I have a son who’s been struggling with his gender identity. He claims that “he’s always known” that he is a girl. The rest of us (mom, dad, sibling) are more than skeptical. My son is an awkward kid — albeit bright, compassionate, and sensitive. He’s also always been a boy – he was unambiguously born that way. As far as stereotypical behaviors go, he fits the profile of a boy as well – heavily in to all things sports, cars, trucks, and climbing anything vertical. He never once seemed uncomfortable in his body or voiced any concerns. He never punched or declared his hate for his penis; there were no signs of gender dysphoria at all.
He’s also never seemed confused about his sexuality. He’s been chasing girls since puberty, sending them texts, surprising them at their lockers with flowers and a Homecoming invite. He’s always been open about wanting a girlfriend and he always shared his crushes with me and his dad. Sadly, his crushes have been unrequited, and he’s been consistently relegated to friendzone status, even though all of his girl friends just “adore” him.
So, what’s a passionate, sweet, awkward boy to do? Try whatever it takes to get out of the friendzone and to get those girl friends’ attention! It started with one text to one of his closest girl friends; “I think I might have gender dysphoria”. At first, she ignored him - no reaction. So, he upped the ante, following up with a request to take him shopping for some dresses. Bingo! He had her attention. Teen girls just love a project! She applauded his choice and convinced him that he really was a girl. In fact, she’d always known. I read the texts. He gushed at the attention and affirmation.
After that shopping trip, she went back on her way, leaving him once again, ignored and on his own.
The pattern began. My son would get bored, longing for attention, any attention, and send the cheerleader another text. He needed more clothes, he felt so isolated in his gender dysphoria. Once again, she would respond and off on another shopping trip they went. She was proud of her project and she felt she was having an impact. Whenever he reached out, he’d get a picture of his future prom dress or words of affirmation. She even once dropped off one of her bras in his car while it was parked in our driveway. Imagine my reaction when I saw that. Like most moms of a teen boy would think, my mind jumped to - was he now out parking, making out with girls, and one had left her bra in his car? But no, this full-sized teen girl bra was for my son to wear, a gift left behind by his cheerleader, whose attention he so craved.
Like most desperate cries for attention, the adoration didn’t last long. Beyond a few shopping trips, my son’s cheerleader eventually became disillusioned and left him behind. Her mother tells me that her daughter is not certain that my son is truly gender dysphoric. She said her daughter now feels like a victim and that she’d been used. While I see her point, I believe my son is the real victim here - tossed aside, he’s right back where he started, but more confused and damaged than before.
Now we, his family, are left to help sort out this discarded young man’s distress. We’re trying to put him on a healthy path; one that doesn’t involve a lifetime commitment to hormones or mutilating and sterilizing surgeries. Miss Cheerleader is nowhere to be found. Perhaps off to her next project. And, now, having tasted the poison, my son wants more. Furthering the abusive pattern, he jumped back in, this time with a new cheerleader. Still in search of what started all of this...the attention of a girl.
Meanwhile, my son clings to this new approach, believing that being a girl is the only way to relate to the girls he’d love to attract. I desperately try to understand why any person would not honestly try to help a struggling friend with a shoulder on which to lean and ears through which to listen. Leading him to believe he’s something he can never become, and making him believe that a dress and a bra transitions him to become a female.
Did the cheerleader have any conception of the forces she was meddling with? She certainly had the ability, but did she have the right to manipulate and confuse my child? Did she even understand the concept of gender dysphoria? I’m certain she did not. But, in today’s mixed-up world, feelings are paramount, and facts are disposable and malleable. A little knowledge would go a long way to helping these kids through therapy rather than “transition”. Perhaps that would prevent a sea of young adults from later regret, desperately trying to reverse the damage that’s been done.
What's left now is for me and my family to be the cheerleaders. To undo the damage and to teach my son that he doesn’t need to change himself to find a mate. That he doesn’t need to mutilate his body, or have dysphoria to be appealing and worthy of female attention. Anyone who has raised a teen can understand the uphill battle we will face, when he has been so misled by toxic ideology that has been reinforced by his peers.
I hope that others can learn from what my son has been through. Teens should not be teaching teens. Not when so much is at stake. Teens should not be encouraging and supporting harmful behaviors that lead to a lifetime of drug dependency and irreversible body modifications. Parents need to start seeing these gender cheerleaders for what they are – bad influences.
This is a new threat, and we need to work together as parents to address and combat it.
I'm not sure that putting the blame on the girl is the right frame of mind to be in, here. Remember she's been just as lied to by society as a whole as your son has. I hope you guys get this worked out very soon.
Ignore the crazy people. Your son is lucky he has a family who cares about him, and I hope he's doing better.