Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Parents with Inconvenient Truths About Trans: 
Tales from the Home Front in the Fight to Save Our Kids
edited by josie a. and dina s. 
pitchstone publishing, 392 pages, $19.95

In June 2021, two mothers launched a Substack called Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT). Here, parents of trans-identifying children could tell their stories and voice their opposition to the greatest medical scandal of our time. Within a year, the project became famous in the “parent underground,” with over 250 stories published and more pouring in from around the world, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, France, New Zealand, and countries in Latin America. A selection of these stories have now been compiled into a collection; it is a heartbreaking read.

“Parent underground” is not hyperbole. Most of the parents in this volume chose to remain anonymous, fearing that their neighbors, family members, and own children would denounce them. “We are not writers,” the two mothers state on behalf of the parents in the book’s introduction. “We are not activists by profession. We’re your neighbors—regular people with regular jobs who have found ourselves secretly whispering into phones to journalists and penning emotional anonymous essays and first-person accounts as we fight for our children’s mental and physical well-being in the shadows.” To be suspicious of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, “social transition,” and sex-change surgeries is to be dubbed a danger to those they love the most. Parents are terrified that if they express their doubts publicly, their children will be taken away.

Many of the trans-identifying children showed no previous signs of gender dysphoria. In these stories, their parents seek help but soon discover that the cards are stacked against them. Public authorities proclaim that they must affirm the dysphoria and place their child on the path to lifelong medicalization. They are emotionally blackmailed: Do you want a dead daughter or a live son? Online trans activists coach children to use this language. Indeed, most children find gender ideology online, and many “come out” using the same online playbook. 

There is a sinister underbelly to the online trans community. As one grieving mother put it: 

There are no statistically significant studies that back up core claims and no real proof of anything. It’s worse than that, though, because it’s nonsense rife with ideological fervor. You try to articulate these facts, while searching for the real reasons for this sudden change in your child. And suddenly, unexpectedly, you are very far removed from the glitter, rainbows, and unicorns and in a dark place filled with pornography, groomers, and trans cheerleaders, as well as peer groups and overreaching schools and activist teachers who are telling your children that they can save them from you.

The essays are full of rage and despair. Many of the children encouraged to “transition” are autistic. Tomboys are put on drugs; sensitive boys are put on puberty blockers. Parents cannot believe that they—who adore their children, have snuggled with them and sacrificed for them and would die for them—are accused of being the enemy simply for questioning the idea that their children can change their sex. As one mother wrote:

When this nightmare ends, and it will, how will you get those years back? How will you ever trust again? How will you ever feel emotionally safe in your home, in your community? Will your friends and family apologize and admit they were wrong? Will the doctors and schools apologize and admit their mistakes? . . . This has changed me forever. Part of my heart has been taken from me, and my anger is unbearable. But what have I learned? Only one lesson: I will never trust those same people ever again.

Many of the parents mourn the loss of their children. Their once-beautiful teen daughters, who now have beards and gravelly voices and ugly chest scars. Their sons, now with long hair and makeup, desperate to “pass” as female but fooling nobody. The family photos on the wall are triggers to ongoing trauma. Family get-togethers, when possible, are an ideological minefield. Many mothers and fathers feel as if they are suffocating. One essay describes “parental dysphoria” as the crippling feeling of staying helplessly silent as networks of institutions disintegrate your vulnerable child. Most feel as if they are trapped in a nightmare from which they cannot wake up, in which they are screaming but everyone who hears them mocks their cries or tells them that it is their fault.

There is reason to hope, however. Most parents seem confident that this medical scandal will come to an end—and it is clear that the parents of trans-identifying children are crucial to this effort. They are waiting at the edge of the abyss, hands outstretched, for their children to return. Their efforts will surely not be in vain. These parents are fighting for the lives of their children while dreaming of the day when the nightmare will be over; of hearing the news that, as one mother put it, “finally, the dam was breaking and that our kids were coming back home to us. Maybe terribly, tragically, irrevocably damaged, and maybe needing tremendous support to make things as right as they could be, but home. Finally home.”

Jonathon Van Maren is the author of Patriots: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Pro-Life Movement

First Things depends on its subscribers and supporters. Join the conversation and make a contribution today.

Click here to make a donation.

Click here to subscribe to First Things. 

Image by Mikhail Kapychka licensed via Creative Commons. Image cropped.

00 Days
00 Hours
00 Minutes
00 Seconds
Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before the clock above hits zero.

First Things is proud to be a reader-supported enterprise, and the Spring Campaign is one of only two major reader giving drives each year. It ends on June 30 at 11:59 p.m.

Your gift will fortify First Things to speak boldly on behalf of religious voices in the public square ahead of a pivotal season for our nation and the church.

Please give now.

Make My Gift

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter Web Exclusive Articles

Related Articles