About

4thWaveNow was started by the mother of a teenage girl who suddenly announced she was a “trans man” after a few weeks of total immersion in YouTube transition vlogs.  (The daughter has since desisted from identifying as transgender.) After much research and fruitless searching for an alternative online viewpoint, this mom began writing about her deepening skepticism of the ever-accelerating medical and media fascination with the phenomenon of “transgender children.”

4thWaveNow has now expanded to feature not only the writing of the founder of this blog, but that of other parents, formerly trans-identified people, and people with professional expertise and experience with young people questioning their gender identity.

Parents, please introduce yourselves and feel welcome here.


From the founder and primary author of 4thWaveNow:

I created this site because mine is a viewpoint that is seldom publicly heard: that of a left-leaning parent who is critical of the dominant paradigm regarding transgender politics and treatment. My primary concern is children, teens, and people in their early 20s, particularly girls who are contemplating medical transition. While I may disagree with their views, I do understand that consenting adults have the right to do what they choose with their own bodies and minds.

Online, I have been accused of being “unsupportive,” even “abusive,” simply for daring to question whether lifelong medical treatment–injections and plastic surgeries–is the answer for every young person who has gender dysphoria. In my world, caring about, listening to, and lovingly parenting a child or young adult is not necessarily a synonym for unexamined “support” for everything the child says or wants. In fact, one of the main jobs in parenting a teen is, not coercion, but the offering of alternatives; discussing, and sometimes disagreeing.

It is my contention that the medical and psychological establishments are letting us all down in their rush to diagnose young people as “transgender,” then to give the message that medical treatment is the answer. Much of my writing now and in the future will focus on the adults who are pushing so many kids into extreme treatments. And I do consider hormones and surgery extreme treatment, if there is any possibility that something less drastic might be a solution.

If you are a parent looking for support, you’ve come to the right place. We are interested in hearing from parents, family members,  concerned professionals, and allies from across the political spectrum.  However, I am not personally in accord with conservative, religious-fundamentalist views about sexuality. I am a strong supporter of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.

Please read blog posts carefully before asking questions or commenting. I will respond when I can to respectful input. I don’t have time to keep arguing the same points over and over again.

Most of the voices in the media and in medicine are in opposition to my views. I’m presenting an alternative.

595 thoughts on “About

    • Wow Frank just wow. Thank you so much for your transparency honesty and authenticity. I would so love to talk with you privately. Bravo for your courage and your self acceptance and love. My 15-year-old daughter is struggling right now with her gender identity and feels like she’s in the wrong skin and wants to be a boy and it’s very challenging. My husband and I are trying to love her through this and support her but feel as though the world around us is not understanding there are people just like you that exist and that are jumping to the conclusion that it’s the wrong skin where it might be deeper than that. I understand very much about transgender but the D transitioning conversation just doesn’t seem to be happening and I think it could be helpful for our young girl and boy transgender confused society to understand that maturity might bring some validity and conclusions. Thank you💕

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  1. Another video, I really like about this person that decided to quit hormone since it was erasing history. A female vessel no matter what is done to that body is still what is a large part of who this person is. Never be cisgender and never complete alignment of brain and body but still accepting of being different. It was impossible to be a Cismale, Despite hormones etc.

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  2. Anyone else struggling with the news yesterday re transgender rights? I too believe that gender dysphoria is real and accept transsexualism. I am also an ally of LGBT and very progressive. I believe we all should be entitled to the same rights. I believe strongly that people should be able to use what ever bathroom they identify with. But every time there is a news story about Transgender rights, I feel such guilt that I accept others trangenderism, but question my own child. I struggle when the news story highlights a family that completely accepts their child in their new identity, when I still have so many questions. I think knowing my child’s back history and this sudden change of heart, makes it especially hard to just jump aboard the acceptance train. It’s all so very isolating.

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    • I feel the same way. I’m struggling a lot. I think that for me, it’s not that I am anti trans people or even my oh child being trans. If I had even an inkling that she actually was, I would support her. If this feeling continues to persist for longer than the three weeks she’s claimed, I will support her if in the future she desires to transition… But for right now I just need her to slow down and see how she’s feeling in a year or so. As of November she was cheerleading and wearing dresses to school, now two months later she’s saying she’s trans after two friends have come out as non-binary, but shows zero hallmarks- she doesn’t hate feminine activities, she doesn’t gravitate towards boys or boys activities,…At the same time, I do sometimes feel like a hypocrite, because I always swore if it were my child I would support them, and here I am thinking “this is just a phase”.

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      • I am experiencing something very similar too. Unlike other “phases”, it seems with “trans” that parents are shamed for saying, “let’s wait and see”. In my experience with my daughter, from everything I can see, she got caught up in a fad. Also, It seems like for kids to be interesting, popular, or even “ok”, they have to somehow nowadays embrace an alternative lifestyle. If you are just straight, keep the gender you were born with, are not a cutter, or don’t have some sort of emotional issues, no one (in society, school, big picture) cares about you or gives you attention.

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    • Hi purplemom
      Yes I often feel like I’m being a hypocrite and question myself about whether or not I really am as accepting of others as I claim to be. I’ve read story after story of individuals with gender dysphoria and those who identify as transgender and I believe these things are real. I would also like to believe that if I seen my child suffering of gender dysphoria or seemed to have a history of trending towards something other then her biological sex that this still would not be easy but I may feel myself at least stepping aboard the acceptance train. I have an impressionable teen and to be honest she has always been that way its just never went to this extreme. If the friends she’s with plays the piano, she wants to play the piano, if they eat broccoli, broccoli is her favourite food and so on. These are things I can ride out with patience and trying to gently guide towards not always being the follower but having interests of her own but if she ate veggies and learned the piano, there was no harm done. Because this seemingly came out of nowhere and I suddenly see her surrounded by it, I’m afraid that this need to fit in is much more serious then pianos and broccoli. Its been 2 months since her announcement and nothing much has changed other then I have become more aware of her friends, her social media and I feel like I watch even closer, looking for signs of depression. Its exhausting and I feel like I have little control over any of this without pushing her further away.

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      • Hi Kool Aid, I don’t think you should feel like a hypocrite at all! Give yourself a little credit there…. do you or do you not love and care for your daughter, more than any number of activists? You are the one with your daughter’s best interests (long-term and short-term) at heart, not some mixed up person who is only interested, to the extent they are at all, in validating their own world-view, and getting more trans-scalps on their belt!

        Many of us, myself included, were considerably more tolerant of the trans-worldview before it came home to our own doorstep. I won’t say I was 100% convinced even before this came up in my family; that’s because I was a support group leader who was getting edgier and edgier about who was coming through the door and what they had to say, but still probably the icing on the cake was when it became personal. Don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong when you say, I don’t see this or I don’t want this. And also don’t feel bad for learning new facts and having your opinion evolve. That’s what adults are supposed to do!

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      • Thanks worriedmom. You are absolutely correct, I do have her best interest at heart now and forever. This has definitely been a process for me. This forum has made me feel stronger and I’m not as weary about having my own opinion and no longer feel like I need to apologize for it. Although she probably thinks I know very little about her, I often think that I may know her better then she knows herself and certainly better then any of her friends. There are many things that can or will change but the fact that I am her mom that is something that cannot be changed. My only hope is that one day she thinks..hmmm, maybe mom has a point, instead of thinking that I’m just close minded and wrong.

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    • More research is needed before legislation is enacted, period. On the surface, I’d say if you can enter a space where you don’t belong and no one bats an eye, then enter that space and don’t call attention to yourself. Obama greatly disappointed me when he equated trans reparative therapy with gay reparative therapy, crippling any chance of differentiating between an individuals need versus their desire to be the opposite sex. Since of course no amount of hormones, surgery or training will ever make anyone actually become the opposite sex. We as a society need to consider the needs of the majority first. Is it fair to subject a locker room full of boys or girls to the subjective reality of a handful of opposite sexed students so the latter students feelings aren’t hurt? Should we copitulate to everyone who believes they’re something other than what they are? This is a slippery slope and we all need to consider how far this can go if it isn’t at least slowed down. The best support for those that deny reality is to deny their reality, loudly, not pretend the emperors new clothes look fantastic.

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  3. I think we can all support care and legal protections for people who truly need it – and at the same time be skeptical when our own kids seem to jump on a bandwagon. My own therapist – a somewhat older man – compares this trans moment to the gay rights movement. He said he saw many people experiment with homosexuality, although in the long run they were not gay. It sounded similar to the “desisting” behavior that parents have talked about here with trans.

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    • And the thing about people who might try out gay behavior, or even try on a gay identity, is that if they do ultimately decide it’s not for them… well, so what? Maybe at worst a person might get a little embarrassed, or if they were in a gay relationship with another person, their partner’s feelings would be hurt, but by and large, there really are NO lasting consequences from a person’s deciding he or she is or isn’t gay.

