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When Children Are Ghosted by a Trans-Identified Parent

Children whose parent transitions to a different sex feel abandoned, ghosted. The person they knew throughout their lives, the parent that should be there throughout their lives has vanished.​

When my oldest son was little, he bought his father a giant red book for Christmas, called The Dangerous Book for Boys. My son penned a sweet letter inside the cover, describing how much he looked forward to sharing the activities in the book with his father. The first activity they did together that Christmas day was make paper airplanes.

But that was the first and last time the book was opened, because shortly after Christmas my husband announced his transition to being a woman.

Everyone is told that “transgender people are rejected by their families.” What we do not hear often are the painful and tragic stories of what the family suffers.

I took on all the parenting and became the one financially responsible for the household. We experienced homelessness when their dad first left. I could never have peace due to my ex-husband’s gaslighting. My children were manipulated by their father emotionally and were afraid to hurt him by speaking up for themselves about the neglect and abuse they experienced. They were ordered into counseling sessions where the entire focus was on making their dad feel comfortable.

In counseling, they were told they can no longer call their father “Dad” and were punished by him and his lover for “misgendering.” The children had to push their feelings aside as to not hurt their father’s feelings. The manipulation they experienced at the hands of their father has left them resentful.

One of my children spent time in a mental hospital because he became a threat to himself, and suicidal ideation was common among all three children. One developed several manifestations of OCD which are still persistent and being worked on in therapy. Their self-esteem suffered as they questioned their sense identity. They wondered if they were like their father in any way, none of it positive.

In their own words, the children felt abandoned by their father.

I spent more than three of their formative years battling in the family courts just to keep them, fighting the LGBTQ activist attorneys from a firm that has led the way for “transgender rights” in the USA. My kids were used as political pawns simply because they had the misfortune to be caught in a divorce with a trans-identifying parent.

I watched my children’s performance in school suffer as their dad underwent physical changes and included his new trans-identifying (FTM) partner in their lives. He and his partner exposed my children to transgender propaganda in the form of books, flyers, pamphlets that their father’s lover (a Human Rights Campaign activist) had about the home. They were also exposed to explicit materials about trans-sex, and they found sex toys lying about their father’s house. Their father’s partner physically and emotionally abused them, even threatening to kill them.

Children of divorce face increased risks of abuse from their parent’s new partners, but when you combine those risks with the very high rate of domestic violence among trans-identifying couples, it is no wonder my kids experienced abuse and trauma. I spent many nights holding a son as he cried himself to sleep. One son told me he went to bed on a wet pillow for years, quietly crying himself to sleep as to not concern me.

My children would put their heads down to cry when their class had parties for father/son or father/daughter. They were sad because they felt they did not have a father, certainly not one they would be proud to have at school. When their father did show up the kids would lie and say he was their “ugly aunt,” but the other kids knew, and so did their parents. My children were bullied and we were all excluded from friend circles and activities because we were “that family.”

My oldest son was in middle school when his dad transitioned. His father was his baseball coach. But after the transition, my ex-husband became less and less involved. Frankly my son no longer wanted his father at his activities. I did my very best to help. I hired former pros to help teach my son, but nothing replaces having a father show up and be involved. My son simply wanted to be like the other boys and have a father there, warming him up at his games. Often, he would go to the dugout pretending to have a headache so he could put his head between his legs and cry.

“To see my dad change physically hurt in its own way, but when it coincides with such a painful personality change it hurts a thousand times worse, I could not even look at my father without feeling pain.”

My children were miserable because their father withdrew from their lives. At mandated visits they hoped to get some attention from their father, but instead he prioritized his new lover during their visits. They played video games together, but all of the children felt uncomfortable with their father’s choice to create only female characters for himself. Every time the children saw their father they said he was more and more a different person.

The children ultimately decided they would not comply with calling their dad by made up names or pronouns that made them feel as if they were lying.

My kids have said they have dreams that they see their dad just one more time presenting as a man, and they dream of spending time with their real father. It feels to them as though their father died, but they were never allowed to grieve him. One child still clings to the possibility that their father will return to manhood and his old personality.

One of my sons said that he would have been better off had his father died early in his life. He said recently, “at least then, in every phase of life I could say ‘if my dad were here he would be the best, he would play catch with me, he would go camping with me, he would fish with me, he would be at my wedding, he would make me so proud, he is my hero’. I’d be able to cling to the belief that he is an amazing father, an incredible person that put his family first.” Instead, my sons know their father threw that all away by choice.

Today my children are all in different places in relation to their father. One still talks to him but feels unprioritized and unwanted. Another is trying to figure out just what kind of relationship they will have moving forward as an adult, but that child definitely doesn’t want his own family exposed to his father. While one child has moved on and no longer holds out for a relationship with his father because in his words, “I don’t want to pretend any longer.”

The children have been in counseling for many years. Even that was centered around their father instead of their own needs for many years as their father insisted they have an LGBTQ affirming counselor. Why? The children aren’t LGBTQ. The attempts at manipulating them and focusing on their dad’s desires instead of their needs has only hurt the children and made them resentful of their father and untrusting of the counseling process which they very much needed to help them deal with the ambiguous loss they experienced from their father transitioning.

It is unfair that anyone would characterize my children as transphobic. They have handled the whole situation with more grace than anyone could imagine. They have shown their father love and respect all these years, now they are coming to a place of evaluating things and placing boundaries where they feel appropriate.

I am often accused of being the one that has hurt their relationship. The trans cult cannot possibly conceive of the idea that children are hurt when parents ghost them and their lives are forever changed. They cannot tolerate shouldering responsibility for hurting anyone; after all they fancy themselves the victims.

I feel confident my children will not remain as victims but will overcome the painful loss of their father and the horrible way in which they lost him. I hope in sharing our story is that people realize this isn’t as simple as it is portrayed in media and by Hollywood. It is messy, it is painful and it has silent victims.

Hopefully, we will stop claiming kids are resilient while their childhoods, dreams, and parents are snatched away by the transgender cult.

Children deserve better.


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 the Share Your Story button. We welcome your story, your time, and your donation to support this important work.

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