When Sons Become Daughters: Parents of Transitioning Boys Speak Out on Their Own Suffering

Apr 3, 2021 by

by Angus Fox, Quillette:

A few months ago, I was allowed into an online group of American parents of young men who have decided that they are in fact young women. I am neither a parent, nor transgender, nor an American, and therefore a tourist: there was an understandable hesitation about letting me in. In a few cases, such parents have been harassed, as they’ve left comments online that dissent from the received wisdom on transgenderism; in all cases, they are deeply wary of rights activists. The parents are mainly, although not entirely, mothers. They and their spouses are nervous of losing their jobs, and below everything rumbles the threat that their sons might discover their communications. While most have expressed to their families their scepticism regarding their sons’ announcements, all are wary of the parent-child relationship worsening. But they did let me in, even with these fears, and took me on a whirlwind ride over the terrain of the new gender ideology.

Each week, these parents meet over Zoom. A process of vetting applies: unidentified email addresses are admitted only if someone knows of a parent waiting to join the call. This enforces a sense of camaraderie among what would otherwise be a rather disparate group. Christians and Jews mix with atheists and agnostics; single working mums of only children swap anecdotes with stay-at-home mothers with large families; Texas and Tennessee meet California and Connecticut. In these Zoom calls, parents advise and support one another, often agreeing, occasionally differing in opinion, always prizing civility and constructive conversation. They have been addressed by a variety of speakers—principally, psychotherapists critical of the new gender dogma, but also others who have rebelled against the orthodoxy of the age. Abigail Shrier—hot property since the release of her recent book, Irreversible Damage—has been among the speakers, as have psychoanalyst Lisa Marchiano, and therapists Sasha Ayad and Stella O’Malley. The parents take notes during the meetings, collating links to papers and studies as they go. They’ve spent hours researching gender identity and the medical treatments associated with transgenderism. They’re not playing around.

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