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Bruce Jenner YouTube / screenshot
Denise Shick

Opinion,

When adults pursue transgender fantasies, children suffer. I would know.

Denise Shick

December 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner recently revealed in an interview that he hasn’t spoken to his stepdaughter, Khloe Kardashian, in the five years since he “transitioned” to his female persona, Caitlyn.

Jenner claims that “the majority of [his] famous family were supportive” of his so-called transition, but not Khloe. He “isn’t sure what her ‘issues’ are”; in fact, he seems oblivious to the heartache and chaos gender transition can create within a family unit, although he laments the rift his choice has created between him and Khloe. Jenner married Khloe’s mother, Kris, in 1991, and says that he and his stepdaughter, “were really close, I raised her since she was [five] years old.” 

In the interview, Jenner also expressed regret over his absence at family Thanksgiving dinners this year: “Normally on this day I run from one to the other back and forth, and it’s probably the first time I haven’t been there. It’s sad not to be there.” 

Unfortunately, Jenner seems focused only on his own pain and sadness instead of the suffering he has caused for his children and stepchildren.

The truth is that many children, regardless of their age, feel shame and embarrassment about their family situation. The pressure to accept or protect the “transitioning” parent can generate anger, fear, and anxiety as well as loneliness and feelings of abandonment. Sometimes the children’s prolonged and unresolved grief leads to depression, eating disorders, or substance abuse. A sense of being different or not belonging may cause difficulty with intimacy or trust in relationships. They often express confusion about God, religion, love, and sexuality.

I know how these children feel. I lost my dad the day he told me he wanted to become a woman. As I tried to process that revelation, he blindsided me with another. He told me he never wanted to have children. To him, my siblings and I were mistakes because our existence did not align with his fantasies. His confessions confused me, hurt me. I wanted a dad who loved and cherished me, who would make me feel special as a daughter. Instead, I felt rejected and abandoned. 

My dad created a home environment that made me feel as if I was walking on pins and needles. His resentment over my possession of what he so deeply desired for himself—a woman’s body—turned into anger and abuse. As his desires intensified, he borrowed my clothing. Many times I discovered my underclothes and shirts under bathroom towels or in the attic—places I had not been. I learned to organize my clothes in a specific way to determine if he had been pawing through my dresser drawers. When I confirmed that he had worn an article of my clothing, I could not bring myself to ever wear that item again.

As an adolescent, I was careful about how I dressed. I asked myself how my dad would react to my outfit. Would it make him so envious that he’d borrow it (without my consent)? I hated my body because it was a constant reminder of what my father wanted to become. When I wore makeup, I blocked out images of him applying face makeup, eye shadow, or lipstick. 

Over the years, I’ve talked with many children and teens in counseling sessions. What they have expressed about their situations confirm that my childhood experiences were not unique. When adults pursue transgender fantasies, children suffer. Some children mask their pain by addictive behaviors that lead to further destruction in their lives. Many look for a father figure elsewhere to fill that gaping hole in their lives, but all admit they needed time to grieve. I wonder if Jenner has considered Khloe’s loss of a father figure, a role he once filled in her life. 

The holiday season is particularly difficult for families of transgenders. The father or mother on whom a child depended no longer exists. The child grieves for the parent who is still alive but denies his or her genuine self, created by the hand of God. Similarly, spouses grieve for their missing mate, and parents of a transgender grieve for the child who used to attend family gatherings and participate in holiday traditions. Often, these family members suffer silently during the holidays. They try to hold back the tears as they plaster fake smiles on their faces and pretend nothing has changed when, in reality, the tsunami of transgenderism has devastated their lives.

Like Jenner, many transgenders place themselves in the position of the offended, misunderstood family member. They seek sympathy but may refuse to extend it to their family members. If nothing else, Jenner and other transgenders need to demonstrate compassion for family members and attempt to understand their heartache. Instead of lamenting Khloe’s “issues” in public, perhaps Jenner could take a step toward reconciliation by first recognizing the loss in Khloe’s life and the pain he has caused, and then respectfully offering her space for healing and love without conditions.

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