the lady doth proclaim too much?
Exploring the roots of my daughter's latest identity
I guess the question that keeps coming up is, if my daughter’s not suffering from significant emotional distress as many ROGD teens seem to; if her family’s intact, loving and functional, if she’s not a lesbian or on the autism spectrum, then where does this come from?
She’s never just gone along with the crowd. She’s always been stubborn and strong. Her confidence and resilience used to floor me. When she was little, I’d say to her, only half joking, I want to be like you when I grow up.
But she does have ADD. She practically had to beg me to get her evaluated when she was in ninth grade back when she was a lesbian, before she identified as a gay man.
My stance until then was, You wish. You focus for hours on things you enjoy, but when it comes to school work, you don’t care. What worried me wasn’t a looming executive functioning impairment, but something more along the lines of psychopathy. As in, doesn’t it bother you when you don’t hand in your work? Don’t you care that you’re getting zeroes? Don’t you want to amount to something one day?
But she did care. She was just paralyzed, via a labyrinthine, illogical, perfectionistic route. And she did have executive functioning issues. And now she has Adderall. Which helps significantly I admit. She was overjoyed upon learning her diagnosis and even moreso when she received meds. She couldn’t text her friends the good news fast enough.
Which brings me to “oppression points,” a term I got from Arielle Scarcella during my still ongoing exploration of the brain-melting trans-teen-iverse.
My daughter’s ADD diagnosis and non-binary/transmasc identity give her major oppression points. Now that she’s no longer a lesbian, it doesn’t serve her to be cishet, thus transmasc is her new flag. At least that’s my Gen-X hot take.
She boasts these attributes on her Twitter bio and I wonder how the very things people used to keep private they now proudly wear on their social media sleeves. That was one of my first inklings that none of this was real, back in sixth grade when she was pansexual. It’s the inverse of protesting too much. The lady doth proclaim too much?
As her mom, my hunch is that the root of her trans identity is her simple unwillingness to ever be basic. She was never interested in the popular kids. Run-of-the-mill white girls did nothing for her even though at first glance she was one herself.
From the very start her besties included a sweet little bow-topped angel with Down Syndrome and the emotionally fragile daughter of an active alcoholic. That fragile daughter is now a fragile son, with a testosterone-deepened voice and mustache. There’s another teenaged girl on cross-sex hormones at the high school that I know of, plus a bevy of girls (and some boys) who employ name changes and divergent pronouns. The angel doesn’t live around here anymore.
In other words, in our liberal community, a glittery new kind of basic has arrived. Will my anything but basic daughter see this hypocrisy one day? Will she bravely let one sliver of doubt in…and examine it…before she does something irreparable?
And that’s my biggest fear. And that’s what this post and all my writing here is about. It’s a prayer to a god I don’t believe in that my daughter’s trans-religion will implode and disintegrate, a hope that she will emerge a survivor and not a casualty. It’s a therapeutic writing workshop for a mom who can never quite relax while her daughter considers “just hormones and stuff” a viable, healthy approach to an imaginary orientation.