“Potentially Unnecessary Medical Treatments”
So, I’m still somewhat raw and upset about the latest push against trans kids so hey, my little used personal blog is gonna be all rebuttals to transphobic bullshit posing as concern for awhile.
So, basically the TERFs and the TERF-adjacents have found a new go-to to argue against accepting trans kids. And that go-to is that they aren’t against trans kids, no, they’re just against folks going through “potentially unnecessary medical treatments”:
Now everyone and their mother knows what this is about. It’s about tying the way cis people freak out at the very idea of surgeries or hormones and try and displace that fear on trans kids and act like it’s out of some genuine concern for children. Y’know, like how homophobes associate gayness with sex and then try and argue this automatic word association is a reason to be strongly against anyone talking about queer sexualities with children.
Again, these people are not exactly subtle in their antipathy for us.
So, there’s a few things fucked with this.
One, is that it continues to value the vague unease of cis people over the lives and well-being of trans folks*
*Not to keep beating up the dead horse of Jesse Singal, but he decided to follow-up his last trainwreck with a response to Julia Serrano who is… well, the exact person Jesse Singal should seek out, a biologist, academician, and trans woman who speaks eloquently on both trans research and trans experiences, albeit sometimes with frustrating framing. And he tries to tackle a thought experiment she had, which was to have an audience of cis people imagine that they were offered 10 million dollars for their gender, to live as the wrong gender the rest of their life and suffer through that dysphoria. And it’s pretty powerful because most cis people who actually think about it rather than dismissing it with a crude joke about how “easy” women have it or assuming that being thought of as a man all the time when you are not is somehow bearable, don’t take up the offer. Because they at some level understand that one’s gender is one’s gender. Naturally Jesse Singal repeats the thought experiment, comes to the same conclusion, but nonetheless dismisses the thought experiment and argues that some cis folks would still take that because gosh sexism is just so bad, ignoring the life experiences of trans women who’ve lived that and know that the sexism and transphobia and all the hatred is worth no longer being treated as if a boy over and over again. Cause in his mind the idea that one cis person could somehow be wooed over with the “10 million dollars” of dealing with slightly less sexism is too high of a price to universally get behind any form of actual care outside of “concern for” trans kids. And is worth endless articles wringing his hands because he has vague unease at the thought of someone transitioning (i.e. he has vague unease at the thought of himself transitioning and displaces that on women because he’s that type of male feminist) and somehow this must be based on something worthy of reason rather than just his implicit biases. But then, we already knew all that.
Second, is that it makes no goddamn sense, because we already treat children for things they might not actually have. Hell, we treat adults for things they might not actually have.
Like, the obvious example is mental health. I’ve got a lot of students with various mental health conditions. A lot of them had to go through a lot of processes, a lot of tests, and a lot of drugs that simply did not work for them or didn’t work right at that dosage to find the right blend to help them stabilize and better function as themselves.
Cause that’s part of finding out what works. And it’s a major part of medicine. If you go in to a doctor’s office with depression, they try you on various medications to find the one that works. When one doesn’t, that gets crossed off the list and you continue on. So, all this hand-wringing over this terrifying thought that some cis person could somehow stumble through the years of defeating various gatekeepers trans kids and trans people are expected to go through and the million chances to turn back if the treatment is not working is based on something that is just part and parcel of any form of medicine. You try something on the list for that condition or illness. And if that doesn’t work, you go back to the drawing board.
Not to mention that again, the medicines these fucks are freaking out about are some of the easiest to get off medicines possible. And require the most hoops to jump through to get them. Like, very very few clinics are actually cool enough to say “oh, you’re trans, yeah, let’s get you on some blockers, kid” right off the block. A lot of them require potentially years of stable identity and even then refuse because of this ingrained cis fear that they somehow could be trans-ified in the same way that homophobes are scared that standing next to a gay person could “convert” them to “that unhealthy lifestyle” in their estimation.
