When Adults Like Caitlyn Jenner Pursue Transgender Parenting Fantasies, Children Suffer

When Adults Like Caitlyn Jenner Pursue Transgender Parenting Fantasies, Children Suffer

The best interest of children should be placed above any adult’s self-gratifying desire to experiment with parenthood as the opposite sex.
Denise Shick
By

Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner and his 22-year-old transgender “girlfriend,” a male who goes by “Sophia,” claim they want to experience motherhood, according to an article recently posted on activistmommy.com. According to the U.K. Mirror, Jenner, who has already fathered six biological children and four stepkids, says he’s “never had the chance to bring a child up in the role of a mother, which [he’s] always dreamed of doing.”

Another trans couple, Precious and Myles Brady Davis, who announced in July 2019 that they will soon become parents, said, “We hope once again that through sharing our story individuals are inspired to see that all kinds of families exist in our world and should be celebrated.”

Media outlets, of course, praise these transgender pairs, touting their desires and experiences as vital steps toward normalizing the transgender lifestyle. But what about children who are raised in such environments? Are they celebrating these lifestyle choices?

These children are often advised to affirm the parent’s new identity or stoically bear the uncomfortable circumstances wreaking havoc in their lives. One 16-year-old teen said he felt as if his dad “put him out with the trash” and “rejected” him because he didn’t agree with his dad’s choice to transition. This young man struggles with self-worth and the rejection of his peers over his dad’s decision.

A young daughter confessed her discomfort when her dad wants to play tea party with her because he likes to dress up as a woman. She said, “I want my daddy to be my daddy, not a girlfriend.”

Some transitioning fathers send their teen and adult daughters letters, asking for affirmation of their chosen lifestyle. When the daughters express disapproval, the fathers push back with threats to sever contact.

The truth is that many children feel shame and embarrassment about their family situation. The pressure to accept or protect the transitioning parent can generate anger, fear, and anxiety, as well as loneliness and feelings of abandonment.

Sometimes the children’s prolonged and unresolved grief leads to depression, eating disorders, or substance abuse. A sense of being different or not belonging may cause difficulty with intimacy or trust in relationships. They often express confusion about God, religion, love, and sexuality.

I know how these children feel. I lost my dad the day 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 our existence did not align with his fantasies. His confessions confused me, and hurt me. I wanted a dad who loved and cherished me, who would make me feel special as a daughter. Instead, I felt rejected and abandoned.

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 borrowed my clothing. Many times I discovered my underclothes and shirts under bathroom towels, or in the attic—places I had not been. I learned to organize my clothes in a specific way to determine if he had been pawing through my dresser drawers. When I confirmed that he had worn an article of my clothing, I could not bring myself to ever wear that item again.

As an adolescent, I was careful about how I dressed. I asked myself how my dad would react to my outfit. Would it make him so envious that he’d borrow it, and without my consent? I hated my body because it was a constant reminder of what my father wanted to become. When I wore makeup, I blocked out images of him applying face makeup, eye shadow, and lipstick.

Over the years, I’ve talked with many children and teens in counseling sessions. What they have expressed about their situations confirm that my childhood experiences were not unique. When adults pursue transgender fantasies, children suffer.

The best interest of children should be placed above any adult’s self-gratifying desire to experiment with parenthood as the opposite sex. These transgender couples may be celebrating, and media outlets may party alongside them. But the children trapped in these environments are not celebrating. They are crying out for someone to champion their wellbeing and happiness.

Denise Shick is author of “My Daddy’s Secret,” “When Hope Seems Lost,” and “Understanding Gender Confusion.” She serves on the academic council of the International Children's Rights Institute and directs Help 4 Families Ministry.

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