I hated her guts at the time: A trans-desister and her mom tell their story

 Sarah R. is 19-year old lesbian from the US Midwest. She says: “From ages 14 to 16 I believed that because I was gender non-conforming, I was a transgender man. Gender critical theory saved me from potentially mutilating my body irrevocably. Today, I share my story in hopes that other young women can also overcome the hatred we are told to have towards our bodies, and to remain unapologetic about being gender nonconforming females.”

This post originally appeared in a different form on her blog, here. For 4thWaveNow, she expanded some sections, particularly to do with her thoughts about her mother’s role in her temporary identification as a trans man (and her eventual abandonment of that idea). We also invited Sarah’s mother to contribute her own views, which you’ll find in in this updated article. Sarah openly acknowledges how much she detested her mother when she refused to agree to transition, but things are different now.  

Sarah R can be found on Twitter here.


by  Sarah R.

Tumblr is a cool place:  writers, artists, activists. Lots of people find solace there. I tried to, when I first made an account in 2013, when I was still in middle school. Actually, it wasn’t so cool back then. Hordes of young girls like me, with their newfound platform, curated ‘Black-and-white’ blogs (just check out some of the usernames), impressive collections of grey-scaled gifs, a smorgasbord of para-suicidal images: self-harm, handfuls of pills…

Thankfully, vices on Tumblr quickly find themselves replaced by new fads; gone are the days of glamorized self-mutilation– hello, fandom! (My own guilty pleasure was House MD, if anyone’s curious. Dark, dark days.) But like black-and-white blogs before them, these profiles were also quickly replaced. This time? by SJW blogs.

Now, granted, not everything about the new justice craze sucked. For one, it’s where most of my peers and I found Feminism 101, even if it got some things quite wrong (e.g. feminism is for men, too; makeup is empowering; kinky is progressive, etc.), and the general atmosphere of tolerance allowed for young gay teens like me the freedom of expression that wasn’t as safe on Twitter or Facebook at the time. Still, a lot of crazy shit came out of SJW tumblr.

When things like otherkin, fictionkin, and aesthetigender (for full effect, I’m going to have to ask you to go through the pain of scrolling through the whole list on that last one), are accepted as anywhere even near the realm of reality, it’s no wonder that ‘Woman’ has become distorted, conflated, and commandeered.

aesthetigender

My own personal attraction to the booming trans trend is obvious in retrospect. Teen girls are taught to hate everything about themselves. None of us can win. Even the thinnest, most clear-skinned, prettiest of girls find an enemy in the mirror. Imagine my horror to look at my reflection and see a fat, short-haired, lesbian staring back. In a world where my style, my interests, and my attractions weren’t fit for a girl, transgenderism offered the perfect solution: Be a boy.

It wouldn’t work, of course. How could it, when all of my problems–the struggle to meet the expectations that society had for me, my depression, my anxiety, my dysphoria, and my dysmorphia, all of my unhappiness–had nothing to do with how I identified and everything to do with what I was: female. Of course, as a 14-year-old, this didn’t occur to me quickly. My transition to ‘boy’ was my ticket out of Self-hatred-Ville, and you’d better believe I was going to take it.

To exactly nobody’s surprise, Tumblr was ecstatic at my ‘realization’. A plethora of congratulations, encouragement, and support was sent my way–something that girl-me never got for being exactly the same as boy-me, save having a different name and pronouns. So of course my new identity felt right. How couldn’t it, when my mannerisms and appearance, which had previously othered me, were now suddenly in congruence with my gender, and my ‘bravery’ was being applauded by all the people I looked up to– both bloggers online and friends in real life.

Something that I feel like a lot of adults get wrong about this phenomenon is that people like me were bullied into identifying as trans, but I don’t think this is the most accurate way to put it. There’s a very specific kind of mental mind-fuck that went on on Tumblr during this time that cultivated the perfect atmosphere for confused, self-hating teens (which is like, all of them) to somehow come to the realization that they’re transgender. First came a kind of twisted rewriting of history, women like Joan of Arc or Christina, Queen of Sweden (who once wrote she was “neither Male nor Hermaphrodite, as some People in the World have pass’d me for.” Interesting… maybe society has always been telling GNC (gender nonconforming) women that they aren’t true women…) now became ‘trans men who didn’t know at the time, because it wasn’t accepted’. By telling GNC women, who weren’t around to ‘defend’ their womanhood, that they were men, is it any wonder those of us who were around started to think we must be men, too? Another thing was the constant validation of trans people. In order for me to become instantly ‘valid,’ all I had to do was be a man. How could I do that? By feeling like one.

