From time to time, I like to highlight comments I receive from parents who visit this blog. Today, we’ll hear from two of them, both mothers who question the pediatric transgender trend. At the end, I’ll contrast these two with one of the many pro-transition parents to be found online. This particular mother happens to be 100% on board with surgical treatment for her own and other people’s underage kids–double mastectomies and anything else that will hurry their child’s transition along.
First, a mom who has successfully encouraged her daughter to think carefully about the transition trend:
Over the past few months my kid has been exploring some ideas I offered nonchalantly – she followed the trail from a MaryLou Singleton interview down the rabbit hole, spent some time processing and then the other day as we were driving through a local university campus, pointed to one of the blue light emergency phones and said:
“See those mom? Trans women who say they’ve always “been a woman” are full of shit. They have no idea what it’s like to walk in fear constantly. They have no idea what it’s like to be my age and have people looking at you and thinking gross things – you can feel it and see it in their eyes. I don’t want to be a boy. I just don’t want to be a woman in this world”
I had to pull over and hold her, I was crying so hard.
I’m furious that our kids’ recognition of a culture rotting at its core is being co opted by the medical community. Instead of bravely facing what’s really falling apart, the “center” that cannot, should not “hold,” the vast majority of parents/systems turn towards “fixing” the kids. Our kids aren’t in the wrong bodies, they’re in a fucked up culture. We’re seeing their recognition of that but turning them towards a road that only reinforces a detrimental binary.
Here’s the video I sent my kid
Next, a mother of a teen daughter who wants to transition shares her experience attending a support group for parents of trans-identified kids
I feel that I haven’t been able to give my daughter an understanding of how to be a female in this world. But, as I read these stories from so many mothers I’m beginning to realize that it’s just the time we are in and there was nothing that we could have done differently, unless we had known about it. We were all blindsided by this phenomenon, totally unprepared for such a thing. Had I known earlier that girls were succumbing to this trend, maybe I could have acted differently and discussed different subjects with her to cut it off from the beginning or before. Now I feel like I was too accepting in the beginning. I’m not sure if I would have brought her to a therapist so easily. I’m glad I stopped short of bringing her to the gender clinic in my area and began to really dig into the whole issue.
I went to a meeting this week for parents of “transgender” children. I will never go there again. I’ve been going occasionally, just to see what these parents (who are totally on board with the medical intervention) were up to in the community.
Being emboldened by reading this blog, I went into that meeting and challenged everyone who spoke. It felt good and I wasn’t intimidated this time as I had been other times. I questioned the status quo with the hope that there was some new parent in there who was also questioning, but didn’t dare speak up.
Unfortunately, no one supported what I said and one woman (who was being congratulated for just officially changing her 6-year-old daughter’s name to a boy’s name because “he is a boy and all children know what their gender truly is”) even questioned the facilitator if there were not limits on what could be said in the meeting – she was referring to me of course.
There was another woman there who was divorced with shared custody and her ex-husband was not letting their prepubescent child socially transition. One of the mothers was very upset with this and suggested to her that this was child abuse and that he was going against Canada’s human rights code. These ways of thinking are very frightening.
Stories like the two above are not easy to find on the Internet–that’s why I started this blog in the first place.
What is easy to find? Parent bloggers like this one, who here posts about her own 16-year-old’s desire for “top surgery,” preferably before college. The parent is fully supportive of this goal, and links to a “GofundMe” to help pay the mastectomy surgical costs (such fundraising sites are very common). The blogger also features comments from other parents who are eager to see their kids undergo the procedure as soon as possible:
“We are hoping to schedule next year. My son will be 16. For us it makes sense. I hate to see him binding, in pain and covered up in the summer on the hot days.”
“These years are so important never mind having these extra detours and they sit in their room feeling so bad.”
“We are doing surgery next month at 16 1/2. The past year the binding has been kind of bad. So we decided not to wait and just going to pay.”
“My son is 12. In the beginning I said we’re not doing anything till he’s 18 since I really struggled with these issues myself. Seeing him cry the other day in the Old Navy change room because he can’t find a simple tank top broke my heart.”
Reading comprehension quiz: Who is more likely to be “reported to the authorities”: a mother who simply discusses alternatives to transition in a support group, ostensibly established to allow parents to talk openly about their experiences and concerns? Or the parent asking for money on the Internet to fund a double mastectomy for her 16-year old?
If you get the chance to view Channel 4 news UK tonight, Germaine Greer has something to say about transgender issues!
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It was BBC Newsnight, 23 October, can be seen online.
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GenderTrender posted it today. awesome.
