This is an excellent, active post started by a parent of a 21-year-old who wants to start testosterone. So much good advice and commentary here from several posters. Please take a look if you haven’t already. The original post:
Our almost 21 year child just announced yesterday her/hir intent to start taking T and said that she was considering top surgery eventually as well but “that’s all”. Ze has been wearing men’s clothes for a couple of years now, hates having a period, and appears very butch. Seems most interested in/connected with other butch/lesbian individuals. We have tried to understand and have asked if hir intent is to transition to a male, but she claims not; stating that she’s just tired of being seen as a female, despite the butch clothes etc but does not want to be a “full male”..more like androgynous or “non-binary”.
It’s a long story, like many, but it started when she went to college and found her “place/home” in the LGBTQ community, and then changed her major to “Gender & Women’s Studies”. We are so concerned about whether this T medical treatment and surgery is truly what will make her happy versus being pressured by the environment she is currently in. She wants to change her name legally this summer. She seems attracted to other lesbians from what I can tell which may not be much! I know this may not be PC but what we’ve seen develop in her school experience feels “cultish” to us. Maybe we’re in denial? We are so very concerned about the permanent nature of this “transition” and that it is being done without any in-depth psychological evaluation or counseling. There is a possible history of abuse from a male babysitter when she was 4, but it was never possible to establish exactly what happened..she was examined and no physical evidence of anything was found. We did take her to counseling of course. She was also bullied in both middle and high school. She does suffer from anxiety and has trouble handling “stress” She has done extremely well academically and is very bright. She has always been quite nurturing and wonderful with babies and young children and even thought about becoming a preschool/elementary school teacher up until fairly recently.
What should we say to her about this upcoming transition? Should we give her any advice or information? We have tried to be accepting/loving parents but we are so afraid she is making a mistake that she could seriously regret later in life once the changes are permanent and that her decision to do this is encouraged so much by the community she is now involved with.
Thank you so much for reading this and any suggestions you can make would be very welcome.
One response from a woman who considered transition–but pulled back:
“But mom was too devastated to be anything but perfectly honest. My choice broke her heart and she didn’t try to manipulate or bargain with me, she was just openly sad. Ashen faced, red eyes, trying not to speak so she wouldn’t cry. And she said that she just deeply felt that something was very wrong about all this, and that she wasn’t going to be able to get used to it.
Then I guess she just waited, tolerating the idiocy I was going through.
When I realized I had made a mistake, I knew I could talk to her, because she never “drank the kool aid” but she also hadn’t been aggressive or mean about it. At that point, when I expressed my doubts, she let it all out. She told me how and why she thought it was wrong, what her concerns were, and how it was never too late to turn around. Other people had told me that once I started, I couldn’t go back, because “this is who you are.”
But mom remembered who I REALLY was, and was there to help me remember.”
I’m so sorry your daughter has fallen into the trans cult. The cult aggressively preys on lesbians because having ‘ftm’ members helps legitimise the men in the cult. Before they so aggressively preyed on us one of the most common arguments against them was ‘but why aren’t there women who think they’re men?’ They’ve done their best to shut down that argument and unfortunately your daughter has become one of too many female victims of this cult.
My advice to you is to try your best to make your daughter know that it’s okay to be a woman with stereotypical patriarchy-defined masculine traits, hating periods is common and okay, and many women are annoyed by their breasts. To want to resolve or to actually resolve these issues does not mean that she has to ‘become a man’. Let her know that being a butch woman is wonderful, freeing, and is perfectly okay. Inform her that getting Nexplanon or Mirena or another implant/IUD can bring an end to her periods, and that getting a breast reduction can be an alternative to mastectomy if her breasts are large, pain-inducing/annoying, etc. The worst thing she can possibly do is get on the T poison and try to ‘become man’, and hopefully with calm and informative discussion she’ll see that she doesn’t really ‘want’ to be a man but rather just wants to resolve some things that so many of us also want to and eventually take action to resolve without attempting to ‘change sex’.
Share with her that the short list of serious reactions that can occur immediately or soon after starting the T-poison includes: hypersensitivity reaction (potentially fatal), anaphylaxis (potentially fatal), venous thromboembolism (potentially fatal), myocardial infarction (potentially fatal, stroke (potentially fatal), polycythemia (potentially fatal). There are several serious conditions that can be caused by prolonged use of T poison including: peliosis helpatitis, hepatocellular cancer, and cholestatic hepatitis—all of which can lead to liver failure and potentially death. This won’t be you trying to scare her out of her cult membership but presenting factual information letting her know that she is risking her life if she starts using this poison. Aside from risking her life she’d also be messing with her personality in ways that would likely change every relationship in her life. I had a friend quite a few years ago who fell in with the trans cult. She started the poison and over the course of just a year her personality completely shifted into something that just disturbed/alienated all of her non-trans-cult friends and family. Last time I ran into her she was couch hopping from one trans-cult member’s house to the next, had lost her job, and was begging me for money even though she knew I didn’t have much at all to my name. I can only imagine she was looking for her next fix of T poison.
The worst case scenario here is that your daughter refuses to believe you about any of this and continues on her path to becoming a full member of the cult and you lose your daughter into the depths of the cult. If this horror happens the only advice I can possibly offer is to keep letting her know whenever possible that you love HER. Do your best remain strong and keep yourself from falling into the cult by adopting their terms and conditions. Reference your daughter as your daughter, as a woman, as she and her, and it will annoy her and piss her off, especially after starting the T poison, but if/when her life collapses around her because of all of this she’ll know you are the rock that didn’t budge in the face of an aggressive cult and she’ll turn to you to try to help her get her life back on track.
I wish you, your daughter, and the rest of your family the best possible outcome. I’m sorry again you all are going through this.