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When Parents Lead Their Children Toward Transition

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Recently, British author and journalist Helen Joyce offered a hard-to-hear but reasonable explanation for why transgender ideology continues to endure, despite its inherent contradictions, its obvious falsehoods, and the harm that has been inflicted on children. Her words are worth quoting at length:

There’s a lot of people who can’t move on [from] this and that’s the people who’ve transitioned their own children. Those people are going to be like the Japanese soldiers who were on Pacific Islands and didn’t know the war was over. They’ve got to fight forever. This is another reason why this is the worst social contagion that we’ll ever have experienced. A lot of people have done the worst thing that you could do, which is to harm their children irrevocably, because of it. Those people will have to believe that they did the right thing for the rest of their lives for their own sanity and for their own self-respect. So, they’ll still be fighting.

I’ve lost count of the number of times that somebody has said to me of a specific organization that has got turned upside down on this, “Oh, the deputy director has a trans child,” or “the journalist on that paper who does special investigations has a trans child.” The entire organization gets paralyzed by that one person … And now you can’t talk truth in front of that person because what you’re saying is, you as a parent have done a truly—like a human rights abuse level—awful thing to your child that cannot be fixed.

In other words, according to Joyce, the real breakthrough of the current gender ideology movement has only come through the co-opting of parents, whose instincts to protect their children tragically became a threat to them and their wellbeing. This was accomplished, in large part, because Western medical authorities ultimately betrayed parents.

Dr. Miriam Grossman, a clinical psychologist, has described this phenomenon in her new book Lost in Trans Nation: A Child Psychiatrist’s Guide Out of the Madness:

The entire mental health profession—psychology, social work, counseling—was captured by radical ideologues years ago, and you and your families are paying the price. The doctors are wrong, your gut is right. Your son will always be your son. Your daughter will always be your daughter. To say differently is inane. And to place blame on you, parents who represent reality, is shameful.

Dr. Grossman’s best advice for parents is to “[t]rust your parental instincts. The entire world is telling you to put your gender-questioning child in the driver’s seat, but you will learn they’re wrong.”

The story of 19-year-old Chloe Cole, “perhaps the most well-known detransitioner in America,” is a case in point: “They coerced my parents into allowing me to do this. And while my parents were required to sign off on everything, they were also putting it on me, because I desired to do this.”

In fact, most parents who deny their children’s wishes and instead try to do the right thing will often find entire communities opposed to them. Friends, counselors, teachers, and medical professionals—not to mention their own children—will condemn them as hateful and bigoted, and even accuse them of choosing a “dead daughter over a live son,” or vice-versa. After all, it is the children, these new experts insist, who are the inexhaustible source of truth about who they are, and their desires should always be respected.

All of which means that, if Christians do not come to the support of parents walking this incredibly difficult road, no one else will. Pastors, youth pastors, Christian friends, neighbors, and family members simply must show up here. And parent, if you are in the middle of a child’s gender crisis, remember that you can walk with them in truth and in love. Or, as Dr. Grossman has said, “It’s possible to survive, albeit with scars.”

Erin Friday, a California mom described her journey this way:

Your love for your child has to be strong enough to take their vitriol. And it’s very, very hard. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep. Some days, I didn’t get out of bed. But you still have to do it, because now there’s not a day that doesn’t go by that my daughter doesn’t say that she loves me … even if my daughter didn’t come back to have a relationship with me … I saved her from being a lifelong medical patient, so I would do it again.

Tragically, there are many parents whose children chose differently. Even more tragically, there are many parents who fit the description offered by Helen Joyce. Coming to terms with what they have done to their children seems impossible. So, Christians must run toward this brokenness with the Gospel, especially its offer of forgiveness and promise of restoration.

Many men and women have faced the reality of choosing to have an abortion and, in the process, were found by Jesus Christ. Their lives prove again that no one is beyond the reach of God’s grace, that as Paul wrote to the Romans, “by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

In this cultural moment, the Church must help parents know and choose what is true and find hope when their children choose otherwise.

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Kasey Leander. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org.

Publication date: August 4, 2023

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Vladimir Vladimirov

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.


BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.


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