‘They are devouring our sons’: Moms of gender-confused boys unite, detail their anguish

Protesters demonstrate against transing children outside Connecticut Children's Hospital in Hartford, Conn., on Feb. 14, 2021.
Protesters demonstrate against transing children outside Connecticut Children's Hospital in Hartford, Conn., on Feb. 14, 2021. | Courtesy of LGB Fight Back

Shattered mothers are raising the alarm about how transgender ideology is ravaging their troubled teenage and young adult sons who are caught in the jaws of a gender identity crisis. 

Some of their boys are now taking cross-sex hormones, like estrogen and spironolactone, and are on the path to losing their fertility as they put themselves at significant risk of a variety of diseases and medical complications.

Nine mothers whom The Christian Post interviewed in February spoke on condition of anonymity, many out of fear that if their identities are revealed state social services agencies might remove their children from their custody. 

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Names, locations and identifying details in this report have been changed to ensure their anonymity. Many of their sons are highly intelligent and academically gifted, while others are on the autism spectrum or have mental health challenges like ADHD. 

The politically and religiously diverse group of mothers, who hail from everywhere in between the deep-blue San Francisco Bay area to the ruby-red deep South, stress that all they're trying to do is help their sons overcome their distress. But they have few places to turn. 

During the last few years, they have, through extensive effort, managed to find each other. Over 75 mothers are now in this group. They have all been thoroughly vetted and their identities have been verified, as is required to become a member of the group. 

Some of the mothers have been actively involved in protesting outside of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, home to one of the largest pediatric gender clinics in the nation. 

CP got connected with the moms’ group through these desperate Los Angeles-area parents.  

Within the past decade across the West, the number of gender dysphoric teenage girls has skyrocketed. 

In the United Kingdom, it has been documented that there was a nearly 4,000-fold increase in girls being referred to gender identity services in 10 years. Until recently, the vanishingly rare condition known as gender dysphoria was seen predominantly in young boys. Now, teen girls are the predominant demographic, a phenomenon that journalist Abigail Shrier explored in her book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, which was released last summer. 

But teen boys are being sucked into this peer contagion too, these moms say, though the dynamics and contributing factors vary. And major medical institutions are backing the use of cross-sex hormones in trans-identified males, despite serious risks.

Listed on the Mayo Clinic's website regarding feminizing hormones are the following potential repercussions: infertility; deep vein thrombosis; pulmonary embolisms; high triglycerides, a type of fat (lipid) in one's blood; weight gain; high potassium (hyperkalemia); high blood pressure (hypertension); Type 2 diabetes; cardiovascular disease; excessive prolactin in your blood (hyperprolactinemia); nipple discharge; and strokes. 

Danae Johnson 

Approximately three years ago, Danae Johnson started to notice that her then-14-year-old son, Jeremy, a freshman in high school at the time, had some troubling text messages and pictures on his phone of kids who were dressed as the opposite sex.

At a mother-son dinner, he announced that he was transgender. She found that news hard to take but did her best not to freak out. 

Johnson explained to CP that in the Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., where they live, he’s lived two different lives. He portrayed himself as a girl on social media and communicated that it was a done deal, that he would transition. But he would still be the boy he always has been at home and continued to play soccer with certain boys he had known for many years. 

When he suggested he explore taking hormones, Johnson and her husband refused. 

In recent years, he has been diagnosed with anxiety and severe depression, which he attributes to living as a boy when he thinks he should be a girl. 

Jeremy was a smaller kid, bullied ever since middle school, sometimes coming home with scrapes down his arms, his mother said. He consistently makes good grades, is in all honors classes and makes the honor roll. But being transgender meant he got to go from being bullied and struggling to popular. Female schoolmates have been particularly encouraging him in this new identity. 

Johnson has lived with this, struggling in virtual silence, telling no one other than her husband. Her brother, whom she considers her best friend other than her husband, was the first to find out after three years.

“My best friends know nothing of this,” she said. 

Jeremy’s younger sister, Ashley, is “devastated and terrified.”

Some months after he started identifying as transgender, he began threatening suicide. On one such occasion, a panic-stricken Ashley told her mom that her brother was going to take his own life as he had taken a knife blade to the basement. 

“If you do this again, I’m going to have to take you to the emergency room because threatening to kill yourself is not something we take lightly,” Johnson recalls telling her son. 

