A couple of weeks ago, I published this piece about my son, who doesn’t want to be a man. I didn’t expect so many people to read it, and discuss it so thoughtfully. I was blown away by that. And so many of the people who did comment on it had taken the time to ask me more about my situation. So I thought I should answer some of your questions, and help you understand what I have learned about this new form of transgenderism in young men. Bear with me as I go through these questions: I still don’t have all the answers.
How did my son get here? He is 17 and decided he was trans two years ago. He has not taken any hormones because we have told him we will not support that for health reasons. But at 18, he can legally get hormones. As parents, we don’t want him to harm himself. His girlfriend is now calling herself trans. Her parents are worried too. We are hoping we can work together to give them better advice. He has a friend who started hormones six months ago, so he only sees the fairy tale version of this.
Thankfully, since we still have a good relationship, he doesn’t hate us and we are hoping we will win his trust over the other voices in his life. It will be no easy task. It’d be a lot easier to let my son transition. He would be happy, at least to begin. I would be praised and complimented for what a wonderful parent I am. I would not have to sneak around in hidden support groups and be vilified to the general public as a terrible parent for not transing him, but I cannot lie to my son. I cannot pretend my son is something he is not. How would it help him to become a successful adult if everyone around him pretended he was something he wasn’t? What would happen to him? How would he hold a job and become part of society? People would never see past his new identity. No one else will be there to pick up the pieces but me.
Sometimes he was a difficult child, and he did cause a lot of angst for us as parents. He was constantly in trouble at school for being too rough or too active. But I adored this beautiful boy and everything about him. This boy’s first word was asshole. After watching a mommy and me movie called Meet the Fockers, the baby in the movie kept saying asshole. My son was only nine months old, so I didn’t think anything of it. When we left the movie theater, he kept saying asshole, over and over. He was always going to be unique, and I always loved that.
I knew that this brilliant boy was going to do great things. He was so enthusiastic as a child. He loved life and was so adventurous. People would always say to me that he had difficult qualities for a child but they will become great qualities as an adult. Now I fear that this trans identity will prevent these qualities from emerging. As the doctor pulled him out of my womb, and I got to see him for the first time, the look on his face was: here I come world, and I’m going to do great things. I can still picture that face of determination. Has the trans community taken this from me? Over my dead body.
Since he is attracted to girls, and has never shown any sexual interest in boys at all, he believes he’s a lesbian. We wouldn’t care if he were gay, anyhow, but it makes no sense for a male to be a lesbian. He uses all the trans lingo like dead naming, decided his favorite color was purple (although he owns nothing purple), calls me a terf and says I’m transphobic. He also told me everyone sees him as transgender and I am the only one who doesn’t see it. I see my six-foot-tall masculine son. He also complains about toxic masculinity, but I think he’s actually jealous of the boys who don’t think as deeply as he does. It would be easier for him to fit in, and get girls, if he wasn’t the kind of boy who over-thought everything. As things are, he has to pretend to be a girl to get a girl interested.
The truth is that this whole thing came from the exterior, not from within him. He’d never have gone down this road if he hadn’t seen so much about trans on the internet. That’s what makes this generation of online kids so vulnerable to adult grooming. It’s not innate, it’s socially learned.
And then there’s college. They give out hormones like candy. I never thought I would be afraid to send such a smart young man to college. I knew he would excel in college after his awkward high school years, just like I did. In fact, all my friends like that always blossomed later. Everyone in my family always went to college. I can’t imagine a world where you need to talk them out of college to save them. The other option is pushing him into community college or taking a gap year so he might grow up a little. College was one of the best experiences of my life. I don’t want to deny him that – but then again, I’m trying to save his life. I’m terrified that he may be even more psychologically harmed if he takes hormones when he realizes he has made a mistake. Talking to detransitioners helped me realize how often that happens.
For now, I have had to give up all my hopes and dreams for his success. He had such potential since he is so brilliant and creative, but now I have to resign myself to the hope that he doesn’t harm his body and destroy his nature. Are boys opting out of manhood because the future seems so bleak? As a parent of a teen who sees himself as trans, college is the worst place. He’ll be surrounded by other woke, gender-obsessed people. Being just a straight white male also doesn’t help in today’s climate.
