Can you imagine your child announcing to you that they think they are supposed to be the opposite gender? Parents across the country have been completely shocked by their children telling them that they identify as transgender and have had to grapple with how to love and care for their children in a healthy way.
This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Josie, a parent of a transgender-identifying child and co-editor of the new book Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans: Tales from the Home Front in the Fight to Save Our Kids. Josie shares what she has learned in her experience with a transgender-identifying child and her experience publishing the stories of other parents in similar situations.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. What is it like to have your child come home and announce they are now the opposite sex? Or to learn that he or she has changed their name and identity at school, and there was apparently a concerted effort to keep that information from their parents? Well, our guest today is a mother who has experienced the reality of the trans movement in her own family. Her experience and efforts to learn as much as possible about this issue led her to discover how many other families are being affected by gender ideology. Our guest co-founded the Substack Parents with Inconvenient Truths About Trans, where families were given a space to share their stories. Now, Josie has compiled many of those stories in a new book called Parents With Inconvenient Truths About Trans: Tales From the Homefront in the Fight to Save Our Kids. Well, we’re grateful to have Josie with us today to share these important experiences. Welcome to Family Policy Matters.
JOSIE: Thank you for having me.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: First of all, you’ve asked to be identified with not your real name but with a pseudonym. Why is that?
JOSIE: It’s to protect my family. I have a trans-identified son, and you know, I wouldn’t want him to hear this or his friends to hear it or to hear my name. All the parents I know that have a trans-identified kid use pseudonyms, the only parents I know that don’t are the parents whose kids have desisted.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Is it a desire to maintain a relationship with your child, is that the most important thing? Or are you getting threats of some kind?
JOSIE: Absolutely, to maintain a relationship. And also, a lot of us live in a very liberal state or city, and we don’t want to lose our jobs.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Do you want to tell us more about your story before we get into some of these other stories that you’re sharing in your book?
JOSIE: Sure. My son in 2019 told us he was trans one day, and it very much blindsided us. We didn’t understand what he was saying we had to google it. And there was no information on the internet at that time. And we just thought, “This doesn’t make any sense.” He was always a typical boy, he never had any gender dysphoria as a child, and he’s not feminine. So we just thought something else was going on. And I just asked him to sort of wait, and then I started researching it. And I realized that there were all these other parents, I found a parent group and realized that I wasn’t crazy. And I wasn’t alone. And all these other parents were skeptical about medicalizing their children and didn’t think their children were trans. So I started writing, and a bunch of the other parents started writing their story. And then we also researched, we met all these people that confirmed that the regret rate is very high, there’s lack of medical evidence, that studies are weak. And that’s when we realized, “Oh, this is a medical scandal, and we need to do something.” So we start writing, and that’s how we started our Substack.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So when you mentioned, right then, something else was going on, were you referring to the medical scandal, or what were you finding when you look below the surface?
JOSIE: It’s not about gender, it’s something else. It’s like, they’re asking for a need for change. It’s a cry for help. They’re being bullied, they’re uncomfortable in puberty, and they think that if they have this new person, this new life, everything will be better. Most of these kids are socially awkward or on the autism spectrum, or they’re gay. And so this is like a way to get out of those uncomfortable situations. Puberty is not a disease, and these kids think, “I don’t feel comfortable.” And they look up stuff on the internet, and it says, “Oh, it means you’re trans.”
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So what did you mean then about the current approach to gender ideology and transgender issues as being a medical scandal?
JOSIE: There’s lack of data. So this new cohort that has affected my son, there never used to be adolescents who decided they were trans out of the blue. It used to be little kids and older men. And now it’s just, since 2010, all of a sudden, there’s all these adolescents who decide they’re trans. And this is a new cohort that has never happened in history. And they’ve never tested this group of kids. There’s no statistics, the hormones are not FDA-approved. The hormones, they say that puberty blockers are harmless and a pause, and that their puberty will start once they stop. There’s all lies that the medical industry has said. It’s a huge moneymaker. People think that it’s like being gay, but it’s not. You don’t have to change your body in order to be gay. And people are making a lot of money, it’s a billion-dollar industry now.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So you started this Substack, which I’m not sure a lot of people even know what that is. So maybe you could explain that. But also, this was an opportunity to hear the stories of other people. Tell us a little bit about that, and what kind of response you got there?
