Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
When a parent sees their child struggling, they try to find out the cause of the struggle. And when the struggle is beyond normal childhood growing pains, a parent often seeks out guidance from others (parents can often get lots of sound advice from other parents who have traveled the same path) including professional assistance. Such would be the case when your child tells you they are the opposite gender from their biological gender.
As a parent you might suspect there are other issues going on with your child that are causing gender confusion or dysphoria. Issues such as ADD, depression, anxiety, bullying, past sexual abuse or trauma which affect the way a child feels and understands himself. Plus, a parent might wonder where did they get this idea in the first place? School, peers, internet, chat rooms?
When you approach a professional for help you are likely to get two responses. The first is to refer you to someone else. This is usually the case with pediatricians and some counselors who do not want to deal with the issue because they do not take the current politically correct approach and are afraid of being “cancelled”.
The other approach will be affirmation. The only acceptable response to your child’s gender confusion is to affirm it, that is affirm their new gender. You will find this same exact approach in counselor after counselor, to an almost cultist degree. No other therapeutic alternatives are to be explored. As a parent you might object since you know your child well, and you know they have other issues that need to be explored plus as a parent you are the one in the best position to help your child with long term outcomes of any therapy.
But if you refuse to “affrm” you will be told immediately that transgenders have a high rate of suicide. A thousand gallons of guilt will be poured over you. Don't accept it. The fact is that transgenders do have a high rate of suicide before AND after transitioning. Which should be proof enough that transitioning genders doesn't resolve the underlying issues.
Worse still, your refusal to immediately affirm your child’s new gender will be proof either of your transphobia, child neglect or abuse or just that you are an unfit parent. In some locations this is proof enough to involve Child Protective Services and the Courts in your family life.
What’s a parent to do? First prepare yourself. At some point your child will likely either become trans affrming of some of their friends or will tell you they are trans. When they do they will be armed with lots of information that they got from internet chat rooms that help groom young people into the trans movement. Your child will have been told that when they tell their parents they are trans that they should expect their parents to reject it, deny it or try to talk them out of it. This is because, they are told, your parents are morally corrupt, stuck in an archaic value system or just "at out transphobic. So, no matter what you say to your child their response has already been play acted many times.
What you should know as a parent is that over many years of studying the issue of gender dysphoria in children, over 88% resolve the issue in favor of their biological gender by the time they reach early adulthood. Parents should also find the support and learn from the experience of other families who have had to face the issue. This will be your best source of information and way to find help that doesn't reflexively insist on puberty blocking medications, hormones or surgeries. If you go that route, your child will become a lifelong ward of the medical world with little guarantee that they will resolve their struggle.
As one who was caught up in the transgender trap recently wrote: “There’s no magic here. Its real people asking real questions and listening to the response in love. It will not work every time. But if we begin with the perspective that people engage in self-destructive behavior because they have been hurt, we place ourselves in a better position to talk and ask questions that help people see adopting a transgender identity won’t solve it. They can’t become someone else. They need help to accept and cherish who they are.” (Walt Heyer @ sexchangeregret.com)
Here is a helpful link to a series of stories from parents who have had to navigate this strange new world.
Fr. John B.