Mom and Teacher Sounds Alarm on “Cult-Like” Gender Ideology in New Mexico That Captured Her Son

By Andrea Mew

Like countless parents across the nation, Lydia Smith* felt blindsided by her teenage son’s sudden identity crisis. Initially, Smith thought he was just expressing pent-up anger as a result of the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. But at 15, after his behavioral changes took root, her son began identifying as “non-binary,” which then blossomed into an identity as a “transgender” girl.

The identity “floored” Smith, who said, “I felt sick to my stomach, and nothing made any sense about what he was saying.”

Three years later, after experiencing the dangers of gender ideology firsthand with healthcare professionals rushing to medicalize her son with little regard for his physical or mental health, Smith is speaking out. In an interview with Independent Women’s Forum, she said the saga has made her family’s life “hell.”

According to Smith, Alex* told his mother he took a “gender identity” survey that concluded he was “non-binary” because his results indicated he had a higher percentage of female traits than male. She said she tried to keep a calm exterior demeanor but that her head was buzzing over the notion of a survey determining her son’s identity.

“I told him I loved him, that he was a good person, and that we would figure this out.”

Three months after Alex announced this new identity to his parents and demanded wrong-sex hormones—which Smith and her husband rejected—Smith said she received a dismaying, unexpected visit to her house. New Mexico police arrived to take her son to a psychiatric hospital because he had reportedly threatened self-harm online.

According to Smith, Alex had cut his arm with something sharp in his room and then took photos of his self-inflicted wounds on his cell phone.

“I still have nightmares about it,” she said, recalling how upset she felt when the police came to bring Alex to the local children’s hospital. “I remember crying and telling him I loved him and hugging him, but he just stood there like a pole.”

Since this incident occurred during COVID-19 lockdowns, only one person was allowed to stay with Alex inside the hospital. Smith said she slept on the floor with her coat as a blanket and her purse as a pillow so that she could be there for her son. However, “he wouldn’t even look at me,” she said, sensing that her son had been brainwashed to believe that his parents were against him because he identified as “trans.”

A System “Completely Captured” by Gender Ideology

When Alex was first admitted to the psychiatric facility, Smith didn’t sense any problems. But shortly thereafter, she said her son was sent to a transgender-identifying psychiatrist. Smith said it would be an understatement to say that she was pressured to immediately put Alex on wrong-sex hormones.

Knowing that her son, who was 15 at the time of this incident, has a serious hormone-influenced medical condition, Smith opposed this drastic, sudden medicalization. If Alex had started taking estrogen at the hospital’s suggestion, she feared that consequences would result in fatality. But in New Mexico, there are few—if any—safeguards for parents to stop their children from obtaining wrong-sex hormones on their own.

“Here in New Mexico, he could go to Planned Parenthood and just get those hormones,” she explained. But because her son takes his medical condition pretty seriously, she said he thankfully didn’t take matters into his own hands.

Still, she said, Alex was self-harming. Concerned about her son’s mental health struggles, Smith then had him checked out by their family doctor. At first, she said their family doctor was “horrified” by the hospital’s immediate suggestion to place Alex on wrong-sex hormones. But once the doctor reportedly got more information from the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (TGRCNM), Smith said she was made to feel like “the bad one” for opposing hormones.

“Look, I don’t know if my kid is gay or straight, but I do know he wants to turn everything off,” she said, referring to her son’s depression, self-hatred, and apparent guilt of being seen as an “oppressive white male.”

“I’ve seen text messages between him and the other members of his group of gender-confused teens at school, and their views about themselves; and how they relate to the world is very twisted and sad,” she added. “They have bought into a lot of the more toxic ideas about social justice that are very popular right now on the extreme Left.”

After input from the family doctor, Smith said she then sought out guidance from a specialist for Alex’s condition. According to Smith, the specialists offered to implant a medical device into her 15-year-old son, then send him to another specialist who would do a complex and experimental operation on his nervous system to be able to put him on estrogen.

