On the Science of Changing Sex

“ROGD” As An Epiphenomena of Parental Grieving

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on June 12, 2019

TransSupportDiscovering that one’s child is gender dysphoric, for what ever reason, evokes parental distress.  How can it not?  The spector of one’s child going through pain is bad enough.  But to “lose” the child that one thought one had, as though they were dying, and yet that child isn’t dying but may metamorphize into another, a stranger, a changeling?  Even for parents who believe that they are liberal, tolerant, accepting of LGBT people, that “loss” is still real.

These parents grieve for the child that they thought they had.  The grief is real.  It hurts.  Even as they love their gender dysphoric child, they still grieve.

Which brings us to how grief is experienced and expressed.  Although often questioned, the Kübler-Ross model is still generally useful if we disregard the notion that one goes through it in a linear progression.  Instead, the “stages” can be experienced in a wicked jumble.  They are denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and (hopefully), acceptance.

Parents of gender dysphoric children will exhibit all of these emotions and expressions.  But now, with the internet to allow parents to very quickly find each other, these personal expressions can take on social expressions.

Unlike the actual death of a child, a child who is gender dysphoric and wanting to socially transition is still standing there, day in, day out, so the grieving stage of denial has no easy check, their child could be mistaken, it could all be just a phase, a fad, a social contagion.  It could be this false malady that other parents are all talking about, Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria… and it should be treatable!  It will all be OK.  My child won’t grow up to be one of those people.

But the child still stands there and still insists that they feel this awful disconnect between their body, their social expectations, their sexuality, and what they dare to dream for their future selves.  The parents feel frustrated, and the next stage of grieving comes to play, anger.  Anger at the child, but that isn’t the real problem they say to themselves, it must be someone else’s fault.  It must be all of that stuff on the internet.  It must be all of that Transgender Ideology that has gotten into their innocent heads, causing Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.  Those People are to blame.  And when those people won’t take responsibility for hurting their child, well, it’s time they were castigated for it on the internet!

But sometimes, the parents need to bargain.  Oh… couldn’t we find a therapist to fix my child.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of therapy allowed for my child?  Why is conversion therapy no longer legal?  Surely I’m allowed to determine what is best for my child?

Then the sadness strikes and they look to the internet to find advise on how to cope with a transgender child, how to deal with a transgender child.  Fruitlessly searching for those magic words that will make the pain go away.

And maybe, just maybe, they will finally reach acceptance and learn to celebrate the child that they have, rather than continue to grieve the loss the of the child they thought they had.

Parents in online fora grasping at the concept of ROGD as they worked their way through their grieving for their gender dysphoric child.  It is not their child’s etiology.  But as reason for castigating transfolk and an imaged harmful “transgender ideology” it serves the purposes of a number of transphobic constituencies to take advantage of grieving parents.

Further Reading:

Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria and Parental Denialism

Shameful History of Reparitive Therapy of Gender Atypical Youth

Essay on Parental Internet Search Strings

Advice to Parents of Transkids

Further External Reading:

What I Didn’t Understand About The Stages Of Grief — Until I Was In Them
by Caila Smith

Tagged with:

Comments Off on “ROGD” As An Epiphenomena of Parental Grieving

%d bloggers like this: