We used to have a daughter
A father’s experience of trans estrangement
3.5 years ago my wife and I were told to educate ourselves. Having gone through that and come out the other side scarred and damaged, I’ll be sharing my findings with you here but I’m afraid it won’t be kind or cosy. I can’t put my real name to this piece, neither can I publicly identify our trans-identified daughter for reasons that will become clear, if they aren’t already obvious. Instead, I find myself (a life-long, happily married “lefty liberal” in his late fifties) very likely the angriest and most silenced man in the land. You’ll see why. There’s no soft-soaping this, no easy work around. But we have to start somewhere.
This is an ordinary father’s perspective on losing a dearly-loved daughter to an ideological pseudo-religion, to a cult, operating in plain sight and by stealth throughout political and public life, through popular human and civil rights activism, mainstream media, and ordinary everyday life by personal, institutional and regulatory capture.The cult is celebrated, valued, untouchable.
This might sound like hyperbole to you, but our experience proves otherwise. Seeing our daughter groomed, indoctrinated and radicalized into this cult requires an emotional stamina to deal with this trauma every day. It turns our lives into a groundhog day of endlessly repeating grief. We’ve been estranged and psychically killed off by our trans-identified daughter and their new identity for nearly 4 years now, and I’m trying to distil and represent honestly how this came to be and also trying to join some of the dots for you. Because nobody saw this coming, least of all us. There really is no road map for this, no model or template - for any parent.
I’ll try to show how these various beliefs and forces knit together (set alongside various personal events and struggles), how they combine powerfully and catastrophically in the creation of a young persons trans “identity”, and how they’ve cemented in our trans-identified daughter at least, a belief that is quite literally unchallengeable and euphorically celebrated by everyone around her. The purpose of this piece is not to denigrate or belittle our 2nd child, but to highlight how the ideology drives a vulnerable young adult towards such self-destructive and abusive behavior towards her own family. We would have our daughter back in a heartbeat - the curious, intelligent, sensitive young woman she was, before gender ideology forced out empathy, and replaced it with an identity-serving narcissism, body dissociation, and a craving for limitless validation at all costs.
Exposing this cult is therefore being “unkind” and leaves those who critique this ideology cold-shouldered, reported, fired, cancelled, shunned, piled-on, or reported for hate speech – so deep is the ideological capture within UK institutions. I’ve lost work through raising my concerns in public, because some people know, or think they know, some of my beliefs. I’ve also had a poorly-disguised visit to one of my social media accounts by a UK police force for accidentally “dead naming” her. The police force were keen to give me a warning about not being “kind” to oppressed and marginalised people. In the current climate we live in, my thoughts and words amount to a hate crime, or “literal violence” as the TRA’s would have it (Trans Rights Activists). Even trying to talk with our trans-identified daughter about her decisions and beliefs is considered in current parlance to be Conversion Therapy.
We’re all too scared to call this insanity out, too cowed to question the means by which it has taken hold. Many women I know have lost jobs and livelihoods, high profile positions, had their work attacked, been de-platformed, dis-invited, had urine thrown at their office doors. It’s women who bear the brunt because they have the strength and intelligence to call out and expose the misogyny and rape threats that these violent TRA’s deliver. An artist friend of mine was TERFed out of her studio, for even daring to question this authoritarian Cult of Gender Worship. By a Trans Rights Activist via social media, from the other side of the world.
So I won’t be using real names for any of my family in order that, if this is seized on and our experiences publicly trashed or denounced by those who would go to these lengths to protect the cult, I’ll have made attempts to limit as far as possible any further harm to us, or our daughter if all this blows up. I really do have to take a huge leap of faith and trust here, when in truth, I have lost all trust in pretty much anything at all - except my wife and son.
No matter what our trans-identified daughter thinks, her parents are fighting for her right to peace, freedom, happiness and health every single day. One of those battles, is getting our truth out there, to try to puncture the pluralistic ignorance and indifference towards any kind of critical debate about the human costs of transition. How we have come to abandon any common sense in the widespread belief that young gender-nonconforming, lesbian, autistic, or troubled young people (with any combination of mental health conditions, anxieties and co-morbidities) could ever convince themselves they were born in the wrong body.
Constructing the identity
If reality is to be believed, we no longer have a daughter. She’s been buried alive in the frozen ground by a kind of avatar, occupying a new “identity” that has been managed and manipulated by others. I’ll try to explain what that’s actually like, for us as parents, why it’s impossible to affirm or validate this new identity, and how it’s still possible to want to love and support your own daughter but have reached an understanding of the forces that drive her behaviors, values and attitudes. In doing so, I’m not only defending my own family from dishonest and abusive accusations of harm by her, I’m also defending our trans-identified daughter herself - against others who have said “She’s unspeakably cruel and doesn’t deserve your love”. Well she does. Always. Because it’s the ideology and the cult bubble surrounding her that drives the behavior. She internalizes and soaks up the ideology and then projects all the difficult-to-deal-with stuff onto us. So her dissonance becomes ours, her internal shame becomes our shame, and therefore a reason to exile us from her life. The externalising projection will map onto others; onto anyone in fact (‘though more passively and far more diluted) who won’t immediately affirm this constructed identity.