“He’s got mental health issues, and nobody will help us because as soon as he says that he’s got this gender dysphoria, there’s only one solution in their minds,” she said.

Smith felt bewildered that medical professionals were willing to perform an invasive surgery on her teenage son to get him on wrong-sex hormones without him even seeing a therapist to get to the bottom of why he was so depressed.

Now, Smith’s son is a legal adult. While she said that there’s no evidence he started taking hormones on his own accord, Alex still identifies as transgender, believing he needs to have a different body to be his true self.

“That just breaks my heart,” she said. As he grows up and comes out of puberty, Smith is hopeful that her son’s gender distress will resolve. “It’s well known that the best solution for gender dysphoria is to grow up,” she said.

Smith shared that she and her husband have attempted to support Alex through efforts like therapy without allowing him to put his physical health at risk. But every time they’ve sought guidance from medical professionals to get to the root cause of Alex’s mental distress, Smith said they go to the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico to “get more information.” New Mexico’s flagship hospital, University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH), has been “completely captured” by gender ideology, she added.

New Mexico: Home of the “Trans Ellis Island”

The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, called the “trans Ellis Island” by activists, operates on the “gender-affirming” healthcare model and offers trainings such as Transgender Cultural Fluency 101 and 201 for how to “be a good ally.” These trainings, which are available online, not only encourage people to become allies, but also to become activists who can advocate for the transgender movement.

“It’s like you say, ‘the Scientologists are getting into my kid’s decision-making’—or the Moonies or the Mormons or any of these other groups that people are maybe not super comfortable with—and they say, ‘well, you should go to the Scientology Center and they’ll re-educate you so that you don’t have a problem with this anymore,’” Smith said. “That’s not where you go to get accurate information.”

Hospitals aren’t the only place where re-education is being offered en masse. Albuquerque Public Schools—the district where Smith previously worked as a grade school teacher—publicly partnered with the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico to offer “Transgender Cultural Fluency” training.

While teaching there, Smith said she watched the number of students adopting alternative “gender identities” “explode.” As much as 35% of her son’s school peers identified with a gender incongruent to their sex, she said. Though that percentage may seem steep, it falls in line with recent survey data that found nearly 30% of American adults between the ages of 18 and 25 identify as LGBTQ+.

Smith now teaches in higher education and said she’s seen dozens of students and faculty who medicalized their identities as transgender, non-binary, or gender diverse through the years. As per faculty direction, Smith said she is encouraged to proactively ask for “preferred names” and pronouns, only use gender-neutral language, and refrain from calling her students “boys and girls.”

Smith said that, not only is her current school “very proud” to have gender-neutral bathrooms, but they are also proud of their online portal that allows students to go into their own records and change their name so that teachers only know their “chosen name,” and not their legal name. These systems, she said, have been set up so that everyone has no choice but to operate under the rules established by activists behind the gender ideology movement.

“There is no way to opt out here in New Mexico anymore,” Smith said. “You can’t have a conscientious objection because it’s all automated now on a level that you don’t even have an awareness of.”

Smith told IWF that she became a teacher after moving to the state in 2009 because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of New Mexico children. She said she was shocked at the poor quality of public education but had a lot of faith in her students.

However, according to Smith, the “cult-like” mentality surrounding transgender education has instead fostered a hostile, secretive environment where students are primed to trust faculty instead of family, and where parents and teachers—like medical professionals—are not equipped with the truth and cannot raise questions publicly without “being vilified.”

The actual villains, Smith asserts, are the people in society who are actively affirming and medicalizing a child’s expressed “gender identity,” and those who are passively complying with the perverse ideology that’s harming children, including her son.

In the case of Alex, whose medical condition is incompatible with wrong-sex hormones, Smith said there’s no other word than “evil.”

“If we don’t call out evil when we see it, what kind of a society are we living in?,” she asked.

*To protect Smith’s identity and family, pseudonyms have been used throughout.

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