      Contrast that, of course, with having taken legal steps to change your identity, taking drugs, having surgeries, and having other cosmetic procedures, and also literally living as the other sex. Especially for the people who successfully established an alternative identity, and the folks around them actually believed they were the sex they presented as … that’s gotta be super-tough to walk back. Unwinding a trans identity is hard and in many cases it seems it can’t even be entirely undone.

      This is a huge reason why we parents argue it is critical to get it right the first time, because a person actually *doesn’t* have unlimited opportunities to alter his or her body and mind.

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  4. I can understand the fear. While there are legitimate gender dysphioric, unfortunately I think there is such a sad opportunity for predators, who are not dysphoric, to take advantage of such a law and prey on others.

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  5. I am so sorry for all of you who have found yourselves in the middle of such a very personal and devastating struggle.

    You shouldn’t feel guilty about having questions or doubts about your child. You just keep loving them and being the parent, protect and nurture your child.

    I am politically more moderate and not a liberal so I have been feeling the fear and concern about how brutal this trans activism has been on society as a whole and particularly on our youth.

    The open arms approach that the government and media and thus society, is wrong. Gender is BS. It is a copout for those with agendas to push in the LGBT arena.

    There should never be treatment that includes permanent, mutilating surgery and cross sex hormones just to help a person “be” the image in the mirror. What about people with anorexia? Should they be encouraged to lose more weight or go on a diet because their preception of themselves is so skewed? How is this really different than a cult?

    I hope each of you get to see your child desisting. I hope for all of our children that we can be proven right in questioning this

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    • So true. We have lost her– our daughter and she is gone. I cannot think of a better word than evil to describe it. Stay away from the siren sites that lure one in. You are who you were born and you have many choices over how to live your life but one cannot actually change genders. Is everyone drinking the Kool-Aid?

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    • My 13 year came back!!! I went through 3 months of nightmare, agony and pain as I realized my daughter had been sucked into the internet with a support group who basically guided her to believe she was transgender simply because she didn’t feel like a “girly” girl. We used to call it being a Tomboy! Be very, very vigilant with your young kids and stay tuned with what they are tuning into on the internet. There are many, many sites filled with “support groups” more than willing to lend your child a hand if they feel confused. Thanks to God and prayer my daughter found her way back. I will continue to keep everyone here who is hurting and struggling in my prayers. God works miracles.

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  6. Hello everyone and thank you for this opportunity to talk about this huge and difficult problem,
    My daughter announced her desire for transition to male last year at 19 so because she’s an adult I have no way of stopping her from rushing into it. I absolutely support her in general and am trying my best to in this but I am sick with worry for her as I feel she has got to this point through her mental health issues (mild autism, anxiety and depression) and hours and hours on the internet, which is where all her friends are.
    There have never been any inklings of any masculine traits in her; she is a very feminine, bisexual woman. She is unshakable and feels her problems will be solved by the transition. Rather than wait for an appointment with the NHS she is going to pay for counselling via Skype so that she can get hormones through the post from someone who will never even meet her.
    I am desperate and have nowhere to turn to. On top of this she attempted suicide last year so there is a sword of Damocles hanging over me if I get it wrong.
    Has anyone else been in this position with a young adult ‘child’? Does anyone have any advice?

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    • Rather than wait for an appointment with the NHS she is going to pay for counselling via Skype so that she can get hormones through the post from someone who will never even meet her.

      I am not a medical professional. However, this is what the NHS website says under the heading Monitoring:

      “While you’re taking these hormones, you’ll need to have regular check-ups, either at your GIC or your local GP surgery. You’ll be assessed, to check for any signs of possible health problems and to find out if the hormone treatment is working.”

      If your daughter is not using an NHS GIC (gender identity clinic), she needs to make sure that she has proper arrangements in place to monitor her health and check for possible bad reactions to testosterone (which certainly can happen).

      You may find it helpful to read this forum post by a young ‘transman’ your daughter’s age, who warns about the administrative problems, as well as the dangers, of not having regular “blood work” carried out and properly recorded.

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      • Thank you for your reply, Artemisia and for the links. I shall inform myself as fully as possible about the dangers of largely unsupervised hormone use and talk to my daughter about this.
        What I really hope for is that she can get some proper, thorough counselling to help her to find herself and be happier in her own skin, but I have tried for ten years already to get help with her problems (cutting, then anorexia, general anxiety and sleeplessness) and got nowhere. She has done many an online quiz to find out what is causing her suffering.
        The only support I have found for her confusion over gender has been from the local LGBT group, but this has merely been a question of giving her a helping hand along the road to transition rather than an exploration of whether that is the right road to take.

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    • Hi CMM, I’m new to this site and don’t have advice. But I’ve been going through this with my son for several years. He announced his desire to transition at 21 and is turning 25 next month. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to adjust to this, to the point of grieving the loss of him to accept my “daughter”, but I can’t. I feel your pain, so just wanted to send some love and hugs your way.

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      • I’m so so sorry you are going through this too, beautyindirt and your love and hugs mean so much, thank you. I think the impossibility of accepting the new son/daughter comes from the certainty that the transition is one truly dreadful mistake. If it seemed right and the only possible outcome, we would be more able to accept the change. Gut feelings are impossible to ignore.
        I am trying to keep some space inside my head for myself through all this and to find beauty in life’s tiny radiances – the sun coming up behind the hill, the starlings whirling at dusk and today the pale blue sky showing at last.
        I hope we can all get through this and just keep loving our ‘children’ as they and we struggle.
        Love and hugs are coming your way, too.

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      • I think marching or just standing there with signs is a great idea. Is it in Washington? If so I can be there. Is there anyone else that would go ? Even if it’s just a few of us we would get some coverage.

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      • The APA meeting (Psychiatric) starts May 20th in San Diego. The APA meeting (Psychologists) starts August 3rd in Washington.

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  7. Sadly, when parents are stunned by their child’s trans annoucements, trans advocates read that reaction as transphobia, disapproval, control, etc.
    Maybe, parents are stunned because the child has no history of this interest, no earlier indication – or even other issues like anxiety or depression.

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    • It’s taken me several years to convince my son that I unconditionally love and respect him. I still disagree with many of his choices and behaviors, but now he knows that I’m not transphobic. There is a lot of indoctrination connected to both ends of trans advocacy.

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    • Intrepid, I think this is a really key point! In my time as a PFLAG leader, with kids who were gay or lesbian, the parents fell into two camps: where the parents had a “sneaking suspicion” from the time the child was very small (primarily because the child engaged in behaviors more often attributed to the other sex) or where it was an “out of the blue” revelation. The parents where it was a complete surprise often had much more difficulty with things. They had had that much more time to build an image of their child as being heterosexual.

      The sad thing is that today, the kids in the first group (the “gender non-conforming” group) are much more likely to be evaluated for being transgender and then pushed along that road. My guess is that the number of children who are literally “transgender from birth” is virtually nil. It’s much more likely, in my experience, to be that these were the children who were going to “turn out” gay or lesbian, but for being placed on the trans conveyor belt.

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      • I was encouraged by my daughter’s therapist to embrace her new name and call her “he”, even if it was just a phase. The opinion being that doing this would not make her “turn transgender” if she otherwise was not. I suppose the idea being that it would make her feel as if I accepted her regardless of gender. But I just couldn’t get on board with this idea. To me it is approving something I wouldn’t otherwise approve of or even felt like it was authentic. My gut was screaming that this was not the right answer. Maybe I’m wrong about that, who knows. But I look back over the years of raising my kids and the different struggles that arise. You can read parenting books, ask your doctor and friends but at the end of the day, you have to follow your gut and do what feels right. After having children I try my hardest not to judge others. Being a parent is hard and there is not a one size fits all answer to anything. I think for the most part, many of us are just trying to do the best we can. If others want to judge that as being transphobic or controlling, so be it. I just hope one day my daughter sees that I was loving her unconditionally even while I was not always agreeing with her choices.

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  8. I’ve changed my post name, as I’m worried my daughter my find me….we have been going through this roller coaster for a good 6 months now, but to all our family she is no different….shorter hair, but not much else. Her psychiatrist told me today she does have gender dysphoria and social anxiety, but which came first, she is unsure of ….. She also added it may or may not develop into the need to transition to male, only time will tell. Also rather flippantly that children/ teens with gender dysphoria are a dime a dozen! And that I need to let my daughter guide me. What the!.? Can she not see what she is saying… I pushed further, do we look at hormones etc…..not yet was her reply….do her periods disgust her? No they don’t, but what if I said yes? How many teenagers celebrate each month?
    After last session I asked about this transgender feeling she had, to be told, ” she is 13, let it go!” That made me feel better, but today I feel like I’ve been punched in the guts again. I asked my daughter if she wanted to grow a penis, she looked disgusted. No ! She said, but ” when I see a handsome man, I think I’d like to look like that, and I hate people staring at my boobs!, does she think handsome men are popular and have an easy life? I don’t know….if she said she wanted a cat face, what would that mean? It’s heartbreaking as a parent, so I always listen to my mum who said, just ride through it…..

