We are the parents of children who suddenly began identifying as transgender. We voice our concerns out of love, with the goal that sharing our experiences will help change the educational, mental health, and medical systems that have betrayed us, and failed our children.
Identifying as transgender is often the result of social contagion. Most of our children began identifying as transgender due to peer and online influences.
"At the age of 17, after two of her oldest and closest friends in high school declared themselves transgender, our daughter told us that she is 'really a guy.'"
"Over 5% of my daughter's entire school -- 5%! -- thought they were transgender. One of the girls already had a mastectomy at the age of 16. There were multiple students who were medically transitioning. In my daughter's world, both real and online, this was perfectly normal."
"Our 12 year-old daughter, who had never shown any discomfort with being a girl growing up, suddenly became withdrawn and angry. She changed her mannerisms seemingly overnight. We later learned she had been binge-watching YouTube videos and came across a trans celebrity whose videos made her realize that her dislike of the rapidly growing breasts and her interest in playing with boys meant she was transgender."
Parental rights are violated. In an attempt foster acceptance of differences, some schools teach young students about being transgender. This can lead vulnerable children to conclude that they were born in the wrong body. Many of our sons and daughters learned about this for the first time at school where transgender identities are common. When our children "came out"and requested name changes, we were not notified.
"Although the school knew our daughter was struggling with serious mental health issues, they changed her name and pronouns without our knowledge."
"Behind our backs, the faculty and staff referred to her by her new name. We were told that their 'hands were tied' and that it was a law that they had to follow. Meanwhile, the school guidance counselor was advising our daughter about half-way houses because her parents did not support her."
Children who identify as transgender usually have underlying issues. For most of us parents, there were no warning signs. It seemed clear that something else was going on. Some of our children are autistic, or have ADHD, and struggle to fit in with their peers. Many are intellectually gifted. Some appear same-sex attracted. Others have serious mental health issues.
"A number of my daughter’s friends had recently changed their pronouns, and her close female friend had recently begun taking testosterone. All of these kids were eerily similar: bright, highly creative, and quirky girls with clear traits of ADHD or ASD."
"At age 14, my daughter spontaneously decided she is actually a male. After suffering multiple traumatic events in her life and spending a large amount of time on the internet, she announced that she was 'trans.' She was diagnosed with ADHD, depression, and anxiety. But mental health professionals seemed mainly interested in helping her process her new identity as a male and to convince me to accept the notion that my daughter is actually my son."
Proper therapy for children who identify as transgender is nearly impossible to find. Our kids desperately need good therapy. Yet when we tried to get help for our children, we were told by therapists that these kids know who they are, and that our job as parents is to simply accept and "affirm"our children's new identities.
"Due to the laws prohibiting any exploration of alternative causes of bodily distress as 'conversion therapy,' we were unable to find a US-based therapist who can work with our daughter to explore how her OCD, ADHD, same-sex attraction, and peer pressure may be contributing to her sudden desire for a medical transition."
"The therapist told me it was becoming more common because society is more accepting these days. My job was not to question this, but to call her by her new name and buy her a binder to flatten her breasts."
Parents are coerced to consent to medical interventions. When we tried to get help for our children, we were pushed to consent to hormonal treatments.
"We took our 13-year old daughter to a prestigious university's gender clinic for an assessment. After spending only a couple of hours with us, without considering any other mental health or physical issues, the therapist told us she was transgender and that we should start her on testosterone that day."
"I was directed to put her on puberty blocking drugs...and was falsely assured that these drugs were well-studied, and a perfectly safe way for her to 'explore gender.' I was told that if I did not comply, she would be at higher risk of suicide."
"Soon after, without my knowledge, a pediatric endocrinologist taught my daughter—a minor child--to inject herself with testosterone."
Young adults quickly receive medical treatment at "informed consent" clinics. Some of us are parents of young adults who showed no signs of discomfort with their sex before leaving home. Yet once on their own, they suddenly became convinced they were transgender and needed to transition. Instead of therapy, our kids were offered hormones and surgeries at "informed consent" clinics.
"In just one visit, Planned Parenthood prescribed testosterone to my 20-year old daughter and refused to consider her mental health history."
"There is still a misguided notion that exists regarding transgender protocol and mental health care which is that one must live as the newly-identified gender for a specified time. There is no protocol. After one trip to a physician’s assistant and signing an informed consent form, he began taking female hormones. No medical or mental health history was taken."
"We consulted with a medical doctor who volunteers at a local LGBT clinic. To our shock, she admitted that her clinic’s practice prescribes testosterone on the first visit, with no mental health referral needed. She shared that she tells her patients, most of whom are teen/young adult females seeking testosterone, 'try and see if you like it, it’s safe and reversible.' When asked about the well-documented health risks of testosterone, she confessed to not being an expert, as she was 'only doing it for less than a year.'"
"It’s frightening to know that at any point our 19-year old daughter can access powerful and harmful drugs and surgeries to amputate healthy body parts, which will be provided to her without any proper medical vetting, without any evidence from long-term studies applicable to her demographic, and paid in full by the state Medicaid and the university insurance."
Many colleges encourage medical transitioning, and even offer these services as part of their health plans. Some of our children, soon after beginning college, became convinced they were transgender and needed to transition. We have been left blindsided and helpless.
"The university clinic’s own website states that their goal is to make the process of obtaining cross-sex hormones as quickly as possible. The clinic provides the students with the specific diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria in advance and lists the therapists who are on stand-by to rubber-stamp letters of approval after as few as 1-2 visits."
"Soon after settling into her dorm room to begin her sophomore year, she called to inform me she is 'transgender.' She had already been taking testosterone. A trip to visit campus ended when I was escorted off campus by college security. She subsequently gave up her dreams of a college education, severed ties with her family and within a few months was seen for a consult for a double mastectomy."
"My daughter transitioned at age 18 as a college freshman. Her university directs students who identify as transgender to an "informed consent" clinic. At the second visit, she received a prescription for testosterone."
Parents who voice concerns are labeled hateful, bigoted, and transphobic. Many compare us to parents who do not support their gay children, ignoring the obvious difference that being gay does not lead to surgeries or taking dangerous hormones for life. We are told that the only loving choice is to "affirm" our children, which is defined as blindly accepting our kids' beliefs and desires. Questions and concerns are not allowed. As a young detransitioned woman asked,“How many other medical conditions are there where you can walk into the doctor’s office, tell them you have a certain condition, which has no objective test...and receive life-altering medications?”
Despite the name-calling, we refuse to remain silent. Please join us in speaking out.