What did that feel like? I don’t know, since I didn’t feel like a woman, which I now realize is because I can’t; woman isn’t a feeling. The most harmful message to come out of the cultist ideology of trans rights is that you are x because you feel like x. But in the same way that I didn’t feel working class, or feel like a white person, or feel like a Midwesterner, I didn’t feel like a woman, which according to trans ideology, meant I wasn’t ‘cisgender’, and so from that the leap was easy for me to make: I must be a man. What’s glaringly obvious to me now though is that feeling didn’t play any factor into my status as any of the aforementioned descriptors. I simply was those things, and reality didn’t give a shit whether my feelings aligned or not.

It at the time all seemed very progressive: by ignoring history and biology, we could rewrite reality, and anyone could be anything they wanted (might I remind you of this list once more). What was really going on though was the complete opposite.

First of all, words didn’t have meaning anymore. According to new gender logic, even male and female were fluid. A trans woman was now female by virtue of identifying as ‘woman’. All attempts at any kind of discussion about gender and sex were rendered impossible, because 1. Any disagreement labeled you a transphobe and a TERF, and you were quite literally ostracized, and 2. gender didn’t mean anything anymore (save some mysterious, cryptic feeling that refuses to be defined, apparently).

By the time my mother figured out what was going on with me, I was in deep. Female-to-Male transition videos filled my Youtube suggestions, and I had already decided I would want a metoidioplasty over a phalloplasty (a decision that I now recognize as a desire for my maleness to be real, not a section of skin from my arm or leg, an impossible desire that could never be fulfilled, I know now, because I’m not male). I decided to take my first physical ‘transition’ step by getting a binder. Just one problem– being 14 meant I had no job, and no money. So, I improvised. As a blogger with several thousand followers (nope, I’m not going to link myself, as I would be chased off and/or doxxed in approximately .00023 seconds), I put out a quick plea for help in buying a binder. Within a few hours, a well-meaning follower asked my size and told me it would arrive in a few short days. Unfortunately, or so I thought at the time, I was unable to intercept the package before my mom did.

Accidentally being outed sucks. I remember getting a text from my mom while in school which said something along the lines of ‘We have something important to talk about when you get home,’ which, to nearly any teen, could mean a multitude of terrible things, and exactly zero good things. Throughout this whole story, my mom approached things really well, but I see that in retrospect only. I hated her guts at the time. She picked me up from school and let me marinate in the soul-crushing silence until we were about half-way home. She got straight to the point and told me that she had opened my package and found my binder. I immediately went into panic mode, so I don’t exactly remember how she coaxed a confession of transgender out of me, but it involved a lot of blubbering. She let me know from the get-go that she thought my ‘felt like boy’ spiel was all a load of crap, though to be fair, put it much less insensitively, but asked me to show her videos and literature about it. I did.

She wasn’t impressed.

I remember being afraid that this meant she was now going to make me grow out my short hair, or–god forbid– start wearing dresses, in an attempt to stifle my ‘transness’, but that wasn’t the case. It was hurtful to me that she wouldn’t use my new name or pronouns, but I was allowed to continue to be as GNC as I saw fit, something that I know helped my self-acceptance as a woman today. She made it clear that medical transition was not going to happen, which felt like the end of the world to me. In the same way you wouldn’t tell a schizophrenic that their delusions are real, she took no interest in pretending that male was something that I was, or ever could be. But most importantly, she let me know that that was okay. That I could be masculine, that I could like women, and that I could exist as myself, in my body and that pumping myself full of hormones and cutting off my flesh would change my appearance, but not me. My mom helped me understand that if I was ever going to be happy, it had nothing to do with my pronouns, or my genitals, I had to accept the female, and the woman, that I was.

As I was writing this piece, I asked Mom what she had to say about our journey together:

“When you first told me, I was really lost. I didn’t really even have any idea what [being transgender] meant. I mean, like if it had to do with you being gay or what. Of course the first thing I did afterwards was research it heavily. That scared me even more! The videos [of FTM transitions] you sent me were nice and the people in them seemed happy, but the first thing I thought was ‘what if I lost my daughter’s voice like those mothers did?’

I know at the time you thought I was prejudiced and that’s why I made the choices I did, but I didn’t have anything against transgender people, I just wanted to do the right thing as a parent, and letting you do things to yourself that you could never change even if you felt differently down the road was not the right thing for me to do. But your happiness was the only thing behind my decisions. If you ended up being genuinely transgender and that was the only way you could be happy then I would’ve been able to live with that. I just knew you were too young to be sure about something like that. If by the time you turned 18 and could do what you wanted [medically] you still wanted to get testosterone I wouldn’t have stopped loving you. Of course. I’m glad to still love my daughter more than you could know.

It still keeps me up some nights thinking about ‘what if I had given in?’. The only important thing though is that you are happy now.”

