’Felt Like Leaving a Cult’: Mom Who Indoctrinated Son to Become Girl Says
A mom who taught her son to believe boys could be girls said she regrets her actions and likened parting ways with the left’s gender ideology movement to leaving a cult.
In an essay appearing on the “Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans” Substack last August, the “social justice organizer” mom in a lesbian relationship identified as “Rose” recounted being a “true believer” and raising her first son in a gender neutral home where she told him around age 4 he could identify as a boy or a girl.
At around four years old, my son began to ask me if he was a boy or a girl. Instead of telling him he was a boy, I told him he could choose. I didn’t use those words—I thought I could be more sophisticated than that. I told him, “When babies are born with a penis, they are called boys, and when babies are born with a vagina, they are called girls. But some babies who are born with a penis can be girls, and some babies born with a vagina can be boys. It all depends on what you feel deep inside.” He continued to ask me what he was, and I continued to repeat these lines. I resolved my inner conflict by “leading” my son with this framework—you can be born with a penis, but still be a girl inside. I thought I was doing the right thing, for him, and for the world.
The boy was happy over his new identity and the couple also reinforced their son’s new female identity with their younger two-year-old son.
We told him he could be a girl. He jumped up and down on the bed, happy, saying, “I’m a girl, I’m a girl!” (What a relief it must have been to him to actually have an identity to hold on to!). We, not him, initiated changing his name. We socially transitioned him, and enforced this transition with his younger brother, who was only two years old at the time and who could barely pronounce his older brother’s real name.
Little did Rose know she was “leading my innocent, sensitive child down a path of lies that were a direct on-ramp to psychological damage and life-long irreversible medical intervention. All in the name of love, acceptance, and liberation.”
Rose recalled receiving love and acceptance from supporters in her community over her child’s gender transition, and they were told to shut out friends and family members who were against the transition.
It will not surprise readers of this site to hear that once we made the decision to socially transition our son, we received resounding praise and affirmation from most of our peers. One of my friends who had also socially transitioned her young child assured me that social transition was a healthy, neutral way of allowing children to “explore” their gender identity before puberty, when decisions would need to be made about puberty blockers and hormones. We sought out support groups for parents of transgender children where we went to find out if we had “done the right thing.” After all, our son showed no signs of actual gender dysphoria—was he actually transgender? At these support groups we were told what good parents we were. How kids on the autism spectrum (which he likely is), simply “know” they are transgender earlier than other kids.
At one of the support groups we attended, we were also told that transgender identity takes a few years to develop in children. They told us that during this period, it is very important to protect the child’s transgender identity, and therefore, you must eliminate contact with any family or friends who do not support this identity or go along with it. Yes, the gender therapist running this parent support group said this, and at the time, I believed her.
After her younger son turned two, the mom and her partner began to notice he also started wanting to be a girl, making them concerned because he’d always been a “stereotypical” boy.
After about a year of social transition for our older son, our younger son who was only three years old, began to say he was a girl. This came as a complete shock to us. None of the things that made our older son “different” were true for our younger son. He was more of a stereotypical boy, and did not show the same affinity for feminine things or females that his older brother did. We began to look more deeply at attachment again, and realized that the drive for “sameness” is a primal attachment drive. We felt that this assertion of being a girl was very likely a desire to be like his older sibling, in order to feel connected to him. This assertion of being a girl became more insistent when both brothers went to school part time, where the school program they were in included sharing their pronouns. Why could the older sibling be a “she” when the younger sibling could not? Our younger son became more and more insistent, and we became more and more distressed. The ideology was crashing with reality, and shaking what had felt like solid ground. If our younger son was driven by attachment to want to be a girl, could our older son also have this as part of what drove him? An attachment drive to be the same as me?
Seeking guidance on the issue, the mom sought advice from a gender therapist who told them they needed to embrace their second son’s female identity or they were transphobic.
We made an appointment to see the gender therapist who we had met at the support group, in order to discuss our younger son. We truly believed that she would be able to help us sort out whether or not he was actually transgender, to pick apart the nuances of what could be going on for him as the younger brother to a transgender older “sister,” and the only “he” in a family of “shes.” To our shock, the therapist immediately began to refer to him as “she,” stating that whatever pronouns a three year old wants to use are the pronouns she will use to refer to them. She patronizingly assured us that it may take us more time to adjust, since parents have a hard time with this sort of thing. She expressed that it was transphobic to believe there was anything wrong with our younger son wanting to be like his older transgender sibling. When I pushed back, and asserted that I was not yet convinced our younger son was transgender, she told me that if I did not change his pronouns and honor his identity, he could develop an attachment disorder.
After initially encouraging her youngest son to pursue a female identity, an incident at dinner one night made the mom stop and change her thinking on the issue altogether.
We decided to tell him he could be a girl, and that night at dinner, we told him that we would call him she/her. Right after dinner I went to play an imaginary game with him and I wanted to be affirming. I put a big, warm smile on my face and said, “Hi my girl!” At this, my younger son stopped, looked at me, and said, “No mama. Don’t call me that.” His reaction was so clear, it made me stop. It pierced me to my core. I did not turn back after that.
Eventually, Rose and her partner began discovering they had been wrong to transition their sons.
Everything we thought we knew or believed that had led us to socially transition our older son began to unravel. I continued to study the attachment-based developmental approach, and learned more about autism and hypersensitivity. We decided not to socially transition our younger son. We began to see clearly that not only our younger son was not transgender, but that our older son was likely not either. We knew we had to do something, but struggled to figure out how. All I wanted was to go back in time, to undo what we had done. But I was still bound within the ideology.
The mom told her oldest son he could be a boy again just before his eighth birthday over a year ago and reported he showed signs of relief. Her younger son also stopped claiming he wanted to be a girl.
A year ago, just before our son’s 8th birthday, we did just that. And while the initial change was hard, incredibly hard, the most immediate and tangible emotion we felt from our son was relief. Actual relief. In the days following my first conversation with him about going back to his birth name and pronouns, my conversation about how males cannot be females, and that we were wrong to tell him he could choose to be a girl, he was at first very mad at me, then sad. Then the next day, I felt my son rest. I felt him release a burden, lay this adult burden down, that he, as a child, was never meant to carry. He felt incredible relief. He came to rest.
Since that time, we have been healing. He has been healing. It was not easy, but my son is happy and thriving. We have watched him coming to a deeper peace with himself as a boy, and he is blossoming and growing. For now, he is safe, and as each day passes, he grows into himself more. As for our younger son, he is also happy, thriving and healing. Once his older brother became his older brother again, he happily and almost immediately settled into his identity as a boy — a further validation of our insight into the primal attachment drives that were underneath his pursuit of sameness for so long.
The mom likened her experience shedding the gender ideology indoctrination to leaving a cult.
This experience for me has felt like leaving a cult, a cult that would have me sacrifice my child to the gods of gender ideology, in the name of social justice and collective liberation. I have left this cult, and I am never turning back.
Once one brick was pulled out of the wall holding up this belief system, the rest of the bricks tumbled. Now I sort through the rubble, and I seek to slowly and carefully rebuild. Rebuild my values, my view of reality, my belief system, my relationship to myself, to my children, and my understanding of the world.