I am a left-wing, secondary teacher of visual arts in an NSW HIghschool. I fully support the new marriage rights of LGB people, and my children have always known they are safe in their sexuality in our home. My son is convinced he needs to be castrated. He is 17 and I believe he has ROGD. He has only had girlfriends, and this year his girlfriend who identifies as non-binary dumped him without any warning, and he disassociated and then tried to take his life that night. Since then he has been with CAMHS every week, and I - his mother - have been treated with contempt, blamed, examined, questioned, been under suspicion by the psychologist and psychiatrist. At first we affirmed his request for gender neutral pronouns. It just didn’t sit right. I listened to the ‘Gender - A Wider Lens’ podcast, and the advice there made sense to me and our situation. So I researched. A lot. At one appointment the psychiatrist asked “you seem to be quite invested in researching all of this. Why do you think that is?”. I would attend the meetings at CAMHS and always feel completely attacked. My husband would also notice this, and it was only ever directed at me, the mother. I felt like I was being ‘killed off’. Like a Disney story where it’s not a great story if the mother is alive, and if she is alive then she’s the villain. We clearly communicated with CAMHS that our son was going through complex trauma related to the death of his grandmother when puberty began, and the bad behaviour of his uncle and grandfather - nasty drunks. We tried to protect him from their verbal abuse, but when he witnessed it I cut them off. This was also another loss. When I talk about this with our son, he can’t remember any of it, and says his grandmother dying wasn’t traumatic at all (not true - I was there!). We begged the psychologist at CAMHS to explore a psychological therapy where this trauma was investigated and explored so that my son could understand the source of his trauma, and how his self-diagnosis is on the wrong track. The psych just said “I understand that is YOUR understanding of things”. Totally dismissed. Then he referred him to the Maple Leaf House in Newcastle - the gender clinic. Against our specific request not to do this. We are on our own, unsupported by our mental health system and policies. Our son couldn’t get through school and finish the HSC. The school he was at HSPA - also pushed him towards this. The culture there is like a cult. No child leaves the school ok. It’s widely known in our region. (How did I let him go there? He’s extremely talented as a musician and wanted to be at the specialist arts school- I didn’t know what it would be like until after). Believe me - I blame myself every day. I’m his mum, the buck stops with me. I am invested in his lifelong health and happiness. I love him more than anyone - despite what he is being convinced of that me not using his chosen pronouns is a form of violence. That I’m toxic. We never raised a hand with our kids - we believed in conscious parenting, I have given up my career to be home with the kids through primary school. We have a loving, joyous home. Covid, social media, internet, YouTube, school, the girlfriend - it was a perfect storm. We are in the eye of the hurricane - nurturing the relationship and keeping him close. Our whole family is under siege / hijacked by the terror of future harm to his body, or further suicide attempts. His sisters are traumatised by this. I am a mess. My husband went on leave for the whole year to care for him. We are isolated and alone. We can’t find a single non-affirming psychologist who will work with our son to investigate his true trauma and self. That’s why I’m so committed to researching this. I’m happy to be contacted, and give further information. But my son can’t know - we are very careful to keep him with us - there are many glitter mums waiting in the wings to take him from me.
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