When we first sent him to college, Tommy was a very bright, nice young man, although socially behind his peers due to his Asperger’s tendencies. Throughout his time at college, my husband and I would visit him, and we tried to stay in touch and be supportive. We trusted that the college counselors would offer him the assistance he needed due to his Asperger’s.   By the end of his four years at college, however, we had a son who now wanted to be treated like a daughter.  We could not and cannot support this, and our lack of support has alienated him from us.

When we brought our son to college, the Dean of students had assured us that all her counselors were trained to work with people who were on the Asperger’s spectrum.  We hoped that his counselor recognized his challenges with fitting in socially. When my husband and I met with the counselor and our son, however, she completely ignored the Asperger’s and focused on his questioning of his gender.  At that point Tommy was still communicating with us, and was open to receiving help.  Instead of helping him, this counselor encouraged his brokenness.

I wanted Tommy to stop going to counselors at all, and he did begin to improve somewhat once he had graduated, had stopped seeing the college counselors, and focused on getting a job.  But after he had a good job and passed his probation period, he found a new therapist who supported him in his desire to be treated as a girl. When we again met with Tommy and this therapist, she acknowledged his Asperger tendencies but would only treat “what the patient wanted.”  She told us we were on the wrong side of history and that down the road we would all be accepting of gender “fluidity.” My husband and I did not sleep that night.  We felt as though we had descended into hell, helpless to save our son. Our son has since given up his faith.

Any time we expressed our concerns to the professionals who were treating Tommy, they would only respond by quoting the American Psychological Association (APA), which stated that gender expressions could never be questioned but must always be affirmed.  This has all been, and continues to be, so very painful.

Our Lord sent help. He has not abandoned us. One kind priest has gone out of his way to be there for us. He has met with my husband and me privately, spending hours with us, and with other families with similar stories. His deep intellectual knowledge and caring heart has helped us greatly. He stands in truth and gives us hope.

My husband and I also attend an EnCourage group that meets locally on a regular basis, which has been helpful and has given me hope, as have our on-line group and our prayer conference calls. The pain remains, but God is with us, and I am committed to persevere in faith.

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The opinions and experiences expressed in each blog entry in “The Upper Room” belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Courage International, Inc. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.