I am writing this to give other parents hope and strength to get through these challenging times. One day our children might understand that our unconditional love and devotion gave us strength to stand up for them and the best possible outcome.
As I am writing this my daughter (I will refer to her as S.) just turned 16. She thinks it’s great to be 16 and wants to move out and live with people who let her take testosterone and puberty blockers so that she can suppress her “female made” body and hormones.
S. has always been a shy and cautious girl. The type that would always miss out on the lolly handouts, getting pushed aside and not complaining. She was very affectionate and very lovable and likable. Quite content and uncomplicated. Always liked playing with dolls and soft toys, especially role play and enjoyed dressing up in costumes and wore pink. Sporty but didn’t like competitive sports. Too worried about letting the team down.
In 2008 we moved over from the UK to New Zealand and sadly one year later her father and I split up. S. was only 4 years old and such a Daddy’s girl. We had no other family here and not many friends yet either. S. only saw him every other weekend for many years and stopped when he remarried. At this point she has not seen him for over a year (by her choice).
S. mostly grew up having only one very close 24/7 friend but was welcoming and accepting of others too. This best friend from primary school days moved to a different school in Year 7 and that’s when the struggles started for S.
She was completely thrown by getting her period and would miss school for days. She found school work hard and missed tests without teachers even noticing. She was the quiet one who just slipped through the net. She made new friends and spent more and more time on the computer. She found the “furry” community on discord and was groomed by older onliners. I asked her to leave that group and she was devastated, saying that they were her only friends.
She started seeing the school counsellor for anxiety and low moods. Soon after that she got referred to the mental health crisis team for self harm (cutting) and suicidal idealisation. Drugs were offered but I declined and found support for her with supplements and homeopathic remedies.
At the age 14 one of the psychologists S. saw through the DHB suggested that she needed to see someone in the adolescent clinic because of gender dysphoria concerns. I had no idea until I arrived that we were meeting with a panel of four including a binary GP and a paediatrician. All they discussed with us was period blockers and they showed me the genderbread man…
They interviewed my daughter separately which made me feel uncomfortable. The whole setting was weird and I raised my concerns that S. might be on the Autistic spectrum but they said that she still has a right to transition even if she is diagnosed as Autistic. (I am aware now that there is a high percentage of Autistic girls who become interested in transgender). We were given a follow up appointment but I asked them to discharge my daughter so they did (their waiting list is long!).
We saw another psychologist who said to me that the lack of eye contact and gender dysphoria are red flags for ASD. She sent a letter to DHB mental health team and strongly suggested that my daughter needed to get assessed for ASD. Six months later (after I kept pushing for it) my daughter had the assessment and declined answering so the psychologist asked me to fill in the questionnaire and, based on my answers (with input from my daughter), she received a diagnosis of ASD.
S. is now receiving individual funding and I get respite care.
The ASD diagnosis made sense to me in the way that my daughter is almost fanatically into the transgender, anime and cosplay scene. None of her friends identify as ‘straight’ and they all seem to me to idealize transgenderism.
S. does struggle with focus and concentration and struggles with school work even though she is creative and very practical with good common sense.
While all this was going on she missed school so much that the college referred us to the Northern Health school to get extra help to allow her to integrate back to college. She has already made an arrangement with the school counsellor to return to school in the male uniform and to be addressed by her new male name and pronouns. The school are happily supporting her and don’t ask for my permission at all.
After 3 years I am happy to say that S. has stopped the self harm and it appears that the suicidal thoughts are not prominent anymore. Partly because she has made another good (also transgender) friend. We did have the police and crisis helpline involved a couple of times in the past so I feel that we have moved on from that. That was a scary time during the first lockdown at 2 am.
My daughter is still talking about being male, but now she also refers to herself as pangender. (A nonbinary gender identity or pangender describes people who experience all or many gender identities on the gender spectrum simultaneously or over time.) I ask her to take her time and explain to her that medical interventions can wait. Her brain is still growing and her decision making can only get better in her twenties.
S. would like to move in with her friend whose mum is very pro transgender and agrees with everything. I guess some parents choose the least resistance.
I am starting to relax a little now and hope it isn’t the quiet before the storm. S. knows I have been informing myself too. I mentioned the Keira Bell case to her (she thought it was all a conspiracy theory!) and I purchased the “Irreversible Damage – Teenage Girls and the Transgender Craze” book by Abigail Shrier. I can recommend getting this through Book Depository on line. Apparently it’s not sold through Amazon because their staff threatened to walk out if they sold it. That just says it all.
I would also encourage parents to find other like-minded parents to be able to share their experiences and bounce things off each other.
My daughter tried to hate me and push me away a lot but I keep being here for her with open arms and tell her that I love her. Sometimes I see glimpses of her old self again and we laugh and have fun. She doesn’t want me to hug her now and can say hurtful things but then I remember what Nigel Latta said about teenagers not to be taken seriously just like mad uncle Jack.
I send love and strength to all parents and kids who get caught up in this crazy situation so they can find their right way and not get taken advantage of by the medical system and whoever might gain from destroying natural identities and family models.
Thanks for listening.
Mother of S