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TERF ideology- "you're just delusional"


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I'm a trans guy who came out at 14. At 16, happily male, though I still don't pass as such. And my two years of consistent dysphoria and euphoria which indicate that I'm very obviously male- mean nothing.


TERFs (including parents) tell me I'm feeling all these things I don't know I'm feeling that are causing my gender dysphoria. I'm just traumatized, just internally misogynistic/homophobic, just mentally ill and looking for an "easy way out" (how in the world is transition an easy way out???), I'm just a confused teenage girl.

I got off-topic here - in my experience, this largely applies to just my parents. The two people legally in control of my healthcare get to tell me they know better than both the doctors and myself about what's best for my mental health. And they'll use anything to defend their purely emotional stance. They feel disgusted at the thought of their child getting surgery to transition, but they won't say that that's the reason they're denying me a life-saving surgery. Instead, they're worried that I might want to be a woman again in the future. Every TERF talking point. 


It's your age

It's your mental illness

It's socially contagious!

It's just depression that you've misdiagnosed

It's just wanting to feel like a part of a community

It's just internalized homophobia/misogyny

It's just how every girl feels about puberty

What if you regret it?

What if you won't be attractive because of it?

What if you won't have sex because of it?

What if you want to breastfeed a child?

What if you want a boyfriend?

What if you are a woman?

Aren't you a woman?

You should be a woman.


I hear my own parents telling me that their imagined hypothetical future life of mine is more important than my survival now. It's hard to hear anything but. It's hard to not hear "but how you feel now doesn't matter. How I think you'll feel in the future does."


Don't so many transmasculine youth face these same questions? So many times, I've wanted to cry for those boys like me who are less fortunate. At least my mother uses my name now. She'll even get it legally changed for me. Not every boy has such luck. And if it's so impossible for me to hang on every day, I wonder if it's so much worse for those other boys. 


I wish we weren't treated like incompetent, ignorant, naive children. It doesn't matter to those who generalize us as such, though - our individual capabilities, thoughts, and feelings don't matter. What matters is this idea that a million identical girls upset with their bodies are being told that they'll be happy if they turn into men, and they desperately give in to it. And I hate that I have to see that rhetoric turned on me, the individual, by my own parents. And I hate that this must not be uncommon - my parents weren't inherently predisposed to transphobic ideas, they're vehemently anti-Trump and are quite liberal - but that just means that parents all along the political spectrum are falling into this moral panic. And that means that kids outside of transphobic communities aren't safe. The mainstream has been infected with TERF ideology. And I'm so, so scared for people like me. I know how much it can affect someone to be made to always doubt themselves, their feelings, and their identity. And I know that it is a dangerous -censored- thing to be happening to trans kids.

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Hey there Elijah, 


You ARE more expert than your parents. YOU are the person who best knows yourself. WE here, get it. YOUR survival is paramount. 


Education is the key, as you well know, so hopefully the people important to you will eventually become interested enough to find the truth themselves instead of repeating the typical transphobic rhetoric, or talking points as you put it. I couldn't think of anything worse than being directly confronted with that sort of garbage.


I'm different to you; I'm AMAB and questioning and my wife is (only) accepting up to a point. But I'm also the same as you; I'm not confident that people who aren't dealing with trans issues will ever understand, and will sometimes revert to the sort of ignorant crap that you highlighted.


Best of luck to you, 

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  • Forum Moderator

Parents make assumptions from the moment that the doctor declares girl or boy.  They plan ahead and assume.  That word "assume" has a sayin connected with it.  "Assume makes an a.s out of u and me. " Unfortunately it also causes pain as a parent worries as they and their son or daughter struggle to break that assumption.

 I'm an old gal now and those years have taught me that time heals so many wounds.  

I'm glad you are here Elijah.  

You are not alone!





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If I may, @NoEli6I'd like to try to offer some perspective.


7 hours ago, NoEli6 said:

happily male


You said it yourself. Let this be a mantra. An assertion of who you are and how you are. 


7 hours ago, NoEli6 said:

my two years of consistent dysphoria and euphoria which indicate that I'm very obviously male- mean nothing.


It seems to mean nothing to your parents. It means everything to you & that's the important thing. Again, "happily male". 


And, as it seems to mean nothing to your parents bc it appears they do not believe you, they must see that you're going through something, though they want to call it mental illness, normal part of growing up, wanting to fill some void, etc. It's extremely frustrating to feel like your parents have failed you. Why do they want so much for what's going on with you to be anything other than being trans? Question: in other ways do you feel loved and supported by your parents? 