Gender critical parents of trans children I’ve met and talked with online are without doubt the most vulnerable to TRA bullying, smearing, and pile-ons. I should know, I’ve had nearly 4 years of hate from Twitter – as well as 3 years of reasonable and rational debate from others. In educating myself, I’ve talked with trans people, detransitioned people, LGBTQ people, TRA’s, trans allies, gender critical people, lawyers, feminists, medics, biologists, social workers, teachers, old people, young people, literally as broad and diverse a range of views you could not find. I did this “education” by following my own curiosity and having to face the most hostile reactions of some who wanted to immediately close down any questioning on my part, or who just wished me dead, for being a TERF, a bigot, a transphobe.
But women get it far worse than I do, far worse than any man does, thanks to the misogyny and erasure of women that drives the beating heart of this “movement”.
Many parents of “trans children” (an adult invention, like a “vegan cat”) not only have to endure the social media onslaught but are also dealing with the psychic violence of seeing their child literally destroy (in the child’s own mind) the very means by which they came into the world. All because they believed the cult mantra that you can be “born in the wrong body” coupled to the belief that gender ideology somehow allows you to change sex. Many of these parents also talk of their beautiful children turning into tin pot tyrants; it’s all part of the same process of contagion, indoctrination and the re-wiring of reality that leads to the radicalized mindset.
And keep at the back of your mind, that I went into this madness in response to a reasonable request to educate myself, to try to understand our daughter better, so that we might support her. I wanted to be a better father by doing this but I just wasn’t prepared for the bomb going off - didn’t see it coming, and it’s left me full of self-disgust and rage that I couldn’t have prevented it happening.
Some may also feel that it’s a low blow for me to call it out like this. But I have to repeat myself here - my aim is to show how this ideology can turn the sweetest and kindest of young adults into tyrants - the brainwashing and radicalization that drives the most abusive behavior in the young person involved. This is a taboo that needs smashing. I have nothing but rage and contempt for the people who have inculcated such a radicalized mind-set and destructive behaviors toward their real family, while all the time other people are parading our trans queer non-binary daughter as some kind of ideological trophy for their glitter cult, and also crucially (because this is how it works) as some form of validation for their own individual “identities” within the collective. I validate you, you validate me, a contract is made. This is a powerful and persuasive behavior for young people. It costs them nothing, but everybody gains gender tokens.
Her transition over 3.5 years has shifted from Receiver, to Transmitter, so I’d like to try and explain how this behavior is not really her – the her that we remember.Her current goals and ambitions, the entire spectrum of her values and beliefs are directly shaped by immersion in gender ideology and queer theory, and the slow, stealthy indoctrination that follows-on, once her vulnerabilities were identified and targeted. I’m distraught at those who have abused her, and why she has estranged us for so many years. It’s the actions of others that have done this, at a time when she was pre-disposed and vulnerable. Gender ideology – the engine behind the public-facing “trans movement” delivers multiple harms to women and our young people.
Like many people, when pressed, a simple belief that anyone should be free to be as gender non-conforming as they like within their own sex class, is a progressive and positive attitude to take. And yet it’s an extremely transphobic and invalidating point of view, according to the ideological gatekeepers of this cult, to situate that belief within your own sex class. Their gender identity is required in order that they can be same-gender attracted instead. Sex is supplanted by Gender and stripped of any value, and this is what the men want, in order to colonise and appropriate women and children’s bodies.
Out of the Blue
One day, completely out of the blue, you find out that your university-age daughter intends to take testosterone to cultivate a deeper “male” voice and more body hair, masculinise her features, aspire to the idea that having both breasts amputated would be a good thing, and affect the appearance of a bearded young man or a teenaged boy. Why? Where were the signs? What on earth do you do? How would you react?
As her Dad, I always felt we had a very easy-going, loving dad-daughter relationship. I never romanticized our relationship, she was never “my little princess” and I never treated her like that. I just loved her as always, unconditionally - her sense of fun, her humour, her interests - and I always felt her love in return. I always felt we just rubbed along together, just right. We had some interests in common and we really enjoyed sharing them too, along with her mother and her older sibling.
Neither of us parents saw any kind of “gender non-conformity” or “gender discomfort” in our 2nd child, or even as a young teen. Sure, she did things and had interests that were perceived as stereotypically “girlie” and others that were stereotypically “boyish” but we just went along with the things she loved doing, supporting her interests whatever they were. I wouldn’t have cared one jot if she’d spent every day fixing engines in a boiler suit – wouldn’t have cared a bit – because we have a daughter, she is our child as well as her own person, with freedom to make her own choices, and we love her and she loves us - and that is literally ALL that really matters.