And blockers themselves are a compromise to hormones, delaying the decision until its been years of stable identity with no shifts and the kid is practically an adult already, albeit now with a stunted pubescence to “make sure they’re sure”. And are undoable by simply not taking them anymore and as far as medications go, they have very few side effects**.
**Transphobes have recently begun arguing that blockers are “shady” and despite all the research that their health risks are minimal, they insist that ha, there might be long-term damage for those who take them for a long time. Somehow ignorant of the realization that someone who takes puberty blockers for a long time is very unlikely to be cis.
But then, the whining about “medicine” is just to rope in the rubes. A way of demonizing blockers and hormones and making it seem nefarious and shady for a doctor to follow AMA and APA best practices and making recommended treatment protocols and how mental health medication simply works seem nefarious and off and find something anything to complain about that isn’t what really bothers all these fucks.
And that’s surgeries.
Like, push any transphobe about “trans kids” or even trans people and eventually they’ll start ranting about genitalia and saving those genitalia from “mutilation” like some annoying anti-circumcision activist crashing the Trans Pride. Even Singal fell into this trap trying to defend his vague unease about supporting trans people without hemming and hawing all the damn time about it when Noah Berlatsky wrote an article critiquing his article on desistence, by immediately seeking out ex-trans folks who regretted surgeries. Many transphobes in the religious right and in the TERF movements cite the same handful of folks, all ones who underwent surgeries and claimed that those surgeries ruined their life.
Cause like the automatic assumption that gay people equal anal or oral sex among homophobes, people automatically associate trans folks with genitals and genital surgeries.
Endless “comedians” making jokes about trans folks that mostly center around “chicks with dicks” because trans women scare the beejesus out of transphobic fuckheads. Endless sobbing pieces lamenting the tragic downfall of “intact” bodies due to the evils of trans surgeries.
That shit massively impacted my life when my family was in the process of disowning me for being trans and trying to force me into reparative therapy at the careful coaching of a TERF piece of shit. Both my uncle and father lamented over my penis and its future fate, because to them that’s all a trans person is.
Their genitals and “the surgery” which, let’s not kid ourselves, to cis people there is only ever one surgery and that is bottom-surgery. It’s fucking everywhere.
And it’s in the creepy way trans folks talk about trans kids, obsessing about their junks like a child molester eyeing up a victim to groom. SecretGamerGirl had a really good deconstruction of that shit here.
To them, that’s all we become. And our humanity is subsumed into that automatic trigger. And this happens to the point where writers writing about us from a position of bias can’t stop flicking their tongue against that wound as they write, freaking out about the poor penii and uterii of the world and lamenting the idea of a cis person ever going through the horror we regularly expect trans folks to go through.
It’s the reason for the careful framing of hiding behind “just being against unnecessary ‘medicine'”, because it makes their actions seem noble in the same way that homophobes reframe their attacks on gay people’s private lives as “standing up for religious freedom” for the same reason.
Because it’s not like just avoiding giving a kid antibiotics because hey, it might not be a bacterial infection. It’s like denying a kid any form of antidepressant because you don’t want to risk ever giving an undiagnosed bipolar kid experiencing depression an antidepressant that might not work. So all the kids need to suffer without ever even trying the drugs and starting that process.
And it ignores what the kids are asking for. The first medication in all this isn’t those much feared surgeries. It’s not even the hormones and blockers that purity-fetishizing assholes try and demonize as somehow super scary, because they deep down realize that obsessing about surgeries with kids who may never get them is kinda really creepy***.
*** One of the things that’s been fucking with transphobes for a bit now is that their chosen victims have been doing activism for awhile. Fighting against the type of rigid and transphobic/homophobic structures that used to govern our only access point to treating dysphoria. Creating community and community support that was actively discouraged before. And one of the consequences of that and the growing acceptance for trans folks is that a fairly large section of trans folks don’t really bother with surgeries. Or if they do, they opt for the less sensationalized surgeries like orchidectomies or hysterectomies rather than what is typically thought of when people think of bottom surgery. And this fucks with transphobes, because their whole pitch is based on the universality of surgeries and making those seem like a cabal of evil trannies is somehow forcing these surgeries on impressionable youth in the same way that homophobes obsess about older gay men forcing gayness on impressionable youth. So, transphobes have had to switch to these not very transparent methods of demonizing things like blockers and hormones because those just aren’t as scary to a cis frame of mind and actually make one more likely to sympathize with the pain and suffering trans kids go through unnecessarily****.