JOSIE: Well, it’s an online newsletter. And it’s become very popular. A lot of journalists have started their own Substacks when they’re not happy with the quality of journalism and the regular papers. And they feel like they, they can’t say what they want to say. And so a lot of very good reporters started Substacks, and you know, they publish. And so it’s just a basically a newsletter. And our response, we didn’t know that it would, we had no expectation. So we didn’t know that there was such a need for it. We started out just the mom and I who started it, we wrote a bunch of stories. And we were publishing two days a week. And then we asked other moms we knew, will you write something and they did. And then we’re, so we’re just going along, publishing two times a week. And then people started noticing it. And I mean, they were, parents just started sending us their stories. And we got so many that we had to start publishing five days a week. And then we really realized we were on the map when we saw that gender doctors were subscribing to our Substack like, they’re like what’s going on, there’s a different voice here. And you know, now we have over 11,000 subscribers, we’ve published over 530 essays. Not all of them are parents, you know, sometimes we’ve had grandparents and other people publish.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Wow. So are you seeing some themes emerging? Is there some commonality that is obvious to you?
JOSIE: Yeah, that everyone says this is my exact same story. Our stories are so similar. I mean, sometimes I’m reading something, and I think, “Wait, did I write that?” Because that’s my story. And other people say the same thing. And you can tell that it’s a social contagion when a lot of our parents write from all over the world, we you know, we have parent stories from every continent except for like Antarctica, but their kid will have said the exact same thing in two different countries. So there’s no way that that kid, so it’s like they get a script off the internet. And we see a lot of the kids saying the same thing to the parents, the doctors in the medical establishments saying the same thing to parents. So, so we see a lot of similarities, or we’ll see a lot of similar kids on the autism spectrum, and that they’re socially awkward, or they had a trauma or something is going on that led them to this, you know, some kind of family crisis or you know, a death in the family something.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So who’s behind this, who or what is behind this social contagion, do you think?
JOSIE: Well, it’s a great question. I wish I knew there seems to be so many theories behind it. I think it’s society in general. Some people think Big Pharma. Some people think billionaires who have a lot of money that it’s coming from Russia or China. I don’t know.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Do you have a message for parents that have not faced this in their own families? Are there things that these parents can do that could kind of help you and others who have experienced things like you have?
JOSIE: I think that they need to know that it could happen to anyone’s child. And it’s not like, “Oh, it’s just his family, their kid,” because all of us parents were completely blindsided in the parent groups I’m in. And so what we suggest is to talk to your kid early, let them know they’ll always be a boy or a girl, they will grow up to be a man or a woman, and just stay connected with your kids. There’s a really great book called Hold On to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld, just by making your family more important than the friends because it seems to be like this friend culture. And so the kids are substituting the family for friends or for the internet and set really good boundaries, model good cell behavior, and make huge internet restrictions. I mean, don’t even let your kid on the internet. There’s so much wrong on the internet that the kids stumble into, and they can hide it from you. They’re very smart. So that’s our advice.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So what about policy? Can lawmakers or policymakers do anything that you think would be helpful?
JOSIE: Well, I think they need to study up on this. Miriam Grossman wrote a really great book called Lost in Trans Nation, they should read it and look at the medical treatments, try to figure out where the money’s coming, investigate the money. Puberty blockers are not a pause. They’re not reversible. They need to learn all this so that they can make policy. I know a lot of people are against making policies. But they need to figure out that this is harming a whole generation of kids. And it’s sort of treated like a recreational drug. A kid at 18 can go to a Planned Parenthood or college campus, online, get hormones just by asking for them. And it seems to be all the kids it’s cool to be trans. It’s cool to be on hormones. It’s crazy. And that needs to be regulated.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: We’re almost out of time. Do you want to end with a story from your book that you think would really symbolize a lot of the similarities that you’re seeing? So one that’s most powerful in your mind?
JOSIE: Well, there was one called Transgenders Connection With Pornography, and it’ll scare the living daylights out of you. How easily your kids could find stuff on the internet and what this parent found, and how she pulled her daughter out of it. It’s a really powerful story and shocking.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: And that’s a success story in your mind?
JOSIE: Yeah, her daughter is completely desisted, thinks it’s all stupid now.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: All right. Well, before we go, can you give us one more time information about where our listeners can go to get a copy of your new book and just keep up with all the work that you’re doing on this important issue?
JOSIE: The book is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, some stores carry it. You can look it up online. And we’re at PITT.substack.com. And you can subscribe, it’s free, and you will get an email with our every publishing.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Well, thank you so much for being with us today, Josie, on Family Policy Matters.
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