And her advice for parents in similar situations:

“I can’t tell anyone what is the right thing for their child. But it was hard to stay strong in my decision against what other people thought. It was made out like I hated transgender, or that I was abusing my child by not letting her make decisions to cut off her breasts. Stay strong. Wanting what is best for your babies isn’t prejudice. Also, be prepared to be hated by your kid too. Any teenager doesn’t like her mom. Not letting her go to a friend’s house that you know is bad news is enough to make her hate you. Not letting her change her entire body is even bigger.”

Our relationship is wonderful now, but Mom’s right about me hating her back then. And yeah, maybe I would’ve hated her anyways, at least according to her theory that all teens hate their parents, but in my situation, I could name directly and specifically why, and that gave it a lot of power. I remember posting all the time online about how abusive she was for deadnaming me, or not letting me bind, which I now feel terrible about. I didn’t feel like I could talk to her about anything (especially gender things) because I had made up in my mind that she thought my very existence (as a trans person) was invalid. Her resolve was beyond admirable, though, as well as her patience for my angsty bullshit.

Not everyone was so hesitant to accept my identity as my mom, though. As I mentioned, the internet was enthralled, but my friends in real life ate it up, too. Whether intentional or not, most young gay people are in social circles comprised of other gay people. Not all of my friends were necessarily gay, but even the ones who weren’t were into the same SJW ideology as I was. They readily accepted my new trendy name, and did their best to use my pronouns. Even though they messed them up a lot, I wasn’t accosted like when my mom didn’t use the right ones, because I knew that they still thought of my identity as real. In retrospect, their support didn’t help my journey of desisting, but I don’t think they hindered it much either. They were being good friends, and for that I’m grateful.

Almost immediately after my coming out, I was put in therapy. Despite my own desperate requests to go to a therapist who specialized in gender issues, so that I might acquire that coveted letter of recommendation for HRT, I instead was taken to the general therapist I had visited sometime earlier for self-harm issues. At the time, like so many other decisions my mother made, it felt invalidating, and upset me, but also like all of her decisions, I’m now grateful for it. Going to someone who would try to get to the root of my identity and dysphoria and resolving that cause itself instead of validating my mental illness and okaying a lifetime of hormones, mutilation, and sterilization was paramount.

For the first few sessions I was still angry about the therapist choice, but once I began to open up, I was surprised to find the doctor wasn’t dismissive of my feelings like I had thought she would be, but seemed to understand and coaxed a lot of more out of me about my transness than I had thought about myself. The most helpful thing she did for me was make me examine why I identified as a boy, and what that meant. By being asked to define what being a boy felt like without using anything that I already knew was only a stereotype about boys, and my subsequent failure to do so, I eventually came to terms with the fact that I couldn’t be one.

tenacity-clipart-sisyphus

Freeing yourself from the task of climbing a mountain whose peak can never be summited is your only chance of ever actually being happy.

One of the biggest problems I think with being transgender is it comes out of an unhappiness, and that the impossibility of the accepted solution amplifies the unhappiness. Having short hair doesn’t give you an adam’s apple, testosterone injections won’t change your bone structure, a phalloplasty won’t let you produce sperm. The closer you get to the real thing, the bigger the gap between you and being a real male grows. Freeing yourself from the task of climbing a mountain whose peak can never be summited is your only chance of ever actually being happy.

I eventually stopped looking for validation as something I would never be, and started the process of loving myself. There’s no real how-to I can give for overcoming gender dysphoria and accepting your given gender, but there are some tips I can spare.

Firstly, be patient. Whether it’s you or someone you love who is trans, one conversation, experience, or epiphany is not going to change anyone’s mind. Secondly, and this is geared towards trans-identified females: Get into gender critical theory. Liberal feminism tells us that women are oppressed because of their gender, but that isn’t true. We’re oppressed because of our sex, by means of gender. It was hard for me to give up the imaginary solution to my oppression before I understood this. Thirdly, think long and hard about why you feel trans. What is the feeling? What would it feel like to be ‘cis’? If your answer is ‘comfortable with your sex/body’ then hardly a single woman falls under that category. Is it to feel comfortable with the expectations, limitations, and stereotypes of your gender? Once again, nary a single female applies. The hardest and final push for me to ‘detransing’ was realizing and accepting that whatever I was ‘feeling’, it wasn’t ‘boy’. It was dissatisfaction with the constraints of womanhood, as in the stereotypes, expectations, and roles that it accorded me. Understanding that is the most important step in becoming happy with your femaleness.

