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'My Son Was Gone': Christian Parents Find Support Amid Sudden Surge in Gender Confusion

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SPRINGDALE, Arkansas – Gender identity has become one of the country's most talked about issues and it's not just a secular problem. Churches and Christian communities are also seeing a younger generation joining a culture that promotes gender dysphoria and gender transitioning. When this happens, Christian parents are often left in shock, desperate for resources to help them.

In an unforeseen turn of events for the West family, their child Jonathan suddenly embraced a new identity as Jenna. 

"It came from nowhere," expressed Melinda West, Jonathan's mother, highlighting the suddenness of the transition, even within Christian households like theirs.

"My son was gone. This person in front of me was going to be changing. And it wasn't the person I knew," Melinda said.

Long hair, manicured nails, and hormone therapy have become components of the transition process.

"They went in and took two inches off each side of his collar bone and they closed it together so that his shoulders would not be so broad," Melinda said.

Reflecting on the past, Melinda expressed bewilderment, stating, "I can't figure out how I missed it. He grew up as a typical boy, playing baseball and attending youth group."

Amidst the struggle, Gene and Anita Eggman have emerged as pillars of support for parents like Melinda. Leading a Christian support group at Cross Church here in Springdale, Arkansas, "About Hope Ministry" was designed to help parents with children who are attracted to the same sex. Forty percent of the group is now comprised of parents of children who identify as trans.

"It's basically helping parents navigate through all this, maintaining their faith, and being able to stand on the word of God but also be able to show the love of God to their loved ones," Anita Eggman explained.

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Gene Eggman noted the common reluctance of individuals to seek support immediately, emphasizing, "What we have seen is that it is very unusual that people reach out to a support group right away. A lot of time they just try to work through it by themselves."

The Eggmans' group meets weekly, providing a confidential space for parents to share experiences and receive guidance. Online participation extends their reach, allowing parents from across the nation to benefit from their support and tools.

Anita recounted Melinda's journey, highlighting her growth and newfound strength. "When she first came to us, within the first few weeks we went through boundary...creating healthy boundaries," Anita remarked. "And I remember her saying, 'I don't have boundaries.'"

An online resource for parents is called Parents of ROGD Kids. The letters ROGD stand for "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria."

"I would say every parent goes through, 'What did I do wrong?'" said Amy Areit, a facilitator with the organization. "I know I did."

Started in 2017, the organization now has 3,000 members worldwide. It offers information to also help parents screen therapists who will not simply affirm their child's identity.

"If you go to a therapist and say 'I am confused', and they say, 'Well, you're trans and your problem is that your parents don't affirm you,' well that's just bad therapy," Amy said.

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Melinda's support group has taught her what she is up against, how to navigate her relationship with Jonathan, and when to say "no."

"He won't receive gifts from me because I won't buy him anything that is pink," she said.

In a culture that celebrates the transgender movement, the journey for parents like Melinda remains an uphill battle. Yet, with proper support, they are learning to cope and trust amidst the challenges.

"They can't change them. So in their Christian faith, they have to fall back on that, that the Lord is really the only one that can change somebody," Anita said.

"My prayer is that as he learns who he is, he will learn who he is in Christ," added Melinda.

HELP for Parents is available here at Parents of ROGD Kids

England's National Health Service Rejects Puberty Blockers, Says Little Evidence to Show It's Safe for Kids
Pediatrician Group Points to 60 Studies Showing Gender Transition Has No Long-Term Benefit        
Detransitioner Sues American Academy of Pediatrics for 'Civil Conspiracy' in Transgender Medicine
* Young Woman Breaks Down in Tears Over Transgender Trauma, Says Psych Unit Missed 'Red Flags'

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