The parent of a teen girl who is “transitioning” to become a boy is urging the increasing number of families coping with the radical transgender movement to fight back rather than succumb to its ideology.
“It took us completely by surprise,” Kristie Sisson told Breitbart News in an interview. “Because Danielle had a normal childhood, did all of the typical girl things – from dressing up like the princesses, to playing with dolls, to wearing make-up, perfume, and jewelry.”
Sisson says that, in the fall of 2016, just weeks before her daughter – then a high school senior – told her parents she was going to start to dress like a boy, she had taken her daughter shopping for school clothes, and Danielle had chosen girl’s clothing.
The Sisson family had moved from Long Island, New York, to North Carolina after Danielle completed public middle school. When the family moved to North Carolina, the parents enrolled Danielle in a private high school.
“She did have a hard time adjusting, because she just didn’t fit the mold – she wasn’t the tall, thin, blond like many girls in North Carolina are,” Sisson says. “But that’s not to say she didn’t have friends. I think she was well-liked, but hadn’t found that ‘best’ friend.”
Sisson explains that, as a growing teen, Danielle was a little overweight, “curvy,” and somewhat shorter than other girls in her grade. However, she was a good student and worked for the family business – a family entertainment center – where, her mother says, Danielle was exposed to a variety of people and employees of different backgrounds.
Sisson says she noticed Danielle was often “mimicking” other people her age. For example, she says Danielle became good friends with a girl who was a lesbian, and, shortly afterward, told her parents she herself was a lesbian. Then, she became friends with a gender-confused girl who said she was transgender.
“I never told her she could not be friends with either of these girls,” Sisson says, noting Danielle seemed to change drastically in the fall of 2016 when she became friends with two girls at the private school who had begun the transition process to become boys. At that point, Danielle told her parents she wanted to dress like a boy.
“I have three sons, so I know the difference between a girl’s psyche and a boy’s,” says Sisson, noting that there was never a question in their family that Danielle was “all girl.”
Nevertheless, Sisson acknowledges her daughter may have suffered from depression and specifically points to the parents’ concern that, when Danielle was in elementary school, she had a music teacher who was later convicted of sexual misconduct with students.
“We suspected the teacher had done something to our daughter, but she never would admit to it,” Sisson says, adding that Danielle had also started “cutting” during middle school by nicking herself with her razor and then telling her friend what she had done – behavior that appeared soon after a health class presentation in school that covered the topic of cutting.
Since Danielle was insistent she wanted to become a boy, Sisson says she and her husband found a therapist who said she specialized in transgender and homosexual teens, one who assured the parents she would not simply affirm Danielle’s desire to become a boy.
Three months after the therapy started, Sisson says she and her husband discovered Danielle was smoking pot, drinking, and writing in her journal that she wanted to commit suicide. Additionally, she notes Danielle had begun to take classes in Buddhism.
Eventually, Danielle told her parents her therapist had recommended to her that she begin hormone treatments to start the “transition” process.
The parents subsequently began to look for another therapist – one who could address Danielle’s self-destructive behavior. At the same time, Danielle was also prescribed anti-depressants by a doctoral-level nurse who, Sisson says, began referring to Danielle as a “he” after spending just 30 minutes with her.
When Sisson took her daughter for her physical before she began college, she told the doctor that Danielle wanted to begin hormone transition treatments once she turned 18 in June. The doctor told Danielle, however, that she was moving too quickly on a decision she had made only six months earlier.
“He told her you need to slow down, you don’t just jump in and start taking hormones, and you’ve got a lot of changes that are taking place right now in your life,” Sisson recalls. “He told her you need to graduate high school, enjoy your summer, go off to college, get used to living on your own, and focus on your school work. Come back and see me in December.”
Sisson says, despite Danielle’s insistence on becoming a boy, she agreed to dress as a girl for all of her graduation-related activities.
Then, during the summer between high school graduation and the start of college, Sisson says her daughter had a lesbian relationship with a girl. Her mother notes Danielle apparently was quite interested in boys early on, had crushes on members of the band One Direction, and placed posters of popular male actors on the walls of her room. Nevertheless, Sisson says she was willing to accept Danielle being a lesbian.
“It was very hard to accept, but I also thought maybe she was just trying to experiment a bit,” she explains.
Danielle earned a partial scholarship at the University of Alabama and also qualified for honors classes, her mother reports. Her parents discovered Danielle had made arrangements on her own with the school’s housing department to room with another transgender student. By that time, Sisson says Danielle was wearing boy’s clothing, had shaved her hair very short, and had begun to wear a binder to flatten her breasts.
“I found out she had spent a lot of time online in her bedroom, researching different websites that offered self-tests to determine if she was transgender,” the mother explains.
Sisson says Danielle’s decision to completely take on a boy’s appearance came upon the family rather suddenly.
“She lost a lot of weight, changed her diet – she became vegan like one of the girls during her senior year of high school who was also anorexic,” the mother says. “It completely changed her personality, her relationship with her dad and I, and her brothers.”
When Danielle’s mother and father attended their first parents’ weekend at the University of Alabama in the fall, Sisson says they never met any of Danielle’s friends. She adds they knew their daughter was still spending time online with her girlfriend back home in North Carolina.
“We later found out Danielle was spending a lot of time in the school’s ‘safe space’ for students who identify with the LGBT community,” she continues. “I found out she had joined a fraternity for transgender and gay men. So, she had completely immersed herself in this transgender world.”
Eventually, Sisson says Danielle broke up with her girlfriend from North Carolina and met another girl at school, who may have been encouraging Danielle to transition to become a male.
When Danielle arrived home for a break in the fall, Sisson says her daughter seemed unhappy. The parents discussed with her their concern that she was moving too quickly on this transgender path. Danielle, however, was apparently unhappy being at home, spent no time with her brothers, and refused to speak with her parents about their concerns.
While visiting Long Island relatives for Thanksgiving, Sisson says Danielle would not discuss her situation with her parents, who ultimately told her they would not continue to pay her tuition if she would not speak with them about their concerns.
Meanwhile, Danielle had been garnering support for herself and had connected again with a former middle school friend. Her friend’s mother – a social worker from New York – attempted to get support for Danielle by posting on the website College Confidential that Danielle’s parents had “abandoned” her.
“[T]hey are cutting him [ sic] off financially and will no longer pay his college tuition or have him on their health insurance or support him in any way,” the parent wrote, asking for help for Danielle.
Sisson said she and her husband were subsequently labeled as “awful parents” who are “transphobic” and “homophobic” on various websites as Danielle’s story spread. The public rush to affirm Danielle’s decision to become a boy had driven a further wedge between her and her parents.
Eventually, Danielle set up a GoFundMe campaign, raising over $10,000 in only eight hours. Her friends from middle and high school and college contributed to her fund, as did friends of her brother. She also reportedly received a $5,000 anonymous donation. Though her campaign is currently closed, Danielle ultimately raised $13,210 for her tuition and medical “transition” expenses.
Earlier in December, an article at the Crimson White – the University of Alabama’s news publication – observed Danielle had achieved “overnight online fame and support after starting a GoFundMe to raise tuition funds after losing the financial support of his parents.”
“I definitely want to devote a lot of time to helping other people who are in the position that I’m in,” Danielle said, according to the school news report. “After getting all of this really overwhelming support, it matters so much to me to give back to others and pay it forward.”
“There are so many parents like me – the same identical story,” Sisson says, noting the website 4thWaveNow and other online support groups for parents whose children decide they are transgender and then move quickly into hormone treatments and even surgeries.
“It’s very easy for these kids to get the hormones and start taking testosterone,” she says, noting that Planned Parenthood now administers the hormones.
“I feel like it’s the parents against the world,” the mother continues. “The therapists, the doctors, the schools – everyone is pushing this very liberal agenda and this transgender movement, and it’s harming our children.”
“Danielle is going to end up mutilating her body,” she laments. “She wants to have a mastectomy. She wants to have a hysterectomy.”
Considerable evidence is mounting that support for “gender transitions,” is imposing substantial medical and developmental risks on children.
A growing number of pediatricians, mental health professionals, and gay rights activists are warning American parents about the dangers of the new “gender ideology,” which pressures parents to impose risky and dangerous treatments on their children.