For a long time, I’ve been hesitant to talk about my experience with trans. I was embarrassed, for one, into being duped by an agenda that wanted to convince me I was something I’m not, nor would ever be. I was afraid, too, of backlash. The climate among my peers these days is such that disagreement of nearly any variance means public ridicule, and being shunned. I thought people might try to tell me that I wasn’t really, truly trans (though no one has seemed to come up with what that means), or that I was just unable to come to accept my transness. I’ve decided I have to cast these doubts aside, though, because there’s something more important at stake: young women learning to love themselves. If I can convince even just one girl to love her body for what it is, and to know that no amount of dissatisfaction with stereotypes, or love for suits and sports, or short hair, or discomfort with her anatomy makes her less of a woman, then any shit cast my way is worth it.

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49 thoughts on “I hated her guts at the time: A trans-desister and her mom tell their story

  1. I cannot fully express how much your words and your experiences mean to me right now. Thank you so much for sharing, for growing through the shame. Now I’m pondering the best method to share your words with my trans-identifying 11 year old daughter. Do you have a suggestion, or should I ride this rollercoaster to its conclusion? I don’t want to bludgeon my daughter, but I would like her to read different perspectives.

    Liked by 7 people

    • My daughter thought she was a boy from age 12 to 13. She is fully desisted now and very happy to be a non-medicated, surgically-altered girl.
      Do not let her “explore it” completely on her own because the only thing she’ll find online or in a gender expert’s office is how wonderful transing is and how she can be a social justice warrior in the process to finding her “authentic self” (which naturally involves pharmaceuticals and plastic surgery). Anyone telling her that she’s right (or probably right) will only cement the idea and begin to turn her away from you and all other reality.
      I would suggest asking her to keep an open mind as to why she might feel this way now. I would take a break from the internet (you tube, tumblr, reddit, fanclubs and etc,). I would focus on all things not gender related and bond with her and keep her busy and just love her completely for all that she is today. I’d let her cut her hair and wear boyish girl clothes if she wants to (from the girls side of the store only) and do whatever healthy activities she wants. I wouldn’t encourage her joining any “support groups” with “T” in them or having friends that are transing. I’d find out why she feels this way from a mental health perspective – does she fit in at school? is she not liking her developing body? is she afraid of growing up? is she feeling like she’s not “girly” enough? just not good enough? does she feel like she might be a lesbian? Work through any of these issues with her but put the whole trans thing on the back burner. Work to build her confidence. Help her to make and maintain good friendships.
      If she’s open to it, ask her to read (or discuss with her) some gender critical thinking resources by saying that you just want her to see all sides and perspectives rather than just a one-sided view.
      You are lucky it happened while she’s young and still cares about what you think.
      Best wishes!

      Liked by 5 people

      • @science first – The way I’ve been presenting this information is Emailing to my daughter. When I hacked her account to find she’d deleted it both times, I asked her why she was denying the ‘other side’. Then I’ve been reading through this particular post ‘with’ her one paragraph at a time, and trying to get her to discuss it. I’m also trying to increase her suspicion over ‘bedroom transitionators’, by pointing out that they are all in their bedrooms and are hoping to get jobs with the LGBT movement with their videos, rather than work.

        I also repeat over and over…that the source of her trans is from unhappiness, and from unhappy people…and that is a terrible place to start. Luckily, much of what I was telling her over the last months was reflected in the post above. Not sure if ANY of it is working. Honestly. I just keep reading her texts and Emails and try to gauge the effects of our talks.

        To me…this trans thing is catching us off guard thanks to our shock at how little support we have…thanks mostly to the “T” attaching itself to the back of the LGB – simply so they can narrowly define an extremely broad issue overwhelmingly a mental issue as a characteristic requiring protection and encouragement. Somehow they’ve caught the politicians off guard also and Social Media has become a powerful weapon for any dangerous cult movement that has attached itself to a more solidified movement.

        I’m going to do whatever it takes to protect my daughter. I’m going to keep talking, keep snooping, and make sure that kid on that reality show sitting in his million dollar house doesn’t convince her that wanting to be a boy is as good as being there.

        Trust me, I know where this can end. I know what’s at risk. There’s just something in me that says, I’m willing to risk the guilt of losing her…but not willing to risk the guilt of letting her lose herself.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for being so brave and sharing with us. My daughter has also decided that she is no longer trans and is a GNC girl/woman. Articles like yours definitely helped her a lot. I especially liked: “The hardest and final push for me to ‘detransing’ was realizing and accepting that whatever I was ‘feeling’, it wasn’t ‘boy’. It was dissatisfaction with the constraints of womanhood, as in the stereotypes, expectations, and roles that it accorded me. Understanding that is the most important step in becoming happy with your femaleness.”

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Thank you for writing this. Voices like yours are so important and you write with great clarity. I hope it reaches those people who might need to hear what you have to say.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This is so beautifully well-written.

