Public Discourse 27 March 2015
What was your biggest concern when you were nine years old? Was it trying to memorize your multiplication tables? Was it that the school cafeteria might serve your least favorite vegetable at lunch? Perhaps it was something more serious; perhaps your parents were talking of getting divorced. My biggest concern at age nine was how to keep my daddy’s secret, the one he revealed to me as we sat alone on a hill near our home. In a sense, I lost my dad that day, when he told me he wanted to become a woman.
As I tried to process that revelation, he blindsided me with another. He told me he never wanted to have children. To him, my siblings and I were mistakes, because we did not align with his desires.
His confessions left me confused and hurt. After all, I just wanted a dad who would love and cherish me, who would make me feel special as a daughter. I felt rejected and abandoned by my own father. By the time I was eleven, my dad had begun to abuse me emotionally and sexually. Even so, I continued to keep my dad’s secret locked away, deep down in my heart.
My dad created a home environment that made me feel as if I was walking on pins and needles. His resentment over my possession of what he so deeply desired for himself—a woman’s body—turned into anger and abuse. As his desires intensified, he began to borrow my clothing. Many times I discovered my underclothes and tops under bathroom towels, or in the attic—often in places I had not been. I learned to organize my clothes just so, in order to know if he had been in my dresser drawers. When I confirmed that he’d worn an article of my clothing, I simply could not bring myself to ever wear that item again.
As an adolescent, I had to be careful about how I dressed. I always had to ask myself how he would react to my outfit. Would it make him so envious that he’d “borrow” it (without my consent, of course)? I began to hate my body. It was a constant reminder of what my father wanted to become. When I began to wear makeup, I had to block out the images I had of him applying makeup or eye shadow or lipstick. He was destroying my desire to become a woman.
Today’s culture proclaims that a person who chooses to change gender is being honest and courageous—true to his or her nature. Truth? Truth is what aligns with reality, and the reality is my dad was abused as a child. He had emotional issues, anger issues, and obsessive behaviors. It’s no surprise that he chose to escape into a different identity. The truth is that aberrant behaviors hurt families. And those hurts have ripple effects. The “reality” TV shows that portray transgenderism as the new frontier in human freedom and self-fulfillment are not telling the whole story. I know from experience.
I know I speak for others who have undergone similarly tragic childhoods when I say that I pray the Supreme Court will seriously consider the six amicus briefs submitted by the children of LGBT parents. We are united in believing that the healthiest foundation for any child is with a father and a mother. Please, take the opportunity to learn from the impact on the real lives of children. We may be among the first, but we will not be the last to stand up and speak out.