7 hours ago, NoEli6 said:

they'll use anything to defend their purely emotional stance. They feel disgusted at the thought of their child getting surgery to transition, but they won't say that that's the reason they're denying me a life-saving surgery.


Before I go on, please understand that my intention is NOT to defend your parents. Know I'm firmly on your side. As I said, I'm attempting to offer some perspective given the information you provided with the intention of helping you to find greater comfort. 


That said, it is poignant that you recognize their reactions are emotional. Please consider the source of that emotion. Do you trust that they love you? While their actions are not supportive and are even invalidating and upsetting, do you think it's possible that underlying all that is love? Please allow me to explain. Their actions do not seem loving. In fact, their actions seem fearful. Fear veils love rather effectively. They are afraid that if you're wrong & you transition, that you will have been hurt. They are afraid all the anti-trans rhetoric which pervades the media might have credence. Being aware of the anti-trans political climate at large, they are afraid for your safety. They are afraid of parenting - it never quite goes how you might want it to. People whose perspective is clouded by fear engage in denial, for one (and far worse in many cases). When you're frustrated by them, say to yourself, "they are blinded by fear, but I see myself clearly". 


What have they said which makes you believe they are disgusted? 


7 hours ago, NoEli6 said:

Instead, they're worried that I might want to be a woman again in the future..."but how you feel now doesn't matter. How I think you'll feel in the future does."


Have you discussed counseling with your parents or are you currently in therapy? Perhaps a good strategy which not only may allay their fears but also be edifying for you would be to ask your parents to go to a qualified gender therapist to examine your gender identity. This could give all of you more peace of mind. The therapist might invite your parents to sessions occasionally to mediate, to discuss their fears, and to advise ways they can support you. 


7 hours ago, NoEli6 said:

At least my mother uses my name now. She'll even get it legally changed for me. Not every boy has such luck.


This is a huge step. Please try to squeeze out every drop of joy you can feel when you hear her say your name, not just for yourself, but it will show her how affirming this gesture really is for you. 


7 hours ago, NoEli6 said:

- my parents weren't inherently predisposed to transphobic ideas, they're vehemently anti-Trump and are quite liberal - but that just means that parents all along the political spectrum are falling into this moral panic....The mainstream has been infected with TERF ideology.


This is largely why I'm suggesting that your parents reaction to your assertion of being trans is based more in fear for you than in phobia. They see it's potentially a deadly world for trans folk. And for anyone, regardless of political orientation, the ACTUAL social contagion of doubting trans existence can be compelling. 


It's not easy being in a situation where you need to be the grown up at a young age. It can feel shattering when you see your parents not caring for you like you believe they should. I'm sorry you bear such a weight & I empathize. The truth is you must focus on your happiness. It doesn't seem fair that at 16 you need to be the bigger man, but you can an example for your parents who are struggling with fear by courageously being yourself "happily male" however you're able. It can take a long time for ppl to overcome their fears and change their perspective. 


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Hi @NoEli6! I missed saying welcome when you first got here, so, "Welcome Elijah, glad you're here!"


I think @Vidanjaliopened this up like a seasoned heart surgeon, giving some amazing perspective. I'm not sure if there is a PFLAG where you live, or a similar organization. Part of what they do is support parents as they accept & come to terms with who their amazing child is. Maybe they might find it helpful.


Please know you are valid, real, & amazing! As difficult as the current situation seems here in our country is, out of it people are learning about us. As they do, they will see we are people who want to live life as ourselves just like everyone else.




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On 5/9/2023 at 7:23 AM, Vidanjali said:

Question: in other ways do you feel loved and supported by your parents? 

Yes, I do. They tend to be misunderstanding and harmful when it comes to the complexities of my mental health & the needs that come with that, but otherwise, they're good parents. They're supportive enough to (over time) use my name, pronouns, and allow me to bind and dress as I please. They outwardly show support for my academic endeavors quite often, but I sometimes question the legitimacy of their compliments in times when they seem to say the exact opposite about me during an argument. But they keep me well taken care of, regarding the basics- education, nutrition, etc.


On 5/9/2023 at 7:23 AM, Vidanjali said:

Do you trust that they love you? While their actions are not supportive and are even invalidating and upsetting, do you think it's possible that underlying all that is love?

I do, I think they love me as all parents love their children. Regardless,  I've still felt otherwise at certain times though, especially during times of conflict. It's difficult, sometimes, to believe that the people causing you harm truly love you as they continue to not listen to your needs. But, logically, I know they do.