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    • I love your name and feel the same way. My son didn’t mention transitioning till age 21, but he did cross-dress as a teen. I really wasn’t troubled before I learned that he wanted to amputate his penis. I haven’t been the same since…I feel your heartbreak. Very interesting the psychiatrist told you to let her guide; I remember inviting a father to a private online group and he replied “I fear learning more…going to let my child give me the information they feel I need”. There seems to be a deliberate attempt to stifle parental wisdom surrounding this topic. Also, interesting question about her thinking handsome men have it easier- I’ve actually partially attributed my son’s desire to become female to the demonization of white males. Your intuition and connection to your child is shining. Wish I had something more to offer. Hugs.

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      • I think that’s a part of it too. It seems these days there is nothing worse than being a white male. Not to mention the instant “special” status of being trans.

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    • I am very sorry for what you are going through and everyone out there.I think there needs to be space for people with different viewpoints on culture, society, religion or not, politics.
      Most of us are parents with children teetering on the edge—or lost. We should be able to share our grief without concern that it fits neatly into a particular box.
      I do not support Trump—most definitely not. But I do support abolishing the bathroom rights. I am simply against the normalization and spread of this transgender fetish.
      I honestly believe that it is a small percentage of people who have true identity disorder issues at a young age. I feel compassion for them and if I were their parent, would not focus on it and would tread carefully.
      But all of those teen girls and young adult women doing the FTM thing? That is something else entirely.
      We lost our daughter and she lost herself.
      The bathroom problem has an easy answer: always supply a single & private bathroom for everyone: and that means people who use wheelchairs, families with young children, anyone looking for an open bathroom, and people who gender bend. Easy. You don’t need to get into the politics of it and pushing an agenda. Simply supply a private bathroom that anyone is free to use.

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  9. I just found another great site that made me feel better this morning
    http://Www.thejungsoul.com...
    Got me thinking, we need these people as therapists for our children. Maybe all of us patents can be therapists for each other’s kids…. Mine accepted the fact that I told her her psych said her anxiety issues were causing her dysphoria, and her anxiety was caused by pubity and adolescence , but if I said “I think” it would be brushed aside x

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  10. Jungian Analysts are great! They’re not typical mental health therapists caught in the trans or die lies. In fact, the vast majority of those I spoke with, see the trans cult for what is it. There are approximately 30 Jungian analysts in my state. I’ve called every one of them – only 2 treat teens.

    A mental health therapist who is also a shaman CAN be helpful. A search for shaman is the best way to find them. As well as hypnotherapists, can be helpful. As with any therapist, an in depth interview is extremely important. If they cannot tell you how they will treat your child, it’s likely you should move on. The 1 or 2 successful therapists (non-affirming) I’ve talked with, stated they treat the primary conditions – anxiety, depression, etc. and dysphoria is the secondary condition. Unless the primary conditions are treated, the chance of healing is minimal.

    I wish I’d had this information prior to going to a half dozen therapists who only made the situation worse. The healing didn’t begin until we stopped seeing these people.

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  11. I agree Kristo, it does seem to be a very common theme. My daughter has extreme social anxiety, eating issues, feelings of being uncomfortable with her body, and was scratching her sides with safety pins. Ugh. I am so grateful that we were already seeing a counselor for her anxiety when this came up. The counselor and I met privately so we could discuss a plan of action and she was incredibly on board with treating underlying anxiety issues and feelings of discomfort with her own body rather than rushing into trans affirming therapy, and believes any medication or surgery should wait until adulthood. I almost cried walking out of her office. My daughter has started taking an anxiety med and seems better- more talkative, less depressed. I’m still scared for her, but I feel like we’re on the right path. She has some friends I feel she might need to be pulled away from unfortunately, and I’m not sure how to go about that.

    I do sometimes feel like I’m failing. I want my child to know she is loved unconditionally. If as an adult she chooses to transition, I will of course mourn the loss of the dreams I had for her, but she is my child and I love her no matter what. I just want her teen years to be fun and carefree, and not laden with heavy, scary adult decisions. If it were as easy as flipping a switch I would be much less concerned, but it’s not. This is a major deal- surgery, hormones, name changes, birth certificate changes, etc… For a child whose only reasoning is “I’m uncomfortable with my breasts”.

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  12. I was searching the internet to try to figure out what the real motivation was behind the transgender movement and I found the following article. I haven’t verified the sources yet but, if what they’re saying it true, it is truly horrifying. Particularly the section that starts with an interview with Dr. Nicholas Cummings, past president of the American Psychological Association. Is anyone else aware of this?

    http://www.wnd.com/2016/05/whats-really-behind-americas-transgender-mania/

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    • Oops. The above-noted article has some pretty strong Christian references in it towards the end. Not sure if it should be posted. But I still think it brings up some very disturbing points.

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      • The above-noted article has some pretty strong Christian references in it towards the end. Not sure if it should be posted.

        There are many, many flavours of Christianity. “Christian references” per se are surely not the problem. What matters is the kind of politics being promoted.

        The article does mention that Dr Cummings (cited, I note, via Lifesite, a right-wing, anti-homosexual website) is concerned about the effects of the American Psychological Association (APA)’s rejection of the principle that “required that all public positions of the APA be supported by scientific evidence”.

        I want to note here that ‘scientific evidence’ can be faked, fiddled, or misinterpreted: still, there are well-understood rules for conducting, presenting and interpreting research. The APA certainly should seek to base its public positions on evidence.

        But I do not think that that is the main thrust of this article. At the heart of it seems to be a not-so-veiled call for a so-called “religious liberty” law, similar to the one that was passed in Mississipi just ten days before it was put online. That law “allows private and public businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples, so long as that couple’s existence conflicts with the ‘sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions’ of the business owner” [Guardian report].

        At this moment right-wing Christian ideologues are pressing Trump to sign an executive order that would go beyond the Mississipi law in “creat[ing] wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity.” [Draft order and analysis]

        Not just premarital sex, either: extra-marital sex too.

        Americans: these people want to take you right back to the world of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. That is what is at stake for you here. Beware.

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  13. The interview with Dr. Cummings is very informative. Hopefully those that are jumping ship from APA can create a new organization, perhaps RSBPA Rational Science Based Psychological Association.
    I understand that our new politics have conditioned masses of people to discount anything coming from a Christian viewpoint, however the core of Christian teaching is based on the Ten Commandments which is the basis of a functional society. I’m not a church goer, but there is value there. Perhaps one of our outstanding writers, can frame the important information in the article for a more secular audience. This information must get to the masses in a positive way. There must be a way to get people to understand the reality of this juggernaut of lies.

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  14. Well said and exactly correct. This ‘fad’ will eventually run its course but for those of us in the middle of this nightmare that fact is not very comforting.

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  15. Does anyone know of good sources on the risks and side effects of using testosterone for FTM transition? I would like my daughter to know what she is contemplating is not risk free.

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    • there are good links here:
      https://www.transgendertrend.com/is-my-child-trans/gender-reassignment-treatments/

      The mitochondrial damage study is particularly horrifying and one I’ve shared with my would-be FTM. Not that it has impressed the kid much. At 18, not much sinks in, esp with a black-and-white thinker.

      Not in the list of links available above is this piece on the negative effect of testosterone use on FTMs’ language processing. Loss of grey matter has negative consequences.
      https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/econ-rst082815.php

      The ‘informed consent’ forms (several linked at transgendertrend) are themselves very illuminating.

      Excessive T has documented bad effects even on natal males whose bodies are naturally exposed to more of it. Supplemental T in amounts required to change secondary sex characteristics an natal females can be expected to affect many of the same physiological processes. But the results of this massive experiment on natal females won’t be fully known for a few decades.

      They’re all guinea pigs at this point. As I’ve told my kid, they deserve better. YOU deserve better.

      Not that kid is listening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve told my daughter that when a person encounters an ideology that says it is okay to hate your body, crush your body (binders), drug your body, experiment on your body, and mutilate your body, the appropriate response is to run like hell, not embrace it.

        Her response, “Then what do I do about my dysphoria?”

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      • I think first of all you get out of daily contact with communities and/or psych providers that are advising you that your dysphoria is going to kill you. When you are exposed to that message repeatedly, you assume you must fix it fast or DIE. In such a setting you have no options, you know?

        thirdwaytrans has a great video on mentally framing dysphoria for yourself in a way that offers options, vs “i’m trans and there is a single fix.” https://thirdwaytrans.com/2016/10/13/the-identity-trap-and-alt-ways-to-work-with-gender-dysphoria/

        Former transmen whose writings I’ve read have found relief in numerous ways, including physical exercise, yoga, meditation, therapies addressing past trauma, and networking. There’s an active online community for women who currently are or have previously felt disassociated from their female bodies:
        https://twentythreetimes.tumblr.com/detransition_support_forum

        One of the detransitioners who writes frequently has started a survey of coping methods for dysphoria; I look forward to seeing the results of that.

        Useful youtube channels by thoughtful detransitioners:

        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChCA_LScK33yNsiq0BIAa2g

        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAq3K9og-W3Hko8UzYxOpew

        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW6W-xWXxmZZGQ8ZSrRfs-Q

        Very good blog by an eloquent desister:
        https://b0rnwr0ng.wordpress.com/

        There are resources out there. But the pros are not going to offer them, straitjacketed as they now are by the sociopolitics of their profession. There are many natal women successfully coping with gender dysphoria. Perhaps some of this info will be useful to you and your kid.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You don’t even know a single bit about transition. I mean, people who transition get blood test regularly to keep an eye on these. They don’t just go and do testosterone to the point their mitochondria is damaged. If you’re not getting your health checked regularly, it’s your fault, not testosterone’s fault. It can be fully prevented as long as you follow the guideline and check your blood.

        And FTMs don’t get excessive T. You also get your hormone level tested for this reason. Doctors administer testosterone just enough that your T range would be adult male’s range. It is totally different from injecting T while you already have T in your body and going excessive. And no, just because your chromosome is XX, having the normal range of testosterone DOES NOT hurt your body, especially after you get hysterectomy. Same for XY having estrogen. It’s you who’s not listening. I AM ENTIRELY against kids and teenagers going on permanent change, but being informed is another thing. Your facts may be right, but the treatment system already established a way to prevent those risks. As long as you follow them, you should be fine, and any responsible adult must follow health guidelines for them.

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      • And stop being obsessed with detransitioning. Let the kid explore his or her identity without going through a bodily change. If that kid becomes an adult and still wants to move on with transition, let them do it. Don’t shove all these “detransition” stuff to them at that point, if they find this not a thing for them. Just like some gays who claim to be “straightened” and happy, there are people who detransitioned and happy. By the same token, there are people who live as gay and happy and people who transitioned and happy. I’ve seen people around me who physically transitioned and became happy ever since then (started as an adult), people who detransitioned and happy, and people who transitioned and then detransitioned and then transitioned again, because they weren’t happy with detransition. Everyone’s different, and don’t assume all FTM or MTF people can live happily after detransitioning like them. They are they and your kid is your kid. Just let them be what they want to be without altering their bodies until they are grown enough to make that decision, and when they reach that age and make that decision, support them. If they somehow decide to detransition, that’s when you gotta show these videos. I align myself with the concern over this “tumblr trend of becoming trans among teenagers,” but I still think you shouldn’t shove your agenda to your kids.

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      • asdf, if the ‘system’ were perfect for FTMs using testosterone why do you have to sign a consent form absolving the provider for a list of potential side effects as long as your arm? The research on decades-long use of T by natal females hasn’t been done. It’s NOT out there. Don’t you think we’ve looked? I hope it all works out for you (if you’re FTM) and for all who choose this path in the manner you are so confident that it will. When my kid’s reached the mid-20s “age of reason” the kid can make that decision too. Actually, if kid comes up with own $$ they can certainly make that decision before that, legally speaking.

        But don’t act like you know it’s all going to be OK for every person who does it. Don’t act like we don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, or that we can’t do research, or lecture us that of course it’s all going to be OK. There’s no indication that the people in the mitochondrial damage study were not compliant with the safety protocols. The study was done in a university hospital and the people had only been on T for 12 weeks. 12. You cannot assume that this damage is prevented by being on the protocol, at least not from the published study.

        As for staying on protocol, yeah, give us a little credit for knowing our own kids. I’ve got one who hasn’t even been compliant with routine oral care until way up into the teens. Forgive me if, at this point, I don’t have a ton of confidence that this person with severe ADD is going to voluntarily keep up with the bloodwork and the appointments without constant parental reminding/nagging. At least not the age kid is now. maybe it’ll change. But that’s not this person (and trust me, I know, because i have LIVED with this person for quite a long time) at this point in life.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I found this blog on a different website after reading an article about transgender children. I would like to share my story. Hopefully someone out there will read it and get something out of it. I am not a parent of a transgender child or teen, however, between the ages of 16-20 I myself identified as transgender.

    I have seen a lot of talk about social contagion, psychological disorders like autism, and influence by social media. Not to say those things are not factors, especially in this day and age, but my personal experience was a little different.

    I grew up the only girl in a family of all boys. My father was in the military, and a good deal of my life was spent on military bases, around mostly military men. I was a very shy child to begin with and moving around from base to base didn’t help when it came to making friends.

    Whats more, my father, a sort of macho military type, had several sons with which to teach, play, and spend time with, and he didn’t know how to handle a female child. Him and I didn’t have much of a relationship. My mother, albeit unknowingly, only made matters worse by always teaching me “that’s for your brothers, you’re a girl, you don’t need to be doing/touching/learning that.”

    I stayed behind quietly in the corner while my brothers learned about cars, hunting, and sports. They did their “boy” things and I was left by myself, to my own devices. I began to associate being a girl with being left out, with not being the same, with somehow being less.

    Because of this, I began to feel offended when my gender was pointed out, or labeled. For example, someone might say to my brothers “Hey, dudes!” see me and add “Oh, and dudette!” and this would be incredibly hurtful to me. In my eyes, I was being called out for being different.

    In high school I was friends with everyone and no one. That’s the sort of person I was. I didn’t have any particular group I associated with, but I would drift from group to group and spent most of my time by myself. Eventually however, I made friends with a group of girls who were into what is known as Yaoi. This is a Japanese based romance genre where the two lead characters are both male.

    I had never had a serious boyfriend, and the American education system failed me on sex ed, so this was my first introduction to anything sexual in nature. A lot of it was explicit, and I was a teenager just coming to discover my own sexuality, so now, not only was my experience with being a female already negative, but I was learning that sex and love were somehow better when it was two men. Women need not apply.

    It took maybe another year of dealing with these very complex emotions toward my gender before I came to a very hard conclusion. I was certain that everything that was wrong in my life must be because I was a girl. If only I had been a boy, everything would be better. I must be transgender.

    It took several months after that before I finally found the courage to tell my mother. Telling my father was out of the question. He and I didn’t talk. In those months leading up to the big reveal, I dropped several hints, such as bringing up conversation about transgender people, choosing it as my topic of school papers, etc. So when the day finally came, I think she knew what I was going to say, but she still didn’t know how to respond.

    I don’t really remember exactly how the conversation went, but I remember her saying “I am sad to hear this, because I really want for you to be my little girl.”

    Still to this day not really sure how I feel about that reaction. But I know she did the best she could with some really intense news from her child.

    A few weeks later I was in counseling. When I told the counselor why I was there, she didn’t seem to even care. She said “okay” like it was nothing but didn’t ask me about why I thought I was transgender. At 16 years old, she simply took my word for it. There was no real discussion about my history or anything of that nature. I was transgender. Just like that.

    This made me very happy because I was completely convinced I was transgender. I believed it, with all of my being. This is something that, as parents, I hope all of you realize about your kids struggling with this. If their experience is anything like mine, it is very real to them. Its important. It may even be the center of their entire world. Whether or not they change their minds after a week, or live as a transgender person for the rest of their lives, they are transgender during the time they are transgender. And I was transgender during that time.

    I wanted everything that came with it. I wanted hormone treatments and surgery. I wore boy’s clothing, cut my hair, and bound my breasts. I passed pretty well. At a glance, people would probably never guess I was a girl. I lived as a boy, even convincing my brothers to call me by a boy’s name, and they supported me.

    Surprisingly, even my dad supported me. Maybe he just wanted another son? I’ll probably never know. We never really ever had a conversation about it.

    My dad however, was still in the military, and a new move was coming up. We were set to move to a foreign country, and my whole family was excited about it. On the other hand, my counselor informed me that I would not be able to pursue transition in this new country. All I had to do was say the word and she would place a medical hold on me, preventing me from moving anywhere my transition needs could not be met.

    I didn’t want this. I wanted to transition, but not if it meant putting a hold on my life. I wanted to visit this new country, I wanted my family to be able to see this new country too, and to me, the decision was a no-brainer. I put the brakes on my transition so we could go. Fortunately, I had not begun hormones yet.

    I kept living my life as a male and even graduated high school in a suit. I moved back to the states and began working a retail job. My intention was to start my transition back up as soon as I could, but wasn’t making very much money. I worked that job, as a male, for two years while I saved up for my transition. Never once in all this time did I ever waiver from being transgender.

    Until Halloween.

    One of my coworkers dared me to dress as a girl for Halloween. Dress. Heels. Makeup. A wig (I was sporting a buzz cut at the time). I thought this would be hilarious, so I agreed. I showed up on Halloween dressed to the nines. I anticipated weird looks, jokes, and to feel a little bit embarrassed.

    I didn’t anticipate what actually happened. I didn’t really realize it at the time, but I looked very pretty. Other people noticed quickly. Customers were more polite to me than they had ever been in the two years I had worked there. Strangers gave me compliments on how I looked. People seemed more comfortable with me, more open, and just generally nicer. I wanted to feel righteously angry about it, but I secretly admitted to myself that it actually felt really good.

    It was like something just clicked.

    A little while later, I quite that job in pursuit of something more lucrative, and at this new place of employment I decided to do something I never would have thought to do before that Halloween: I presented as female.

    Everything started slowly falling into place after that. It took a long time, but I started to realize just what had happened to me and why I felt the way I did for so long. I came to terms with my childhood, and once I was able to accept the feelings I had as a child, I was able to come to terms with my gender.

    It’s 8 years later and I love being a woman. I have embraced sides of myself I never allowed when I was young because I wanted so much to be one with my brothers, and then because I wanted to be a boy. I love dressing up. I love to cook and sew. I love the color pink. These are parts of me that I never would have gotten to know if I had never learned to just be me- a girl.

    I am doing well, and am even trying for my first baby! I don’t regret what I went through because it’s something I think, for one reasons or another, had to happen to me (since apparently the counselor I saw wasn’t up to the task of helping me figure things out). I learned a lot through those 4 years of being transgender, about myself, and about the world.

    I would be singing a different song though, if I had succeeded in my plans to permanently alter myself during that time. Especially now that I am trying to start a family. You never know where life is going to take you, especially when you are that young.

    I do have transgender friends. Two FTMs. I support them and their decision to transition. I support anyone who makes such a decision, especially if it will improve their lives. People have the right to make those kinds of choices for themselves, to be who they are, and I would never speak out against the transgender community.

    However, children shouldn’t be making decisions to have surgeries or take body-altering drugs. They don’t know who they are yet! They are still figuring things out. Let them live their lives. Let them become healthy adults. After that, let them do what they want as long as it makes them happy and they aren’t hurting anyone else.

    When it comes down to it, life isn’t about a person’s genitals.

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  17. Going through this too with our 18 year old daughter.
    Anyone in the U.K. there are some fine people beginning to try and organise against extreme trans ideology, not against transgender people.
    Start here:
    https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/2877199-Gender-Critical-Reference-Thread?watched=1&msgid=67588116#67588116

    If you look in the feminist chat section too –
    http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/feminism/chat
    somehow the tide has to turn against the unnecessary medicalisation of our children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems to have turned on mumsnet, which is great, but there are still people out there being told that transition is the best thing for their four year old.

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  18. Someone on Mumsnet suggested at important point – that all the public agencies – schools, social workers, police, government agencies, politicians, NHS information services, – they all have seem to only have access to one side of the argument, which is provided as a service by pro-transition lobby groups (Gendered Intelligence, GIRES) run by and for transgender people, and amongst the genuinely laudable aim of reducing hate crime and bullying, it all just goes to reinforce the message that people can literally be born in the wrong body and that if so the only treatment is to transition. So all those professionals making policies and delivering teaching, don’t have access to training and information which is provided in a more objective way, or even based on solid science. So everyone (including the children themselves) starts to believe that a gender non-conforming child or teenager needs to transition or face suicide as the more nuanced analysis and the many different causes of gender confusion, and the psychological minefield it is, has no room to grow.

    Somehow that needs to change without risking further the mental health of children who are at risk of bullying, through no fault of their own. Nightmare.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree, scaredmum. Politicians, judges, teachers, social workers, police officers, CPS workers, etc. are not doctors or researchers (at least most of them are not). They are only repeating the information they’ve been given, and are making decisions and creating policy based upon the information they’ve been given. They’re being told that kids have an innate gender identity and that this identity must be honored at all costs or kids will commit suicide.

      We have to find a way to reach them with correct, factual information. Right now they are being spoonfed only crap, but they are eating it up because it is the only information offered.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Come on. Gender dysphoria is real, and there are tons of, tons of people living happily thereafter. I understand that people need to be cautious with children and teenagers, and that’s what I thought this site was about, but from the comments, I get the vibe that this site is denying transgender people’s rights to access to medical transition, even if they are adults. (e.g., that person in the comment whose daughter came out at 21 years old and now 25 years old and the personstill wants to change her daughter’s identity. You showed support.) Get some common sense and don’t dictate what other people gotta do or not. Unlike you believe, a lot of MTF and FTM people became happy because they could physically transition. Being able to become a cismale or cisfemale is a totally different discussion, and that’s not even what MTF or FTM people want. I share the same sentiment for children and teenagers, but let adults be adult and choose their life.

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    • Nope. Adults get to do what they want, even if their parents think it’s dangerous. To me “adult” means at least mid-20s when science affirms that frontal lobe development is complete (or close to it) in most humans. If my kid is still ID trans by that time … eh, adults get to do what they want with their bodies.

      I think you’d find that’s a pretty common view among the people here. But if you’re only going to do a drive-by based on minimal engagement with the content in the site, you’re going to respond based on wrong assumptions.

      As for “happily ever after” … yeah, we all devoutly wish that. I think the jury’s still WAY out in terms of the long-term health of natal females who use T for decades. I don’t see any reason to assume that their health arc is going to be any more favorable than that of men who use supplemental T (in cases where they are not already T-deficient). But no one’s doing the health research on FTMs at this point, so it’s a major crapshoot.

      If you think it is not “common sense” to discuss this fact with the children we are responsible for (in many cases, still FINANCIALLY responsible for despite their nominal “adult” status), then you have a different definition of the term than I do.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I can only speak for myself, but that’s certainly not my view. I do truly believe tang gender dysphoria is a real thing- I’ve worked with transwomen and transmen and I believe they have the right to live as they see fit. I am very supportive of trans rights, including their right to use the bathroom of their choice. What I am concerned about is what I’m seeing as transgender becoming a “fad”. My daughter has never once expressed discomfort with her gender until about 2 months ago, when she dramatically chopped her hair off, told me she was trans, and started scratching her sides with safety pins. I’ve looked up signs and symptoms of being transgender- she’s never gravitated towards male peers, or make activities, she doesn’t resist showering, she’s always picked out feminine cuts of clothing, she has never expressed a desire for a penis, or any dissatisfaction with her vagina, she’s never tried to pee standing up… If she had spent years insisting she was a boy, wearing her brothers’ clothes, hanging out with boys, etc… I would feel differently. Instead I’m being asked to believe that almost overnight my daughter, who was a cheerleader as recently as November, is not a girl because “she doesn’t feel comfortable with her chest”. No teenage girl does! I just want her to slow down, experience life, enjoy being a teenager, dress how she feels comfortable, date, etc… And not worry about such heavy decisions. Additionally, I have serious concerns about the medical side effects of transition- 13 is really young to decide to give up your fertility, to possibly damage your breast tissue, etc… If these feelings persist and she decides to transition as an adult, she has my support. She’ll always be my child, regardless of gender, and my love is unconditional. I just feel like this is a huge, life changing decision that should be approached with much more care than “oh she says she’s trans, time to start transition”.

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      • You know what? I’m pushing 60 and I hate my boobs, too. They’re bigger than I’d like as an artifact of fertility treatments 25 years ago. I’m never going to love them.

        The diff between me and these teens is — I’m old enough to know that lopping off healthy tissue isn’t a good method of dealing with these feelings. I’m old enough to have seen surgeries go wrong, to have seen bad side effects of medical treatment occur despite very low odds, to have seen the health of people I love go downhill despite their extreme efforts to stay healthy. I’m old enough to value a functioning body even if I don’t much like the way that body looks/feels.

        These kids aren’t old enough to have developed that kind of perspective. Honestly, I feel like job #1 is just … spinning out the time until they have had at least a minimal chance to THINK IT THROUGH in a more adult manner.

        If this makes me a witch then give me my broom, because … I can’t see any other intelligent/compassionate/responsible way to deal with the issue.

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    • I am always amazed how many people do swallow it. But they are not living it and they do not understand the dynamics of this identity formation.

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  20. Does anyone know where to find in person support for *open* discussion with other parents? I have not at all found that with PFLAG. Are there groups forming anywhere? I am desperate to connect with other like minded/progressive parents who are also sifting through all of the studies/literature/etc. and trying to pick the best path for their child. I am in the Boston area. I have spoken with upwards of 2 dozen therapists and been to multiple PFLAG groups with different parents and facilitators. Only one narrative seems to be allowed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is noplace. This is the place. With the media and med/psych pros almost universally on the “transition express” there is zero support for the cautious approach. And in addition to dealing with the stress of daily life with their trans-identified kids (most of whom have pre-existing mental health issues), parents are terrified of being verbally attacked, accused of bigotry/phobia/hate, harassed, doxxed, reported to child protection, etc.

      Sometimes I think the fear is exacerbated because the most vocal/threatening transactivists are, in fact, natal males. (Not all, but most.) And most of the parents who are trying to parse this on behalf of their kids, adolescents, and young adult children appear to be the moms. Who are socialized to be conflict-advoidant and (with good reason) terrified of people who come off like angry and threatening men — whatever their gender identity. (I’m not saying dads aren’t upset. But they’re not talking about it. at least not online, with rare exceptions like gendercriticaldad. It’s pretty clear that in most cases, not all, these tough decisions about parenting get kicked over to the moms.)

      Then there’s the issue of trying mightily to protect the privacy of our kids, and to maintain relationships with them while they are adamantly identifying as trans. It’s hard to be engaging with other parents, not to mention writing for the media (online or off), if your kid views such actions as unsupportive or (worse) phobic hater attacks.

      Ergo the level of frustration you see at 4thwavenow. We’re jammed into a box. There are only two accepted narratives for a parent of a self-identified transkid: affirming supportive cheerleader or nonsupportive wicked parent who’s probably going to drive their kid to suicide. Alas.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I refuse to accept that i’m in a vacuum and that the internet is the only place to turn for support. I am thankful for sites like this but I also need a place for dynamic real time ongoing discussion between parents and even professionals. I am in an area known for academia and critical thinking, not to mention liberal bent. Of all places, I know people like me are somewhere nearby but too afraid to talk – or paralyzed by fear that they will appear unsupportive of their child. I have created this anonymous account and will continue to seek others like me, who want to gather to discuss this and support each other in person. I think the only way to open things up is to talk openly. I also think we need to find media willing to talk about multiple sides of the issue regarding youth and transition. I watched the BBC documentary and believe it’s only a matter of time before someone in the US takes this on in the same way. We need to voice our concerns to PFLAG as well since they are only supporting one narrative in support groups and aren’t providing a space for open discussion (I will say there was one meeting I went to with all parents of older LGB folks – they looked at me like I was speaking another language, with regard to the sudden prevalence in adolescents declaring a trans identity. They thought all of my concerns made perfect sense. Unfortunately, though, unless one has the personal experience of having their child in this, it seems they won’t be compelled to do the research. I know because before I was in it, I parroted the typical liberal narrative. Now I get the harsh reality. I hope the people in a position to make change will speak soon. As always, my disclaimer: my only agenda is love and support for my child.
        If anyone in the Boston area would like to connect, my email is progressive minded parent @ gmail dot com (remove spaces, etc)

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  21. I am so thankful that I found this community. Late October/ early November 2016, my 14 year old (who has never before shown any inclination of being transgendered) suddenly announced to her father and I that she was “Trans” and wanted a new wardrobe, binders, etc… My husband and I were taken aback and not sure what to do. We also noticed that at high school, which she had just started, she was spending time with a group of young ladies, several of whom were all suddenly “coming out” as FtM. There was also a LOT of drama and attention being given to these teens. We told our daughter that no matter what, we would always love and accept her, but that we felt it was irresponsible of us as parents to provide no guidance and just follow her on this extreme and very spontaneous journey, especially since it seemed that she was trying to go along with the crowd she had found and also trying to get attention for being “special”. We said that when she was 21 if she still felt this way, we would embrace her as our son and give support, financial assistance, etc… to her transitioning. Our daughter glared at us and stomped out of the room with typical teenage flair. We continued on about our lives until a little over a week ago, when our daughter ended up in a somewhat dangerous situation with a group of peers, one of whom was abusing his prescription medication. Our daughter told us about this several days later. She also informed us that she had told this to the social worker at her school, whom she had been seeing from time to time. After asking a lot of, albeit over due, questions about exactly what was going on at school and with peers etc… our daughter disclosed that she had decided she was “trans” after watching a You Tube video and taking an online “are you trans?” quiz. She said the main question that made her “wonder” if she was trans was that she likes to play male characters in video games. Our daughter had mentioned something about this to her English teacher, who arranged a meeting at the school with a transgendered person (all of this completely behind our backs) to discuss transitions etc.. with our daughter and then marched her down to the social worker. The social worker asked our daughter why she thought she was “trans” and how long she had felt that way. Our daughter said she had felt that way for about a month and that she thought so because of a quiz on You tube. Again, without including or sharing with my husband or I, or taking time to get to know our daughter, her history, and get more details, the social worker began to give our daughter “homework assignments” to join an online “trans” community and certain numbers of people to “come out to” in certain time frames. When confronted by my husband, I, and several other family members, the social worker changed her story about the events several times in front of us and when we asked further questions and pointed out discrepancies, she a) blamed our daughter or b) stonewalled and said that she had followed the school district’s protocol and if we wanted to know what happened, we could read the district website. Her supervisor/the assistant principal insisted that the social worker was “wonderful” over and over and that she had “followed protocol.” It was then insinuated that our daughter didn’t have any type of support (we have loving, close-knit, accepting family with diverse members) and , while not directly stated, the impression was that we, who have known our daughter her entire life vs 5 meetings with a social worker, don’t know what she needs or how to raise her and we shouldn’t be included with what the social worker and the school are doing to try and take care of her and finish raising her. It was also insinuated that we are not really to be part of this process and that the school will take it from here. For now, we have switched our daughter’s English teacher, she will see her school counselor (not the social worker) if she needs someone to talk to at school, and she will be switching schools next year.

    I realize I have just rambIed and rambled. I have had an upset stomach since finding out about all of this. I am incredibly angry at the school and at society in general who is supporting the school. I am also so very anxious and worried about what the future holds. Any words of advice or additional resources would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

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  22. It is terrible. You don’t treat a problem-of-the- mind with a terrible physical “cure”. I would not wish any of this on my worst enemy. And I am sorry that you are going through this.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Discovering this website has been interesting for me. I’m 18, I’ve spent a lot of time in the past five years on tumblr, and I’ve seen the process that resulted in your kids identifying as trans.

    The fact that so many of your kids are medically transitioning to me is horrifying. I know lots and lots of people who identify as non-binary, but very few who identify as trans men. Those few trans men are transitioning, but that’s two or three people compared to dozens of non-binary people.

    It’s also interesting to see what you don’t have, namely, the specifics of the internet culture that propelled this narrative of transition; understandable, due to its nature. Tumblr queer politics is…special, and it changes extremely fast. You probably don’t know that back in, say, 2012 being an FTM was great and cool, and then the pendulum swung that FTMs were oppressive and bad and being non-binary was great, and now being an FTM is okay again. I believe this pendulum swing has contributed to the rise of medically transitioning, because it was never really associated with non-binaryness.

    And there’s lots of other things. Yaoi fanfiction and the fetishization of gay men. The idea of ‘You don’t need dysphoria to be trans’. Tumblr’s distaste for straight people. The fact that tumblr culture has heavily promoted and then discouraged other identities before, such as asexuality, demisexuality, and pansexuality, and more specifically the current backlash against absurd ‘mogai’ identities. That was a particular gender fad where people identified as genders with silly descriptions like ‘A gender that seems to “branch off” into several other genders but also containing a “core” gender.’, often accompanied with pronouns based off nouns. One thing that would seem to be relevant here would be ‘autigender’, a gender specifically for autistic people. ‘Autigender’ is now seen as fairly offensive.

    There is a blog who’s primary purpose is ‘ace discourse’, which is the argument about whether or not hetero-attracted but asexual people are lgbt, but has a side bit about collecting stories from people who used to identify as variety of ‘mogai’ labels. The person running it has noticed there’s two labels which a majority of these people now call themselves. One of them is ‘lesbian’. The other one is ‘gay trans boy’.

    I know this is pretty long, but I wanted to give some insight into the world your children live in. (And I’d be happy to go into more detail.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lilly that is really interesting and I would love to hear more – my daughter says she is trans but more likely anxious depressed and autistic. Spent quite a lot of time on Tumblr in the past.

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    • Another one here with an anxious, depressed and mildly autistic daughter that woke up one day after watching you tube videos and declared herself a boy. Add to that a sexual assault and she never wants to go back to being a young woman.

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  24. Thank you so much for posting this! I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the YouTube transition and de-transition videos. When I last looked – at least a year ago, it seemed that lots of FtM’s posted transition vlogs. And then very, very few posted de-transition vlogs – almost like they were “out of the club,” or something.

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  25. Hi Lilly, I really appreciate what you have to say and I would like to hear more. What started out a couple years ago as seemingly harmless websites/chats/anime etc… (not sure how to label them all), has resulted in us having a 14/15 year old with serious issues, attitude problems, awful peer groups, and unfortunately largely supported by the education system. She also decided that she was FtM over the span of about a week based on 2 friends and a You Tube video. Any more thoughts and feedback you have, I would love to hear and more specific names of popular “teen” sites. I am seriously revamping my parenting strategy and internet rules.

    Also, since I can’t control what my daughter reads/visits on the internet forever, do you have any advice that you would give to an almost 15 year old on responsible internet use?

    Thank you!

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  26. Lilly, thank you for sharing your experience. I would appreciate hearing more from you.

