Eight year-old Jack Wilson was on a weekend visit to his grandparents’ house in mid-December 2016 when he informed his grandmother that his name was really Jacquelyn.
“Grammy, my name is Jacquelyn,” he complained as he walked into the room and sat down at the kitchen table for lunch. He had just received Christmas presents from friends of his grandmother addressed to “Jack” and was visibly upset.
“Why is that your name?” Amanda Wilson, his grandmother, asked in response as she set a plate of chicken and rice in front of him.
He replied: “Because I’m a girl now.”
“What makes you think you’re a girl?” she inquired.
“It’s my gender,” he said.
She pressed him: “Well, what’s a gender?”
He stared back at her, puzzled, and said: “I don’t know.”
Amanda Wilson hasn’t seen her grandson in two years and each day she longs to hold him in her arms and hug him but can’t. Her daughter, Marissa, and her spouse began believing that little Jack was really a girl around three years ago and because Wilson doesn’t agree they’ve cut off all contact with her, no longer speak, and don’t allow her and her husband to see him.
Shortly after Jack turned 7, Marissa and her spouse excitedly announced on social media that Jack was a girl and they couldn’t wait to start him on puberty blockers in two years when he turned 9. They posted a picture of Marissa’s spouse and Jack outside a children’s hospital that is home to one of the 55 transgender clinics now operating in the United States.
The social media account Wilson’s daughter had was deactivated and Wilson no longer has the exact words of her daughter’s happiness about starting Jack on puberty blockers but she still has the picture.
At Wilson’s request, The Christian Post is using pseudonyms in this report and has changed or removed identifying details in order to maintain her anonymity. Although she was baptized as a Methodist, Wilson is not a subscriber to any particular religious faith but chose to speak with CP because she felt it was important that the voice of a grandmother is heard as more parents speak out about their heartache of losing their children to what many are calling a transgender “social contagion.” She has reached out to many secular journalists to no avail.
In 2008, Marissa, who lives just outside of Portland, Maine, was in a relationship with a man, became pregnant and gave birth to Jack in 2009. That relationship ended soon after Jack was born and just a few years later, when Marissa was 26, she came out as a lesbian and started dating a woman. Approximately 16 months later, they married in June 2013. Seven months into that marriage her spouse came out as transgender and changed her name to a male name and started taking hormones. The couple separated last year and now share custody of Jack.
Wilson, who is from the Boston area and now lives in Amesbury, Massachusetts, first thought something seemed strange in early February 2016 at an event where Jack was there with his mom and he was outside playing. She noticed he had on a girl’s leopard-print jacket with pink fur around the cuffs and hood.
Several weeks later on May 1 she received a letter in the mail from Marissa saying that Jack was a transgender girl which said that if family and friends did not affirm and support ‘her’ in this new identity they would be written out of their lives. They were to henceforth call Jack, “Jacquelyn,” noting they would allow people to call him “Jackie” as a nickname because Jack helped pick that name, but they personally preferred Jacquelyn.
“It seemed like this all happened overnight,” Wilson said in a recent interview with CP.
Other than her daughter’s spouse transitioning and hearing about it briefly in the news on the radio, she wasn’t familiar with transgenderism as an ideology and was not one who followed politics much at all.
Yet when she received the letter she didn’t know what to do because although she and her husband didn’t believe it, they wanted to do their best to figure out what was happening. Wilson started doing her own research online to find resources on children who believe they’re transgender.
For the first year Wilson and her husband decided to play it as cool as they could, especially when Jack was with them, but that soon changed. They would sometimes have Jack for a weekend and just let him have fun and would play with him. They tried not to pay too much attention to the gender issues swirling around him at home.
“But every time we would send him back my daughter was disappointed or mad about something,” Wilson said, explaining that Marissa would call her and berate her for not being sufficiently affirming both of Jack as a girl and of her parenting.
What Wilson describes as “the final straw” occurred just over two years ago in February of 2017. The Wilsons had Jack for the weekend and Marissa had packed a sleeveless summer dress for Jack to wear but the temperatures were below freezing and they had several inches of snow on the ground. Because it was so cold Wilson washed what Jack had on the day before — a Disney Cinderella T-shirt with glittery gold lettering and girl jeans — so he could be warm when they took him to a birthday party they were going to the next day.
Jack had “loads of fun” at the birthday party, Wilson said, recalling how he was laughing and horsing around with the other kids in the snow with their sleds.
But Marissa was furious and “totally freaked out” when she found out that Jack was never dressed in the summer dress while in the care of his grandparents that weekend, Wilson recounted.
“And that was the last time I spoke to her and saw him,” she said, distraught.
Three months before, they had him for another weekend and took him to an event for children at the Boston Museum of Science. Wilson and her husband were wearing Boston Red Sox sweatshirts and Jack said he wanted one so they got him a Red Sox hoodie and a New England Patriots T-shirt — he wanted one with a player’s name on it — and a pair of red socks that had the Red Sox logo on them.
“He had a blast, running around like boys do,” Wilson said.
Even though Jack always had lots of fun when he was with his grandparents it didn’t seem to matter to Marissa. They had always done something wrong. The angry phone calls kept coming, insisting that Jack must be fully affirmed as a girl and that Wilson must also voice her approval of how she was raising him.
“But when he was here with us, we didn’t have to be [affirming]. We just played with him. It wasn’t a big deal,” she said.
Although Jack was being led to believe he was actually a girl he never really caught on that his grandmother was not affirming him as a girl. When he was with her she would say Jack very quickly and it was close enough to Jackie that he never said anything.
Yet right before Christmas in 2016, Jack was again visiting his grandparents and there were many presents for him under the tree from other friends that were addressed to “Jack,” and that upset him. Wilson and her husband had left his name off their gifts and just gave them to him.
It was that weekend where Wilson and Jack had the lunchtime conversation about his name and where Wilson asked him “What’s a gender?” and he replied that he didn’t know what a gender was, even as he was being required to live and function as the opposite one.
For Wilson, that exchange revealed just how much confusion had been sown into her grandson’s impressionable, developing mind. She believes today that had Jack not spent his formative years watching his mother’s spouse transition that he would have never entertained the idea that he might have been born in the “wrong” body.
Around this same time Wilson was seeing a therapist herself to sort through her own confusion with this, as she was struggling to know how to continue being a good grandparent in a situation she could not understand. She wanted to tell Jack about “the facts of life” and explain biology in terms a young boy could understand, but she did not because her counselor cautioned her against doing that and urged her to be extra careful.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter