male!! We are frankly relieved that she doesn’t hang out with the trans club. Our main focus is helping her manage her mental ill health, keeping in close contact, and making sure she knows we love her unconditionally. I don’t think there is a rational argument to have with her at the moment – it’s like telling an anorexic that she is not overweight. I do believe that time is what she needs, time to mature and get well. The waiting lists for Gender Identity Clinics here in the UK are long, and I hope they won’t get shorter anytime soon, as I don’t trust that anyone will make an objective assessment at the moment. I hope I am wrong about that. Then if she makes a decision to undertake irreversible changes I will be less scared for her future. I described my attitude as “positively neutral” to a friend the other day – I have come a long way from the grief and anguish I felt last year, although it is still the first thing I think of on waking, and the last thing at night. What has helped is the marvellous people on this blog and elsewhere that tells me I am not going mad or simply being a hopeless bigot; some talking therapy (from a psychologist); and time.

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      • ScaredMum, I can feel your pain. When they go off to college you are out of the loop. They have an encouraging and affirming campus, a new story, a new background and new friends to tell it to with no questions asked. What could possibly go wrong?! My daughter is a young adult with emphasis on young. I’m sorry to hear your daughter is spending a lot of time by herself but as you said maybe it will open her eyes or at least a little seed of doubt may sneak in and take root. I know I hope for that too. I think if they could somehow take a step back and see themselves through someone else’s eyes they may think what the heck am I doing! We too stay nuetral but I have challenged some of her beliefs and shown her some articles which she read and I hope at least is stirring her critical thinking. Time is really crucial and we need more of it. In the online trans communities there is a sense of urgency, must have it now, or must catch up to the others. I feel too that she needs time to mature and just enjoy college and experience life. My daughters mental health has always been good. Very confident and outgoing. There was no sign of any internal identity struggle going on. If anything it’s the trans narrative and ideology that has weighed her down. She’s still calls me daily and is usually laughing and telling me something funny but at the heart of everything is this trans-ness that has just permeated her everyday thinking. Trans advocates say if they transition all will be better and they will be happy. I disagree. My daughter was very happy and very confident before she discovered the trans community. Now she is fighting her own biology and getting more confused. It’s so scary as a parent when you just can’t step in and fix it.

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      • There is definitely an identity problem here. It is like becoming religious, or an activist, which may or may not last. Say if your daughter decided to devote her life to some sect, which involved shaving her head – you might not agree or think it was a mistake, but you would accept and respect her decision. But in this case it involves becoming a lifelong medical patient.
        Before all this, I said to all my kids, don’t do anything irreversible before you are 25. I am just hoping there is a little voice inside her head saying that.

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  34. I am feeling I am loosing her more and more. This May will be a year since she blantly said she was transgender. This was after a year and half of identifying as pansexual, then bisexual, then gay, and finally trans. I feel that I am loosing her. She is almost 15. It started when she got her period. Anxiety grew. I ask constantly, and she said because when she got her period she knew it was wrong to be there. There was othwr rationale that didn’t make sense. I feel that is is more dysphoria of life and not trans. She has been in therapy. A new one since this started. We agreed to keep things neutral and not push either way. The therapist in beginning was telling me she thought it was real. There are circumstances she dresses all out like a girl, removes the binder and puts makeup on. They were when we went to a meet and greet we won for a band she loves. Another was going onto the city. She got her hair cut short. I am scared for her. Her whole life she was girly girl and never showed an inkling of thinking she was a boy. We were close and now we are so far apart. I got really sick last year and still don’t have a diagnosis. The stress of this is killing me and making my illness worse. I just want my daughtwr back. I am scared I have lost her forever. After I confronted her 2 weekends ago, I feel it pushed her more towards it. I am having auch a hard time coping. I love her. Feeling lost.

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    • I know how you feel. My daughter started this about a year and a half ago also, but she hs just turned 22 so it is very difficult as I cant intervene with doctors at all as she is considered adult. I have tried having discussions and reasoning with her as I too feel her belief of being trans is unfoundef and is due to being disappinted in men and other external factors. She still lives at home and she wont listen to any reasoning but has devided she is gay and trans. We have a pretty close relationship but when I brimg up anything to suggest she may not be it becomes umbearable in the house and we all get upset and angry.What I am trying to do is not bring it up anymore as she is probably ecploring,amd will eventually figure it out., and will keep the peace.If you are not well you need to take care of ypur health first, At least she is a minor so cant do anything permanent.

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    • Scaredmom, is she on any medication for comorbidities (depression bipolar anything?)?? This has done wonders for my daughter. After our year of hell… SHE is coming back. Yes she still wears binder but her love of clothing is back and not the ugly boy clothes she thought she liked. Sounds like the therapist is not the right one for her. It is also not good she is pulling farther and farther away from you. You need to pull her back. Stop talking about trans all together. She needs maturity and to find things herself. Go to the movies together. Just do normal talk. If you can throw things into conversations in regards to “women are so different then guys in that they think” or anything that she does to relate herself to women… has been huge for my daughter. She will now make comments on things how “why do men do that…”. For some reason these girls are getting lost. Anyhow. I feel for you. Your not alone. We are all there or have been there and it’s the worst feeling in the world for a mother to feel happening with their beloved daughter.

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    • I am right here with you, ScaredMom. My daughter is almost 16 and came out to me when she was 13. Any attempt to use logic or discuss this rationally has only pushed her farther away from me. I have seen so many things that just don’t add up. She’s been in therapy and has many diagnoses and all I can do is take this one day at a time not knowing at all what the future will bring. I agree, this is a horrible way to live. I can only imagine the toll this takes when you also have an illness to deal with. Honestly, I am surprised that I have not developed some kind of illness myself since I have a hard time taking care of myself and my cortisol levels are probably through the roof. I tried therapy for myself, but the therapist just could not relate to this at all and I found it more annoying than helpful. In addition, she also kept pushing me just to accept my daughter’s transition as if it was no big deal. This is a very lonely place indeed.

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    • Our daughter had a total identity melt-down. She was beautiful, kind, and intelligent. She was not a tomboy. She was not gender-confused. When she got on the internet at age 15, things went downhill quickly. I would say she was sucked down a dark hole. Result= a total mental health breakdown, gender identity meltdown, and I must say, a moral meltdown

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  35. I am impressed. I have spent two days reading this. I am Norwegian and I have a 14 year old daughter who says she is a boy. I feel terribly sorry for all of you in here, cause I know what you all are going through. My mother-heart bleeds. I will continue following this page. An support you all. Here is a page I found. I will make my daughter read this today.

    With love from Marit

    http://www.sexchangeregret.com/research

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  36. Pingback: Bathroom bigotry | The Catechesis of Caroline

  37. I love this. I was genderdysphoric myself as a young adult and probably would of been sucked into the transcircle if it was a thing back then. But luckily it wasn’t and after a few years of self questioning I accepted myself as a woman, who doesn’t have to do anything to be woman enough, but still has the right to be just as feminine as I want and am. I do believe radical feminism hurt me as well, not recognizing the in built differences between sexes (may they be entirely hormonal but they surely exist). But that is of course not close to as bad as rejecting ones sex altogether and possibly getting nonreversible medical interventions.

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      • Yes, I thought that was what you meant. I really don’t believe science to much, not when it comes to describing human life anyway. I do experience a lot of differences between sexes even though I was raised to believe they don’t exist. But that is somewhat a different question. What we can agree at is that however you want to present yourself and whatever your personality is like you don’t have to change either that or your physical body in order to fit in.

        Like

  38. I wanted to thank every one on this website and just every one who has ever written something online that gives people like me hope for the future, hope at all.

