Somehow, my partner and I came to clarity that the deeper truth for our son was that he was not actually a transgender girl, but rather a highly sensitive, likely autistic boy who was born into this world without a skin, and for whom the structure of certainty the girl identity provided him was a type of protection, or defense. It also provided him a way of attaching to me through sameness, a primal need for his security in the world. We decided that since we were the ones who led him on this path, we were the ones that needed to lead him off if it.

A year ago, just before our son’s 8th birthday, we did just that. And while the initial change was hard, incredibly hard, the most immediate and tangible emotion we felt from our son was relief. Actual relief. In the days following my first conversation with him about going back to his birth name and pronouns, my conversation about how males cannot be females, and that we were wrong to tell him he could choose to be a girl, he was at first very mad at me, then sad. Then the next day, I felt my son rest. I felt him release a burden, lay this adult burden down, that he, as a child, was never meant to carry. He felt incredible relief. He came to rest.

Since that time, we have been healing. He has been healing. It was not easy, but my son is happy and thriving. We have watched him coming to a deeper peace with himself as a boy, and he is blossoming and growing. For now, he is safe, and as each day passes, he grows into himself more. As for our younger son, he is also happy, thriving and healing. Once his older brother became his older brother again, he happily and almost immediately settled into his identity as a boy — a further validation of our insight into the primal attachment drives that were underneath his pursuit of sameness for so long.

I fear for the future, the future for a sensitive, feminine, socially awkward boy who has spent his early childhood years actually thinking he was a girl. I fear for what our culture, our institutions, his peers, and the internet will tell him. I fear the power of the state, that seems hell bent on destroying the parental child relationship. No matter what the future holds, I will never ever stop fighting to protect my sons.

I am no longer a true believer.

This experience for me has felt like leaving a cult, a cult that would have me sacrifice my child to the gods of gender ideology, in the name of social justice and collective liberation. I have left this cult, and I am never turning back.

That’s because, fortunately, you did leave a cult. We’re going to be seeing lots of articles like this in the coming years.