There was no conscious parental steering this way or that way as far as her interests and her presentation went, only efforts to help her decide for herself. I’ve no doubt that ALL parents, however careful they are, will at some point subconsciously direct some action or thought as unnecessarily “gendered” towards their own children - no matter how hard you try, it’s inevitable. But you accept that, and just try to do your best. We enjoyed whatever she wanted to try out. The fact that she loved dolls, fairies, and so on – these were her choices, along with many recreational choices that are commonly-perceived as being within the domain of the other sex class. She could be fiercely competitive, loved outdoor adventure, and so on. She enjoyed playing football with dad, climbing trees, climbing anything, solving puzzles, canoeing, martial arts, wearing “slobby” clothes if in the right mood to do so, getting muddy from head to toe, and a thousand other things.
Years roll by, and in one particular area of her personal pursuits, she really excels at something she loves. Many years of taking her to special lessons with elite practitioners in her self-selected skill, driving her up and down the country, appearances and performances in prestigious venues, and she gets to study and develop her special skill and talent away from home, living the dream she’d had from a young age. She’s young and very gifted, and has somehow hit the jackpot - reached her goals through a level of sheer guts and determination I’ve never really seen in anyone else. I certainly never had it – not even close. Proud doesn’t even cover it.All we really did was support her in what she wanted to do. She moves away from home, starts her training and studying, living independently living her dream.
Until it all starts to go horribly wrong. National meets and prestigious events fall by the wayside as injuries mount up and she falls behind, friends move on without her, bullying and “othering” and friendship exclusions take their silent toll, leaving her feeling isolated and alone, “like an alien”, she once described. This feeling of alienation, of not fitting in, is a very common factor behind many young peoples curiosity and questioning about whether or not they end up feeling “incongruent with the gender they were assigned at birth.” We’re on hand to offer our love and support and try and help her navigate her way through, whenever and however we can.
From this point on, a couple of people show up in her life, in the background, barely known to us. Other people she spends time with are family friends, gender-questioning young people of a similar age to her, and a couple of trans women. Some of these people start to plant seeds, convince her slowly, gently, coercively, that she probably was born in the wrong body. Flitting between home and away-from-home it all coincides with me and mum trying to bring her back home and give her some time to heal, continue to support and love her more than ever while the groomers had already got to work, behind our backs and completely unknown to us at this point.
So our late-teen, vulnerable daughter has to leave her first place of study and now has a vacuum to deal with. No longer able to garner the admiration of peers and public for her unique talents and abilities, she becomes predisposed to the apparent kindness and coercive control of other individuals, in order to adopt ideas and values particular to the “trans movement”. We do all we can for her, but she also spends long periods of time alone on the internet, when we thought she was writing prose or poetry or thinking reflectively, or just chatting with old friends online. How the hell did we miss this?
Our own daughter’s estrangement OF US therefore became a necessary next step, when destroying their “old” self, meant creating a new “identity” in order to be reborn.
It goes on, and on, and on
We haven’t seen our daughter for almost 4 years now. The most fevered and fervent cementing of her new queer life of breaking free from un-affirming family bonds coincided with her move away from the family home for a second time, to refocus and retrain for a new career. As parents we only really got as far as “please think things through”, “slow down, you don’t have to do anything in haste”, and “have you really looked at all the risks?” All this was waved away, by our trans-identified daughter who decided that actually, the cruel ending to her childhood dream was too awful to mourn, reflect on - despite our efforts to encourage her to do so and work through it with her. We were fast becoming inconvenient. This was the vacuum into which her new queer trans non-binary life entered.
She’s declared on social media that she is no longer a member of our family, and that she now has a new family, a queer family. Her new family is that of her non-binary partner (another young female-bodied, non-binary person) and more specifically, their parents. Add to this, a strong and supportive cast of trans-affirming friends, university LGBTQ supporters, both social and professional, and her new queer family is complete. We have been replaced. She even has the generous support of a trained LGBTQ counselor at her beck and call, 24/7, cast in the role of safe, affirming parent.
Testosterone starts with indecent haste, and we’re helpless at the prospect of the horrors that this will bring – infertility (“It’s OK, I’ve made my peace with not having children”), beard growth, masculinization, bone density and the potential for a vast number of known and evidenced health issues.
The shock and disbelief grinds away as the backdrop to everyday life, still. Where has our daughter gone? Where is that strong, determined, sensitive, talented young woman gone? There is no daughter, she’s trans and non-binary and queer - informing grandparents in greetings cards that she was never a girl in the first place.
And how did she just vanish? How can a life be lived and yet be non-existent at the same time? How can any parent forgive their own child’s destruction of themselves as that tiny human being, brought into the world in a sunny delivery suite when everyone clapped and cheered at the sight of our beautiful baby daughter? In denial of her own history, we’re expected to deny it too, to believe that somehow we have a trans queer non-binary son? Or a trans queer non-binary person-neither-male-nor-female?
