After educators and a therapist drove her high-functioning autistic, gender-confused daughter to a mental breakdown, a California mother is speaking out about the “trauma” and “catastrophic ruin” that gender ideology has caused her family.
Vera Lindner (not her real name) says she worries that other parents’ children will be led down a path of delusion.
“Children who have experienced trauma or adverse childhood experiences, who are neurodivergent such as autistic or with ADD, ADHD [attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] are extremely susceptible to the transgender ideology,” Lindner says.
“Instead of the teachers and the doctors saying, ‘OK, now let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s see what’s really bothering you. Why are you saying you’re not a girl?,’ the teachers and the doctors blindly affirm. They perpetuate this delusion.”
Lindner says she wanted to speak up using her real name, but doesn’t feel safe doing so. She is an industry leader in California who employs more than 10 individuals and mentors dozens more.
Should she get “canceled” or blacklisted for sharing her politically unpopular views, she fears that everyone she employs could lose their jobs, incomes, and livelihoods.
Still, Lindner says she believes her story was important enough to risk telling on camera, while concealing her face, to protect a generation of neurodivergent young girls who she believes are being manipulated and exploited under the guise of compassion.
Lindner’s daughter first identified as transgender in August 2020, a few months after COVID-19 lockdowns took full effect. She was 14 years old.
Lindner believes that her daughter was first exposed to the idea of gender identity in her public school. In seventh grade, she received a “Genderbread” worksheet that claimed gender identity is separate from biological sex. The worksheet asked Lindner’s daughter to pinpoint where she falls on the “gender identity” scale.
During the pandemic lockdowns, Lindner says, her daughter and some friends watched TikTok videos for hours at a time. In this group of five female friends, one already identified as transgender. Bored and isolated at home, the girls started “nudging” each other to make up male names, use male pronouns, and take on transgender identities.
It came as a shock, Lindner says, when her daughter told her: “Don’t call me a woman. Don’t call me a girl. Don’t call me she. I’m a guy. I’m your son.”
Just one week prior, she recalls, her daughter had said: “I am a proud lesbian and a Democrat and that’s who I am.”
Lindner herself is a lifelong Democrat who has hired, mentored, and promoted LGBTQ+ individuals. She had supported her daughter in her coming out as a lesbian, and initially, she supported her daughter’s exploration of her “gender identity,” too.
However, immediately after announcing she identified as transgender, Lindner’s daughter demanded treatment such as testosterone and a binder to flatten her chest.
“I understood that there is a medical harm. There are profound side effects involved in taking opposite-sex hormones. They make the body ill, but the side effects on the mental health are much worse,” Lindner says. “This is where I had to draw the line.”
In June 2020, Lindner hired a seasoned therapist who was a lesbian in her mid-70s. Lindner’s daughter faced a slew of mental health issues that needed to be addressed: in the fall of 2020, she was diagnosed with autism, ADD, depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder.
When her daughter announced her transgender self-identification just two months into working with the therapist, Lindner says, the therapist began referring to her daughter as a boy.
“At the time, I spoke with a therapist, saying, ‘My daughter has autism, ADD, anxiety, and depression. Why is it not cool anymore to be a lesbian? Can you explore these issues?’” Lindner recalls.
“I also wrote to the therapist, ‘Out of the five friends in her friend group, four are now identifying as transgender. Could this be peer influence?’ None of these questions were ever addressed.”
Lindner describes being “profoundly disappointed” with the therapist for failing to explore the underlying issues that might be causing her daughter to identify as the opposite sex. Worse, Lindner says, the therapist perpetuated her daughter’s confusion by telling her that testosterone would bring her “gender congruity,” and instructed her to call her parents’ insurance company to ask whether she was eligible for testosterone at the age of 14.
These ideas, Lindner says, led her daughter into a mental breakdown, which presented itself as a severe depression.
“My teen was in her room all day long, lying on the floor, catatonic, with the cellphone in her hands, watching TikTok videos,” she recalls.
Lindner says that when she asked the therapist to help her daughter minimize the time she spent on social media, the therapist did the opposite.
Lindner says the therapist told her: “She has a broken heart. She has to soothe herself and distract herself with social media.”
At that point, Lindner says, her mother’s intuition kicked in and told her to approach the crisis “holistically.” This involved drastic measures: Mother and daughter packed up and moved to a mountain farm community where the daughter could volunteer, be around animals, move her body, and get in touch with nature.
“That return to real people, real-life stories, and spending less time on social media has been the most healing,” Lindner says.
Slowly, with the help of medication to treat the depression and ADD, her daughter’s mental health began to improve.
“What I had to do is be loving, supportive, and kind without affirming the delusion. Without affirming the ideology,” Lindner says. “And drawing a very clear boundary that ‘You’re loved, you’re safe. But we will do absolutely no medical interventions until you are 18.’”
Lindner says she has voted Democrat since she became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2000. As she watches politicians from California all the way up to the White House pressure parents by repeating the lie that children will commit suicide if parents don’t “affirm,” she says she feels betrayed:
I’m profoundly disappointed that the Democratic Party has chosen to affirm a delusion and a very toxic ideology that derails these vulnerable children.
I entrusted my child with professionals. And they created so much trauma and such catastrophic ruin in our family.
Autistic people often describe feeling disconnected from their bodies, in addition to having trouble understanding society’s expectations for “masculine” and “feminine” behavior.
By sharing her story, Lindner says, she hopes that instead of blindly affirming gender confusion, politicians, doctors, and educators will begin asking why so many trans-identifying individuals are also autistic.
“One of the most toxic ideas of transgenderism is the idea that you’re born into the wrong body,” she says, adding:
What kind of an idiocy is this? Your body’s wrong? It has to be medicalized? It’s autism.
As a parent who has watched this firsthand with my child and with her friends, I have to fight this. There’s no other way for me.
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