Fighting to keep your kid alive is a battle most parents won’t have to go through, and none ever should. From new genetic mutations that seem to keep popping up, to bullies, to the mental gymnastics that COVID-19 gave families, to the now ever-present LGTBQ+ communities. There is always something there to try and get inside their heads and twist them up like a pretzel.
So when Theresa and her husband’s daughter suddenly started calling herself Joe in the middle of a massive bout of depression and anxiety, she wanted to avoid giving in to this new idea so quickly. Theresa says “She hated me. Like, she hated me. She looked at me with just pure rage. If she’s meant to be a boy, that will come out, and we will do it. But we don’t need to do it overnight.” This of course meant that Theresa was a “homophobe” and was hated by everyone for not accepting the change to Joe so easily.
Rightfully so, Theresa was concerned about accepting and encouraging such a rash decision being made over such a huge topic. Given the debate amongst mental-health professionals, it makes sense that she would want to wait. There is evidence to support both sides of this issue, and the worry about her child’s mental well-being over gender identity is all about what is best for the child.
While the kid protested vehemently about the idea, Theresa and her husband agreed to get their daughter into therapy. After some help, the Joe idea could resume if she still felt that way once mentally strong. They assumed that their school district outside Milwaukee would support this decision – they were wrong.
The school instead that while they cannot change the name and gender in the records, they will use the pronouns and name the child wishes to be called. In their eyes, it’s their job to be the advocate of the child and not the parent. Being in the child’s corner is a great thing when abuse issues are going on at home. It’s helpful when they are getting beaten up in the hallways, or when they are depressed and feel all alone. Backing the kid here and helping them talk to the parents is a powerful role and one they should feel honored the kids choose to share.
In this instance though, they need to back the play of the parents. Through the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), they sued the school district for violating their constitutional rights as parents. This is now one of several suits in WI and other states.
These lawsuits have one simple goal; to ensure the schools comply with the parent’s wishes and keep them informed. They want to have their input not only heard but respected and abided by. For Theresa, the hope is to avoid another mother dealing with this as she has. Her daughter was going to school and happy. While always a bit of a tomboy, she struggled with feeling beautiful and other common teenage problems.
She then talked to a friend who in turn talked with a teacher’s aide about the subject. When the aide told the child that she could change pronouns to he and go by Joe, the child wanted to discuss it with her parents first. She even advocated going seek help when she talked with Theresa. It was there at Rogers Behavioral Health that they pushed mom away for even thinking of not accepting Joe as the child’s name. After years of new help and a new school, the idea of Joe is long gone. Perhaps the left needs to learn not to give in to every whim the LGTBQ+ community has for mentally unstable kids?