We’ve carried the weight of this endless psychic attack, every single day. I’ve cried a lifetime of tears over the thought of the huge burden she must be carrying - and trying to bury, simultaneously. She’s drowning in a long-drawn-out mental health crisis that other people have taken advantage of, building a wall of protection to guard against any invasion of reality or biological truth. Hers is now a life lived in denial, deceit and delusion because she wasn’t prepared to allow herself the time and space to mourn the loss of her one-time dreams and ambitions. And into that vacuum seeped an opportunity to find status and specialness again within a tribe who would always affirm them. It costs those people nothing.
Her “identity” is celebrated by everyone. Every social media post is hearted and liked multiple times, even by some in our wider family. Neither of us can get any peace from the endless unspoken conversations we should be having with her, and the relentless retracing of her path up to this point – the friends she’s ditched, the family she’s exiled, and most painfully sometimes – the family relationships she still fosters elsewhere within wider family; those relationships being “convenient” to maintain; mainly other younger cousins because so many of this generation have swallowed the entire trans handbook of kindness and inclusivity, along with an entire “belief package” of various so-called progressive causes delivered via the algorithm-driven channels of their eternally-on screen lives.
I’m mad-as-hell that an intelligent, sensitive, articulate and kind young woman could turn into the kind of raging victim that rails against the world, their own huge oppression,, and its cruel erasure of trans lives. And yet this person who was once our daughter, is blessed with a huge trans privilege, erases her own parents, dissociates from her body, replaces their own family with that of their non binary partner, rewrites her entire past history, because all along WE were the only people who showed concern, asked her to challenge her beliefs, give herself a little more time. She can do no wrong - everything has to shift and mould to the whims of a sacred trans child.
Attempted so-called Conversion Therapy for troubled young people = concerned parents trying to help her work through difficult personal issues. We deserve to be arrested for a hate crime.
WE – her parents – are the appointed vessel to contain all this self-hatred and all her unexplored feelings of distress and trauma and uncertainty and of feeling failed by her own body. WE have to contain all that in order for her to exist in her new identity as brave and stunning trans non-binary champion. WE have to suffer her “acting out” and this relentless projective identification. Because containing all that is too much. Of course it is, it’s not humanly possible without something giving way. Reading Sue and Marcus Evans describe the psychotic “splitting” common to many young trans people, in “Gender Dysphoria” suddenly made all the sense in the world. It was a revelation. Here it was, happening to us, but no-one else recognizes it, or believes what was happening.
The concern that we showed at the speed of her journey is fashionably described as transphobic or bigoted. It’s reframed as “hate”. What would any reasonable parent do, faced with a daughter who fantasizes about the impossibility of trying to change sex? Or denying sex altogether? How could any parent approve of their child choosing sterility over personal freedom, as just a silly old unfortunate side effect of testosterone? To think that any young woman could sacrifice her own freedom to bear children, let alone our own daughter. It brought me to my knees.
Concern expressed by parents is framed as bigotry, being unsupportive, denying trans rights, erasing their existence – the hyperbole is off the scale. I still keep stopping sometimes, and reminding myself that all her parents have ever really done is ask her to slow down, look at the side effects of this drug or that surgery, what’s the success rate of this or that? What’s likely to happen if I take route X or route Y? No weighing up of pros and cons, no offer of any kind of talking therapy from any medical or therapeutic professional at all.
Prior to her medical transition, her social transition developed in secret as she withdrew from us. So we both went looking for advice, understanding, knowledge, information – from a wide, diverse range of people– all stakeholders in the trans movement, and many outside it. And after almost years, this is where we are. We’ve been educated. We’ve educated ourselves without confirmation bias, just following our curiosity and where evidence and anecdote determined.
Keeping a lid on it
We’re all too scared to open the lid and look. Parents of transitioning teens are too scared of losing their children, too scared of being a social outcast, or being facebooked out of their tribes. Too scared of being shunned, or shamed for their unkind thoughts and their unwillingness to just “Be Kind”. And in Canada recently, when you do speak out as a father did, and trying to protect your children, you become a criminal and get locked up for it.
When our young person transitioned, the emotional damage within a family started to extend outwards, like ripples, to create small fractures in relationships of trust with wider family. Trust starts to plummet. A kind of paranoia steps in. You start to notice an expression in the eyes that you can’t ignore, when you feel a family member signal. “Oh, God, not that again,” or, “I wish they wouldn’t keep bringing this up, just let her go and support her,” or a thousand other unspoken tells. “She’ll get over it, you’ll see” was a good one.
And so you completely understand, that once wider family get together, it’s WAY more than a five minute chat over coffee to explain what you’ve learnt and experienced over 3.5 years, so you try and pick bits off in manageable chunks just so you won’t sound all preachy or lose it completely, and burst into snotty sobs if you take up too much of their time with stuff about gender and prove your magnificently transphobic credentials. There are still members of our own wider families who think the depiction of what our own daughter has done is a massive exaggeration. It isn’t. She’s in a cult, and that millions of other people know this cult exists but don’t want to say or see anything that penetrates their insulation from it, means that this dangerous knowledge doesn’t find any cut-through it seems. Oh yeah, I forgot, Be Kind. This huge population of young transitioning people is driven by older autogynephilic men - the trans women - who urge on the youngsters because it validates them. It allows them to say “See, I told you I was trans all along. I had to hide it for years but these young people are living their authentic lives now!” Like I say, a contract of validation and in service to, the men.