    So much of this mirrors my own experiences during my teen years. Back then, trans wasn’t an option. Had it been, I would’ve grabbed hold of it like a life-line.

    Back then, girls like me were called ‘Tomboys’ and we were considered quite normal. But there was still a lot of bullying. Bullying to the point where I was suicidal and had to learn how to dress and do makeup as a survival mechanism, not because I was drawn to it.

    I don’t know how to speak to a transgender person on this issue because it’s too incredibly painful for me. I get too emotional.

    Transwomen especially.

    By saying, “I’ve always *felt* like a woman, and that’s how I know I’m trans. I’ve always preferred pretty things and dolls over trucks. I love to do my hair and wear makeup.”

    That pretty much invalidates the existence of every girl who prefers Star Wars Action figures over dolls. Who hates doing her hair. Who doesn’t like wearing dresses and never has. Who finds makeup to be a necessary chore and completely unenjoyable.

    They’re telling me that I’m not a ‘real woman’ and that I never have been.

    I’m an old broad now and these messages don’t bother me one bit. By learning how to love this machine that’s carrying around my soul – even when it’s not cooperating – it’s helped me now that this machine is very sick and aging. She’s not pretty, but she’s trying to chug along as best as she can. And I’ve learned how to live my best life inside of her.

    But my very soul aches for every girl who’d being told that all of her ‘weirdness’ should be met with more self-hate and self-mutilation. That the only way for her to love herself is to shoot herself with hormones and destroy those parts of the machine that can later bring her so much happiness.

    The vast majority of women NEVER fulfill every ideal that society sets upon our shoulders. Be fit, be pretty, be healthy, be young, be thin, be smart, be educated, be clean, keep a perfect house, be loving and compassionate always, be a great cook, wear heels, have perfect hair, have a career, be strong, be a leader, do crafts, don’t belch, don’t fart, make your bed, never lose your temper, cry when appropriate, don’t make others uncomfortable, don’t be gross, keep your skin tight and your breasts properly supported…

    … and whatever you do, never let anyone know that your poop actually stinks.

    Most of us don’t live up to picture the ‘ideal’ woman. Most of us don’t even want to.

    And that is okay.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you so much! I agree that the new trans movement masquerades itself as being so progressive when really it’s the exact opposite. Putting on a dress and makeup makes you a woman? How on Earth is that anything other than two steps backwards? Thanks for you words ❤

      Liked by 4 people

      • This is a completely incorrect assumption of what being transgender is. There are transgender women who love Star Wars and transgender men who play with dolls. Being transgender is about how you identify, how you feel about your biological sex, and how you want others to see you. Transgender people did not “choose” to be transgender to better fit with modern beauty standards, but to truly express themselves as who they are. And if that’s a man who wears frilly dresses or a woman who wears suits every day, so be it.

        Like

  5. You are a lucky one, Sarah, to get out of this unscathed and with a deeper understanding of what a woman can actually be – anything, but not a feeling. If only my daughter, who is your age, could come to this conclusion. Do you ever try to approach girls who are like you were ? I’m not asking you to talk to my daughter, I’m just wondering if you try to get your insight across or is it too risky for you? And if you do talk to them, what do you say?

    Good job, mom, for staying strong! I know my daughter hates me now and I’m prepared for these feelings to last a long time. If things change, I will be grateful for the rest of my life and I will be happy to wake up in the middle of the night the way you do!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hi, Sarah here. I have had conversations with girls like me (given they’ll listen) and actually one of my friends who also used to ID as trans told me recently that my conversations with them helped them come to desist. It’s hard when to that person they think you’re invalidating their feelings or existence, but a respectful dialogue about the academic side of gender went a long way with my friend. I’m open to talking to your daughter if she should ever want to! Best of luck, I know how hard it is for parents

      Liked by 5 people

      • Sarah, I’m so happy that you are able to have conversations with other girls. I appreciate your offer to talk to my daughter, but I don’t see a way of approaching that.

        What do you see in the horizon as the next trend that may be taking over kids thoughts on the Internet or is transgender still the hot “in” topic? Do you think the transgender trend is phasing out or still on the rise. You’re “on the ground” with this since you’re still in that age group.

        Liked by 2 people

    • This is exactly what PFLAG should be doing – helping heterosexual parents make these connections – but they have sold the kids to the transition industry.

