In a possible effort to stir up some conservative holiday spirit, Exodus on Dec. 10 used an e-mail notice to promote some old articles on its website.
One article, My Daddy’s Secret, is a self-pitying essay by Denise Schick, who disowned her transgender father and still sees little wrong with that.
Schick complains that at age nine, her father failed to conform to her demand for paternal stereotypes. While her mother worked, her father happily cared for the kids and performed household chores.
Schick interpreted this reversal of parental roles as “my dad’s apparent lack of love for me.” Regrettably, her essay at no point indicates that Schick has since realized this heartless and selfish error. And her selfishness only gets worse from there.
Schick wags her finger at her father’s decision — when she was well into adulthood — to live a life of sexual and gender-role honesty. She accuses her dad of having “left his family” but one gets the impression that it was Schick who left her dad.
Schick refers to her father’s life as a woman in a relationship with a man “lost years in which he pursued his elusive happiness” — but she provides no evidence that happiness was elusive, or that she tried to make his life happy.
Schick offers no sign that she stood by her father during his battle against cancer, at least not until his final days. Even then, her anger is channeled into “sympathy” (pity) rather than love. She claims to have “forgiven” her father, but then she belies not only a lack of forgiveness, but selfishness and graceless injustice against her father when she declares:
I’ve shared with you about the pain and confusion of living with someone who truly believed he was in the wrong body. Not everyone applauds at the end of the TV talk shows. Some of us cry, so don’t be fooled!
Schick wants us to believe that she is a victim of her transgender father, but a note by the father, found after his death, says otherwise:
Denise, I know I have done you wrong in many ways. I am sorry for that. But please “Don’t throw me away,” as though I never existed.
Today, she says (the article was written in 2000), Schick operates a “ministry” that coaches churches and families to disregard sound mental-health and family counseling, and instead diagnose loved ones as having “Gender Identity Disorder” and treat them — at best — as if they were sick and inferior.
I fear that, almost a decade after the article was written, Schick continues to counsel people to shun or disown their parents, to view themselves as victims of imperfect and unstereotypical parents, and — worst of all — to be blind to their own cruelty.
Schick portrays herself as a woman in ongoing denial — denial of the wrongs done to her father, denial of what it means to respect a parent, and denial of her father’s love.
Denise Schick is the sort of woman that Exodus showcases as a role model for the holidays.