Our own experience of the very worst that trans can bring forth is both a many-headed hydra but also a big old fat elephant in the room. It compounds the feelings of silencing and suppression and isolation for parents – like witnessing a traumatizing and completely unnecessary death that no-one else has seen, or more pertinently perhaps, like everyone witnessing a death but everyone else pretending it hasn’t actually happened.
With trans estrangement comes the awful, impossible, disgusting and guilty acknowledgement that yes, it would all be easier to cope with, if they weren’t still alive. There would at least be some sense of closure. But you can’t say that, not even think it to yourself because it’s not a wish, it’s just a recognition that there is no closure possible when someone else is controlling the limbo you’re placed in. You know that one day, another bomb will go off. You just hope the collateral will be light and you’re still alive and strong enough to cope with the return of some degree of reconciliation and hope. I would lay down my life for our daughter, I’ve felt it vividly and powerfully, it’s why we’re fighting for her every single day.
You realise, very quickly, who has the capacity to be genuinely curious and able to handle difficult stuff, and who tries hard, but then pats it all back down again – keeping it in the box, maintaining the silence and refusing to open the lid again.
Conditioned to “be kind”, we imagine some kind of hyperbole or exaggeration going on with hateful, unaffirming trans parents, some people even question whether parents are hiding <actual> abuse that has traumatised their sons and daughters - because they have only been exposed to the trans propaganda of Mermaids, or Stonewall, or India Willoughby. The same propaganda that pumps out the false suicide statistics, disproved many times over, and the covering-up of trans crime figures. “Maybe you could get some help with a therapist?” Well sure, we could. But chances are, they’ll be trans-affirming sex denialists too, or –as we’ve found out – will not have the slightest clue about the impact of gender ideology on an ordinary family. Their professional privilege will protect them.
Thing is though, I was holding my wife’s hand as we cried with joy, when our second child was delivered –a little baby girl, into that gloriously sunny delivery room. There she was, all pink and wrinkled, and tiny and female and screaming at the top of her healthy lungs - biology and human evolution in action, a reality, a new life being lived. I’m expected to denounce this beautiful memory because it’s transphobic. I’m now expected to call her mother and my wife a “birthing parent”, a “womb-haver”, a whole range of newly-policed language that dehumanizes women – all for the benefit of a teeny weeny weeny minority of male-bodied cross-dressing and paraphillic men who don’t feel “included” in women’s biological processes, bodies and reproductive roles. Misogyny laid bare like never before. This is the female-erasing world that our own daughter feels happy to embrace.
Gender only benefits men, it destroys women and girls.
But, back in that labour ward where our daughter was born, I recall making a commitment to myself, literally saying the words in my head out loud at the time of her birth, that I would NEVER allow her sex to determine the opportunities I’d give her. I’d never direct my attitudes, values or beliefs about her capabilities, interests, or ambitions, based on her sex. She has an older sibling by a few years, and I made a clear statement I wanted to hammer onto the inside of my skull: don’t ever NOT give her anything I wouldn’t give our son.
I recall standing in front of a coffee machine near the labour ward as I said the words quietly to myself. I remember this so clearly because I made a point to “anchor” myself in the present and make this moment a memory I would keep forever. I’ve often performed this strange “mind ritual” at important moments in my life, like taking a photograph with your eyes, anchoring it to the thought you’re having, and holding it there inside your eyelids. Well this was one of those moments.
I was foolish, and conned, thinking she was in her room writing poetry or processing thoughts with reflective writing, the way that so many young people do, the way that she used to do. This was a mirage, and I’ll go to the end of my days regretting I didn’t see it. But we were being very stealthily gas-lit, the way everyone else is gas-lit, by gender ideology and by this idea taken hold, that we all somehow have gendered souls.
Our deep dive into social media, as she shifted between social transition, leaving home, and medically transitioning, is just another aspect of the years of learning we embarked on at a point when, what was happening with our daughter, moved to a serious new level. Where once we were able to try and take on board the idea of pronouns, or even calling herself non-binary, as “she’ll soon move on, grow out of it” we started to find male underwear, attempts at a more “masculine” form of walking, and photographs of family mysteriously gone missing, only to turn up later very deliberately hidden. In order to try to understand what she was going through, we had no choice but to go looking ourselves. We were being gas-lit by our own daughter, by stealth – nothing to see here, just want to wear something that feels more Me, and so on. While the big plan all along was to deny her femaleness, take testosterone, have a double mastectomy and “pass” as a boyish young man.
So her internet bingeing was simply waved away, when we showed concern or curiosity of why she took herself off to her bedroom for such long periods. We always encouraged her artistic expression, and we were concerned that she needed to find healthy ways to come to terms with the catastrophic termination of her time away from home, and the end of her once-cherished professional ambitions.
