On a sunny afternoon in 2021, a few days after Father’s Day, my eighteen-year-old daughter called me. She seemed hurried, nervous.
“Dad, I just wanted to let you know I’ve started HRT! (hormone replacement therapy)”
The words tumbled from her mouth. The floor became unsteady beneath me.
I had hoped it was a phase. A fad. I had told myself she’d sort herself out through the vicissitudes of teenage girlhood, that changing names and pronouns, experiments with clothes and testy attitudes were only symptoms of difficult, awkward adolescence.
I cannot possibly convey how hard it is as a dad to speak publicly about this issue and to share this with readers and the implications and personal cost of doing so. It makes people uncomfortable. I ask myself about my duty to my child and about the best thing I could possibly do to serve her when everyone else in her life is hypnotized or emotionally blackmailed into affirming her sex change.
She’s an adult now. She stands on the other side of the divide, believing that I am the enemy, that I hate her, that failing to affirm her was abuse, and that I failed as a father for loving her girly-girl nature as a child. The bizarre convolutions of this ideology tell her that I somehow imposed my beliefs about gender on her as she grew up, and that my stereotypes made her believe that she was a girl, when she was really something else.
I hope that what I have chosen to do will help her in the future, and that it serves a greater good, but I can’t possibly know. I speak because other parents can’t for fear of consequences both public and private for anyone who does so. Yet if no one speaks, no change will come.
Loving parents across the country are paralyzed, intimidated into silence, and threatened with repercussions for speaking the truth about what’s happening with gender and schools. I speak for those who can’t speak for fear of alienating children to who they remain tenuously connected and who all have stories like mine. I lay bare my family struggles to say openly that like many, my daughter was dragged through a needlessly acrimonious custody battle at a young age, that she was caught in the crossfire common to so many vulnerable kids swept into gender ideology. Like so many, she struggled with mental health issues, self-harming, food, body image, depression and anxiety, and the challenges she faced growing up. I share, too, that she is deeply introverted and imaginative. She’s intelligent, creative, and if she could remember it, she is loving and gentle and funny and curious.
Three years before she called to tell me she was taking testosterone, my daughter, then fifteen, told me that she couldn’t live with me anymore and was going to live with her mother full-time after a decade of shared custody. She said she couldn’t be her true self, that she couldn’t live up to the expectations I had imposed on her, and that she felt unsafe. I didn’t understand these words at the time, but today I do, as the vocabulary of an ideology that believes human beings, unto even toddlers, can realize an innate gender identity different from their biological sex.
An ideology now entrenched in public policy and laws in Canada and in developed countries around the world. It seems to have come, like the call that sunny afternoon, out of nowhere, but it has consumed the lives of hundreds of thousands of families with its divisive, aggressive defence of its radical beliefs.
It wasn’t as ubiquitous just two years ago to hear from a friend, a relative, a colleague that a child or teen in their social orbit had changed pronouns or identified as transgender. It wasn’t as common to hear a parent of tweens remark that they were surprised by the number of their children’s friends who had changed their names.
One Ottawa Public School Board teacher recently bragged on Twitter that seven of her thirty students in her grade 5-6 class had confided in her about their gender identities.
In my family, my niece, now in her early twenties, reverted to identifying as a girl after some years, but her two half-siblings both changed their sex identification in the meantime and started hormone therapy.
Were it as simple as an expansion of the acceptance of personal liberty and expression, I’d be celebrating, but the wholesale medicalization of vulnerable children with drugs and surgeries that will render them infertile and, in many cases, will undermine their capacity for fulfillment in intimacy as adults, is a modern atrocity. I am driven to speak and condemn this despite the costs.
I could write at length about the lack of science and the cultish sloganeered meted upon the vulnerable. “GAC saves lives!” False promises of happiness with the discovery of “your True Self”
Others better than me can tell you about the British Medical Journal report this year, about the scathing condemning the world’s largest pediatric gender clinic, about the evidentiary reviews leading to snowballing radical course-correction rolling from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the UK through the highly politicized domain of Florida and the United States. Others might point as well too to the decision days ago in the UK to ban puberty blockers for treating gender dysphoria in youth except in limited and controlled clinical trials.
Parents are deemed unsafe for pointing to this. For asking for evidence. For referring to studies.
My daughter estranged herself the day I asked if she understood the risks of hormones versus the benefits. I asked if she understood that she would lose her beautiful hair, that her singing voice, which left me puddled with fatherly adoration since the first sounds she intoned upon this world, would be lost. I asked if she understood that testosterone would lead to a hysterectomy in a few short years, to lifelong shots and significantly elevated risk of cancers. I asked only as any loving dad.
It was the day she fully embraced the narrative from the gender zealots, that any question of her choices meant I hated her, that anything but affirmation meant I denied her existence. That I was participating in the trans genocide. She turned on me.
On my desk now, the documentation to apply for a peace bond, the Canadian equivalent of a restraining order, because of the frightening threats that followed, uncharacteristic of her, likely from the massive doses of testosterone, the liquid rage she is injecting.
To loving parents and grandparents, take heed.
Schools across Canada have explicit policies to keep gender transitions secret from parents. They are mandated under the rubric of so-called human rights to divide children from parents, to assume that questions based in evidence, research, and science make a child “unsafe.” They are empowered to radically act.
In British Columbia, Child and Family Services have the authority to remove a child from parental custody for failing to sufficiently affirm a child’s stated gender identity. Federally, Bill C-4, passed late in 2021, makes it a punishable crime for anyone to question a child’s gender confusion.
Two years ago, this was unheard of. It was kept a secret at school. Two years ago, most of us never questioned the binary of sex, the basis of nature itself or even heard of such convolutions as AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth).
Two years ago, not long after Father’s Day, I was living a normal life.
I was with friends at a cottage when the phone rang.