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This Thanksgiving, remembering families fractured by transgenderism

Courtesy of Taylor Reece
Courtesy of Taylor Reece

The holiday season is always hard for families that have endured the recent loss of a family member. 

But the parents of trans-identified young people have been enduring a prolonged, unrelenting loss, many times because their children have cut family ties as part of their new “gender identity”. Some children have vanished entirely from their parents’ lives. Some parents I know have labeled this experience an excruciating “living death.” For most people, Thanksgiving is infused with goodwill and gratitude, but for these moms and dads, it’s a heartache punctuated with piercing anguish.

This particular parental sorrow has gone largely unnoticed in the last decade but it has risen to the surface this year. Many moms and dads who feel as though they have been psychologically crushed by the destruction of their children’s minds and bodies by way of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and trans surgeries are finding their voices and growing bolder. 2023 was a year when many parents rose up in response to this scandal. Their courage is worth revisiting.

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In January, just over a month after its release, Vimeo censored the indie documentary “Dead Name”, which profiles three brave parents whose lives were upended when their children became mired in the trans contagion. The film poignantly chronicles the journeys of Helen, Amy, and Bill as each of them found themselves inside a dizzying tailspin, struggling to understand what was happening and then resisting, often unsuccessfully, the medicalization of their children. The streaming platform claimed that the documentary was hate speech but the abrupt removal of the film only caused public interest to skyrocket. “Dead Name” was quickly rehomed on a platform of its own and engagement with it has grown steadily ever since. It has even appeared on billboards in Pennsylvania and Ohio. (Disclosure: this Christian Post journalist briefly appears in the documentary). 

Interestingly enough, the day before Vimeo removed “Dead Name”, The New York Times published a story that gave a permission structure of sorts to parents to object to teachers and school officials socially transitioning their children behind their backs. Until then, much of the legacy media has framed the issue as yet another example of hot-button American culture wars between the left and the right. But the political reality is more complicated here; opponents of so-called “gender-affirming care,” and critics of gender ideology more broadly, do indeed span the ideological spectrum.

In February, a riveting account emerged in The Free Press by whistleblower Jamie Reed which detailed how parents were being strong-armed into medicalization for their kids against their better judgment at the pediatric gender clinic at Washington University of St. Louis. That clinic announced in September that it is closing down due to the liability risks it now faces from a law that the Missouri state legislature passed prohibiting trans-ing minors. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, the main government official with whom Reed corresponded when she blew the whistle, has successfully defended this law at the trial court level. 

Due to the increasing numbers of affected families, in March The Christian Post put on its first-ever public event in Dallas called “Unmasking Gender Ideology”, which was inspired in part by our documentary-style podcast series “Generation Indoctrination: Inside the Transgender Battle.” While in Texas, our team met and prayed with such families who drove for several hours, some from neighboring states, to attend. The bewildered, 1000-foot stare and the panicked despair in their eyes were unmistakably familiar to us. 

Around this same time, at the state level, the medical boards, legislatures, and governor’s offices started to notice what was happening to many young people and their families and passed laws to curtail these experimental practices. Seventeen states throughout the U.S. South and Midwest adopted statutes prohibiting the medicalization and surgery for minors this year, some of which have survived court challenges. In my own conversations with advocates who have worked to pass those measures through legislative chambers, it was the stories that heartbroken family members shared with lawmakers that were instrumental in causing them to see the depth of devastation that trans ideology has unleashed.

In late July, 19-year-old detransitioner Chloe Cole testified before Congress recounting how her parents were led to think she would wind up dead by suicide because gender clinicians asked them that infamous, maddeningly deceptive question: “Would you rather have a dead daughter or a living transgender son?” Cole was prescribed blockers and cross-sex hormones as an adolescent, underwent a double mastectomy at 15, regretted it all at 16, and is now suing the medical institution that irreparably damaged her body.

Her parents are not the only ones who have faced that exact same manipulation in medical settings. Some of the most moving words that describe such mistreatment at the hands of doctors and counselors are not being vetted in the mainstream press where they should be but appear in the PITT substack, and in a recently-compiled book, Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans: Tales from the Home Front in the Fight to Save Our Kids

Like the “Dead Name” parents, these loving mothers and fathers frequently document how they have spiraled into a nightmarish world they never knew existed, were straitjacketed by ideologically captured professional organizations and government entities, and were abandoned by people they thought were their friends and politicians they believed represented their values. Unlike in years past, however, they are fighting back in greater numbers.  

Taylor Reece, the producer of the “Dead Name” documentary, has interviewed hundreds of distraught parents and cautions against believing that we are anywhere near the end of the road despite the considerable rise in public awareness. The fallout from these fractured familial bonds has only begun. 

“While holidays heighten the feeling of what’s missing in any family where there is loss, parents who have lost children to transgender ideology suffer every day as they deal with constant reminders of a child that they raised and one that they barely know anymore or don’t see because that child has left their lives,” Reece said in a CP interview Tuesday.

“In 2023, we saw a lot of pushback, more scrutiny, questioning, and political appropriation of the issue. But at the end of the day, it is medical professionals and therapists who need to reevaluate this fast-tracking of distressed children on the path to medicalization and revert back to a long-accepted, truly scientific approach that was practiced in previous years,” she added. 

For thousands of families, and their numbers are growing daily, their sadness intensifies during what should be memorable times marked by joy and feasting but are instead filled with moments of unimaginable grief. 

When you gather around the Thanksgiving table on Thursday with your family, please remember and pray for those who have been torn apart, and may God deliver us all from this unspeakably terrible evil. 

Brandon Showalter has a bachelor's degree from Bridgewater College in Virginia and a master's degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Listen to Showalter's Generation Indoctrination podcast at The Christian Post and edifi app Send news tips to: Follow on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalter Follow on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

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