She always used to draw and doodle, and I encouraged her to develop this as a way of helping to keep her artistic urge active and alive. We had always enjoyed music together – where once we went together to see bands together, now she seemed personally and disproportionately hurt that I never really particularly liked this band or that band. She took these things very personally, and seemed to develop quite extreme reactions to quite everyday things in a way that she never used to. She was miles away from the girl who used to say to me, “I feel I can talk to you about anything Dad”.
Making a commitment to really understand what our daughter was telling us, just after leaving home (but which we couldn’t in all honesty make any sense of) involves taking the opportunity to explore a multitude of different voices and perspectives. Cutting to the quick, what we really started to see was the way that men (as lefty “woke” men, as trans women and as trans allies) were using social media to bully and silence women in order to protect and maintain their power and status - and this requires subjugating women’s voices and opinions. It soon became clear that it was only women putting in the emotional labour of forging some kind of pushback against the excesses of the gender jugganout. Most men weren’t much bothered by any of it, as they were simply benefiting from it by osmosis – and these benefits are also pretty invisible to the chaps.
Gender ideology doesn’t really impact men of course, too busy virtue signaling, and too preoccupied with manly stuff to actually give a moments thought to what’s happening to their daughters, wives, sisters. Many women without skin in the game, don’t see it either, life’s just too hectic. Just gotta carry on being kind. Support these “special” people, groomed and indoctrinated by men and their trans-supporting handmaidens.
I was finding a whole host of men (as non binary, or trans women) enjoying huge adulation and success as “non binary mayors”, brave cross-dressing chairmen of this corporation, or that organisation, gaining positions on shortlists, winning women’s prizes, and so on. Was there a balancing proportion of women of a similar age desperate to be middle-aged men, I wondered, identifying as nb or transmen enjoying the same privileges? Nope, the exact opposite. While around 85% of transwomen have NO SURGERY whatsoever, a much younger demographic of young women make irreversible changes to their bodies, endure failed phalloplasties, become medical patients for life, suffer early menopause, vaginal atrophy, loss of sexual function, increased risk to certain cancers, and many of these damaged young people end up detransitioning. Complaints that they were never fully assessed or other mental health issues addresses are rising fast, as the number of detransitioners grows. 29,000 last time I looked on a Reddit group for detransitioners.
Both of us, as parents, set out on this journey from a very neutral position - once it became clear that our daughter was already being encouraged to be very wary of her own transphobic parents and trust was slipping away fast, being given instead to trans activists and allies. I wanted to find out how to handle this, to hear other parent’s voices, to genuinely try to understand how we could best help.
I wanted to know why I found it impossible to use the pronouns she asked us to adopt. I felt this deeply and took this to be a failure on my part; something that I felt awkward and ashamed about. I wanted to understand – I even discussed it with her over a walk we shared together – but felt like I was letting her down because every time she walked into the kitchen at home, there SHE was, the same person I’d experienced walking into every room in the house for the previous 20 years. The same person who arrived in this world in that sunny delivery room, all those years ago.
It didn’t matter how I tried to force my mind to manage this problem and force myself to use pronouns, reality is reality and I found it impossible. I stumbled and tripped up on pronouns constantly. It wasn’t a case of not trying hard enough, it was simply that I can’t force myself to say something different to what my brain experiences. I can’t deny my own truth, talk away my own reality of 20 years.
I felt awful – until I found that other parents, other ordinary people, also felt the same way. I realizedthat compelled speech is a signal to others in the know, that you’re on the right side, (the good side) and that you’re a gender believer. People I communicated with were also too scared to publicly declare their own difficulties. I started to feel angry and upset about being demanded to express something I didn’t see as truth. Mum was equally affected, and at a similar point in trying to accommodate the demands of a daughter embarking on transition, she was taken by a paramedic to A&E one evening, having suffered a kind of cumulative shock or adrenaline attack, brought about by trauma, I believe – simply trying to get your head around what’s expected of you, what’s demanded of you, and direct exposure to this constant dishonesty and denial that was attacking our own truth and reality, the very centre of our lives.
Denial of the Sex binary
I’ve learnt that parents who support their child’s transition are either terrified of losing them, worried about societal disapproval, social media ostracising, and/or public hate, possibly have some level of Munchausen’s, or simply feel that having a gay child would be a far worse outcome for the family, than supporting their child’s transition or supporting their child’s gender nonconformity. Other parents seem to just “go along with it” publicly in the hope that it’s a “passing fad”. Many affirming parents love the attention and the Likes it confers on them, having birthed a sacred child. Many parents also, will do anything, to stay closer to their children as they pray for the madness to blow over with growing up. They are literally praying for time.
Most affirming parents will simply do what it takes to keep their children close, and if that means pretending, that’s what they’ll do – short term sacrifice for long term gain. I completely get that. That’s what we tried to do in the early stages, but were completely blindsided by the speed and steep trajectory of her transitioning, and the way new friends of hers turned out to be snakes.
