Mother of trans-identified daughter looks to start a 'healing retreat' for detransitioners

From Left: Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, Amy Atterberry, Brandon Showalter, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey and Jennifer Bauwens speak during a panel discussion on the topic of transgenderism, titled "When The Gender Battle Hits Home" at FRC’s Pray Vote Stand Summit in Washington, D.C., on September 16, 2023. | The Christian Post/Nicole Alcindor

WASHINGTON — The mother of a young woman who identifies as trans and has undergone multiple surgeries to look like a man shared her plans to create healing retreats for detransitioners as she maintains hope that her daughter will one day realize the harm that has been done to her.

Speaking to a packed room at Family Research Council’s Pray Vote Stand Summit on Saturday as part of a panel titled, “When The Gender Battle Hits Home,” Amy Atterberry recounted her daughter's journey from a happy child who was active in Sunday school to a young teenager who was confused about her sexual identity. “My daughter was a happy child” who “won a Prayer Warrior Award at Sunday school” and “laughed often and said funny things,” Atterberry said, describing her daughter, now 24, as “full of love, whether it be toward people or animals.” 

“At age 14, she announced that she was a boy,” Atterberry recalled. “I had no idea that the gender identity indoctrination that had been going on in school had impacted her. I had no idea that she was visiting websites that were further indoctrinating her into what I refer to as the trans cult. I thought she was going through a phase that would pass, as has been traditionally common in teenage girls. That didn’t happen.” 

Atterberry characterized the next few years as “extremely difficult,” explaining how she “tried everything I could to help her realize that she was not a boy and it was impossible to change your sex.” Lamenting that “there was no help available,” she expressed outrage that “adults in authority validated her false belief that she was a boy.”

“At age 16, my daughter ran away from home because I would not allow her to go on the wrong sex hormones,” Atterberry said. “She was able to find a pediatric endocrinologist who taught her how to inject herself with testosterone.” At the age of 17, Atterberry’s daughter relocated to Portland, Oregon, where she lived at homeless shelters and sometimes stayed with friends.

“She was able to change her name and biological sex marker in court and obtained a government-issued identification card that reflected that she is male. In my opinion, this is a fraudulent document,” she declared. 

“My physically healthy daughter underwent a double mastectomy and hysterectomy at age 17, without my consent and without my knowledge,” Atterberry added. “I found out about the mastectomy on social media where she posted a photo of herself with bloody bandages covering where her breasts used to be. My sanity left me as I cried endlessly for months.”

In 2019, at the age of 19, Atterberry’s daughter underwent a phalloplasty, a series of surgeries in which doctors remove tissue from a girl's forearm or thigh to create a fake penis: “I did everything in my power to stop [it] but failed to do so. The day before the phalloplasty, at her request, I went to Build-a-Bear Workshop where she picked up a stuffed animal that would comfort her.”

“After her surgery, I was there for 13 hours, pacing the floor with absolute rage boiling through me, knowing what butchers disguised as doctors were doing to my precious daughter,” she added.

Atterberry said her own mother died last month and her “dying wish” was that “God would use her death to bring my daughter back.”

While Atterberry hadn't seen her daughter since the 2019 phalloplasty, the two reunited at her mother’s funeral service.

Atterberry expressed gratitude that “she sat by me and held my hand” and “stood by me as I spoke about my mother.” She discussed how “I looked past my daughter’s beard and facade and what I saw is that she still has light in her beautiful eyes.”

“My sweet daughter is still there. I believe in my heart and soul that my daughter will one day realize what has been done to her. I believe in miracles. I asked my daughter what she thinks about detransitioners. She said she thinks they need a lot more help than they are getting. I think so too. There are now thousands of young people living with regret over making medical decisions that should have never been available to make. There are very few resources for them.”

Atterberry announced her intention to create resources for detransitioners, people who formerly identified as the opposite sex and regret the procedures that were done to them, by establishing a “healing retreat” for them. 

“I would like to see many such places built. The need for this is great. I envision a beautiful retreat where those young people can begin the healing process and connect with resources to help them heal. To be clear, I have no money, no business plan and no idea how to go about building the [healing center]. But what I do have is a beautiful vision, faith, hope and most of all love. Is anyone willing to help me help others?” she asked. 

In addition to sharing her personal story and outlining her “dream” to establish healing retreats for detransitioners, Atterberry condemned the prevalence of gender transition surgeries in the United States: “So-called gender clinics, which I call butcher shops, have proliferated. Unfortunately, the United States leads the world in sacrificing children on the altar of gender ideology of … mutilating and sterilizing children. What has happened to our country?”

Atterberry’s grief has led her to connect with fellow parents who have seen their children harmed and mutilated by gender transition procedures: “I connected with many other parents who were also going through the same thing. I found out that this was happening to thousands of children. I connected with different organizations who were fighting against this. I found out this wasn’t just happening in the United States but in many other countries as well.”

Amid outrage over the long-term effects of gender transition surgeries on minors, more than 20 states have taken action to ban such procedures on trans-identified youth: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

Missouri’s Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who appeared on the panel with Atterberry, launched an investigation into the sex-change procedures and surgeries being carried out on children and teens at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Washington University in St. Louis, which operates the Transgender Center at the Children’s Hospital, announced last week that it would no longer perform such procedures on minors due to the newly enacted ban on sex-change surgeries in the state. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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