      Liked by 4 people

      • We actually had a group like this once – although the focus was on gender non-conforming young boys. It was a science based program (imagine that!) run by the children’s national medical center in DC. They taught us a neutral stance” “you are a boy who likes girl things” and the difficult news too “and a lot of people don’t understand. So its best to keep some of your girl interests private” (that program no longer exists in this format ) But we had a weekend summer camp for these boys and it was beautiful. The most beautiful thing for me was the gay men who came out to be with us parents and kids – showing us (at least us the parents) how our kids could survive and even prosper one day – and everything would be ok for our boys. That is the type of sane organization still needed today.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. Sarah (and Sarah’s wise mom), thank you for sharing your experiences here! I applaud your courage and the generosity you’ve shown, facing your embarrassment, to explain how you were “duped” and what helped you see your way through to the other side. Your candid, thoughtful story will help many girls and young women.

    Your experience reflects our family’s in many ways but most notably, how finding therapists who are not gender specialists, who focus on mental health models rather than affirming trans identities, are critical to young women learning to love themselves, or at least, to feel less need to be someone, something, they will never, as you so eloquently explain, ever be.

    Brava, Sarah! I applaud you and they work you’ve done! Gender critical theory was the light that led my daughter to herself, too.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Brie, this is why those of us in states with ‘conversion therapy’ laws are so screwed. It is virtually impossible to find a psych who is not the one-way ticket to transition, and I mean … a fast ticket, at that. My kid could use some help around social anxiety issues in particular — the anxiety is what made the kid decide she was “really a boy” in the first place. (In other words, that becoming male was the route to solving all her bad feelings regarding her lack of power in the world, her lack of confidence, her lack of ability to be like a cool tough RPG demon slaying dude.)

      But the laws, slid in with gender language along with the sexual orientation language — like I said, those of us in states with such laws, and our kids, we are totally screwed. I have been banging my head against this problem for four years now.

      It’s enough to drive one mad.

      Liked by 5 people

      • I am in a conversion therapy state as well. You could find a sympathetic therapist who is willing to work with your kid even though it may be “reported”. Most of the laws passed in states have been cookie cutter versions. In NM the law says that “Conversion therapy” does not mean:
        (a) counseling or mental health services
        that provide acceptance, support and understanding of a person
        without seeking to change gender identity or sexual
        orientation; or
        (b) mental health services that
        facilitate a person’s coping, social support, sexual orientation or gender identity exploration and development,
        2 including an intervention to prevent or address unlawful
        3 conduct or unsafe sexual practices, without seeking to change
        4 gender identity or sexual orientation; or you have to find a non-professional to work with your kid.

        It would probably be possible for the right therapist to do her job and help your kid within these boundaries IF the kid were willing.

        In NM, the law only applies to professional medical professional and psychologists who work with those under 18. A lay person or someone trained but not practicing and licensed could probably talk with your kid.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you for your openness in sharing your beautiful story. I have often thought that all transgender thoughts come from unhappiness as you said and that the seed of unhappiness is not “being in the wrong body” but not belonging, not feeling good enough, not feeling valued, or not feeling secure. I’m so happy for you and your family that you saw through this nonsense to a healthier place.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I really want to share this with my daughter but I’m worried she will be resistant to the message if it comes from me. I don’t know how to help her really look at herself and why she feels she has gender dysphoria. I wish someone like you could come into her life and talk to her. Reading this gave me some hope though and I thank you for that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m going to share it with my daughter but, like you, I’m concerned that this will make her even more determined to start T to “prove” me wrong. I’ll have to try to convince her that it’s not about that — it’s about the fact that she can’t even legally buy alcohol for two more years, yet she’s being enabled to inject non-FDA-approved hormones based on no objective medical tests whatsoever. I know this is a losing battle, but I have to at least try. Thanks so much for this wonderful article. Wish me luck.

      Liked by 3 people

      • This is an excellent essay. Glad she has turned away from harming her body and brain with T. Yes, if we shared this essay with our daughters they would likely back further into the T corner. I hope parents take note and resist.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Sarah. Thank you for this fantastic post. You are a very good writer. I hope you continue to speak out. With the cheerleading that is currently happening around very young females transitioning, unneeded medicalization of very young healthy bodies is an inevitability. I am glad you avoided that. Dysphoria has always been around but not at the level it is now. Queer youth culture actually glorifies body hatred and dissociation. I just wanted to let you know it wasn’t always that way and doesn’t have to be in the future. Best to you.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. This has been very similar to our experience also. Thank you for adding your voice. The more voices speaking up, the more the tide can change. I’m very grateful that Brie spoke to me. It validated all the things I knew to be true and right and gave me hope for my own kid. My kid is 16 and has fully desisted.