But make no mistake, if being non-binary means it’s your 13-yr-olds temporary attempt at “fitting in” or being cool by dying your hair blue and wearing badges or crazy clothing – that’s one hell of a lot easier to deal with than attempting to address the insanity of a late-teens daughter surrendering their fertility and electing to have a double mastectomy because they’re not in the body they think they should be in. Within our own family situation, she just dropped the bomb and then ran off – her swift escape to a new life could not have been better timed.
The sense of betrayal and regret that any parent feels when their trans-identified daughter won’t talk to them, won’t take up offers of help, or opportunities to help work through difficulties suffered to their self esteem, is a very dark place to be.
Our daughter had “top surgery” (double elective mastectomy) almost a year ago - her voice already broken, surrounded by affirming friends, groomers, trans allies, similarly brave and stunning non-binary supporters, while her real family are trashed, unless they comply with the delusion and bow down before this new identity. From what I understand, a period of “gender euphoria” often follows the longed-for double mastectomy, followed by the inevitable crash, when truth and reality once again reveal that they feel no better, their dysphoria just as it was. It seems this is the point at which many of those I’ve learnt from either dig in deeper (the Sunk Cost Fallacy) or doubt and self-awareness return, often leading to trans regret, or a painful process of detransition.
We’re constantly aware of the lengths she must have gone to, to paint us in the worst possible light – to her partner’s affirming parents in particular - in order to uphold her narrative of the most-oppressed trans champion she presents. Her partner’s parents shun us too; refusing to acknowledge messages sent via them to our daughter. We’ve reached out numerous times, always positive, but never had any response.
Wider family members who have access to our transitioning daughter have been lied to, about the chances of any kind of reconciliation between us. Vague assurances passed on to us of some sort of future reconciliation, are simply place holders, keeping us in a kind of controlled limbo, exerting manipulative control over whether we dare risk another approach to reach out to her, or stay still and silenced, knowing that vague and ambiguous assurances about “one day soon, when I’m ready” will be passed on to us via a third party, and seized upon like diamonds in the dust. But things have moved on, to a deeper cementing of that new identity now, now that her breasts have been amputated, and what on earth will be the next stage of her transition? Or will she be finally fixed? Maybe only then, will they question the extent of the damage done to themselves along the way, and to our family.
The impasse is still the same – for parents who don’t affirm, it’s compliance or exile, nothing in between, no spectrum, no “lets try to agree to disagree” about whether you can actually change sex. Sex Denialism is at the heart of all trans activism. No wonder the parents who embody the binary of XX meets XY have to be exiled from an unwieldy, unscientific, delusional, faith-based ideological cult.
This estrangement has been initiated and controlled by her, not us. It absolutely breaks my heart to have to describe some of the deep damage she’s doing to herself, and by extension, us – as targets of her own torment, of her projective identification. Not even a phone call (not even via a third party), to ask how we are in the midst of a pandemic. No birthday cards, Christmas cards, Mother’s Day cards, no texts, emails, nothing.
Only online artworks that depict us as harmful and abusive – and the many Likes and hearts that these kind of posts garner. Our daughter has disappeared, and in her place is a deeply troubled “identity” that we’ve never had the chance to meet. This avatar has destroyed our beautiful daughter while simultaneously not allowing us the meet the person who replaced her.
The ultimate denial
It is still the most incredible and unbelievable thing to me – to comprehend how a sensitive, caring, fun-loving, affectionate and kind person could even imagine tweeting on social media that they have “no parents”, while simultaneously painting themselves as the most oppressed trans non-binary queer orphan of all time. I feel enormously compassionate and loving towards her because she has been abused by people around her who have exploited her vulnerability and her mental health. They all speak the same language, use the same buzz words, follow the same people, read the same scripts, chant the same mantra, and ultimately urge on others whose lives they have little real regard for unless they are “eggs” – young people ripe and ready for transition. Hatch them into the bright new world of gender ideology.
Sweep up a range of vulnerabilities, anxieties, disorders, traumas, pubertal difficulties, some bullying, some self harming, body dissociation and delusional thinking, and it all packs conveniently into a box marked Gender Dysphoria. So now that this thing has a name, it’s job done. No need to unpack it, it’s got a label all of its own. Therefore it’s a “thing” that we we all understand.
Young trans people seem to trade validations with each other like a kind of currency, like it’s a kind of game with tokens to trade. Gender is a commodity you can trade in once you start oppression-hunting. And for young impressionable people who have never yet experienced the birth of their own children and all the biology that this contains, how could the threat of infertility (through cross-sex hormones) be so easily waved away? Where was the Informed Consent when these girls and young women first approached their doctor for puberty blockers or cross sex hormones? We are sterilizing a generation of young people in the name of “authenticity”, or “one’s true self” to appease and validate the narcissistic, paraphyllic and misogynistic drives of older men who don’t require ANY surgery – just the right to force everyone else to declare that they are a woman. In the gender cult hierarchy, that’s how it works. The kids have been sold a lie and the adults have meekly agreed to stand back as this sacred caste ushers in a brave and stunning new world.
The quest for validation must be absolutely exhausting. Why would you let inconvenient questions or voices into your life to disrupt that? Why would you allow your parents into your life to completely disprove everything you base your identity on? Testosterone in high doses does so much damage not just to the body, but to the interior emotional life. Detransitioners discuss how “cut off” they were from their emotions, how rage surfaces easily, about how their ability to cry simply dried up, and how dark moods took over their lives while their “dysphoria” never actually went anywhere. It’s a psychoactive and personality-changing drug alongside all the physical dangers.
So alongside the annihilation of her former “self”, WE have to be ditched too – it’s part of the same package; a very inconvenient reminder of her own biological origins, and the negation and denial of our own reality and truth, along with it. Living inside this estrangement, as the targets of her rage (as many other parents of young trans have described) is like living through a child’s deathless suicide, every single day.
It’s relentless, and exhausting.
WE have to be the crucible to contain everything that she can’t. All her projections, all her anger, all her misplaced failure and shame, all her conflicted feelings – everything she has avoided working through – they have to be ejected and externalised and thrust upon US, in order that her new identity can be constructed. It’s “acting out” at its most extreme. In one sense it’s the most cruel and destructive force I’ve ever known or experienced in my lifetime, while I also feel locked into (& feel it necessary to) keep aspects of it close to me, simply through living as the parent to a child I still desperately want to understand, and cherish, and love. Every day becomes a prayer for her peace, unanswered.
Some of her activity I’m able to see on social media because I have one remaining emergency channel that follows her posts on this one remaining platform where I sense most self-honesty comes from. The artworks reveal how “stuck” she is, how trapped she feels; on the one hand recognising that she has done great damage but on the other hand she simply has to press ahead, no looking back. We’re blocked from every other channel available to us, or only able to see posts via the phones of other family and friends, where she carefully frames her trans life of maximum oppression on other platforms – those others who aren’t blocked of course, those who’s access to our daughter is convenient to them, thanks to their perceived compliance.
Meanwhile, there are thousands of parents undergoing similar slow motion breakdowns with their own children, similarly indoctrinated, and similarly supported and encouraged by TRA’s and trans allies in breaking the bonds between parent and child, who are without a platform, without any support or recognition, without any help - bar a couple of small online support groups.
So to redress the narrative, I have to mark time with this, and have reached a point where I simply have to ask…
If you were me, and if you had felt troubled by your son/daughter demanding you comply with a belief that gender can change your sex, or deny the existence of your sexed body, would you have done anything different?
If you were me, and knowing what we’ve learnt over these last 3.5 years, about the men driving this movement, the chemical castration of children, the abuse of women, the “transing the gay away”, the money involved and the customer base being mined for life, would you be comfortable with that? Or would you sense there’s something wrong here? Would you be happy to have 20 years of your child’s life (along with your own shared experiences) completely trashed in public, in order that a new “identity” can be constructed off the back of your own erasure?
How long will it be before someone like me can be arrested for not believing in gender? I don’t have a gender identity, I’m just me, a man, a male living a man’s life, as a man, as a male, an ordinary husband and father, brother, son. I refuse the term cis, and I celebrate so-called gender nonconformity. Not once did our daughter ever come to me to ask “What’s it like then, being a man?” and yet trans people all the time describe how they’ve always felt that way, or always known what a woman feels like. It seems to me that idealizing life in the opposite sex class (regardless of however many genders are claimed to exist) is just about the furthest most inauthentic place you can go to, if you run away from your personal freedom, your autonomy, your uniqueness, self-determinism and your own body.
I cannot forgive the “movement” for doing this to our daughter. The real person is still there somewhere, buried deep, and this is the self being smothered by the construction of an identity and the madness and mental ill health and damage that goes along with it.
So I’ll end, where I started. If, as a parent, your daughter had come to you, with plans to medically and surgically alter their bodies, their minds, sacrifice their fertility, future health and their personal freedom in such irreversible and destructive ways, but refused to discuss it with you, you’d have also tried to help, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Our daughter was gone in a puff of smoke, not even prepared to talk about it because behind our backs, the groomers had got to work. We never stood a chance.
And so we went searching for answers, talking to other trans people, parents of trans people, LGBTQ advocates, gays and lesbians, old and young, teachers, social workers, clinicians, therapists, detransitioners, MP’s (never responded) never thinking we’d end up here, dedicating the rest of our lives to the idea that one day, the truth about transing young people and the damage done to their families will be given a helping hand, from people who previously never spoke up. Silence is complicity. #thisisnotadrill
Almost 4 years ago now, in the absence of any meaningful discussion with our daughter, I was asked to Educate Myself. Well I did just that and I’ll be discussing more of it here. Please feel free to comment or discuss anything, or sign up for my newsletter once I get this set up.
Many thanks for reading and for taking the time