Nevertheless, She Persisted
Persistence. Determination. Perseverance. All good traits. But what is their value when they are used in the service of a harmful, cult-like ideology?
My 22-year-old daughter is trans-identifying. She has been on “T” for three years. Her story is much like many we have all read on this site. She was a very feminine girl, precocious, riven by anxiety, a desire to “fit in” and be part of a large friend group. She was (and is) whip smart. In middle school she set her sights on being admitted to her dream university. She worked towards that goal for years and was successful. She was over the moon when she received her acceptance notification.
Fast forward to a few months after arriving on campus. Having achieved her goal, she finds she is still the same person. She is still anxious and experiencing social issues. She is desperate to know what’s “wrong with her”. A new college friend suggests the problem is that she’s really a boy in a girl’s body. Eureka! Like a game of pachinko, all the slots fell into place. This new ideology not only explained everything, it provided the answer. Transition and life will be easier. Every problem will be solved. She’d no longer be afraid; she’d be celebrated for being brave. She’d no longer be socially awkward; she’d be the trans-person at the party. She’d no longer feel that being a woman didn’t work; she’d be a man.
Within ten months she had totally adopted the trans ideology. She changed her name at school. She stopped communicating with all family members except her parents whom she labelled “transphobes”. Aided and abetted by the university healthcare service, (their motto: “one is trans if they think they are”), she started on testosterone. Much happened in the next three years but let’s fast forward to where she is now.
She left her dream university before graduating. Although transitioning was to solve all her issues, she developed health issues that prompted her to leave. No doctor could diagnose any malady. Nevertheless, she persisted.
She is currently working menial, hourly jobs. Thanks to the boom economy she’s been able to find work with decent pay, but the jobs are in retail and restaurants. Her friends are pursuing careers, exploring graduate schools. She’s trying to get a weekend off. Nevertheless, she persisted.
In addition to “T”, she is on numerous other medications, many for the side effects of T like vaginal atrophy and bladder infections. Some anti-depressants. And one for hair loss, because she’s balding. Nevertheless, she persisted.
What I tell myself to get through the day:
She is young and can change her mind.
She hasn’t had surgery. Maybe the damage won’t be irreversible.
Her frontal cortex isn’t fully developed yet. Perhaps she can reason her way out of this.
While she had a community of trans folks to greet her and usher her into the new ideology, she also has access to a community of detrans folks who have been down this road and are generous with their own stories and advice (see the detrans reddit of 31k+ members)
People do foolish things when they are young. Maybe we’ll laugh about this someday.
She’s still smart and kind and funny and sweet. Her essential personhood is still there. That transcends gender or sex.
What has this ideology cost her? Education, career, health, dating and social opportunities. What has it added to her life? Nothing. I try to see it, but I can’t. Nevertheless, she persisted. Someday, I have to believe, she will come back to herself, and to her family.