    I am writing as a lesbian whose girlfriend decided she was trans at age 19. Her mother, who always wanted a boy and never quite came to terms with the fact that she had a daughter, has told her since she was born that she was supposed to be a boy. Puberty came and went and my girlfriend slowly realized she was a lesbian. Her mother told her that she’d have a very difficult time being gay and not to tell anyone. Every once in a while, she’d ask my girlfriend whether she’d thought about transitioning. Leaving leaflets and the like at the kitchen counter, telling my girlfriend that she’d pay for everything if she wanted to transition. What a handsome boy she’d make (my girlfriend is a bit androgynous looking by nature, wears masculine clothing, has short hair) and imagine if she grew a beard…

    She (now 23) and I (now 21) met and fell in love. She told me from the start she was having doubts, sometimes, but I never thought she’d really believe it because, to me, she was so obviously a woman and a lesbian and a loving partner. She voiced it more and more and one day asked me flat out if I would still love her once she was a bloke. She’d transition in a heartbeat if she had the money, she said. That hurt so much, I can’t even describe it. It was more than a relationship ending, it was asking me to denounce my lesbian identity I fought hard for (I was bullied for being a lesbian) and it felt like she had…or were about to…die. She said she’d be the same, just a guy. I never believed her.

    What followed were months of pure agony where I researched online and looked and searched and found only trans propaganda. I felt like a bigot, like an abomination for not wanting to accept this.

    I found websites telling me that I had two choices. One, stay and support her transition, or two, get the hell out.
    I chose neither. I stayed, but I told her every day that I loved HER. I never used male pronouns. I told her about my past being bullied for being a lesbian, about how people would bully me in PE because they thought I was ogling them and harassing them sexually – for being gay. Predatory lesbian. It was horrible.

    I told her about my own doubts. How I saw the female experience of human life. We talked and talked and talked. She still was talking about not being sure if she was trans.

    I continued loving her, and she loved me.

    And then… one day, we were sitting on her bed and she told me she was a girl, a woman. That she is so exhausted and done with this, fighting who she is. Who she wants to be and stay.
    And you know what else she told me? She told me that for the first time in her life, she was able to see herself as someone that could be loved. As someone whose body wasn’t repulsive but a body that deserved to be treated reverently. Her ex-girlfriend had been abusive, telling her how ugly and repulsive she was, telling her her breasts were deformed (they’re smaller, is all, and lovely because they’re hers) and all kinds of things. I began to understand. The self-hate that lead to all of her doubts.

    We are celebrating our two year anniversary next week. We are still together, an openly lesbian couple. We are talking future, we are building a life. Two women, together.

    I wanted to share this account because all of the accounts online helped me back then when I was losing hope, when I was debating whether it wasn’t better for myself if I just gave up and left. I almost did, but the hope and the love I have for this woman made me stay. My girlfriend confessed to me, sobbing, the other day, that I was the first person not to give up on her. Her ex had, her mother had. But not me, and that she believes that that saved her from Trans. Being able to talk and think and talk again. Having someone who, despite the limbo state of not knowing whether she would or wouldn’t, did not desist in loving her. Loving not only her, but also her body. I worked so hard trying not to tell her but SHOW her that she had a body deserving love. I am glad she has finally seen it. She feels like she is okay, nowadays, she likes who she is. She likes her body, even though there are days she struggles. But that’s okay. Step by step.

    Hearing that I feel that all the pain was worth it. I want to ask you, the parents, not to give up on your children. Keep fighting. Please. They are probably scared. It’s a very scary place to be in.

    And I wanted to thank everyone who posts about detransition, coming to terms with the female experience and the like. I felt so out of my depth, and considering my rather young age, I probably was. But you gave me a place I could turn to when we couldn’t talk to anyone. Adults like her mother were only pushing, others would have demonized her. I am so glad there’s resoruces like this out there. Keep it up, please!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I am happy for you and for your girlfriend. What a loving, supportive person you’ve been to her. Well done.

      I think this post is very important because, as a love interest, you did what most of us, as parents, are trying to do — hold space for our trans-identifying kids to realize who they are and that they don’t have to change their bodies to be who they are.

