Protecting my Child against Bullies

JULY 2022

My last child was born here in NB and grew up on long snowy winters and summers of swimming when the tide comes in. His childhood was full of joy and love, but he has had some unexpected challenges along the way. Things have happened to him that never happened to our first two children.

He has had some unexpected challenges dropped into his life. He was sexually assaulted multiple times by horrible preteens when he was only four years old. Childhood trauma like that lingers in the body and the mind, forever. As he grew older, strong and cheerful, he was the only one of my children to break a bone, ending up in full leg cast in the heat of the summer. And he was the only child to experience classic middle school bullying. He was also our only child to change his name and gender. And now, as an older teen and adult, he is our only child to experience social exclusion because he choose against the experimental COVID therapy.   

He was always, and still is, irrepressibly good tempered, confident, and positive. As a young child, even after the assaults, he would spontaneously tell me that we were a lucky family. In school he was friendly, sporty, and good looking. He got along with everyone. These characteristics would have been enough if he had been born a boy. He could have been one of the popular kids and had a stress-free school experience.

But he was born a girl and was still living as a girl at the time, and as much as I hate to admit it, the world of schoolgirls can be a vicious place. Beautiful, strong confident girls can become targets for less secure girls who will try to bring them down. I saw the light in his eyes get extinguished one afternoon when he told me about a group of his peers bullying actions to pressure him to shave his underarms. He decided that no one had a right to pressure a 11-year-old girl to shave so he stuck to his principles and faced the social censure and rejection. It changed him, and he lost some of his irrepressible confidence.

Then the teen years started in earnest, with all the excitement and challenges of transitioning from female to male. Transitioning was not something we entered into casually, but our child spoke to us very clearly about his feelings and we trusted him. We had seen his strength and bravery in earlier challenges and we knew he was clear minded and sure. Transitioning was not an easy path, but he does not regret it for a moment.  As parents we were questioned by family and friends for moving forward with the gender transition, but our response was always to say that we trusted our child. If you knew our child, you would agree. He is smart, sensible, and insightful. He is brave and he knows his mind.

And then COVID and the ensuing politics entered our lives. At first, we were content to sit it out in isolation with everyone else. Even during the closures my son exceled at school, kept up with music, wrote zines, taught long distant workshops, and made art. In the summer of 2021 he had an art show at the local artist-run gallery, his work created out of the detritus of discarded cell phones and laptops. He was preparing for his last year of high school with a light heart. I was optimistic that he would have a great last year of high school.

We were both cheerful and optimistic. He thought this would be a year where he could really be himself. I dreamed of producing my play with local actors, he dreamed of having a carefree year at school. He was planning to be even more sociable, maybe even join the theatre group. But, because of the vaccine mandates, none of our dreams came to light. The world changed and all of a sudden we were living in a world of exclusion and discrimination. His father was put on unpaid leave. We were arbitrarily banned from public spaces. My son watched his parents age before his eyes, worrying about their home, their savings and the changes to the world at large.

My son continued to attend school but was under constant threat of being exposed. The COVID rules were cruel and arbitrary. He could sit at a table of teens twirling their masks on the table as they shared an apple but be blocked from an art group gathering at lunch. Border guards appeared between the provinces; passes were needed for any social event.  He did not want to argue with his peers, so he stopped hanging out with them.  

One month in, he quit school. The kind principal adjusted his timetable so he could do all his studies online and not lose his last year of high school, but by the end of the year he was pretty disaffected. He was disgusted by universities that censored free speech, fired professors, and barred students that had invested years into programs of study. He lost faith in mainstream media, banks, universities, the medical system, and the justice system. 

We watched as opportunities closed before him. Even long-distance remote learning, which by then he loathed, was blocked to the unvaccinated at most universities. The daily news cheerfully threatened his family with fines and further exclusion. We were all somewhat stunned by the revelation that we lived in this new punishing world of social credit, but I was relieved to see my youngest keep up with his classes and remain surprisingly good tempered about being cut off from a normal social life.

As Christmas drew near we cut back on everything and dug into savings meant for our children. I tried to cheer us with thoughts of a Christmas. How many joyful Christmases have we had, the sentimental wasp married to the warm-hearted Jewish husband, so many!  We have always had a good time in our family, even when tested by common life obstacles like grief, financial stress, or sickness. During the first months of our exclusion we were scrambling to create a happy home. We needed the Christmas cheer more than ever.  

At this time new neighbours with a small baby dropped by and stayed for a long visit. I suspected that they were lonely because they were new to the region and were without family as well. We ended up spending Christmas together and it was very nice. I even bought the baby a toy. I often bought extra food to feed the hungry young parents even though we were watching our money drain away. We had fun and laughs and lots of good food and celebrated the season with new friends.

I watched as my son lit up. He was joking around and making them laugh and having a great time. They were bonded by their gay identity and youth. I was delighted and I played with the baby, tended the fire and served snacks. It was warm and like a real Christmas. That winter they would drop by unexpectedly and I always invited them in. They were happy to come into our home and would stay, sometimes for many hours. I was happy because it made my son happy, and the house was filled with cheer and company. They seemed to understand who we were and respect our stand.

