Don’t allow the trans movement to undermine good parenting.

For reasons of prudence and compassion, we should be reluctant to judge the parenting decisions of others. Most often, we don’t know the individuals or their challenges well enough to interject our views. On the other side of the ledger, however, radicals leverage this interpersonal etiquette to establish detrimental norms — to which others’ response is verboten — that serve their political ends.  And so, to an extent, we’re obligated to respond when public figures make public statements about their parenting decisions when they can’t help but affect cultural norms.

Here’s local media personality and meteorologist Kelly Bates allowing her family matters to become a politicized part of her conversation with Lauren Clem of Rhode Island Monthly magazine:

You mentioned earlier that your daughter, Winter, came out as transgender in 2021. What has it been like supporting and mentoring her knowing that she’ll face unique challenges as a trans woman?

It’s tough. But I was well prepared from my father. My father always instilled, ‘Family is everything.’ The mindset that if anyone in your family needs you, you’re there. It doesn’t matter, you drop everything and you run. His family that he grew up with was the same way. It’s all about family. So I was prepared. She came out — ‘Yes, absolutely, no problem. Whatever your needs are, they will be met, 100 percent.’ And that’s my dad. Winter initially came out as gay in high school and then went to college on Prince Edward Island for the first two years through the Berklee extension program, and it was during the second year that she was up there that I got a text one day that said, ‘Um, I’m a girl.’ And I said, ‘I always wanted a daughter,’ which is true. And off we went.

For the sake of clarity, we must clarify (insofar as clarity is even possible, these days) that the person Bates calls her “daughter” is a biological male who was previously her “son.”  And I clarify further that I offer this in the spirit of a hopefully helpful participant in the public discussion among parents about the best approaches to raising healthy, well-adjusted children in a maniacal era.

To be blunt, I cannot think of a worse response to a son who announces that he is a girl than, “I always wanted a daughter.”  As a moody and creative adolescent, I had my bouts of suicidal ideation, and it seems to me (having struggled my way through that morass) that a parent’s telling a confused son that she always wanted a daughter is tantamount to a parent’s telling a suicidal teen that, truth be told, a childless household, or a home with one with fewer children, had always been the preference.  In the latter case, the parent would confirm to the child that he or she never should have been born, and in the former, that the parent never really accepted or desired the child as he or she was.

I sincerely hope for the most-life-affirming outcome possible for the Bates family.  In the specific case of this interview, I hope (almost suspect) that Kelly’s statements are a sort of performative progressivism that isn’t truly representative of the situation.  But for anybody facing similar questions, I find it my moral responsibility to suggest that she got it wrong.  Some parents will hope (and, yes, pray) for a reversal of declarations such as her child’s, but in any event, disclaiming the identity that a child had professed up until that tentative “um” reversal is utterly irresponsible.  Parents should want sons as much as they should want daughters.  What they should want, at the core of it all, is the children whom they have.

I don’t doubt for a moment Kelly Bates would agree with this imperative, stated as such, but I fear, in the delusional hysteria of the trans movement, the affirmation of whims has overwhelmed true acceptance, which, as a parent, must incorporate guidance toward accepting reality.  Indeed, fundamental to parenting inchoate humans is the establishment of the principle that reality exists, which is the polar opposite to confessing that one has always wished the reality of the child had been different.


Featured image created by Justin Katz, processing the text of “Antigonish” by Hughes Mearns through DALL-E.

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