Rational public discourse has been happening in the UK and northern Europe about the risks of childhood gender transition and the responsibility that our leaders and clinicians must bear to ensure young people are appropriately safeguarded from harm. Britain’s Secretary of State, Kemi Badenoch confronts all the issues head on in this statement and subsequent questioning in the House this week. The UK has also recognized the complexity of balancing rights between females and self-identified transwomen and is taking steps to clarify the meaning of sex and gender in law.
Secretary Badenoch’s statements on behalf of the British government exemplify the growing divide between how the UK and Canada are dealing with gender self-id; the idea that children are somehow born in the wrong body and that gender identity supersedes one’s biological sex. One Canadian mother of a once-trans-identified teenager was inspired by Secretary Badenoch’s statements this week and wrote this letter to her which we’re sharing here.
Dear Kemi Badenoch,
I can’t thank you enough for your courageous, penetrating, and truthful words in the House of Commons yesterday. As the parent of a child who declared herself trans for 2.5 years and was insistent on pursuing medical and surgical interventions, I was close to tears listening to you. Although my daughter has since desisted, our family continues to experience fallout from the experience, including:
- Loss of income from contract work for organizations that insisted I “put up my pronouns” in Zoom meetings and would not accept a refusal
- Gaslighting by social workers, nurses, our family doctor, our school counsellor, and many more people who said we just didn’t know who our child really was and that we needed to examine our biases
- A lost year of high school for my daughter, who wasn’t able to back-pedal gracefully from her social transition, being ostracized not just by peers but by clinicians, who were only too happy to see the back of her when she began upsetting their narrative (AND they refused to collect any data on her desistance)
- Ongoing trauma for my younger daughter, who at 10 years old was horrified by her sister’s threats of suicide, which we realized later had been coached by other trans-identifying kids
- Continued discomfort as the whole family, to this day, treads lightly around issues of gender identity because – despite the fact that my daughter now identifies as a girl – she still buys the entire ideology
- Extreme caution about speaking out to anyone, anywhere, and a resulting feeling of isolation
My daughter’s “trans” experience was the most stressful thing our family has ever gone through. When your fellow parliamentarian claims you are making him “unsafe,” he has no idea what it feels like to truly feel unsafe. When your child slips a note under your door at 3:00 a.m. saying she’s going to slit her wrists if she isn’t allowed to transition – and then, after this happens several times and you spend hours at a time on a suicide hotline, and you realize the letter is boilerplate, and that these kids are coaching each other to fake suicide – that feels unsafe.
More nefariously, when you learn that the psychologist who hosted their bi-weekly trans peer group has been caught on tape advising kids to threaten suicide – that feels unsafe.
And when you find yourself surrounded by glitter parents telling you there’s no such thing as social contagion and that you just need to “do the work” to get over your transphobia – that feels unsafe, because it feels like the Twilight Zone.
So, I thank you, with all my heart, for telling the truth in the House of Commons. It was EPIC. I’m not even a Brit; I’m a Canadian. But I was lucky enough to catch your incredibly nuanced and informed debate on Twitter, and I’m going to share it widely. THANK YOU for bringing some sanity and common sense into the room. I hope some Canadian parliamentarians were watching too.
Additional background for our readers: daughter was 12 when she announced she was trans (in 2018). She persisted for over 2.5 years. She desisted at the end of summer 2020. COVID helped, because she was no longer seeing three schoolmates who’d inspired her to be trans.