On 5/9/2023 at 7:23 AM, Vidanjali said:

What have they said which makes you believe they are disgusted? 

My mother, specifically, has that general attitude towards anything medical regarding my transition. My father, as well, gives me this pained look and tells me he's sorry and thinks I'll hurt myself whenever I talk about how good top surgery will be for me. They've shown the obvious signs of disgust towards gender affirming care, and I wouldn't be surprised if underlying it was the idea that said care is "mutilation," or some other vile descriptor.


On 5/9/2023 at 7:23 AM, Vidanjali said:

Have you discussed counseling with your parents or are you currently in therapy?

I have a therapist of my own who they do parental coaching sessions with, as well. I don't often see the effects of their coaching sessions, but my therapist is also generally not well-versed in trans topics. I had a gender counselor earlier this year, before they cut her off, and none of our conversations were particularly productive then, either. Though being in a therapeutic setting would indeed help mediate and avoid conflict, I'm not sure I can really hold out hope that they'll change their mind about anything at this point.


Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate your support ❤️

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 @NoEli6 I'm glad to hear from you. As I read what you wrote a couple things came to mind. 


The other day my husband, who's been very stressed, sagely commented that as he recognizes he's experiencing fear, he noted that he should not necessarily trust his perceptions. Two days later, he freaked out on me about something that wasn't real. It's a pattern with him. We're both working on it. For my part, I aspire to not internalize nor react to extreme stuff he says when he's experiencing fear and not perceiving correctly & to be firm, dispassionate and clear in my communication. When he's upset, he uses words like "always" and "never"; "all the time", etc. He says things about me which are the opposite of true. (Note: I'm safe and we are both committed to helping each other evolve. Our relationship is strong and good.) I am suggesting that it's similar with your parents. They are clearly experiencing a lot of fear. That's their problem. They will have to decide for themselves whether to challenge themselves to get over it. Unfortunately, you become the subject of their fear and then it's a problem for you. It's why they say and act the opposite of loving and complementary at times. Paradoxically, it's sometimes different to distinguish fear from love. There's a vicious cycle. They love you. They're afraid (for you). They act unlovingly...because they love you? Repeat. Unconditional love is unwavering. The bitter pill to swallow is that unconditional love is an ideal to aspire to, but is rarely experienced in this world. We think parents should embody this ideal, but they're only human. This doesn't change your situation, but perhaps you can challenge yourself to not take it as personally though it seems entirely personal. The challenge of not taking it personally will help you to feel more centered & actually demonstrate a good example for your parents (they are freaking out, you are not). Also keep in mind they find things they don't understand and are fearful of disgusting. They do not find you disgusting. I hope you're finding some peace today. Much love. 

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Unconditional love is unusual, if not nearly impossible.  Hard to tell if your parents love you or not...but they seem not to understand you.  They probably don't find you disgusting, but they have issues accepting something/someone different and perhaps they find difference disgusting.  A slight difference, but important.  You know yourself, so you have to do for yourself what seems best.  I hope you find some peace with it. 


I'm AFAB, and my mother made it clear to me even as a teenager that she found me worthless.  My androgynous intersex body and slightly-different anatomy was enough for continued insults and shaming.  And that was without gender or sexual orientation even being discussed.  It was just assumed that I wouldn't be a wife or mother, so I'm pretty sure my parents didn't love me at all.  I didn't really have to wonder.  I think that with parents, we have to give them the benefit of the doubt and not assume that they don't love us until that is proven clearly. 


Hopefully your therapist is giving you solid advice.  As you get older, you'll have more freedom to make your own decisions whether your parents like it or not.  I have to say that being in my 30's is way different than being in my late teens/early 20's. 

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Yes, I think something that has helped me recently to take their behavior less personally is to realize that their actions are more neglectful than abusive. For a long time I'd had this little doubt in my mind that maybe my parents were something close to abusive- even though, on the daily, they're not. I think coming across the idea that their treatment of me is born of neglect has made it easier to avoid that kind of language, I feel it's solved some cognitive dissonance somewhat. I feel less inclined to want to endlessly question whether or not they love me- and much more inclined to recognize that they truly do, they just aren't capable of meeting my needs right now. And I really think that it's their fear that's cased this inability of theirs.


Many thanks for your comments ❤️

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@NoEli6 I am glad you hear from you. I've been thinking about you and hoping you're safe. It sounds like you've been doing some productive processing of the situation with your parents. I commend your maturity and wisdom. Hope you're feeling well today.

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