    I would love to see an online forum for discussion on this. Given how difficult it is to find in person support or a place for open discussion, perhaps an online forum would be possible. Does anyone know of one that exists for parents? It would be particularly useful to be able to put out questions and have parent support/answers from folks who have come full circle. I know thirdwaytrans has created a discussion forum for detransitioners. I have found some great blogs like this one but haven’t found a discussion forum for parents.

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  27. Thank you Lily for sharing this world– that most parents don’t even realize exists. You have a mature outlook. Please continue to share. I am really old-fashioned. I don’t think identities formed on the internet are real.

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  28. I agree regarding relationships formed on the internet. These “support groups” my daughter found basically tried to brainwash her to think she was transgender when she realized later (thank God before it was to late) that she was just a tomboy and not a “girlie” girl.

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  29. Hoo boy. Where to start with tumblr. Also, I want to say first off that when I say “you”, I mean the general “you” of people who write on this website and not either of you in particular, since I don’t know your situation. This is going to be long.

    A fairly pervasive thing on tumblr is the idea that everyone’s feelings are valid. This gets repeated a lot. Your daughter has very real pain, and while it’s probably not gender dysphoria, it is something. YouTube and Tumblr didn’t create these feelings–they just labelled them. It may seem out of the blue, but internally she’s probably been having issues for a long time, and just now found something that seemed to describe those issues.

    On the idea of describing her issues, I think it’s also pertinent to add that talking about your mental illnesses is very acceptable on tumblr. There are lots and lots of descriptions of anxiety and depression–often from people who are fairly severe. Maybe she’s seeing that and going: I’m clearly not like that, so I can’t have depression/anxiety. There’s also a lot of posts talking about things that are symptoms of mental illness but the posts don’t explicitly say that. Something like “that feel when you sleep for sixteen hours but you still want to sleep”, say. Maybe she’s seeing that (and there are lots of posts like that, and lots of posts that are about social difficulties) and assuming that it’s just natural to feel this way, since everyone else does. Tumblr can also be extremely anti-psychiatry (not usually because of trans related issues) and anti healthy coping methods.

    I know a lot of your kids are same-sex attracted, but there has lately been a trend of opposite-sex attracted girls identifying as boys. This is new, even for tumblr, and it doesn’t seem to show any sign of stopping soon so I’d thought I’d discuss that too. There are two statements I can make about tumblr: one is that it’s a place on the internet where it’s okay to be weird and socially awkward and female, and talk about it. The other is that it doesn’t like straight people. (With the exception of straight trans people, usually). It’s hard to be a gay teenager in a world where you’re the extreme minority and society dislikes your existence, so being able to…turn the tables, in a sense, feels good, and allows you to vent your anger. But, like I said, it’s the one big place on the internet where you can be weird and socially awkward and female–except that if you’re straight, you don’t fit in on tumblr either. And every other avenue where you can pretend has been closed off, except being trans. Let me explain. This part is long, and has a lot of things that are solely my opinion, but I think it also sheds some light on some of the details of the lgbt community on tumblr and tumblr in general.

    There has always been, in ‘alternative’ internet communities and in real life, women calling themselves bisexual who were not really truly bisexual. You can see people in the polyamory and swinging communities complaining about it if you look. I have no reason to believe Tumblr is different. Now, I’m not saying anyone called themselves bisexual with the specific reason that they didn’t want to be disliked for being straight, but that social pressure was clearly there; maybe they find girls very pretty or think kissing one would be alright, even. Lately there’s been a trend of a distinct effort to make positive posts about liking girls, finding girls attractive, etc., as a way to unite lesbians and bisexuals after there had been some…pretty nasty and bad discourse between them. These posts have always existed on tumblr, but there’s never been a /movement/ for it, and there’s also a somewhat increase in talking about sex. If you’re a bisexual-who-isn’t, it’s suddenly very in your face that the experiences and feelings of ‘women loving women’ isn’t yours. And tumblr hates cultural appropriation.

    Then there’s non-binary, which is something even more nebulously defined than trans man or trans women. It’s…feeling like you’re neither a boy nor a girl, some outside-of-the-gender-binary gender. It’s complicated. It has basically no requirement to be dysphoric, either. But it’s changed, too. Formerly, most non-binary identities were entities unto themselves, things like ‘genderqueer’. But now a lot of non-binary people consider themselves male- or female-aligned. There’s even a pretty popular trend of people calling themselves ‘non-binary lesbians’, which I’ll get to later. So it’s being sort of a girl, and a sort-of-girl who’s only into guys would probably be viewed as straight–which wouldn’t have been true a few years ago, but it is now. And a few months ago there was arguments about whether or not ‘bisexual’ men who are into women and female-aligned non-binary people are oppressed, and the answer is no, so saying ‘bisexual because I’m into men and male-aligned nb people’ is also out.

    The last one is asexuality, grey-asexuality and demisexuality, which I’m putting together because they’re considered a ‘spectrum’. (And yes…this being offensive to autistic people has been endlessly debated.) Asexuality is, as you probably know, having no sexual attraction. Grey-asexuality, or ‘gray ace’, means experiencing sexual attraction very rarely, and demisexuality means experiencing sexual attraction only once you’ve gotten to know someone. There are other terms, but these are the main ones. I will also note many autistic people are asexual; there’s been multiple studies on this.

    I saved this for last because you’ll probably notice some parallels. Asexuality has always existed, but it’s never been super common. But then it suddenly became SUPER popular on tumblr. Everyone was asexual, or grey-ace, or demisexual. There was some disagreement with this, particularly with demisexual, but it was quickly stamped out. Asexuals were queer. LGBTA–with an ‘A’ that had previously stood for ‘allies’–was changed to ‘Asexual’. 11 year olds were being told they were asexual due to not having sexual attraction, as were people with trauma. Posts abounded about how you could be asexual and still want to have sex. Real asexuals made some noise about this, because they didn’t want to have sex and don’t want people thinking they do. They were ignored or called acephobic.

    Now, over time the grand swell of people identifying as ace went down, but there were still more people calling themselves ace than statistics would suggest. And last year there began to be a backlash, specifically against asexual people who are romantically hetero attracted. This seems to have started from a slew of posts by asexuals that were extremely homophobic. Thus began the ‘ace discourse’: are hetero-attracted asexuals lgbt or ‘queer’? The gatekeeping side says: no. And it doesn’t make sense to identify as asexual if you want to have sex. And it doesn’t make sense for 11 year olds to identify as asexual because they’re probably going to change later. And if you identify as asexual because of trauma, well, you do you but you should consider therapy. And a lot of lesbians said that people told them that since they weren’t attracted to boys, they must be asexual. There’s a lot of anger, a lot of it justified. I’ll come back to this, and specifically to the blog I mentioned in my first post, but here’s the conclusion to my initial point: the only place left for a straight girl on tumblr to not be a straight girl is to be a gay trans boy.

    Gatekeeping trans identities isn’t acceptable. Saying you need dysphoria to be trans makes you ‘truscum’. And unlike liking girls, which is a thing people talk about fairly in detail and realistically, nobody really talks about what’s it’s like to actually feel trans (possibly because a lot of them…aren’t.) And if you look in the ‘mlm’ (men loving men) tag, you’ll see a lot of fairly feminine female individuals who generally aren’t even trying to pass. The other thing is, at least a little, the yaoi/slash. Basically, a lot of girls are into watching or reading about gay men having sex. There’s…a least a touch of autoandrophilia here, in my opinion.

    Anyway, I know most of you are probably like, well, my kid isn’t into boys so this isn’t relevant, and that’s true, but I hope I at least provided some insight into the weirdness of tumblr-lgbtness, but there’s another thing. Some of these gay trans boys used to consider themselves lesbians. I have no idea why.

    This leads back into talking about something I mentioned in my first post. There is a blog which was formed to discuss the ace discourse, but also had a side thing of being a place where people could talk about their trip through various identities, called ‘mogai hell denial’. (‘mogai’ is an acronym that was created as an alternative to ‘lgbt’ and it was used by a community that was basically a hotbed of thinking personality traits are genders and not knowing what the phrase sexual orientation means). Here’s one: “straight cis girl > bi cis girl > enter mogai > biromantic heterosexual > genderfluid (possibly) biromantic > heteromantic bisexual > FINALLY gay girl (not comfortable with lesbian but that’s a whole other can of worms) I had to go to professional counselling to overcome the comp het i was being forced into. the more obscure the label =/= the cooler the person”. I picked this because there was definitely a ‘more obscure label = cool’ trend going on on tumblr for a while. Some of them have more labels, some of them have fewer, but most of them have something other than just straight/bi/gay.

    There’s a lot of trans boys who used to be lesbians…but there’s also a lot of lesbians who used to be trans boys. And a lot of those lesbians think of themselves as non-binary. (And non-binary women and girls, too, often). I realize this is strange, inasmuch as woman is a ‘binary’ identity in the tumblr gender framework, but this is what it is. I’m mentioning this because it might be something worth exploring with your child. I know you’d prefer your child be totally happy with being a girl, but you have to start somewhere. ‘Non-binary lesbian’ acknowledges her complicated relationship with gender. (This is important, imho, because a lot of posts here say things like ‘all teenage girls are uncomfortable with their bodies changing and the limitations of the female role’ and, while that’s true, being a lesbian is an inherently different experience with gender that straight women are never going to truly be able to understand.) Many non-binary lesbians use ‘they’ pronouns and prefer a different name than their given one, and yes I know you don’t want that either but: it’s a process. It allows her to keep the trans label but consider herself a ‘girl who likes girls’.

