Updated: Jan 12
Below is an email and my response to a Mom. I get many of these and thought it would be a good idea to start a "Dear Scott."
I hope it helps
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I hope this email finds you well.
Hello Scott, I'm a married 53 old cis mom of three living in CT. I am a typical Gen X mom, juggling protecting my children and doing more than I should but praying they will grow up to flourish and be happy, healthy kind adults.
About a year ago, I was a 'girl mom' and treasured every minute of it. My oldest she/her is 24 and just received a Master's in Criminal Justice with plans of a career in the FBI. My 2nd she/she is a Sophomore at Smith College in MA, majoring in Government, and plans to become a lawyer. My baby, oh my baby, is a Junior in high school and has always been my reserved observer. A sensitive introvert is what we used to call it. Sara was always shy but had friends and participated in life. She has always been my hip baby, always at my side, and my little buddy; our bond has always been special.
Sara loved playing outside, coloring and playing DS with her sisters. Sara loved Polly Pockets and her kitchen set and would ONLY want to be pretty like a princess for Halloween. Sara loved drawing and anything artsy. We moved 20 minutes north in the summer before she began 4th grade. The girls were getting bigger, and we needed more room and a couple of bathrooms, as you can imagine. New friends were made in elementary school, and they moved to middle school together.
Sara played soccer, basketball and ran XC in middle school. Sara started cheerleading in 6th grade, and in 7th & 8th grade, she achieved a spot on a competitive team. Sara would get upset because she had to cut her nails short for cheer and loved them long, dotted and groomed to perfection. The older sisters bit theirs, and Sara would heckle them because hers grew so nicely. It was looking as if middle school was going to be an experience for the memory book; things were looking up for her, for all of us.
Middle school afforded Sara many choices for extracurricular activities, and Sara was soaking it all up, growing into a young lady, finding her way and flourishing. Sara even had a sleepover where she and her friends dressed in prom dresses worn by her older sisters in prior years. Sara started to show interest in wearing make-up and changed out her earrings regularly. March 23, 2020, at fifteen, was her last day of 8th grade; middle school ended early due to covid robbing so many children of the special times we were all afforded. Kids were sent home, and Sara was never to return to middle school, a time in her childhood when she was thriving.
Being home all day was boring for Sara, as it was for most children. My oldest graduated with her bachelors in 2020, but there was no graduation ceremony; another monumental occasion, a coming of age, once again robbed. My oldest, Lisa, was forced to move back home after her internship was cancelled due to covid. My middle daughter Heidi graduated high school in 2020 and had no prom, senior sunset, senior picnic or field trip. These milestones in life were taken from so many children, leaving them lost, confused with their achievements, just floating, not knowing what was next. It was a stressful time for our family and others. Covid was something that forced all my children back to the nest, and inside I saw it as a true gift. All my babies were home.
Regretfully, we all got on TikTok as a family, filling the days of boredom and releasing the doom of feeling like caged animals. TikTok created another special bond as we giggled, sending the best ones back and forth to each other, amused by dogs and cats and running ducks. We were impressed by people's creativity and talent in painting, dancing, make-up skills and home improvement. It was silly, fun and my kids learned all sorts of things, dances, anything they could think of, right there at their fingertips.
In the fall of 2020, Sara started her freshman year of high school, still remote, but her high school began allowing sports to resume with masks and distance rules. I was elated and thought Sara would be, too, so you can only imagine how surprised I was when Sara quit cheerleading. I held onto hope; because she did not cease all activities; she lettered in varsity XC and Track.
Sara requested that we take 6 inches off her lengthy hair, leaving it still below the shoulders but able to be pulled back into a ponytail for running. Sara was still dressing like a girl but was going through what she called a 'pastel goth' stage. Pastel goth looked beautiful on her, and I loved her look! On March 16, 2021, she turned 16 and got a birthday haircut. A very short pixie. Sara pulled it off; it fit her. The pixie complemented her tiny facial features.
Sara cleaned her closet over the summer and got rid of all her skirts, dresses, tights and "pretty" things. Sara threw out a ton of jewelry and shoved all the girly heels and boots to the back of the closet. On one of our shopping days for school clothes, we found ourselves in the men's department. Yep, short hair, men's clothes. I'm not a fool; I knew what was coming. How did I know? I saw plenty of TikTok videos about gender ideology; harmless, I thought. 'My Sara being transgender?' It never crossed my mind Sara enjoyed being a girl.
Sara had a friend, formerly Tina, now Tony, who was transitioning, but again, I bought into it as maybe it was something good for her friend to do, but my child? It never crossed my mind, never a warning. Then a second friend, Mary, had several name changes settling on Mark. We started to joke and laugh about all her besties turning into boys. Then another friend began transitioning; three of her best friends were all transgender?
