11 Year Old ROGD Daughter is Influenced by Adults in Online Game Roblox
This story was also recorded for The Witness Podcast Episode 13.
This is story of constant dread. My female child is 11 1/2. She expressed same sex attraction at age 10. At age 11 she experienced Rapid Onset Dysphoria. She had experienced anxiety and depression for at least 8 months before that. She began cutting herself and expressed what seemed to be scripted explanations for her distress and conviction for being "trans" saying she thought we would not accept her, that she was born into the wrong body and that she thought people should have their own choices regarding surgery and hormones. She has persisted in identifying as trans and has asked her school to call her by the pronoun they. We do not socially affirm this direction. While our child has a dx of anxiety and depression and dyslexia she is very bright. Most recently, she told us (her parents and her therapist) that gender is a social construct and a person should be able to determine their gender. We were profoundly unnerved by the accuracy of the phrasing during this conversation. It reminded us of the vehemence of the trans activist movement that often insisted that men who identified as women were women and that biological sex did not exist. At the same time, we find ourselves deeply conflicted because we know at some level the idea of sexual or gender identity fluidity has resonance for our child. We know this is not the same thing as growing up in the late 20th century in a sexist world and bucking against sexist retrograde roles for women.
When asked about where she learned about her ideas she revealed that a few months ago we took out a library book (for grown ups) about trans identity. After reading the book she searched on the internet for videos about female to male transitioners all of whom were adults and regaled their tales of transition in a superficial manner insisting they felt whole and complete. By the time we realized she had been exposed to this adult content it was too late.She made friends in Roblox with grown up trans people.
It's like she is in a cult. She insists that when we express that biological sex is immutable and it's okay to reject gender roles and to be homosexual or bisexual -well we are being transphobic. We are deeply worried that her mental health issues are wrapped up in this journey and know that because of the model of affirmative medical and therapy care she is not safe in the hands of doctors and most therapists. We support a fluid identity and sexuality but we worry that the tendency to push young gay women who do not identify with feminine appearance or roles into radical treatments or paths whether it's social affirmation and coming out in school; hormones or what we consider to be a form of self mutlilation. We worry profoundly that our young blossoming child will never enjoy the beauty and joy of consensual adult sexuality if she goes down this path, we fear that the LBGQT community is an unsafe place for our child. We worry she will render herself infertile. We constantly lie awake at night thinking about how her deep intelligence and sense of justice has been part of this journey, and we admire that she wants acceptance and equity for all people. We share this sentiment. But we see that she is vulnerable -as a young child, as a gay person, as a person determined to forge equity and self expression.
Lastly, this is a deeply lonely journey. Almost everyone in our social circle expresses their belief in the idea of "being born in the wrong body"; often citing supposed studies about transgendered people denied their identity and medicinal interventions killing themselves. They seem convinced a young child knows best. We know in some ways as your sexuality and identity emerges you do know yourself well. However we do not think adult gay identity or medical professionals should be part of this conversation or take steps to medicate or alter our child. We live in fear when she goes to the doctor and hover. We cannot express our misgivings to most family and friends because we are accused in not so many words of being transphobic. We know in our hearts we know what is most important. We must allow our daughter to grow and protect her young healthy body so she can live a life not dependent on medicine and so she can have the sexual life she wants. We have no allies in this battle.