She was fabulous.
I wouldn’t be able to behave myself at one of those parent meetings.
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Ok, but I have to ask. Is life really so terrible for females these days? I must live under a rock, but I’ve just never noticed most of that stuff. I went to college. I did not walk around in fear. Yes I took some extra precautions such as not walking alone in the middle of the night nor drinking among strangers. Not that I’m oblivious to the fact that too many bad things happen to females, but it never occurred to me that it would be better to be a guy.
I suppose there is this sort of period of time where I was more concerned about my looks, but that time was short lived and I’m pretty certain guys experience similar things.
But now? I’m comfortable in my own skin.
I am pretty sure that the widespread use of hardcore pornography has made life much worse for young girls. Boys expect horrible things now, virtually all of them do. Gail dines is a good place to start if you want some perspective on what is expected of girls sexually now.
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That’s awful. I better keep talking to my boys. I doubt either of them expect horrible things. But I will definitely talk to them.
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Check out Gail Dines work–women are being tortured in pornography and girls are being taught that part of being a girl is enjoying this torture.
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Toys are much more gendered now, of course we have this whole “if you don’t fit into your gender role you are actually the opposite sex from what you thought”, porn’s worse than it’s ever been (as ex home birther points out), women get death threats just from speaking up online (or designing video games), etc. We’re not talking about personal opinions here, we’re talking about general trends. Of course there will be individuals who somehow dodge the bullets–sometimes it’s socio-cultural privilege of some type, sometimes it’s just dumb luck. Enjoy it, but don’t extrapolate it to represent everyone else’s experience along with yours.
Guys are actually more likely to suffer violence than women are, but the breakdown of WHO is violent to men vs women is different. Your average guy’s more likely to be hurt by a stranger or a not-very-close acquaintance. Your average woman’s more likely to be hurt by a loved one or a good friend. I don’t know about you, but I would find it easier to distance myself from a stranger-attacker than, say, my own father or brother or husband. The latter kind of attack would constitute a major mindfuck on top of the physical injuries. With a stranger I could just say “Well, consider the source.” And that’s likely a big reason that men care less about being subjected to violence than we do. They don’t have to feel betrayed on top of everything else.
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Excellent. Just want to add that having gofundme things for real medical care I have been told is pretty common. So this looks like it’s part and parcel, along with happy talk news reports on child transition, of turning transition/sex change into a medical thing like getting a bone marrow transplant. Including all the “brave” talk. News stories about kids with cancer are always larded with that term. This sort of fakery is yet another reason to be skeptical about this whole horrorshow.
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“See those mom? Trans women who say they’ve always “been a woman” are full of shit. They have no idea what it’s like to walk in fear constantly. They have no idea what it’s like to be my age and have people looking at you and thinking gross things – you can feel it and see it in their eyes. I don’t want to be a boy. I just don’t want to be a woman in this world”.
A round of applause for this girl. Great post, as always.
Then again, she is also interested in transitioning to be the opposite sex (a male). And I assume she would want to be respected as a male and not be called some lame half male.
I’m not defending transwomen exactly because yeah to me they will never be women. And I have told my son that. You cannot become a woman and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
But it just feels rather ironic to insult a trans person when one wants to become a trans person.
Ok I reread that more carefully. She did say she ultimately did not want to be a boy.
Whatever. I guess what I’m not understanding so well here is why the issue seems to be centered around what assholes men are.
I get it. I know women sometimes deal with some lousy stuff, but ya know, I’m dealing with something with my son. He is just a kid. He isn’t out to hurt anyone and in fact is a pretty sweet person. And I talk to both of my kids (boys) about treating all people in a respectable and kind manner.
It’s hurtful to read some of the responses here. I guess this isn’t the place for me. But that’s ok. I think we are going to be fine, and I thank you 4thwave and others for your support. It has helped me to feel better about my situation and I’m feeling much less worried about it.
gwenkingsley, I hope you stick around. I think this IS the place for you. For the record, I don’t think all men are horrible people. In fact, many of my male friends are far more horrified at the pediatric transition trend than most of my liberal women friends. I think what is being pointed out in this part of the comments is not meant to hate on men; I think some commenters are pointing out the way pornography has taken a very violent and degrading turn, particularly since the advent of Internet porn. I don’t want to go into detail about what “normal” pornography now is–and it’s far too easily available to anyone with Internet access. There is a lot of terrible degradation of women. When teen boys watch this stuff (and unfortunately, many do), it influences how they think about girls, and what they expect their girlfriends to be doing. To me, it just means that parents of boys need to be vigilant about what is out there that their sons might be imbibing. The men I know are just as horrified at this stuff as I am. It cannot be denied that rape porn is harmful to girls–and boys. Anyway, your contributions have been very important. We will miss you if you go, but if you feel you must, that’s understood.