      Like

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lisa. I really needed to read this today. I’m happy that you and your girlfriend have reached a good place and can build your life together. I hope my daughter finds someone special like you who can help her see how wonderful she really is.

      Like

    • Well done for never giving up on your girlfriend. It can be so hard to fight trans ideology. I’m so glad you are happy together now.

      Like

  39. Our 15 YO announced that she wants to live as a boy about 4 months ago when she was hospitalized for suicidal intent. This means that gender dysphoria is only part of our situation as she is also dealing with depression and anxiety (a chicken and egg scenario about which begat which). Because just dealing with the depression and anxiety is out of our depth, we can’t stay away from mental health professionals and the inevitable potential for insistence on “gender affirmation”. The jury is still out on the latest therapist/doctor combo, but I’m hopeful they are asking enough questions about what brought her to the conclusion of being trans … this includes a very recent revelation of an assault she had endured about a year ago … something she had “processed” on her own instead of telling someone what had happened.

    We have not agreed to change pronouns at home, but we have agreed to start using her trans name since it’s a fairly androgynous one. I find myself avoiding pronouns and saying “kid” a lot. I often remind her that I will always love and support her and have asked her to understand that first I have to make sure she is safe before I can start to wrap my head around being trans. I’ve explained it’s as if she is down a road going 100 miles an hour, and I’m way behind going 40 (and her dad is even farther behind going even slower). She has been her kind and gracious self and agreed … but this has only bought us a little time and at some point soon we’re going to have to make a firmer stand. I worry that our reticence is making her dig her heels in even more but the comments on this page give me hope that it’ll be ok in the end.

    Occasionally she tries to use the guilt card to get us to agree to her demands (mostly about pronouns at home and school … most of her friends have already switched). I try to remain calm and keep repeating that I am doing my best to understand what’s happening with her. I’m always available to hear her side and often use reflective listening techniques so that she knows that I am doing what I can to understand what she is going through. Doing this has actually brought us closer together. She has learned that she can pretty much discuss anything with me, and I’ll take the time to listen to and understand her perspective. (BTW, she has an amazingly thoughtful, intelligent take on things. So much so, that I actually look forward to our little talks.)

    We have had a few conversations about taking testosterone. I have said that since it is irreversible, I would not consent to it; so she knows it off the table for another 2.5 years (such a short time). In the meantime, when she brings up being trans, I’m trying to see how well-thought out her transition plans are, for instance, I pointed out that testosterone may just create a different set of irreversible problems (she may not like the way the “male” voice sounds, etc.), her response was “thanks for bursting my bubble mom” (which made me a bit giddy inside). Basically, I feel that she does not fully understand the ramifications of the medical interventions (thank you Maria Catt). So while I am still legally her guardian, I cannot consent to any irreversible medical intervention.

    I also don’t understand how anyone can say to an adolescent, that despite the fact that scientists have proven that the adolescent brain is in the middle of a major developmental phase, we’re going to assume an adolescent can think clearly enough to make such life-altering changes. The reality is that even with medical intervention you will biologically remain your natal sex: is there some way that we can help you deal with that without making you become a life-long patient?

    As many others have said, this is a wonderful forum. So I’d like to reach out to this community about a related issue. I’ve been reading through all the comments and noticed that it seems to be mostly moms. I’m wondering how the dads are handling their child’s identity issues? My husband/child’s dad has become very withdrawn. He adamantly refuses to acknowledge what she is going through … it’s even hard to get him to engage in a conversation about just the depression and anxiety. Is anyone else having similar problems with the other parent living in the “land of denile”? It’s heartbreaking for me to watch their relationship deteriorate; not to mention that I’m stuck between 2 people I love so deeply.  