When the truckers began to rally against the madness, when hundreds of people turned up on the side of the roads to cheer them on, our hearts lifted. Look at that! We are not the only ones! And look at Canada, the only brave and sane country standing up to the madness, what pride we felt. We watched live videos of interviews with the protestors who were standing together in the darkest, coldest month, hugging each other, and feeding the homeless. The protest was loud at first, yes, but it was peaceful, playful, safe, and respectful.

We braved a freezing cold day and went to a highway overpass in our area to wave to the convoy. It was painfully cold but there on the overpass we stood with a university professor, a retired truck driver, a Muslim couple, and a lesbian couple with their kids. We waved our Canadian flag which I had bought at the dollar store, and I posted a photo of the experience on Facebook.

That post caused a censorious uproar. We heard from distant family members, colleagues and friends who informed us that we were wrong to support the truckers.  According to our friends and family, we were naively accepting American right-wing infiltration into Canadian politics. We were being fooled into supporting the ‘wrong’ side.  They were watching the news and they knew.

Our new young neighbours also rejected us. They believed the CBC hype that the money raised by GoFundMe was from foreign infiltrators and they believed that the protesters, the working people of Canada who made up the protests, were homophobes and racists.  The couple that my son was looking at in admiration, told him that he should not think the way he did. Then they left and never visited us again. At a time when he had never felt more excluded and ostracized, my son lost what he thought were allies who understood him and supported him.  

When my son felt their rejection, he fell into a triggered, unconscious response, he went pale and was hit with a migraine and other mysterious pain throughout his body. His childhood experiences have made him very sensitive to unpredictable behaviour, especially when the person is kind and seemingly trustworthy one day and then suddenly heartless and cruel the next. The buried memories of betrayal infect his body with pain, a pain that is deeply seated and unconscious.

For my child the new neighbours had seemed to be allies at a time when he really needed support. Their rejection triggered unconscious memories of cruel abuse and childhood bullying. They hurt my child and triggered deep pain. And why? Because the Trudeau controlled media said that the convoy was a danger to Canadian society and because our new neighbours’ minds were controlled by what they saw on the monitor and not who they saw across the table.

Our new neighbours believed that the people gathering in Canada’s capital city were the same people that had hurt them in the past over their sexual identity. They might have felt triggered by the words that the Prime Minister used to describe the protestors. But they did not see the bigger scale of the gaslighting and bullying. They did not see how the mainstream news, funded by the Federal government, had painted the protests as violent to justify crushing a perfectly legal protest. They did not see how they themselves were being influenced to turn on a kind and loving family.

The new neighbours accused us of supporting fascists at time when we were rightly concerned about the overreach of the Liberal government. It is sad and ironic, but the very day we were being accused of allying ourselves with fascists, I had spent the day clearing my opinions off my Facebook so that I would not be discriminated against when I applied for work.

Telling someone that their thoughts and experiences are not real is gaslighting. The classic example of gaslighting is the bully who manipulates your emotions, hurts you and then tells you that you are paranoid for imagining the abuse and the pain.  What do you think is happening in this modern liberal world right now?  We have been devastated  by exclusion, job loss and threats, but we are not allowed to express our pain. You, kind friends and family, are gaslighting us.

What do you think it feels like for an older woman to be told her opinions are not her own, that she’s foolish and easily manipulated?  What does it feel like to be one of the few Jewish people in your region and told you need to accept an experimental injection in order to participate in society? And what does it feel like for a gay trans man to be told he is a source of infection? That he is disgusting and spreading illness?

Who is doing this bullying, this gaslighting? All of you. Anyone of you that has not spoken up against unfair discrimination and exclusion. The arbitrary nature of your mask use signifies your hidden inner debate, your cynical compliance. You don’t really think my child is a going to spread illness, but you will not stand up to defend his right to attend any university. Why are you content to support this division and exclusion?

My child was forever changed. Just when I thought he was going to return to his happy self, he was rejected by not only the entire community, but also his chosen circle. When he turned to LGBTQ sites, he would come across comments from those who said the unvaccinated had no right to medical treatment and should die. A safe place was no longer safe. The art gallery where he had shown work banned him from standing on the outside patio during a show. We were attacked on social media by an acquaintance from our local town, calling us ‘disgusting’ for attending an outside market without masks.

One day we will be vindicated: The ‘vaccines’ were never created to stop transmission and that is just a statement of fact. It has been proven that the donated trucker funds were from individuals from across Canada and around the world. It is also true that the Ottawa police did not request the Emergency Measures Act, and that there were no guns or violence at the protest. The protestors wanted to be heard by the Prime Minister. They wanted an end to arbitrary and destructive mandates.

With time. history teachers will focus on the fascistic actions of the Canadian government and one day students will romanticize activists like Tamara Lich, who was held in jail without criminal charges.

How were we all so easily manipulated by fear? Was fear of an illness really enough to surrender freedom of expression, freedom of thought and bodily autonomy?

By resisting the vaccine mandates, we were given a clear view of the new world order, and it is disturbing. If you believe that this ‘new normal’ is acceptable, you have a very dark vision of the future. Constant surveillance, censorship and government control of your bank account are on the horizon.

Go ahead and travel the world with your apps and bio passes. Trust pharmaceutical companies. Get degrees. Make plans. Put your money in stocks. You have nothing to fear. Why would the government want to control your movement? Not you, you have complied. They won’t ban you from society or control your finances. So far. Not you. You are good, and a better person than my son.  My brave and principled son.

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