Right now, families all across the country are struggling with the realization that their children are in the middle of an identity crisis — one that has been triggered by the internet, their fellow peers, and even school officials who are selling gender ideology as fact.

The idea that gender is fluid and that a boy can become a girl and vice versa is not something that children come up with themselves. It is a notion pushed on them, sometimes unintentionally but almost always deliberately. And most parents have absolutely no idea what to do about it.

And who can blame them? This is a recent social phenomenon. It’s not something that those belonging to Gen X and millennials grew up with. And it’s being forced on them and their children from almost every direction — from schools, from healthcare centers, from the federal government itself. It’s easy to feel alone and unsure when all of the presumed experts are insisting that basic facts about reality that you know to be true are actually wrong and that you’ll do immense harm to your child if you claim otherwise.

Fortunately, there are plenty of families willing to fight for what’s right and reject the lie that is gender ideology. I want to share some of their stories so that those currently struggling with similar situations don’t feel alone and so that others who might not think much about this issue understand why it’s so important that we push back. Over at the Independent Women’s Forum, we’ve launched a series on families like the one I’ll introduce you to today. I hope you’ll take the time to read the series over the next several weeks.

Meet Deserie.

Deserie Thomas’s son began succumbing to gender ideology just before his 13th birthday. She had noticed that he had started exhibiting feminine tendencies, but she didn’t think much of it at the time. His best friend was a girl, so she chalked it up to the feminine influence in his life.

Still, she decided to mention what she had observed to her son’s pediatrician, who recommended her to a teenage behavioral specialist. Thomas followed the pediatrician’s recommendation and paid a visit to this specialist. Within the first 10 minutes of their meeting, the specialist announced in front of Thomas and her son that she was writing a prescription for puberty blockers so that “when he wants to transition to become a girl,” it would be easier.

Thomas had the wherewithal to decline the prescription and remove her son from the situation immediately. But the damage had already been done: It had been burned into her son’s brain that transition was an option and that no one was going to stop him.

What followed was a long back-and-forth battle to find a counselor who would help her son rather than affirm the lies he’d been told. Thomas took him to four different counselors, only one of whom was nonaffirming. The other three, including one employed by a Texas state agency, were intent on transitioning her son for her. During her first meeting with the state therapist, for example, the therapist asked both Thomas and her son, “What would it hurt to call him by his female name?”

Thomas ended up taking her son to a psychiatrist who had been another recommendation from her son’s pediatrician. Shortly after sitting down with Thomas and her son, the psychiatrist said, “I see in my notes that you like to be called a different name.” When Thomas protested, the psychiatrist insisted that anything other than affirming her son’s new gender identity would be harmful. So Thomas ended the visit. But the psychiatrist began following her down the hallway, referring to her son by his preferred female name, saying, “Lizzy, Lizzy, it’s OK. Listen, ma’am, this is how we help.”

Shortly after that visit, Thomas received a call from child protective services. The agent said they had received a report from the psychiatrist, who accused Thomas and her husband of failing to provide her son with medically recommended care and opening him up to the possibility of sexual abuse. Keep in mind: This psychiatrist spent less than five minutes total with Thomas and her son. She knew nothing about this young man or his family yet was willing to sic the government on them with allegations that she fabricated.

Thankfully, the CPS agent assigned to Thomas’s case understood the situation. The agent came to Thomas’s house, met with her, her son, and her husband all together and ultimately dropped the case a week or two later after finding no evidence of abuse against him. In other states, where abuse could be defined as not using preferred pronouns or providing medical and hormonal care, this case could have gone very differently — and Thomas knows that.

All she wanted for her son was a neutral source who was willing to look at her son for who he is: a confused and impressionable young man somewhere on the spectrum who got caught up in the wrong crowd. “If he grows up to be an adult and that’s truly who he believes he is, then OK,” she told me. “But I don’t want changes to be made while he’s still forming opinions about his life.”

Instead, what she got was a band of adults who tried to force gender ideology on not only her son but her entire family and then punish her when she refused to go along with it. It took three years for her son’s school to finally ask for parental permission to start referring to her son by his preferred pronouns and name. When Thomas denied that permission, she was yelled at by the school’s principal. One of her son’s teachers even introduced herself to the entire class by asking them ahead of time which pronouns and names they wanted to go by. Not one student or teacher had asked for this, Thomas said — it was the teacher’s idea, and no one had any say over it.

This is what parents are up against. Gender ideologues tried to use the power of the state to silence Thomas and even take away her right to raise her child, all because she believes that there are two biological sexes and that her son was born male and cannot become female — two basic facts that everyone agreed were true up until, well, about five minutes ago, when the Left decided to take gender ideology and turn it into a political opportunity.

Today, Thomas’s son is still struggling with his identity. But she knows who he is, and she believes he does as well. At home, at work, and around extended family, he’s still the same young man he always has been. It is only when he goes to school or hangs out with a specific circle of friends that his identity changes. Some might claim this is because he’s scared to be his “true self” among people who won’t affirm it. But no one knows a child better than his mother, and, unlike the adults who have pushed this ideology on her child, Deserie Thomas knows her son. More importantly, she loves him.