**** I know this piece has gotten super rambly and a giant hot mess. But I’ll summarize my main problem with this shit. It’s Christian Science. It’s someone knowing of a medical treatment to cure and existing problem and some asshole yelling, stop, no, don’t give this kid that treatment, they might not need it, they might only need Jesus. Just with Jesus replaced with some vague handwaving about potential cis-ness. And it’s because they are just in denial of medical reality as Christian Scientists in that they believe that all this trans stuff is a myth and thus all the “treatments” for it are unnecessary medicine getting in the way of “proper” development.
Hell, the first medication isn’t even names and pronouns.
It’s hair. It’s clothes.
This is where trans kids first fight with their parents. To have the right to look how they want, to reduce that dysphoria sartorially. It’s a bitter fight and it’s often hard won, at best.
Hell, even supportive parents balk at this first medication. Feeling pressure from society to try at least a little to enforce some semblance of gender-congruence.
The second medication is the names and pronouns. Fights to be recognized as who they are, allowed to explore pronouns and see what fits. Find what reduces that dysphoria.
Everything else comes way later. Even for folks who figure it out later in life. I know, I’ve mentored a lot of trans college spaces and I’ve seen a large number of folks who came out as trans in college. Every time, years over appearance. Years over name. Then maybe hormones. Surgery a potential speck on the horizon, frequently reduced in importance once folks see just how magical hormones can be in reducing a lot of dysphoria.
Trans folks think about this shit. A lot. They don’t just go waltzing into a pharmacy and ask for everything on the top shelf. They agonize over this shit, analyze it from every angle, and seek out trusted professionals or close friends.
No transition is chosen willy-nilly.
And that’s kind of the unspoken boogieman in all this. The idea that some cis person could “transition” as a lark and by that they almost always mean surgery. Which doesn’t happen.
Even the scant few ex-trans folks they can pull out who didn’t detransition because of social stress (the majority of names transphobes like to trot out to try and make “desistance” and “detransition” seem like huge issues affecting hundreds of folks are well… folks who had to fight for years to transition in the first place. Folks who spent years lying to doctors and ignoring their own dysphoria and probably still lying to themselves (like honestly, people have we learned literally NOTHING from the whole ex-gay malarky). Folks who weren’t at all pressured to do surgery or else, rather the opposite. Who’ve now conveniently fallen in with folks eager to use their confusion and pain to deny the rights of trans people everywhere.
Because no matter what we do to show how little we’re asking for, they’ll nonetheless try and couch their actions in concern.
Because this is a repeat of the same old shit we went through with gay rights and still go through with gay rights to this day. The same automatic assumptions, the same effect of “liberal” folks using their personal antipathy and feelings of unease to try and demonize or cast “reasonable doubts” on the rightness of letting kids explore gender or sexuality in spaces without prejudice. Even the same organizations forming to oppress us (let us not forget that their used to be a homophobic batch of second wave feminists just as strident as TERFs have been about trans folks).
And being a veteran of a lot of those gay rights battles, I’m tired of all of it.
I’m tired of my kids being hemmed and hawed over, because some assholes can’t stop thinking of junk when they think trans folks. I’m tired of watching kids go without care and respect and recognition and HUMANITY because of all the cis people hemming and hawing and floating bad faith arguments. I’m tired of watching all my trans friends get to the edge of suicide because of endless harassment from the sort of fucks who think we never thought deeply and agonized over our genders.
I’m tired of this bad faith bullshit and bigots hiding behind “science” and “the kids” and “the bible” to justify their tired reflexive negative feelings.