Sure enough, he did it again later that spring. Ashley came up from the basement in tears, afraid for her brother as he was wielding a knife, making her think he was about to end his life.

Johnson took him to the hospital immediately to get him evaluated. On the way there, Jeremy tried to make it seem like he was kidding. They spent several hours at the hospital where he was examined by four professionals, all of whom told Johnson that he was doing this for attention and that he was not genuinely suicidal. 

Johnson is “100% convinced” the bullying drove him into the gender identity madness. They removed him from that school and put him in a local Catholic school where the bullying ceased. Yet despite the improved environment, the trans identity continued to bring him attention, so he maintained it. 

“It has created multiple layers of stress with our relationship with him,” Johnson said. "And what it has done with his relationship with his sister, she’s felt like she’s had to be the more grown-up one and that she’s had to come tell us when she’s catching things.”

“I wake up almost every morning, after waking up at about 1 o'clock in the morning until about 4 or 5 a.m. wondering, ‘How do I help guide him?’”

The previously good, trusting relationship they had is gone. When she tries to monitor his online interactions, it's tough to put on a face to communicate to the world “that everything is hunky-dory” when it's anything but fine. 

“My heart’s heavy, my shoulders are heavy,” she elaborated. “I don’t sleep well.”

Her husband is reportedly also heartbroken as he was always looking forward to doing the kinds of things fathers and sons do together, like going to a bar to get the first beer together when he turns 21. 

“I feel like I don’t have a son anymore,” the mother remembers her husband telling her. 

“And it’s hard for me to not just mourn what I’ve lost from a son, but [also] looking at what my husband has lost and looking at what my daughter has lost in a brother.” 

There is no endpoint, no A-to-Z timeline, she added, likening it to a wheel that keeps going around as “everything is on replay.”

Now 17, Jeremy will be 18, a legal adult, in September. He hopes to transition once he goes to university. Johnson and her husband have both said they will not support him financially if he pursues that path, no matter which college he chooses to attend. But she fears that because he is so intelligent, he will still be able to figure out a way to do it anyway. He plans to leave their home this summer. 

When Johnson discovered the secret group of moms of gender dysphoric boys, she felt encouraged for the first time since her son’s announcement. 

This newfound hope first arose after stumbling upon an essay by therapist Sasha Ayad of Inspired Teen Therapy. Ayad’s writing perfectly captured what she had experienced with Jeremy. Though Ayad was unable to be a therapist for Jeremy, she did point Johnson in the direction of the secretive group. 

Johnson recalled that she had learned more in one month in the moms' group than in the “three years of hell” she has spent trying to navigate and learn more about this on her own. She is confident that she and others in the group will somehow bring about some meaningful social change. 

“We all have one common goal, and that’s to save our sons,” she said. “Because we recognize the harms of these [hormonal] treatments and surgeries and using our kids as guinea pigs.” 

The mother said she fears that her son will wind up sterile and surgically disfigured.

“And I mourn. What if I never have a son again?” she asked. “What if I never get that back?”

“I pray a lot at night. And there are nights where I’m angry,” she continues, adding that she often wonders how God could have allowed this to happen to her family.  

Johnson, who is Catholic, recently spoke with her cousin, who is a priest. During that conversation, she was able to let her guard down. He consoled her, but the stress is ever-present.

“I feel bad because there are nights where I have so much anger in my heart. It’s no longer praying, but yelling and questioning: Is this all for naught?” Johnson said. 

“We’re up against the whole culture, and it’s a losing battle. We’re up against other parents and a culture that tells us that nothing matters anymore, that it’s only about how a person feels. The parents [who object to gender-transitioning of their children] are being demonized.”

While she continues to stay relatively quiet and not many families know about what’s going on in her life, those who do know insinuate or have told her outright that she is not a loving mother since she disagrees with her son’s belief that he is female. 

Some of these parents have invited her son over to their homes behind her back and given him their daughter’s clothes to wear while they are with him, Johnson told CP. These parents also call him by his new chosen female name. Johnson and her husband refuse to call him anything but Jeremy. 

“I know my God doesn’t make mistakes when He’s forming children,” she said. “It’s demonic. And there’s a devil out there, and the devil, right now, with our culture, is winning.”

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