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Gwenkingsly, please keep posting here. I can relate to your posts about your struggles with wanting to help your son with his gender issues in a climate where those with the most expertise in the field are making recommendations that are not always based on verifiable scientific data. Your posts help me to know that I am not alone in my struggles with helping my 16 year old son with whom I am guessing is a lot like your son.
gwenkingsly, I can only imagine what you are going through with your son. That you are having sleepless nights worrying about him probably means that he is feeling less confused and anxious. It’s what Mum’s do. For now you are the person who has a particular closeness to him. My guess is that you are feeling any insults against trans people as being against him. That he is being open with you about how he is feeling is great. I don’t want to add to you’re load but I would just say that if you manage to keep this dialogue open with him then he will be much more able to be honest with himself and with others in the future.
30 years or so ago when my ex was struggling with similar feelings he did see a doctor who’s only offer of help was aversion-therapy and, not surprisingly, he decided to try and bury his feelings instead. Now we have seemingly come full circle and it seems so easy to ”transition” socially and medically. I just wish all the media hype and activism would calm down; that trans people could just be trans people and not claim to be the other sex; that there could be a common sense approach to the bathroom issue and the respect for women’s safe spaces. Just let kids be kids again.
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I’m a dude who was recommended to see a “gender therapist” because I have erotic fantasies of being raped and degraded by men, while dressed as a woman. I went there, extremely distressed over my situation and how I could be more accepting of my sexual nature and her first statement to me is “maybe you’re a straight woman trapped in a man’s body”.
Needless to say, I was extremely insulted by this statement, and wondered why I ever went to see a therapist like this in the first place. Stupid decision. I then started to tell her about my erotic fantasies of actually being a woman and being accepted by women as a woman and she literally didn’t help me deal with the stress of these fantasies at all. In fact, she did try to convince me that I actually had some sort of innate gender identity as a woman that I seemed to repress for the 22 years of my life. I did not reschedule with her. What’s the use of a “gender therapist”?
It’s hard being alone in my struggle of perversion and self-hatred, but it seems like whenever I tell anyone about it, they try to encourage me to put hormones into my body, which I don’t want. Ugh.
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That’s so horrible, both as a personal experience (to waste your time and money just to make yourself vulnerable to someone who clearly didn’t listen/wanted an “easy” solution to your concerns), and knowing that literally people can’t say they experience these things without being diagnosed with something ridiculous. I hope you found a therapist you can trust who actually helps you, or do in the future, if you choose to pursue it. Have you read http://thirdwaytrans.com by any chance? I find his writings very thoughtful and helpful, and maybe they will bring something to you as well. Best wishes.
As a writer, I need to read, read, read books in various genres. On a recent trip to my local library, I stopped by the YA section and looked through some of the books they had out on the table before I decided on “Lizard Radio” by Pat Schmatz. It is a dystopian novel, set in a futuristic society, albeit one that could exist in the VERY near future.
The book’s protagonist is a 14-year-old gender nonconforming girl named Kivali Kerwin, who is sent to a government-run camp for teens who don’t fit in with their society’s norms. I won’t give away too much of the story, except to say that in this fictional society, very young children are given tests to see where they fall on the gender spectrum. If they score above a certain point, they MUST transition. The kids like Kivali who score in a borderline range can choose whether to transition or not. Since Kivali chose not to transition, she had to go to gender training classes to learn how to act like a girl. This was during her childhood, before she was sent to camp. At camp, she finds herself attracted to one of the other girls. But same-sex relationships are forbidden in Kivali’s world. You either conform or transition. You cannot be gay or lesbian, or else you are sent to live with violent criminals in a place called Blight.
Is this where our own society is headed? Based on what I’ve been reading here, it sometimes it feels that way. Anyhow, after I finished the book, I knew I had to share it with y’all.
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Thank you for this. I hope that we will eventually come to a place where our voices as parents are heard in contrast to those who’ve just jumped onto the trans train. I love my children unconditionally, and I will do everything I can to keep them safe and healthy and feeling loved. But that isn’t always going to mean unconditional acceptance of choices that don’t feel safe for them, and that’s the case with my daughter’s newly asserted “trans” identity. I can only hope that, by calmly opposing this dangerous tide, we’re modeling some critical thinking skills for our kids in a culture that seems to have abandoned those skills around this set of issues.
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