So I have figured out a few things vis-à-vis the few (and they have been few, so far) people who personally attack me, claiming they only do so because they ”care” about my child. By “attack” I mean character assassination, not respectful debate.
First, they believe without an iota of doubt that there is such a thing as a “male” or “female” brain. And one’s male or female brain absolutely must dictate what sort of body it is attached to. Second, they believe that even a toddler innately knows which brain they have. When that child says “I feel like a girl” or “I feel like a boy” that subjective experience is objective reality, and no one—no one—has the right to question it. Ever. The only viable option is to support their assertion with all that modern medicine and pharmaceutical products can supply. Even questioning this orthodoxy amounts to child abuse.
The people who vomit their bile on me believe a child’s self-professed gender is as hard-wired and as objectively indisputable as their left elbow. They fervently believe this even if said child is of the age where they are also saying they are –or they wish they were–a dog or a tractor or Spiderman or a princess.They don’t think gender is a social construction. They don’t believe life experiences might mold a child’s idea of gender. No, the gender cake was already baked while they were in the womb. So if a kid is referred to and treated as the opposite gender–by parents, teachers, doctors, psychologists–from the time they’re 2 years old, if they’re on puberty blockers, if they are indoctrinated that this means they are “transgender,” those years of experience won’t have ANY influence on whether they choose to medically transition later. No pressure at all! Case closed.
For all their supposed knowledge of neuroscience, they never seem to have read anything from the decades of research pertaining to pediatric brain development, the years of childhood make-believe, of confusion of fantasy with reality…the relatively new knowledge that the frontal lobes of the brain—judgment, decision-making, awareness of future consequence, impulse control, self monitoring–don’t develop until age 25. None of that has any bearing on theGender is Set in Stone at Birth dogma.
And their ideology is as impervious as granite. It’s all nature, no nurture. To these people, 15 years of a girl being told she is actually a “he” couldn’t possibly influence a biological girl (oops, I mean, “assigned female at birth”) to move on to medical transition when she’s older, even if, actually, she’s a girl who would have grown up to be a lesbian (which is what statistics say usually happens) if she had just been left alone to figure it out on her own.
The transactivists are not interested in any research that could cast doubt on their hypothesis . They only want to cherry pick studies that claim there is a male or female brain. Even though THOSE studies have been disputed, and generally have a subject base consisting mostly of trans people who’ve alreadytransitioned and been on hormones for years. And, of course, the conclusion they draw from those flawed studies is that the brain dictates the body it’s attached to, period. Hell, I even saw someone crowing about an article touting head transplants in the future for trans people. Cut off your “male” or “female” head and attach it to a donated body of the opposite sex! Problem solved.
I’ve mostly engaged in civil dialogue online. I came here in the first place because there aren’t many people raising the questions I am, from the perspective of a parent who cares enough to dig deeper, and I want that point of view to be heard. And I want other lefty parents like me to have a place to go where they aren’t dismissed as ogres and transphobes. Where they aren’t told that–simply by questioning, by expressing doubts–they are personally responsible for the suicides of troubled teenagers.
In my short time here, I’ve learned a ton about what it is really like to have gender/physical dysphoria, to have the intense desire to transition to the other sex. I respect that experience. I’ve talked with people who have medically transitioned, and I’ve adjusted my views based on things they tell me. I’ve been humbled; I’ve learned, and I’ve opened a few minds myself. I’m doing this in good faith, and most other people seem to be doing the same. Those of us who are running “serious” theme blogs have a purpose outside entertainment. We feel like we have something important to say. Disagreements I’ve had are generally respectful. I have zero interest in making enemies of people I don’t even know. I have better things to do with my time.
But, like anywhere else on the Internet, there are a few haters. Because I am running a blog which dares to question the trans orthodoxy, I occasionally get drive-by vitriol, usually from kids who are angry at their own parents. I get told I am a terrible mother, an abuser even, of my daughter (except they always say “son” based on the sparse personal information I’ve shared here, if they’ve even read that, which I doubt). Apparently my “son” is exactly the same as all the other “sons” out there, despite the suddenness of all this, and how it only arose after a short time of binging on certain Internet snack bars .
They claim to “care” about my child, they are “scared” for her, they are “worried” for her; they automatically assume it’s “him” because remember—if anyone, anywhere simply says they might be trans, then that is the word of god from on high. It is sacrosanct.