    Liked by 1 person

    • So sorry that you are going through this. My family is in a very similar situation with the same chicken and egg issues and when you are dealing with a very serious mental health crisis for your child it’s really hard to take on the gender identity strife as well. As for the Mom v. Dad issue, I can say that my husband sees things as I do and is more than willing to participate in family therapy and engage in treatment decisions etc, BUT he is better able than I am to compartmentalize and not be wrapped up in what is going on with our daughter. And, as in many families, she and I have always had a more intense relationship and talked more, so she is more mad at me when she feels rejected and it means more when I will use her preferred pronouns and sometimes I just feel exhausted like I am carrying this whole crisis alone when really there is probably a lot to say for my husband’s ability to limit the extent to which he takes on all of our daughter’s pain. But it’s really hard. My child is really sick, despite being off the charts smart and talented, she just really hates herself and feels super worthless — I know it’s the depression but it is hard not to be resentful when you are spending every bit of energy trying to help your child get well and function and she just seems to stay so low. And even though he can distance himself more, my husband is the only other person going through this with me and I have had to learn to lean on him more. One final point, sometimes my daughter sees my husband’s reserve as skepticism that she is mentally ill and that sends her on a pretty ugly spiral, so I would really urge you to let your husband know that depressed kids are often worried that they are faking it and are attention seeking and that makes them feel even worse, so it is pretty important to be clear that both of you know that your child is really suffering and that all you want is to help.

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  40. This was indeed a very interesting read, I recently had an issue on a Buzzfeed post, I was called a transphobe cos I stated I would not like to engage in a relationship with a pre-op trans woman because of the anatomy, I was told a lot of things but being as I am I decided to read more about it, I do have a trans friend, I call him a man and honestly it fits him a lot better than being a she, I must say I live in Mexico, I’m a lesbian and I certainly don’t fit gender stereotypes, although I have feminity to a point, but I wonder, if I was a teen now ( I’m 34, been out since I was 15) would I ever consider I was trans cos I like “boy’s things” ? I did hate having my period for about 5 years. But back in my day we weren’t hearing so much about all of this.

    Like

  41. That was an awesome read. I’m so glad this ended so well. Victory!
    Stories like this are my inspiration to keep on making video’s. And I’m very happy that I could help a little. Sending much love to Lily and Jessie. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Can I please post a lot of great,strong psychological research studies and other important information that debunks common sexist gender myths and gender stereotypes like Lena said?

    Like

  43. Below is an email I wrote to Oxford University Gender communication professor Deborah Cameron author of the great important book,The Myth Of Mars and Venus Do Men and women Really Speak Different Languages?.

    Dear Deborah,

    I recently read your great important book, The Myth Of Mars & Venus. I read a bad review of the book, The Female Brain on Amazon.com US by psychologist David H.Perterzell he called it junk science.

    I also thought you would want to know that John Gray got his “Ph.D” from Columbia Pacific University which was closed down in March 2001 by the California Attorney General’s Office because he called it a diploma mill and a phony operation offering totally worthless degrees!

    Also there is a Christian gender and psychology scholar and author psychology professor Dr. Mary Stewart Van Leewuen who teaches the psychology and Philosophy of Gender at the Christian College Eastern College in Pa. She has several online presentations that were done at different colleges from 2005- the present debunking the Mars & Venus myth.

    One is called , Opposite Sexes Or Neighboring Sexes and sometimes adds, Beyond The Mars/Venus Rhetoric in which she explains that all of the large amount of research evidence from the social and behavorial sciences shows that the sexes are very close neighbors and that there are only small average differences between them many of which have gotten even smaller over the last several decades and in her great even longer article that isn’t online anymore called,What Do We Mean By “Male-Female Complentarity”? A Review Of Ronald W.Pierce,Rebecca M.Groothuis,and Gordon D.Fee,eds Discovering Biblical Equality:Complentarity Without Hierarchy, which she says happened after 1973 when gender roles were less rigid and that genetic differences can’t shrink like this and in such a short period of time, and that most large differences that are found are between individual people and that for almost every trait and behavior there is a large overlap between them and she said so it is naive at best and deceptive at worst to make claims about natural sex differences. etc.

