I was born into an activist family. I am not afraid of standing up for my views and being in the minority. For many years, I have fought for LGBTQIA rights and been dismissed or attacked for it but I have always openly fought for what I believe in.
I find myself in an insidious position. I want to toyi toyi in the streets and scream from the rooftops about the dangers of gender ideology, the affirmative approach and men in women's spaces but, if I do, I will push my adult daughter further into her trans identity and more medicalisation.
Out of the blue, my daughter decided she was trans after years and years of severe mental health issues, social awkwardness and terrible loneliness. She was immediately affirmed and within months had started testosterone and was booked for a double mastectomy.
The advice I gave her to slow down and explore her identity more carefully before medicalising made me, in her eyes, a transphobic bigot with whom she was unsafe.
At first, I tried to fight it. I showed her all the literature cautioning medicalisation and the YouTube stories of detransitioners. I made my views very clear on Facebook and in articles I wrote to any media outlets who would publish.
I continually told my daughter that I would always love her but I could never agree with rushed medicalisation. I tried to hide my tears and devastation when her voice became deeper, when she grew hairy and started growing a beard, and when she had a double mastectomy. I still have to mentally prepare myself before I see her.
I was told by therapists and most other people that it was important to keep our relationship going at all costs. I still sometimes wonder if that is the best advice. Is it not more loving to fight for the best for your child, even if they hate you?
Our relationship has improved over time and a huge effort on my part, although the hurt I feel because of her rejection of me, and the pain and fear for her future, makes it very hard.
For a while, I thought I could still fight the ideology by writing articles where I could, and posting on social media.
But I changed my mind. I know that so much of my daughter's identity and rush into medicalisation is a reaction against me. Because of her mental health difficulties and our very close relationship, she has had great difficulty separating from me. The trans identity seems the only way she can do it. The harder I fight, the harder she pushes.
It leaves me in a helpless position but I know I have to stop fighting publicly for a while. I am still trying to talk to people individually (especially influential people) if they will listen.
I am keeping up with news about gender issues but I don't share any more articles on Facebook. I don't write any more articles for newspapers and magazines. It is killing me. Our children will only be safe when this ideology and its dangers are exposed and yet if I try to expose it, my daughter will go more deeply into it.
Many of my friends and family are activists on the left. I thought, when they saw what was happening to my daughter, they would be enraged and fight against it. I was so wrong. Most of them are too terrified to go against the woke ideology. They still believe or pretend to believe that by supporting the ideology, they are supporting human rights. I was once like them, blithely supporting something I knew little about. It took personal experience and a little research to find the shocking truth.
When people are going through difficulties, they say they would not wish their trauma on their worst enemies. Forgive me for my terrible thoughts, but in my lowest moments, I wish this upon everyone around me because only then will people wake up and understand—and only then they will start doing something about it.
I am angry, I am hurting, I am lonely and I am feeling helpless. I know there are many other parents in my position. How will we fight this, if fighting pushes our children in the opposite direction, and when so many of those who could fight it, won't?
This is simply what the LGBTQIA agenda leads to. I'm going to say what you really won't want to hear. There's really only one way out of this. Christ. Meanwhile, you can check out my substack. https://open.substack.com/pub/justingaffneysamuels/p/womens-colleges-arts-programs-social?r=6512g&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
I was raised by activists too. So many times, I've wanted to stand up and say no to things, but I had my children, and I wanted to focus on them more - I think you are very brave, and compassionate, and the best kind of mother. Thank you so much for sharing this.