You Can Still Do the Right Thing
In Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me), by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, the authors describe how people who start out with very similar positions and ideals can find themselves with diametrically opposed viewpoints and strongly entrenched opinions which they have reframed in their minds as fact.
This is what has happened, tragically, in the Trans scandal, to the great detriment of parents and children and, really, our entire society. I am one of many parents who has stood on the top of the Pyramid of Choice. When my young teen child announced he was “trans”, I was ill-equipped to make an informed decision of how to proceed. I was familiar with the cultural phenomenon, but not at all familiar with how that applied to my child, or the medicalization of trans that I would be forced to evaluate. With no notice, I had to pick a direction to slide – “affirm”, or explore/question. I picked Explore. Just as the pyramid indicates, I could have gone either way at that point. However, once I opened my mind to questioning base assumptions, I was horrified by what I found. There was an utter lack of real science. I became alarmed about the threat to my child’s mental and physical health, became determined not to affirm, and gradually, as I slid down, I became an activist trying to protect children from medical harm. But, having stood on top of that pyramid myself, I know in my heart how close I came to sliding down the other side.
Are you a parent that slid down the other side? You are not so different than me; you just made a different first step and, once you took that step, you were committed and followed the logical path. I don’t blame you – I nearly did the same thing – after all, medicalizing and affirming your child is billed as the safest choice for your child, and you did what you thought was best. Now, you are as firmly entrenched in your position as I am. You need to believe you did the right thing because the alternative is unbearable to fathom. The cognitive dissonance is something you have to explain away. I get it.
Countless children have been harmed by misinformation in the past, you are not the first parent to find yourself in this boat. Many young adults were misled and hurt too; convinced that transition was the solution to their problems, only to find out that it was not all it seemed to be. This is not your fault. You are not to blame. You were misled by self-purported experts, who manipulated medical journals and traditional and social media to influence you.
This isn’t to say there is no one to point the finger at. Jack Turban, Diane Ehrensaft, Chase Strangio, Planned Parenthood, the opportunistic gender clinics that have popped up. You are culpable, and time and our legal system will take care of that job.
But for the rest of you - it’s not too late to do the right thing and help other kids and parents from standing atop the pyramid, confronted with no real data, tons of politics and social pressure, and an impossible choice. Journalists, doctors, therapists, transitioned people who have doubts – it's not too late for you either, if you open your eyes to the viewpoint of those that traveled down the other side of that pyramid.