I’m not naïve or stupid. I knew venturing onto Tumblr would be—let’s say, a rough and tumbl ride at times—and I’m not going to let myself be destroyed by the words of an angry or unhinged stranger online. Haters gonna hate.
But I will say this to those few shit-throwers:
You don’t know me. You don’t know my family. You don’t know my daughter—hell, call her my son, I don’t care. You don’t have the slightest idea where we are in this process. You are clueless about what kind of parent I am. And most importantly: You do not “care” about my child. You don’t “worry” about her. You’re not “scared” for her. I’m the one who is doing that. Your feigned “caring” is just a way to lash out at someone who is daring to raise questions about a dogma you have imbibed, and it bothers you. You don’t want anyone upsetting your apple cart.
I’m not changing my Ask box policy. If you send me hate, you go straight to the trash bin. All you’ll get is the chance to briefly spew your cyber-bile onto a stranger. If that floats your boat, knock yourself out. But it won’t make me shut up. Most of all, don’t flatter yourself that you “care” about my child, so you might as well let go of that little self-aggrandizing delusion.
And to the ones who scream “Unfollow me!!!!” (which I invariably do): Did it ever occur to you that following a blog is sometimes a way to learn something new? Just something to consider.
Reblogged this on Stop Trans Chauvinism.
Very grateful to have come across this blog. I seem to be in the same situation as you. Am scared of alienating my child (FTM trans) if I share my thoughts on all this as I too question the orthodoxy around this. Had no idea what a minefield this whole thing was. Am trying to find the time to work my way through this emotionally and intellectually whilst supporting my child.
I have contradictory feelings about the internet. On one level this support has been crucial to his well-being. On the other hand the ideas that are coming out of it are so destructive. I was even told I had no right to feel the pain that I felt for my child, that even that feeling of fear and loss for my daughter was transphobic. As you say you are the one that’s doing the caring, the worrying and supporting your child. That seems to be something that some out there are denying us as parents.
LikeLiked by 3 people
Dear FrightenedParent, thanks for writing and sharing. You are not alone. I want this to be a safe place for parents like us to connect. I will be writing to you privately. Thanks again.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Orthodoxy? No… Parents are supposed to provide adequate medical and/or psychological healthcare for their children. In case of a trans child, you have a few options. First: take her/him to a counselor who will encourage exploration and self-discovery, who maintains a non-judgmental positive and safe environment, regardless of findings [best option]. Second: deny everything, pretend there’s no problem and solve nothing [intermediate option]. Third: Send her/him off for “reparative therapy” and actually do harm to your child [worst option].
The nice thing about “trans orthodoxy” is that there is no dogma. Female or Male: doesn’t matter. Social transition, medical transition or no transition: doesn’t matter. Nature or Nurture: doesn’t matter.
And on that note: if it’s nature then it can’t be helped and your denial of support will only hurt her/him, if it’s nurture then she/he is suffering under the current social system and your denial of support will only reinforce the idea that she/he “didn’t turn out right” and her/his very existence is wrong.
Grief is denial, bartering, anger, depression and acceptance. Med/psych experts are affirming because denial from significant others perpetuates denial of patients, and leaves all of the remaining stages more difficult. I think you both need an affirming therapist: one who tell your child that it’s okay to be whoever they are, one who tell you that it’s okay to not understand at first.
“Parents are supposed to provide adequate medical and/or psychological healthcare for their children.”
I totally agree with that statement. What I don’t agree with is that the current psychological-medical establishment is providing that care.
There have been plenty of medical fads in the last 100 years that seemed like the answer at the time. My position is that the medicalization of gender dysphoria is a fad of monumental proportions.
Accept my child for who she is? Accepting her feelings? Absolutely. That’s not equivalent to simply going along with the idea that acceptance means she must be consigned to a lifetime of hormones and repeated plastic surgeries. Accepting someone’s feelings isn’t the same as agreeing with what to do about those feelings.
I’d suggest you spend some time online looking at how little support there is for young people to be “gender nonconforming” without moving toward medical transition. It’s medical transition that I have a problem with–not feelings, not clothing choices, not subjective feelings of “identity.”
This isn’t about denial or grief. This is about pushing back against an industry. Yes–an orthodoxy.
LikeLiked by 4 people