“As a parent, I can honestly say your parenting sucks harder than the suckiest thing on earth.”
“Is it bad that I take pleasure in knowing that she’s currently pacing in her house back and forth in complete seething rage just *watching* the shares/likes go up?”
“I ABANDONED MY CHILD WAAAH POOR ME”
“God this thread. It’s so…self-centered. No consideration for their child at all; it’s all about them.”
“Really thinking you don’t have kids. Really hoping you don’t.”
“Oh has she done that? Did she lock him in the basement?”
“I really hope you have a bad day.”
“She is the abuser.”
“Yeah this thread reveals who OP really is. Not just transphobic but racist and physically and emotionally abusive to her children too. When all your kids cut you out of their lives, it’s you, not them.
“Your son deserves better. If he can’t get it from you, I hope he finds love and support elsewhere. The LGBTQ community will be here for him.”
“Stop lying and be kind.”
“You’re a bad parent and your son is better off without you.”
“I mean, having a sh**ty bigot for a mother is devastating. That poor son.”’
“Like f**k, imagine being a controlling monster of a parent and denying your offspring their own existence, and then when they say “f**k you” you think YOU’RE the victim.”
“I hope your son has a wonderful life free of hateful individuals like you. Hopefully he’s found or will find a true family that accepts him.”
These are just a few of the hundreds of comments that were made about me on Twitter yesterday. Complete strangers, inventing narratives about people they don’t know, constructed from their own projected stories. None of these people, as far as I can tell, know me or know my children. Yet they feel free to publicly theorize that I must have abused and tormented my children. Racist! Homophobe! Bigot! One of them even proposed that charges be brought against me. On what basis these charges would be brought, I’m not clear.
But one thing is very clear. The reason so much energy is put into silencing me is because I’ve publicly spoken, in my own name, on a topic that is currently forbidden to be discussed in the public square. I know hundreds of parents who are very concerned about their kids. They are watching their kids struggle. They tell me that as soon as their child announced that they were transgender, there was almost always a very discernable and concerning shift in their mental health and in their personality. Far from becoming happy, well adjusted and free to be themselves, their kids have often dropped out of school, quit their jobs, and become extremely depressed. And in almost every case, this has been accompanied by a rapidly deteriorating relationship between the child and the parent. These parents are not only unable to find help for their kids, in many cases they are not even able to talk about it.
The type of parent blame and shame displayed above is used to force parents to comply with every type of demand that kids make surrounding this issue. Use my pronouns, don’t deadname me, buy me a binder, take me to a trans-affirming therapist, give me puberty blockers and hormones, or I’m going to call you a hateful bigot and cut you out of my life. As you can see, this behavior is encouraged by the trans affirming culture in which we now find ourselves. Parent receive this treatment from physicians, psychologists, friends, neighbors, family members, the media, and teachers. One dad recently shared with me that during a family therapy session he was addressed by the therapist, who said, “So it looks like you are the only one with a problem here.”
We know that in areas of cultural debate, it’s the narratives that win the war. Very rarely is anyone brought to a larger understanding of a difficult topic by reading articles or studies, no matter how well they are done. We come to empathize and form an opinion when we are confronted with real life stories from ordinary people. We begin to identify with those stories, to listen and hear them. We begin to realize that what happened to that person was unjust. We begin to empathize, and then we realize that it could have been us. We could have suffered, in much the same way.
This is why the stories of detransitioners, and the stories of parents and families broken apart, are so essential. I did not post on Twitter that day looking for sympathy. I write because my story is representative of countless other stories that I have heard, time and time again. None of these parents are able to publicly tell of their heartbreak, but when we get behind closed doors, the wounds are deep. They are fresh and raw and painful. And in most cases, these parents keep their pain to themselves. They go to work every day, pretending everything is fine. They don’t talk to their neighbors, their friends, their faith community, or even their family. They know that there will not be understanding to be had. They know they will be questioned, doubted, shamed, and blamed. They know that others will reach out to their kids and offer “support”, reinforcing the idea that the parents are the abusers, the bullies, and the ones who should be banished. These parents carry the weight of their fear and grief alone.
But more and more, parents are speaking up, and more organizations are being formed to help them do that. The parents are starting to write blogs, articles, and letters. They are appearing on podcasts. They are writing stories for others to share and read in their places. This is really important, because the prevailing narrative is that there is only one response to take when your child announces a transgender identity. Get on board and affirm, or you risk suicide. Not only is this not true, but it’s abusive.
There is another way. Most parents realize when this happens that it just doesn’t feel right. Even if you’ve been a progressive left leaning gay affirming Democrat all your life, you know your own kid, and you know it’s not true. The truth is, loving and determined communication and parenting will do a lot to help kids find their way out of this. There are many parent support groups out there. If you are need of support, feel free to email me. I can help you get connected.
Until then, I will not let the bully trolls silence me, and we will continue to speak up. #parentsspeak