    This is uh…extremely long, oops. And I still have more to go, but I think I’m done with tumblr. For this post, anyway, if you have a specific question about tumblr you can ask.

    I want to talk about my experience now, because I relate to a lot of your kids. I was a feminine little girl, frilly dresses, ballet, etc. So were your kids. But…being feminine gets harder when you grow up. There’s a lot more expectations, especially with appearance. Maybe you were excited to shave your legs and buy eyeshadow; I was not. I also had the sense of being ‘not like other girls’: part of this was me being an intellectual snob, and part of this was that they were obsessed with boys and I…wasn’t. My body made me uncomfortable. And there I was, with the internet. I was ‘questioning’. I spent time on Hudsons, which back then (c. 2012) was basically the only online resource for FTMs. I tried to bind with stockings. I remember wearing very loose shirts borrowed from my parents. I even thought of a male name for myself: Julian. I was never really…trans, per se, but I was half way there. And then one day (I wrote it down, but in a notebook back home), I realized I wasn’t. I just wasn’t. It felt good. I can’t explain why I came to that realization, independently of anyone (I didn’t tell anyone until after the fact), and your kids didn’t. But, well, there it is.

    Later, I decided to buy some clothes from the boys’ department. This was after reading some of the more…extreme lesbian feminist ideas about femininity being bad. My mother was rather confused, but let me wear what I wanted. (I’m not ‘out’ to my parents, but, uh, they probably know.) At one point I even bought a binder, it worked but was slightly too small (but hey, cleavage), and well, that was that. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that wanting to wear boys’/men’s clothing is a normal part of the lesbian experience, especially of a teenager still trying to find her way in the world. There’s some posters here…not all…but some, who don’t even like their daughters dressing masculinely. You need to be okay with that if you want to have a daughter. And I know that makes me sound like the trans camp, but clothes are different from hormones. Maybe she’ll never want to wear a dress again. There are adult lesbians who have barbershop haircuts and a wardrobe entirely from the men’s department who are fine with being women. It’s a thing, and I realize it’s a thing almost entirely exclusive to lesbians that is probably somewhat confusing to straight women. But it is a thing, and always has been. Maybe she won’t be like that! I don’t wear cargo pants and flannel as much as I used to, and I don’t force myself to sit with my legs uncrossed anymore. But I do still wear boys’ clothing, because I want to.

    On to the specific questions by some of you…
    1). Youtube. I have no idea. I don’t watch transition videos; I used to, but not in a while. Transition videos are something you actively seek out, whereas you can be on tumblr and just passively see trans stuff.
    2). Responsible internet usage. Uh…well…that’s hard. I have definitely irresponsibly used the internet and seen non-age-appropriate things. Being responsible with the internet comes with time. I’m way more likely to say to myself now: This isn’t content I want to see or engage in, and I’m going to go to a different website or page. You have to know your limits. I would recommend: reading a wide variety of topics–I have definitely had internet-reading ‘phases’, brief but intense obsessions. Anti-vaccine people, autism, mommy blogs, illiterate college athletes, charter schools, the anti-English sentiment in Quebec, psychiatric disorders, homeschooling, and probably others I’m forgetting. Tell her to keep an open mind, but not too open, because there’s a lot of crazy people on the internet with convincing but ultimately bad ideas. I remember liking David Gorski, who runs a science blog that takes down medical quackery. You could find some websites that promote critical thinking about a particular topic and suggest them. The other important part of responsible internet usage is not getting into fights with people. If someone has an opinion you disagree with, don’t engage them; if someone disagrees with you, ignore them. This especially goes for things that are inconsequential, like fandom arguments.
    3). Other teen websites. Well…Twitter. Twitter is different than tumblr, but bad in its own right, and you should be concerned about Twitter usage among your non-trans kids. Tumblr is mostly engaging with people you don’t know and your close friends; Twitter is everyone at school. Twitter is where, pardon my French, shit goes down. Twitter results in the whole grade being called into the assembly hall, Twitter results in your kid’s classmates comments winding up in the Huffington Post, Twitter results in your kid’s high school being investigated by the US Attorney’s Office. Happened at my school! Well, the last one wasn’t…entirely Twitter, but it played a pretty big part. I would also worry about Reddit, especially if you also have a son. Reddit is male tumblr, sort of. It’s not all bad, but there are parts of reddit that promote ideas you probably don’t like. I could also see it leading to a son becoming trans in the same way as tumblr does to a daughter–reddit is full of awkward, slightly-autistic nerdy guys, many of whom hate ‘chads’ (straight men into sports who get all the girls), and lots of trans women. Hm…other websites. There’s musical.ly, an app that’s more popular with the middle school set. It’s lipsyncing/dancing to a song, but there’s a lot of 12 year old girls being a bit…risque on it. There’s myproana, which is a pro-anorexia website. There’s archiveofourown (ao3), a fanfiction website which isn’t bad per se, but has a lot of fanfiction with very dark topics. Fanfiction.net isn’t so popular anymore and it has more rules but it’s there too. There’s also wattpad, a place where you can self-publish original fiction, and again it’s not bad but there’s some bad content. Deviantart isn’t popular like it used to be, but it’s where bad fetish porn lives, same with FurAffinity for the furry set. Encyclopedia Dramatica and Kiwi Farms–I came here from Kiwi Farms!–are pretty mean spirited and Encyclopedia Dramatica has a LOT of pictures you do not want to see–but they seem to be things mostly guys are into. There’s, um, lchat, which is a lesbian forum where everyone is awful. Its Urban Dictionary definitions are fairly accurate. I can’t really think of anything else. Doesn’t mean it’s not there, but just based on places I go/went/my friends go, that seems it.

    Wow, this is about 3000 words! I got carried away. I’d be happy to provide clarification on any topics, although I really know very little about these Youtube videos all your kids are watching. Ohh but some of those videos are ‘how to make a binder out of control-top pantyhose’…just so you know.

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    • Thanks Lilly. Very illuminating.

      My initial gut reaction is — there is SO much mental/psych energy going into figuring out how to label yourself. I mean, way too much time IMO.

      I feel like some ppl just don’t have enough of a fulfilling life outside the digital realm, so they get pulled down these obsessive navel-gazing paths. Some of which are, no doubt, perfectly fine, taken in limited quantities. But, again — so much energy that could be directed to doing something productive.

      Sometimes I think it was better when most people had to, you know, go out and get JOBS, even in the latter part of grade school.

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    • Wow, Lilly. Can you really be only 18? You sounds as though you are a Professor of Alternative Identities. Thanks for enlightening us as to what is out there. Most parents haven’t a clue. I knew that my daughter had become lost on the internet. She was in a dark world and I caught glimpses of it. Questioning her core identity. Pornography. Proxy servers to defeat us. Hating us. A psychotic breakdown. I used to wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg? As in, did her mental health problems lead her to these Tumblr sites (and others) that encouraged her to question her identity? I decided no. I believe she was perfectly fine until she discovered this alternative universe. After that, she became unglued and we lost her. Parents, if you are already on this site you know to keep your child off the internet and phone. And yes, that is very difficult.

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      • Sorry Lilly– I hope I did not scare you away. I went on a bit of a rant. Just a very emotional topic for me.

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  30. My sons sole validation that he is transgender is because he identifies and loves being the female character in anime and my little pony role playing. That’s it! He is convinced! Plus the girl who is obsessed with him is so afraid that if he presents as male she will lose him

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    • This is worth a read. Too bad it is not published in a widely-read journal. The author delves into many nuances of the transgender subject. I do wish he had covered the whys and hows of how this identity formation came to being– as in internet addictions and perhaps social contagion. At least that seemed to be the case for our daughter.

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  31. I’m a woman married to a woman who as a young girl, wanted for a time to be a boy. She (and I) are grateful she never transitioned and we have deep concerns about youth who identify as transgender. We’re concerned for these kids safety in terms of taking hormones, permanently altering their bodies via surgery, and receiving “support” as a means for brainwashing. In addition we are seeing emerging links of transgenderism as way toward transhumanism, eugenics, and the elimination of LGB persons. As a same-sex couple, we are giving voice to those who disagree with using sexual minorities as a means to eliminate sex and gender. If you’d be interested, I’d love to write something from this point of view. Anyway thanks for your hard work! You may be literally saving some kids from permanent damage.

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  32. I think overal this is a very even-handed paper. True, the author does not go very deeply into possible social/environmental causes, but the inference that there needs to be a psychotherapy component before acquiescing to a person’s transitioning is strong.

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