“Transgender ideology is not just infecting our laws,” writes pediatrician and researcher Dr. Michelle Cretella, mother of four and president of the American College of Pediatricians. “It is intruding into the lives of the most innocent among us – children – and with the apparent growing support of the professional medical community.”
Cretella says she has “witnessed an upending of the medical consensus on the nature of gender identity” which intimidates professionals who question the claim that some children can and should try to change their sex.
Despite the fact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said transition-affirming procedures for children are too risky, she observes the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Pediatric Endocrine Society have all endorsed affirming transition.
Cretella’s organization asserts gender ideology is harmful to children and that transgendered children are psychologically confused and at risk for mental health disorders:
No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one …
A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind, not the body, and it should be treated as such.
“According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the college adds. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.”
Similarly, the self-described “left-leaning,” pro-LGBT rights association, Youth Gender Professionals, asserts it is risky to affirm young people who claim to be transgender and provide them with hormonal and surgical treatments to change their bodies.
“Our concern is with medical transition for children and youth,” they write. “We feel that unnecessary surgeries and/or hormonal treatments which have not been proven safe in the long-term represent significant risks for young people.”
The organization’s members say they are alarmed that many immature teenagers are deciding they are a member of the opposite sex simply as a result of “binges” on social media sites.
“There is evidence that vulnerable young people are being actively recruited and coached on such sites to believe that they are trans,” the professionals say.
Despite such potential mental health problems associated with gender confusion, children in some states are no longer legally permitted to see a therapist who does not automatically affirm a request for gender transition. Youth Gender Professionals sees such state prohibitions as dangerous since they may block the process of critical thinking and evaluation of the young person regarding the reasons why he or she desires to become a transgender member of the opposite sex.
“While the sentiment behind this legislation is laudable, in some cases, it is being interpreted to mean that therapists cannot explore gender identity with a youth who is professing to be trans,” argue the professionals. “This would mean we can’t ask why; we can’t explore underlying mental health issues; we can’t consider the symbolic nature of the gender dysphoria; and we can’t look at possible confounding issues such as social media use or social contagion.”
Researchers Paul Hruz, Lawrence Mayer, and Paul McHugh address the problem caused by media hype and political debate overshadowing actual questions about the health and psychological well-being of children in a paper titled “Growing Pains,” published at The New Atlantis.
The authors write:
There is strikingly little scientific understanding of important questions underlying the debates over gender identity – for instance, there is very little scientific evidence explaining why some people identify as the opposite sex, or why childhood expressions of cross-gender identification persist for some individuals and not for others. Yet notwithstanding the limited data, physicians and mental health care providers have arrived at a number of methods for treating children, adolescents, and adults with gender dysphoria.
The authors warn of decisions made to help “affirm” a gender-confused child’s perceived identity, without any connection to scientific fact or research.
“Though there is little systematically collected data on the number of young people (or even the number of adults) who identify as transgender or who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery, there is some evidence that the number of people receiving medical and psychotherapeutic care for gender identity issues is on the rise,” they write.
“It is, in this sense, still experimental – yet it is an experiment being conducted in an uncontrolled and unsystematic manner,” the researchers warn.
People have glorified this movement. Children like my daughter who had been seeking acceptance, now have found a group of people that they feel has accepted them. And it’s all a lie. Her whole life has boiled down to this movement. She believes this is what she has to do to be happy for the rest of her life.
I feel like this is the new trend – there are many girls and boys claiming to be transgender, and it’s just not true. They’re trying to find acceptance, and, as parents, we have to fight it – we have to fight this radical movement.
Like the medical and psychological professionals who are stunned that their professions have allowed themselves to be swept up in a political movement that puts young children and adolescents at risk, Sisson explains her reaction as a parent.
“It’s very hard because there are many doctors and therapists who will not voice their concerns against it,” she observes. “They’re going along with it because they fear for their jobs and their lives. Even teachers are being punished for referring to transgender students as the wrong pronoun.”
“It has to stop,” Sisson asserts. “We have to come together as parents and not fall for this liberal agenda.”