My New Identity, Not By Choice
My daughter is a young adult, a very intelligent one at that, with a science-based college education. She tells me now, as an adult, that she is transgender. And my heart, my mind, and every fiber in my body screams, “NO!” because I know that she has been dragged into a cult, a cultural mania, however you choose to think of it. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be mother to a “transgender” person. This new identity, chosen for me, has turned my world upside down. What am I now? What I am is confused, bewildered, lost and depressed—beyond that, I really can’t say.
My daughter was not born in the wrong body, a mythical concept that I do not subscribe to. If transgender is based on conformance to feminine or masculine stereotypes, there were never any signs of that —no requests to wear boys’ clothing or asking Santa to bring toys like her brothers. There were, however, requests to wear dresses exclusively, starting at 3 years old. There were begged for trips to the American Girl store in Chicago to add to her extensive collection of beloved dolls. There were dance classes and recitals, a bedroom with a fairy motif and bed canopy, playdates only with girls, manicures and pedicures, hair appointments, shopping…the list goes on and on. There was no body distress, no gender dysphoria. There were serious boyfriends, each relationship spanning several years. There were glimpses of questioning when it came to sexuality, but gender—never.
Now, my days are spent wondering if and when the hormones will start. If the “top surgery” will be done as well as the hysterectomy. I’m expected to cheer throughout the social transitioning, the grand pronouncement of new pronouns, the breast binding. There is no room for me in her self-centered world. There is nothing left of an identity that (I didn’t even realize) was core to my very being, as my daughter’s mother. My daughter is choosing to disappear herself, to erase her past, and to shut out herself and, in the process, our mother-daugher bond, so precious, so carefully constructed and nurtured over her short lifetime. The distance between us now is palpable. It was not my choice, but hers. She has thrown away not only a part of herself, but a part of me.
My love is undiminished, and will always be. But my heart and soul have been damaged and torn. I didn’t ask for this…but in choosing a new identity for herself, she has changed me too—and I have to live with it.