    I very much understand the position your mother was in, not wanting to upset you or anger you, but wanting to save you from yourself, and willing to risk your anger and hatred to do so.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I am going through this now with my 14 year old daughter! It’s the exact same scenario. It started about a year ago with her wanting a haircut, then a name change and a binder. I feel the exact same way as you mother, making the exact same decisions right now. I hope my daughter realizes one day soon that she is a beautiful, unique, one of a kind personality, whether she’s a masculine girl or not masculine, that who and what she was born as is “self”. I hope she learns to love herself regardless of gender, sexual preference, looks, body type…etc…. I wish she could embrace her soul. Maybe she should read your story…

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Thank you and your mum for this post. I am trying to help my 13 year-old understand that changing her gender won’t change the things she doesn’t like about herself, and that her feelings of being uncomfortable in her body are so normal at this age (show me a woman anywhere who likes getting her period and I will be shocked). I think the pressure on young girls to be so sexualized is horrifying, and I can see how it can lead to it being less frightening to be a boy.
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience you brave young woman!

    Liked by 4 people

    • there is a major difference between not liking a period and wanting your ovaries removed because they cause you so much dysphoria. just saying.

      Like

      • Unfortunately you don’t need to want bottom surgery to qualify for T or top surgery. You just need to *say* the right things.

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  13. Brilliant piece of writing…thank you! I am the mother you describe, and my 13 year old daughter is exactly who you have been. we are struggling terribly here in the UK. The school have recently tried to intervene to change her name and pronouns (a boy name she had made up) telling me I do not support my daughters emotional well being, its been tough. I stay strong as a mother because I believe in my fight, and I will continue to fight. My daughter is suffering from anxiety and dysphoria, and I pay for private counselling…I don’t know what else I can do. I love her more than anything in the world, but there is no support for us to deal with this in the way I decide to ie slowly! My daughter is adamant she is male, I don’t care if she has short hair, wears boys clothes but I do not authorise a binder! We need help as the idea that my daughter will ever realise she is female is such a long way off…if ever – I pray that it will happen, I am desperate. The struggle is real, it rocks us as a family.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. caring mom, even Bernadette Wren, the psychologist at the Tavistock and Portman GIDS is very cautious about schools adopting this approach. Speaking in an article published in the Sunday Times this week……”She said schools were rushing to allow pupils to change their names, uniforms and gender pronouns as soon as they “got a whisper that a child might be querying their identity” and this was not in every child’s best interests.”
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/schools-rushing-on-whisper-to-label-pupils-as-transgender-0d8zm53qs
    (I’m not sure if this link will get you past the paywall, but registering for free limited access is easy enough).
    Maybe you could share it with your school head. The comments are very worth reading too.
    Gender, names and pronouns have made a big impact in my life over the last few years. I can’t even begin to imagine how painful it must be for you when it is your daughter’s well being that is involved. Stay strong!

    Liked by 2 people

    • OMG Thank you so much! I did send this into the school, I await their response! This came to me at just the right time, and I am so grateful, sending love x

      Like

  15. I am the mother of a recovering anorexic daughter. Reading these stories, both your article, and the comments sends fear through me like little else. EVERYTHING that the mothers of trans identified children experience is pretty much a direct parallel to what I experienced as the mother of a teen with anorexia. The difference was that the medical team I sought support from, challenged the dysphoria, rather than confirming it. Interestingly, if you take what my daughter believed about her body, and removed the factors that identify her mental health as eating disordered, it could very VERY easily be the ramblings of a teen with transgender dysphoria. And vice versa. The idea of confirming dysphoria rather than confronting is must be horrifying to the mothers facing this head on.
    My heart goes out to all the mothers here.

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  16. Thank you for your support and insight madanoraek! Very glad to hear that your daughter is recovering. Wishing you strength for the journey and hope that she soon recovers her health both physically and mentally.

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  17. Thank you Sarah! Every female that has the courage to tell their story makes it easier for the next to speak up. You are very brave and wise. I know that right now my own daughter hates my guts because I don’t agree with the dominant trans narrative. It breaks my heart that our relationship is suffering but I cannot lie to my own child. I try to tell her I believe her feelings but that does not mean that I feel transitioning is beneficial to her. I believe deep down she knows the truth but is not ready or strong enough to grasp at it. so thank you again. I’m not sure if you realize how important and valuable your words are.

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  18. I am really concerned for what’s going on in Canadian law lately, especially Ontario, they passed a law allowing the state to potentially remove children from their parents’ home if they don’t accept their gender identity. (It’s focus is on foster care/adoption/child protection cases, not biological families). It’s called Bill 89. The gov’t says that simply disagreeing with your child on their identity or expression isn’t enough to have the child taken away, that it would have to be part of a pattern of abuse. My concern is that some teenagers, prompted by the intense opinions of their peers online, may be emboldened to use this law against their parents/caregivers and might exaggerate claims of abuse in order to use the law escape home so they can transition. And not to get too “slippery slope” about it, but.. if it starts with foster care, similar laws could be put in place for all families.

    https://www.convivium.ca/articles/ontario-botches-child-protection

    There is a petition here: http://pafe-pafe.nationbuilder.com/stop_bill_89

    Like

  19. Pingback: Some (possibly controversial) readings on gender identity… |

  20. Nice story, but I think you left off some of the crucial parts of the trans experience— feeling like you’re going to die every time you see a full bathroom, being laughed at whenever you walk in front of a group of people, doubting yourself semiconstantly because of bullying and anti-trans people, and, most important of all, being constantly afraid that you just did something too feminine and now you will be forced to use pronouns, hormones, and names that don’t belong to you…
    (I know that this comment will be taken down in five minutes, but I had to say something.)