I have always been liberal but I now find myself politically homeless because I have been failed so profoundly. I feel betrayed. It makes me really question politics and my views. I no longer have trust in our institutions or any government who would let this happen, and even promote this ideology to our children. I feel like a failure as a parent. I feel judged by the friends who I’ve told about this situation with my son. They think it was my parenting, and can’t yet see that this is a social contagion. This judgment hurts because I know I was never a bad parent.
I’m in a group for parents whose boys describe themselves as trans, and I’m also on a support forum with thousands of parents trying to get advice on how to save their children. It never escapes me that when they write stuff about their children, I could have written the exact same thing myself. Our stories are all very similar. You’re reading mine, so you’re reading theirs, too. I’m not sure I would have made it without the support from these once-strangers since I have no help from my family and friends. In fact, I suspect they think I’m a terrible parent for not transing my son.
I do not know how much porn has affected my son, because it’s a hard thing for a mother to ask. But I did ask, and he admitted that he watched it a little bit in middle school and then stopped. He thought it was degrading to women, and that he didn’t like men like that. We put into place restrictions so he can’t access any porn on his devices, but kids are smart and can work around the software if they want to. And even if porn is playing a bigger role than he admits, why him, and not every other boy in his class? They’ve probably watched porn at least as much as he has.
Boys who identify as trans are assumed to be autogynephiles (AGP). But my son looked up Ray Blanchard’s work on AGP himself, and told me that he wasn’t like that at all. He sees his trans identity as something that isn’t sexual. I can’t even find a definition of AGP that everyone agrees on. And I don’t think that all young males who call themselves trans are AGP. What a world we live in.
I wonder about addiction issues. Are kids who are prone to addiction more likely to be trans? The average boy today only wants to play online. Even if he goes over to a friend’s house, they’ll still play online together. These games all have avatars, which makes kids think they can change their identity, just like that. Kids also love anime, which seems innocent, but I have learned it is at the epicenter of this new, trans world. My son loved Dungeons and Dragons and started a DD club at school. At day camp and at boy scouts, he played Magic: The Gathering. I thought all these were safe games, not games pushing the trans agenda.
I don’t think teens are capable of making such grave decisions when their new identities have suddenly been brought on by insecurities. If it were just dressing differently and experimenting with identity, there would be no harm done, but adding medication before really knowing who they are is very dangerous for society.
My son is very immature for his age. Boys really seem to think that if they take hormones they will actually change sex. This is how naïve they are. I wonder if he’s on the autism spectrum but was never diagnosed. I think he was lonely, and isolated himself, spent too much time online and was always socially awkward. We worked with him as a child because I saw he had trouble making friends. He took social skills classes and did other physical activities, and loved all of them. He seemed to have grown out of his social issues and left elementary school with a lot of friends. As a parent I wasn’t blind to what he was going through.
I don’t push back on trans ideology with him because it makes him dig in deeper. I just express my concern about the hormones; he says he cares about his health, but that somehow this is different. These boys don’t understand the risks. They don’t know what they are doing. His online friend decided he was trans after seeing a meme but somehow the medical industry thinks that’s normal and not a contagion. My son said he would not take hormones if I accepted him as female. I said that I cannot lie to him and that female is a sex that is determined by chromosomes and he will never have those. Should I have lied to him to stop him from harming himself?
I just want to be the person in his life telling him the truth since everyone else is deceiving him. It’s no different than a child who throws a tantrum in the store that they want a toy. Do you give into the tantrum and buy the toy? No: you don’t buy the toy, knowing that they’ll realize they didn’t need it anyway. They’d have played with it once and then never picked it up again. It’s a battle of wills: the kid just wants to know he has power, and it’s the parent’s job to hold the line.
Parenting is a long haul. It’s easier to give in, and I don’t blame the parents who gave in and let their kids take hormones. Why would they not believe the medical industry, right? I hope to extract my son from the grip of this evil ideology, but it might take years and I have to be strong. I can’t lie to him to make him happy in the moment. I have to consider his future; his 25-year-old self; his 30-year-old self. I don’t know how to parent any other way.
Apparently my kid is expendable to the transgender cause. He’s not expendable to me. And it seems from your reactions that he’s not expendable to you, either. It has really given me hope to see the heartfelt discussions my article provoked, and to know that so many people are on my side, even when we feel the world is against us.