This story was also recorded for The Witness Podcast Episode 11.
I write this knowing you may never read it, but I need to say things. I have let fear prevent me from saying what needs to be said.
You said: “You don't love me. You love the idea of me.”
Sam, I love you so much that I risk losing you by telling you things you don't want to hear. I love you so much that I tell you the truth, no matter how painful it might be. If I didn't love you, I could walk away. But I cannot no matter how much you try to push me out of your life. It hurts me to see you suffer.
When you called us two years ago to tell us you were transitioning from a man to a woman, I asked you why. Your answer broke my heart. You said, “I feel it is my last hope for the potential of happiness.”
Since you are an adult, I have no control over your decisions. But I have a mother’s observation and twenty-five years of history with you. I cannot bury that or pretend those years were a lie. I cannot erase those years and I don’t want to. We weren’t a perfect family, but we were a happy one. You were loved and adored. Now we cannot speak, we cry and fight, we walk on eggshells, our family is shattered. Depression threatens me constantly. I mourn you though you are still alive.
You say you have a new family now. Your trans community has replaced your parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. They told you to cut us out of your life if we don't fully embrace your new identity. You take advice from these strangers. These people don't know you or have your best interests at heart. They just want you in their club. They cannot possibly know or love you like we do. They are insincere, Sam, full of platitudes, telling you what you want to hear and not what you need to hear. They are using you.
You said: “I wish you could be the loving parents you used to be.”
We haven't changed. I am the same mom you have always had. You are the one who has changed, not only in appearance and name, but also in personality. I thought you just wanted a sex change, but you’ve made a character change. It is hard to find my child in you. You cut us out of your life for months, refused my calls, ignored my texts. The son I know would not have treated us so cruelly.
I know why you don't want to talk to me and have real conversations. I am Doubt, the voice in your head that isn't sure you made the right decision. You don't want to hear that voice, you want to shut it out. It is the suspicion that you might be wrong.
The hard truth is you cannot change your gender anymore that I can change my age or race. Science cannot be bent to your will.
I have been told I must accept you as a woman. If I don't, I will lose you either to estrangement or suicide. Why am I being threatened by your new family? Why are they so afraid of me?
I am told if I question your decision, then I am hateful, abusive, and transphobic. I am told that I must call you by your new name and pronouns, and I must call you my daughter. I was told that I haven't lost my son but gained a daughter. That you are the same person, just a different gender. But when I look at you, I see my son. Lost. Trying on an avatar in hopes it will take away the pain.
Why do you get to control the rules of our relationship?
You said, “Please trust me that I know what I am doing. I am happy.”
If that’s true, then why do you appear to be so unhappy? Why has your functionality diminished instead of improved since your transition? Transitioning was supposed to make things better, wasn’t it?
Since your transition, you are on antidepressants, hormones, hormone blockers and an HIV prophylactic. You were never on meds before.
You lost your girlfriend, the love of your life. You separated from your family and friends. You lost most of your work and now live off of unemployment, medicaid and handouts.
You are still depressed and anxious and spend most of your days alone and isolated, from what you tell me.
You obsess over your appearance and view the world solely through the trans activist lens.
Maybe your depression and anxiety aren't from being born in the wrong body. Maybe they come from something that cannot be fixed with a new identity, chemicals, or surgeries? I truly believe you need better care than the affirmative model is offering you.
I am so sorry if my words hurt you. The last thing I want is for you to hurt more than you already do. I write this knowing you may cut me off again. This is my effort to help you because I know you are lost, in pain and suffering.
I love you. I will always love you. That is the truth.
Partners for Ethical Care shares these stories to give voice to individuals who cannot share their stories publicly due to the possibility of losing their jobs, their friends, and their children. All stories are confidential and anonymous. You can share your story too. Go to partnersforethicalcare.com and click on theShare Your Story button. We welcome your story, your time, and yourdonation to support this important work.