The heartbroken mother of a young woman who stepped in front of a train to end her own life blames her daughter’s school for encouraging her to pursue gender transition rather than addressing her ongoing depressing and mental health struggles.
Abigail Martinez’s troubling account of how her daughter’s high school and later social services interfered in the girl’s life as she was questioning her gender identity, resulting in Martinez losing custody of her child before she ultimately took her life, made headlines earlier this month after she took part in a panel discussion organized by The Heritage Foundation.
Now, she has revealed the degree to which she believes Los Angeles County’s Department of Child and Family Services and Acadia School District encouraged her daughter to pursue hormone treatment and surgical transition, separating her from her family and ignoring the depression she’d struggled with since she was a young teen.
Martinez told The Daily Mail that Yaeli was once “the girly girl in the house” who loved dressing up as a princess and sharing the crushes she had on boys in preschool.
In middle school, however, she experienced bullying at school and by eighth grade was showing signs of depression. By age 16, she was questioning her sexuality and told her sister that she was attracted to other girls.
Martinez understood that teenagers often question and explore their sexuality and identity, but never imagined the school district would encourage Yaeli to pursue gender transition.
“It was a shock, but she was trying to find out her identity. It’s normal, what children don’t go through that at that age?” she said.
“The school was telling her to go to these LGBT groups behind my back. She went from questioning her sexuality to her gender,” she explained.
“She had these peers at school two years older than her. They were the ones who brought these ideas – ‘Maybe you’re depressed because don’t you feel like you’re a boy?’ – and the school was supportive of that,” Martinez told the outlet.
“The school told her these groups were the place to go, and I didn’t need to know about it…I asked her what was going on, and she tried to deny it, because she was told that if she talked about it at home, I would not support it.”
Last year, journalist Abigail Shrier reported that leaked audio from a conference organized by California’s largest teachers’ union in which an attendee sat in on a workshop intended to help teachers recruit students to LGBT clubs without their conservative parents finding out.
As Martinez’s fellow panelists at The Heritage Foundation’s event detailed, schools across the nation operate under policies which allow teachers and administrators to hide a child’s professed gender identity from their parents as well as to aid their “social transition” at school by using the student’s preferred name and pronouns and allowing them to use the bathroom of their choice, again all without informing their parents.
Yaeli had attempted suicide twice already when she began questioning her gender identity, and her mother knew that simply assuming the appearance of a male would not help as much as she wanted to give her daughter liberties and affirmation.
“I just wanted my daughter back. I didn’t want to be the mean mom to say ‘no no no.’ I wanted to give her the help she needed at that time. But I knew the haircut or whatever she was trying to do wouldn’t make her happy,” Martinez explained.
“I didn’t like the idea [of transitioning]. But I just wanted her to find out what was leading her to go that way,” she said.
“I explained to the social workers it’s not going to work. My daughter needs mental health help. You have to go from the inside out. If she’s happy with herself that’s all we need. Focus on that.”
Instead, Martinez said, Yaeli was coached by her trans peer on how to convince social services she needed to be removed from her mother’s home so that the state would pay for her gender transition — which, if this was her scheme, was successful.
The school and the state, which ultimately determined that Yaeli should be placed in foster care, encouraged her to pursue hormone treatment as Martinez says they ignored her pleas to address her psychological illnesses and instructed her not to discuss her faith when she visited with Yaeli — who at this time was going by the name “Andrew.”
“On the visit days, when she came to my house, I was told not to talk about God,” Martinez said. “They told me if you do that, you’ll never see your daughter.”
However, Martinez said, when the mother and daughter would share meals together, Yaeli would still “close her eyes and bow her head.”
Once the teen was a legal adult, she was placed in an “independent house” but was hospitalized after an attempted overdose.
Martinez shared several messages her daughter sent her in her final days, expressing her deep love and appreciation for the mother who had always been there for her no matter what.
But one day in September, she was filled with dread all day, only to receive the call that changed everything.
“Around 9:30pm that night, she walked in front of the train tracks facing a train. She went on her knees, raised her arms up and just laid on the tracks,” Martinez said.
“I wasn’t able to recognize my daughter. I couldn’t see her for the last time. I was told if I wanted to see her I needed to sign a form because there was not much to see.”
Martinez says that her family is “broken” and will never be the same again after the loss of her child. She blames the state for ignoring her pleas to address her daughter’s depression.
“I knew that the hormones wouldn’t work,” she said. “She was taken away from my house because they wanted to save her life. My question to all of them is where is my daughter now? Why did they play with her life?”
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