Eastern European Mom
When she was 13, my daughter had a mental meltdown. This came after a few years of cutting, anxiety and depression. She was hospitalized and, while in the hospital, she announced she was a boy. I am a single mom in the US, an immigrant from Eastern Europe with two children, my daughter and a younger son. My very large family still resides in Eastern Europe.
I subsequently learned that my daughter’s public middle school had socially transitioned her behind my back. Alarmed at this plot to take my child away, I immediately made plans to return to Eastern Europe. I located a school back home near my family for both of my children. I contacted the school director, explained the situation and was assured that they would not affirm and that they would work with me no matter what struggles my daughter has. So, I sent both kids to Eastern Europe to stay with family and I followed a few weeks later after making arrangements to work remotely.
When I returned to Eastern Europe, I opened up to my very large family about what had happened with my daughter. As opposed to many of the stories I’ve heard about with US families, where family members are quick to affirm regardless of what the parents see as being in the children’s best interest, my family was shocked. They asked how they could jump in to help my daughter distress and mental health struggles. They were also appalled by the gender ideology and their interference in family affairs. Rightfully so, they were shocked that the school in the US could assume such a major responsibility for someone’s child's future and health.
My daughter never disclosed her trans identity to the family our whole time in Eastern Europe.
As a family, we supported my daughter by lavishing her with attention and praise, especially for her beauty. Eastern Europeans are not ones to gush, so this was not natural, but we all praised, all the time, and then we did it again and again and again. Every day we would start with the simple statement “You’re such a beautiful girl”! We praised her general beauty, we praised her nose, her chin, her eyes, her smile, her hair, her neck. We also implemented a whole schedule to make sure she was never alone and without family. We organized endless family dinners, gatherings, and celebrations. At every gathering one of us would say “You’re such a beautiful girl”. And she obviously is—my daughter is perfect in every single possible way. My daughter is a wonder.
I was struck repeatedly and still nearly cry when I pause to think about the doctors who were ready to swoop in and mutilate my beautiful daughter. I still have nightmares of her walking up to me, as an adult, with her breasts cut off, with a deep wound in her arms, with hair on her pretty delicate face, asking why I allowed the doctors to mutilate her.
I told my ex-husband, my daughter’s father, about the trip to Eastern Europe and the reason, thinking that he too would support the intervention. He did not; instead, he threatened to take her to the US with him and his new family so that she could transition. At this point, the intervention seemed to be having an effect, my daughter rejected his invitation and stayed with me. But I told my daughter at this time that if she wanted to return to the US, we could do so and that I would bring over as much of our family with us as I could.
She didn’t want to stay in Eastern Europe, so as promised we returned to the US, right in time for the new school year.
My daughter had been earning abysmal grades in her large public school. One condition for the return was that she would go to a smaller private school—any school of her choice that we could afford. My daughter picked the smallest, a Catholic school. I spoke freely and very directly to the principal about our story and my fears. He assured me that they didn’t focus on gender ideology at the school. However, if my daughter came out and asked to be called “he”, the school and teachers (this is California) would have to comply. But the principal said that they would not keep it a secret from me. He also said that they would stay neutral about the trans-identity. They would neither celebrate nor condemn. I thought this was more than a fair offer and enrolled her.
After a few months back in the States, in her new school, my daughter announced, now age 14, that she liked herself as a girl and that she believed she is very pretty. I was so happy, but I tried to play it cool and said that it made me so happy to know that she accepted her healthy body the way it is. And a healthy body is never “wrong”; it is a treasure.
We now talk more freely about gender ideology. She now trusts me more when I say that there is no way to be happy when you reject your body. We are our bodies.
All of my daughter's friends are letters from the LGBQT soup. Lately she started speaking up about how this whole movement seems to be just a narcissistic, attention-seeking ploy. However, she is still sympathetic to the cause. Unlike me. I will never forgive this ideology for what they do to children's brains and to families.
My younger son adores his sister and was horrified and scared when she was confused and ill. In my daughter’s dark hours, when she was screaming at us that she was a boy, and that she hated us, he would cry. He would ask me who changed his sister? What happened to her? He was only seven at the time. I yet have to see what, if any, longterm effects all this had on my son.
My son is still young and I work hard to inoculate him. No one can be assumed safe. My son still goes to a public school in the same district that transitioned my daughter. I trained my son to talk to me if anyone at school or outside of the family discusses religion, sex, health, family or political beliefs with him. I told him that these are very dangerous subjects that can be used against our family. This is what my parents taught me while I was growing up in Eastern Europe. They were scientists and anti-communists; we children were not allowed to speak to strangers or teachers about these topics because, if our family was deemed to have problematic beliefs, my parents could be taken away by the KGB. I told my son the same thing could happen here. If he said the wrong thing about gender ideology, CPS could determine that I am a bad mom and take him and his sister away. That has happened to several families where I live. Just read the heartbreaking story of Yaeli.
I consider myself very lucky. Despite the whole ordeal, I am grateful to the hospital that made me realize the double life my daughter was leading which, in retrospect, I believe was the main factor contributing to her depression and cutting. I am grateful to my family that supported and stood by me during the lowest time in my life. I am even grateful to my ex-husband who, while wanting to wedge himself between me and my daughter, only made our relationships stronger.
But I am not ready to lower my guard. I am baffled at this ideology that proudly and openly medicalizes, mutilates and castrates children and all the useful idiots that enable it to do so. What is their end game? A brave new world with cohorts of sick and sterile adults? Generation of girls that are menopausal at 20 or boys that are eunuchs at 18? If you’re a doctor that supports this, are you incredibly stupid or incredibly evil?
“Useful idiots”- perfectly stated!
I too have family in the former Eastern Bloc. I visited there during the dark years of tyranny. Even young children knew which things not to discuss in public, and which jokes were only safe to tell at home. When we were out in public, it was obvious that many people hid their emotions and even vocal inflection, lest they give away too much information about their opinions. This dulling of society is a terrible loss, as is the tyranny of fearing one's neighbors - and sometimes even relatives. My parents sacrificed all their material possession and the comfort of extended family to get to the 'free west'. They didn't want us to live like that. My mother is in her 90's, but she is very aware of what is going on in the world today. She recognizes way too much of what she experienced in her younger years. It's much easier to fall into tyranny than it is to get back out of it.