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Letter to School Counselor from Parent Who Was Told "You Must Affirm the Trans Identity"

Updated: May 2, 2022

This letter was sent to a school counselor by a parent whose child adopted a transgender identity, and then desisted. Names have been changed to protect identities. UPDATE (May 2, 2022): The author of this letter reports that the school counselor has never responded, but has since cut off the author on social media accounts where they were previously connected.

Hi Marilyn,

I hope all is well with you and that you’re getting through these strange days of the pandemic without too much difficulty, both personally and at school. I really can’t imagine trying to cope with everything in the classroom right now.

I’m writing to fill you in on what’s happened with Jada over the last few years.

You were such a wonderful counselor and help to us, with all of our kids, while we were at the elementary school. You helped us navigate a number of difficult issues, such as when Thomas decided he wanted to go live with his grandparents—you asked good questions when I came to you, scared that my son was trying to defect. You asked what life was like when he went to my parents’ house (we always went to their lake house for vacations such as Christmas and summer), and you helped me realize that Thomas needed some reality therapy: “You know you’ll still have to go to school there, right? And that Grandpa and Grandma will give you chores to do if you live with them, right?” He quickly revised his life plan and stayed with us. And when Kyra struggled with being bullied in fourth grade, you supported me in moving schools with her, and I’m very grateful for your gentle nudge.

You always did everything a good counselor should. You asked questions like, “When did this start? Is there anything else going on at home? What’s going on with that child’s friendships? What do you think some of your options might be?” You never told me what to do, but you helped me think through all of the different aspects of the problem. I remember numerous times I came to your office to talk to you, not about my children, but about one of my own issues. I respected your ability to think through things, and I so appreciated your wisdom and open-handed way of approaching problems.

When Jada announced at the end of seventh grade that she was transgender, you were one of the first people I called. I thought, “Marilyn knows Jada really well, after supporting her through elementary school and her autism diagnosis. Marilyn will be able to help us navigate this.”

But when I told you about Jada's announcement, the first words out of your mouth were, “You have to affirm this.”