Heidi, Sara's older sister's middle child, went through something similar, and it was harmless; she cut her hair, loved Spider-man and wanted to be a dinosaur for Halloween. Heidi had a backpack from the boy's section and a superhero lunchbox. She was a tomboy, at least that's what we used to call it. It was endearing, and we were okay with it. There were no labels or forced conversations. She is now the most feminine cis woman I know and grew out of it in less than a year.
It's not hard to guess what happened next. My Sara came out transgender. Scott, I wish I had found you sooner. Unfortunately, I found you too late. If I had found you before all of this, I would never have started using the new name had I known better. Sara recently got her license and HATES it's devastating to Sara to see her 'dead name.' She has a job and HATES the paycheck being in the deadname too.
Recently Sara emailed the principal at school and now goes by Tobias, and he/him the school is complying. At home, it's been hard. I miss my little girl so much. I worry about the future. I fear someone will attack my child for existing—my sweet shy child who wouldn't hurt a flea. I feel like it's too late now. How do I put the genie back in the bottle? How do I turn it around? What can I do? Tobias wants hormones which we declined BUT we are running out of time. Her 18th birthday is right around the corner, and then we have one year to 18. I'm terrified.
Sara is in therapy and has been for a year now. The first therapist told Sara privately how to access hormones, so I fired him and started with another therapist. This one challenges him rather than just affirming. My husband and I don't see it. Our child loves Taylor Swift and Hello Kitty and collects Miku statues. If you walk into the bedroom, it screams girl. I know "things" can't be gendered. But the idea that my child has 4 other friends who are trans is questionable. Statistically, it doesn't make sense. Five girls identified as boys in the same state, in the same school, in the exact grade, and in the same friend group. I've spent a year mourning my daughter. I, too, am in therapy. I wish I had found you sooner. I hope it's a phase. I love my child, and I would never turn her/him/them away. I'm just so scared of what lies ahead. I have a year to try and get my daughter back before sending her off to college. What should I do? Can you help me? How do I go back without alienating my child, so I have already affirmed the name and pronouns? Thank you, and I apologize if this was longer than necessary or contradictory in any way. I appreciate what you do and am grateful for sharing your life with us.
Thank you again
You are one of the many moms I get emails from that all sound like the same story regurgitated with the same emotional energy, fright and feeling of being at a total loss. So first, let me tell you that you are not alone.
How do you put the genie back in the bottle? That's a tuff one.
You can't stop this with your own words; you have to make Sara find the words of concern for herself; the concern needs to come from Sara discovered by Sara.
Yes, the first misstep was calling your child opposite gender pronouns; this misstep is done by most parents who believe it's harmless. But today, this little give-in is generating a factory of girls lining up to transition medically, believing that all the oddities they have will be fixed with a snap of the hormone bottles lid and the clash of the surgeon's scalpel hitting on the metal table, butchering children daily, just like your Sara. First, we must remember that our brains are like a computer; we only believe what we tell and feed it. The constant male's name solidifies that this phase will stick longer and cause more damage than it did for the millions of girls before your Sara that have gone through this phase that are now living as healthy women, appreciating who and what they are. But what's done is done. Let's move on.
At this point, Nancy? You cannot talk Sara out of anything; you have lost that power; you gave it away as most parents do with the misinformation everywhere you look on the internet, silencing the truth. Strange time we are in.
I suggest this, and every parent who has done this has succeeded in waking up their daughter. Remember I said Sara must find the words and discover the truth?
Sit Sara down with you and your husband and tell the truth. The truth is that 'Sara, some people find comfort with medical transition (not very many, but it enhances some people's lives, but is not lifesaving), and you could be that one, but with that said, I have some reservations, me and your dad.
"Sara, this is a substantial medical process, and I can't in good conscience be a cheerleader for something this drastic if all I hear are the beautiful things that will happen when you start medical transition. Please do your work first, be diligent. We will meet every Sunday for six months, and I want you to research one good and one bad thing about medical transition. Sara, if you cannot find anything negative, it signifies that maturity is not on your side; every decision has good and bad, and no decision is all good or all bad. The Ben Franklin of choices we have, my dear!"
You are setting her up to find the negative, and it's out there, and once she sees it, the fairy tale will be less powerful, and she is finding the truth; you are telling her the bad will get you to know where. When you don't fit, and the medical industry tells you can? It's a powerful force that places huge blinders on. Remove Sara's enormous blinders by doing this because if you tell her anything negative? It will backfire. Let her tell you the negative and ask probing questions, lead her but do not take her there; you can't.
Bribe her to wait, a car, college, and keep the Sundays going as long as you can, but in the end, if Sara does this work and comes to the other side still wanting to transition medically? Tell her and mean it that if she does the work, you will sew the damn cheerleading outfits yourself for you and her dad and shoot glitter into the doctor's office at 18, 25; bribe as long as you can, keep the Sundays going.
The worst thing you can do is tell her what she needs to discover. This is strategic parenting, and it works.
Reach out any time,