Parents in the second decade of the 21st Century are under attack like never before. We are constantly informed of "marginalized groups" and the need to raise their voice and protect them. There is one marginalized group that is severely under threat of extinction ( and I'm not trying to drive fear needlessly ), one group who is losing basic rights to live their family lives in privacy and autonomy and that is parents of children who identify as trans.
If your child emerges from their room after a week of binging trans youtube influencers and declares herself a "boy since birth" and you approach the subject with caution, confusion, and disbelief- you are framed as a dangerous and abusive hater. Parents of teenagers are normally accustomed to being somewhat disliked by their teens, so they often chalk it up yet another disagreement- typical teenage trouble.
However, it is far more sinister than that.
Parents all over the World are losing emotional and physical custody of their children to "glitter moms"; who come in all forms and with all different angles. However, they all know what is best for your child, and you, momma, you just aren't it.
Famous self-declared Glitter Mom's may openly invite children whose parents are anything less than completely ecstatic at their child's sudden declaration they want to embark on a life of drug-taking and surgery to have to contend with odious messages like this.
One has to ask, critically, what is a man doing, requesting that vulnerable children engage with him privately on Instagram?
However, the parents I interviewed had to contend with "Glitter Moms" in their own families, their own friend circles, and even their own Churches.
Californian mother, Fay, always had a contentious relationship with her sister; Fay was seen as the brilliant one- good looking husband, very driven in her career as a software engineer, and an extremely adoring mother of 3 children. Fay's sister, on the other hand, never had children and never married and resentment could always be felt between them.
When Fay's daughter announced via SMS that she was transgender at the age of 16 after joining a group with another 4 girls identifying as transgender, Fay was naturally skeptical. After all, there was no indication of any cross-gender behavior, and Fay, who monitored her daughter's social media accounts carefully, found a Facebook message just a few weeks before her declaration asking another friend "what's this transgender thing all about?"
Nothing else was mentioned about the SMS, life continued as normal for Fay for two months until one day upon arriving home, her sister was waiting in her house saying that she would be taking her daughter and that she was "unsafe" "transphobic" and that her daughter had a more than likely, almost absolute chance of killing herself if left in the care of her and her husband who she framed as abusive.
" This is the ultimate betrayal and undermining of my rights as a parent. My sister who has never so much as taken care of a pet had bought my daughter a binder and had been having secretive conversations behind my back. I was floored."
Fay wanted to involve family services but feared what accusations of abuse could have on the standing of her other two children. She told her daughter that if she really didn't want to be in the house then she could go and stay with her aunt for a few days.
Fay's sister threw a coming-out party for Fay's daughter, changed her name at school and her pronouns, bought her binders, and celebrated her "Glitter Daughter" all over social media.
Every day is a nightmare, I've had endless fights to get her back in the home. My marriage is now over, my other two children are in complete turmoil.
This story is not unique. Countless parents tell me that their daughters and sons were "adopted by affirmative parents of their trans-identified friends", in another time we would have called this kidnapping. These "Glitter Families" undermine the rights that parents have to determine what is best for their child and create a toxic and sometimes permanent wedge between parents and child by demonizing the mother for not affirming and labeling her "abusive" "wicked" and "wanting their child's suicide".
I am currently working on a very sensitive piece about the grooming of LGBT kids by older adults and it's no more horrifying, but for now, I leave you with the words of Rachel McKinnon, self-professed Glitter Mom, who knows what's best for your kids.
I want you to know that’s it’s ok to walk away from unsupportive or disrespectful or even abusive parents. And I want to give you hope that you can find what we call your glitter family. Your queer family. We are out there.
And the relationships we make in our glitter families are just as real, just as meaningful as our blood families.
Please consider supporting me in any way you can with Gender Mapping - the Number 1 resource and insight into gender affirmative healthcare, naming and shaming doctors, and my website, these truths will breakthrough- we just have to keep ongoing.