    She says he claims Men are From Mars & Women are From Venus with no empirical warrant and that his claim gets virtually no support from the large amount of psychological and behavioral sciences and that in keeping in line with the Christian Ethic and with what a bumper sticker she saw said and evidence from the behavioral and social sciences is , Men Are From,Earth ,Women Are From Earth Get Used To It. Comedian George Carlin said this too.

    She also said that such dichotomous views of the sexes are apparently popular because people like simple answers to complex issues including relationships between men and women. She should have said especially relationships between them.She also said when I spoke wit her in 1998 and 1999 that human beings don’t have sex fixed in the brain,she said human beings adapt to their environments,and they develop certain characteristics in response to those environments but they are not fixed and unchangeable. Dr.Van Leeuwen also said that I’m correct that the human female and male brain is more alike than different and she said the brain is plastic and easily molded and shaped throughout life by different life experiences and environments.She said humans have a unique highly developed cerebral cortex which animals don’t and this enables people to learn things and make choices that animals can’t.

    Sociologist Dr.Michael Kimmel writes and talks about this also including in his Media Education Foundation educational video. And he explains that all of the evidence from the psychological and behavioral sciences indicates that women and men are far more alike than different. He also demonstrated with a lot of research studies and evidence from the behavioral and social sciences that the sexes are more alike than different in his very good 2000 book,The Gendered Society which he updated several times in more extensive academic volumes called,The Gendered Society Reader.

    Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen says that there are no consistent large psychological sex differences found.

    I have an excellent book from 1979 written by 2 parent child development psychologists Dr. Wendy Schemp Matthews and award winning psychologist from Columbia University, Dr.Jeane Brooks-Gunn, called He & She How Children Develop Their Sex Role Identity.

    They thoroughly demonstrate with tons of great studies and experiments by parent child psychologists that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike than different with very few differences but they are still perceived and treated systematically very different from the moment of birth on by parents and other adult care givers. They go up to the teen years.

    I once spoke with Dr.Brooks-Gunn in 1994 and I asked her how she could explain all of these great studies that show that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike with few differences but are still perceived and treated so differently anyway, and she said that’s due to socialization and she said there is no question, that socialization plays a very big part.

    I know that many scientists(the good responsible ones) know that the brain is plastic and can be shaped and changed by different life experiences and different life time environments.

    Also there are 2 great online rebuttals of the Mars & Venus myth by Susan Hamson called, The Rebuttal From Uranus and Out Of The Cave: Exploring Gray’s Anatomy by Kathleen Trigiani.

    Also have you read the excellent book by social psychologist Dr.Gary Wood at The University of Birmingham called, Sex Lies & Stereotypes:Challenging Views Of Women, Men & Relationships? He clearly demonstrates with all of the research studies from psychology what Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen does, and he debunks The Mars & Venus myth and shows that the sexes are biologically and psychologically more alike than different and how gender roles and differences are mostly socially created and how they are very limiting and emotionally damaging to both sexes mental and physical health and don’t only allow are encourage them to become more than only a half of a person instead of a whole human person with all of our shared*human* qualities!

    Anyway, if you could write back when you have a chance I would
    really appreciate it.

    Thank You

    Like

  44. Psychologist Dr.Janet Shibley Hyde in this 2005 major meta-analysis of hundreds of studies by all different psychologists from decades that was written in American psychologist,the journal of The American Psychological Association,found that the sexes are more alike than different in almost all personality traits,abilities,etc.

    http://www.apa.org/research/action/difference.aspx

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  45. In these extensive studies by psychologist Dr. Janet Shibley Hyde and others that is still on the American Psychological Association’s web site since 2006 and that was published in American psychologist the journal of The American Psychological Association,Think Again:Men and women Share Cognitive Skills.

    It’s reported that Psychologists have gathered solid evidence that boys or girls or men and women differ in very few significant ways– differences that would matter in school or at work–in how,and how well they think.

    http://www.apa.org/research/action/share.aspx

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