I felt very reluctant to write this essay. I fear that I will be attacked and demonized. But I have to tell the whole truth about “transitions”. It’s not all about the gender-confused child. It also has to include how we feel about our confused son and brother. There’s a loving and close family involved here.

A few years ago, our outgoing, athletic, and very smart boy started coming home from middle school nearly in tears and with scrapes down his arms. The bullying was bad. He begged us not to contact the school for fear that it would only get worse if he tattled. Our son was small and young for his grade and was being leap-frogged by his peers in both size and maturity.

His very first friend, a girl, and her group of friends, started to identify as members of a newly defined and growing gender/non-gender “spectrum” in middle school. It’s the cool thing to do in this area and these girls became popular! Meanwhile, our son started to retreat as an escape from the bullying. But he soon found his squad — he convinced the “girl next door” that he was indeed trans. He found a new set of friends and a new focus. These girls became his cheerleaders and suggested that he come out fully.

He became obsessed.

In his attempt to convince us, his family, that he had really been a girl all along, he has re-written his own history. The edited version is very different from ours. Those days spent running around the house as Darth Vader, climbing trees, racing cars and trucks, those hours on the soccer field, have been erased from his memory. Instead, he remembers playing dress-up and sitting in his room dreaming about being a girl. And he has changed the age at which he knew he was a girl numerous times; it gets younger each time.

We were dumbfounded by his new-found identity. While we’re not woke, we’re not ultra conservative or phobic by any means. We’re a family that has taken an active role against global warming. We’ve supported our gay and lesbian friends in their fight for gay marriage rights. We’ve always taught our kids to respect everyone and treat all people the same.

But defying science? The questions we posed were met with name-calling and shaming us for not endorsing this drastic change. I promised him I would do my part to learn more so that I could support him and understand him.

What I discovered was shocking.

We’ve spent many weekends over the past years, traveling as a family and supporting our soccer star. We’ve sat on the sidelines in many states, in all kinds of weather, watching him play soccer and hang out with his friends. Never did we see an effeminate boy; we saw a typical boy. Playing soccer was his passion and we never saw him happier than when he was high-fiving his team mates after scoring a goal. The lunches, dinners, and weekends spent with the team and boys being boys were a big part of our family life.

Now he has taken on a new identity with new mannerisms, including a high-pitched voice (unless, of course, he’s on the soccer field with other boys). He still talks about fast cars, everything sports, but he rarely leaves the basement except for school and a part-time job. He spends his time in the basement playing FIFA soccer and engaging in Fantasy Football leagues. He can tell you about every stat of nearly every football and soccer team and his favorite players.

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Parents, check your inbox: the next ‘I am trans’ letter may be addressed to you  
How one mother discovered her son was being groomed online (April 9)

He has told us that after high school, he plans to move as far away from us as he can. His underground friend group told him that that’s what is best for him. They’ve told him that if he’s away from his family, he can transition and be rid of a family that will “never accept him”.

Hearing that is a knife to any mother’s heart. As parents, we’ve only wanted what’s best for our children. We love him and are here for him. This means helping him work through the issues that led him to this place – especially the bullying.

Sadly, this kind of help is not what he is interested in. He won’t even discuss it.

His younger sister misses the brother she relied on and looked up to for so many years. He taught her how to kick a soccer ball. They used to hang out and walk to Starbucks together. They had each other’s back when they got in to trouble.

Now she resists being around him because, she says: “he’s obsessed with trying to convince me that I’m trans, too!” It’s all he talks about instead of the goofy things siblings chat and laugh about. This has caused a great deal of strain. She’s sad and fearful for him – and their future friendship. Family dinners can often be awkward because they argue a lot. She sees his mannerisms as fake and insists he’s doing all of this for attention. She feels like she’s growing up and maturing and he’s now emotionally younger.

His father regrets the loss of his only son. He’s saddened that those dreams of his first father/son beers while watching sports will never be. Just as I enjoy my mom/daughter time together clothes-shopping and playing with makeup, my husband realizes that those special outings with his son will never happen. As a parent, you start to have dreams the moment your child is born and you hear the words, “Congratulations! It’s a boy!”

Even if our son changes his mind and comes back to identifying as his biological gender, these years before they leave the nest are so few. You never get them back. We feel like we’ve been robbed of the happy times because so much time is spent on this subject. It’s lurking in every discussion we have.

While a large part of the world celebrates the explosion of genders and non-genders, we shudder at the dangers these young kids are being exposed to. What we had dreamed of for so many years is being stolen from us by a culture none of us understand — including him. He’s being influenced by those that don’t have his best interests at heart, who hardly know him. It’s robbing our child of what should be his carefree and fun years.

We miss our son’s energy, positivity, and confidence. He’s a shell of what he once was. We miss family game nights. We miss bike rides and movies outside. We miss the laughter that once filled our home.

A mother, a father and a sister are the collateral damage of this transgender craze, of our son’s decision to believe an unscientific ideology, to erase his past, and to trust the benevolence of shadowy internet friends. Don’t we have a right to mourn our broken dreams?

The author is a married mom of two living in a Maryland suburb. She’s an “old fashioned feminist.” She celebrates being a woman and believes in equality. She respects men and their role in society just as much as she believes womens’ strengths play a strong role too. Her name has been withheld to protect her family’s privacy.

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