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    • It sounds like you don’t believe in who you really are and that you are constantly worried you will be found out to be somehow “fake”. This is not how people talk who are trying to just live an authentic life, it is how people talk who are afraid of being exposed. This sounds psychologically unhealthy. If you have to spend your time and energy on this kind of constant self scrutiny and self doubt and want to label everyone else who does not see you the way you wish to be seen as a transphobic bully, you are not in for a satisfying life. I wish you well, but I also wish that you could take some of the things people are saying on this site to heart and think about them for yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Except fot the pronouns I had every one of those experiences as a teen. Being bulllied, called a name that is Not your own and living in a constant state of panic that you’ll be laughed at, or worse, is not an exclusively trans experience.

      You may have been told that “Cisgender” people are always comfortable with their bodies, fully at peace with what they see in a mirror and how they think they’re perceived by others. This is a myth. Everybody, especially at a younger age, feels these things.

      The difference is between turning yourself inside out to avoid those feelings (and not succeeding) or coming to terms with what you see in the mirror and being ok with it enough to just Be in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me too, every insecure female (which we almost all are at some point of childhood/adolescence) fears these things whether they have experienced them or not.

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    • February, I agree with JParle and Julie, below. Just because someone is “cisgender” doesn’t mean they are comfortable with themselves and what they see in the mirror, or comfortable with the realities of what it means to be the sex they are.

      I also agree with GILAW. It is exhausting and detrimental to one’s mental health to constantly be afraid of being exposed, fearful of not “passing.” It makes me think of this excellent piece by the blogger La Scapigliata, who is a physician. https://lascapigliata8.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/impostor-fantasy/

      I hope you can one day find acceptance of yourself, including your female biology. Becoming comfortable with yourself in no way means you must become comfortable with or adhere to the roles and stereotypes society has assigned to female people. Feel free to (and please do) smash those stereotypes. Unfortunately, it is impossible for you to smash your female biology. Acceptance of this fact is a much healthier outcome, both mentally and physically, than using dangerous drugs and surgeries to make yourself appear male and living life constantly in fear of being exposed as an impostor.

      Best wishes.

      Like

  21. The myth that “Cis” people are comfortable in their own bodies and gender roles is laughable. Especially for females. We are groomed from a very young age to pick apart every inch of our bodies and we have to deal with becoming sexualised as soon as our breasts tell the world we are becoming a woman. On top of that we have to deal with menstruating which not only is messy and uncomfortable for many girls but also puts us through an emotional roller coaster. Things were bad enough when I was young but our society’s obsession with social media is grooming these girls to obsess over themselves. My kids gender therapist only explanation as to why I should allow medical transition was because my child avoided looking at herself naked in the mirror. Are you kidding me??!!! I told the therapist to google are women comfortable with the sight of their naked bodies and see what comes up. Oh! But I forgot…. this is “different”!

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  22. The blog Third Way Trans has such an insightful post on this subject. The post is called “dysphoria is very ordinary”. I wish every gender therapist or anyone living or working with an individual who is experiencing gender dysphoria would read it. I really appreciate how he speaks to connected to the world rather than focusing on how ones pain is so different from anybody else’s. It’s a theme he touches on in several of his posts. it’s funny that I have noticed with my daughter that she has a habit of always seeing how she is different and I wish she could spend the emotional homework of seeing how she is similar to other women. Everyone in her life that she deeply connects with is female and yet she doesn’t connect the dots. It’s so very heartbreaking because I truly believe that with time and good therapy which focused on female issues she could have come to accept and love herself one day. I hope with all my heart that she can do this regardless of going on hormones. It is simply amazing to me that therapists who know full well the damages and scope of female body hatred have not connected the dots yet with the overrepresentation of teen girls and young women presenting to gender clinics. Once the word gender is mentioned it’s all over and nothing else is explored. My 18 year old niece has said that it always happens in groups of girls and my college age niece made the same observation. How many young women’s lives will have to be sacrificed before professionals will open their eyes and speak out? It’s so very very sad

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hi, I absolutely loved it and would love to translate it into Portuguese sovmy sister that believes to be GNC for a while now could read it.

    Like

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