I’m tired of people prioritizing unease built out of ignorance, out of a failure to incorporate us into their personal lives and get to know us and let that fear wash out, over our rights and our access to the very few avenues of legal medicine and care we are allowed as transgender citizens.
I’m tired of the knowledge that we’ll repeat every phase of fighting for gay rights with trans people and hell, will probably do the same damn thing for poly people and ace people and non-binary people and so on and so on. Over and over and over again.
And I’m most of all tired of begging for my humanity from folks who think it perfectly okay to take dominance over it and make it a public issue worthy of debate. Who find the pain I went through, the confusion being a young trans girl growing up with no clue what was happening to her, just that it was all so very wrong, so very fascinating but not nearly as compelling as the way they just sort of feel wary when they think about the health care we use to undo that.
I’m tired of having this fight with fuckers who are the equivalent of some ignorant fuck wandering into a cancer ward going “gosh, what’s the deal with all this radiation, that’s really freaky to think about, y’know what we need, a public debate on whether or not y’all really need this. I mean, imagine if one of you didn’t have cancer, that would be awful.” And acting like their reflexive bullshit isn’t something that’s been answered a thousand times in a thousand ways by people who inherently have thought of it way more than they ever will.
Fuck TERFs, fuck people who surround themselves with TERFs, fuck their transparent bad faith arguments, fuck this bigoted nonsense hiding behind the passive terrorism that is perpetuated against trans folks.
I let myself be disowned because I was done with fighting for my humanity, with begging for my humanity. I walked and risked homelessness and have only now years later begun really putting together the shattered wreckage of my psyche caused by believing the transphobic culture that treats our identities as something to hem and haw over rather than accept. And along the way, being trans, has meant I’ve nearly been killed, multiple times. Has meant a lot of jobs not calling me back “mysteriously”. Has meant a lot of bullshit from a transphobic society that is eager to repeat the bathroom battles of the 1950s.
And I’m done putting up with it from anyone else.
So, all y’all cis fucks can just get over it. Get over trans kids. Get over trans adults. Get over trans celebrities like (unfortunately) Caitlyn Jenner.
Get over us, introspect, just fucking acknowledge why you react with unease at our existence and really examine your life far far away from us.
So we can try and save as many of the kids you try and kill every year as we possibly can and try to build for them a future where they don’t ever have to feel they have to beg for their humanity.
So, yeah, let’s just close the lid on this transphobic waste of space.
And yeah, I’m saying he’s a transphobic piece of shit, because not only does he write these “I’m not saying I’m freaked out by kids using different pronouns, I’m just implying that it’s awful and practically the same thing as surgery in a way that lets me deny it and angrily denounce ACLU lawyers who point out the striking similarity between my arguments and the arguments of anti-trans hate groups by claiming they are the ‘real’ gender essentialists”:
But because of this one tweet chain:
The article he’s complaining about is an article decrying the American College of Pediatrics, a fake organization run by a hate group intentionally trying to be confused with actual Pediatricians because said hate groups want to pretend their bad science is actually what is recommended by pediatricians.
Yes, that’s right. Not only does Jesse Singal keep writing these shit articles about trans people, not only does he salivate over reparative therapy clinics like they were the one true bastion of sanity in the trans “debate”, not only does he intentionally surround himself with TERFs who prop him up against those “evil transgender activists” and let him play male ally hero to his heart’s content.
He has straight up risen in anger in defense of a fake medical organization literally run by folks who are recognized by the SPLC as members of hate groups.
Yes, that’s right, shitbird Singal defended a literal fake agency whose only existence is to disseminate bad science about trans folks. Decrying the writer as a fake ally just trying to get in with the trendy transgenders because gosh darnitt we’re just crawling with allies at the moment.
And his fig leaf to try and justify this as anything other than his rising to the defense of his fellow bigots is this:
Yes, that’s right, he’s angry that an article talking about an active hate organization posing as a real reputable national organization speaking on behalf of all pediatricians didn’t go off on a random tangent to ramble about his pet theory about gender dysphoria having all these social causes so really there’s some secret underground of cis kids secretly tricked into being trans that need to be saved by making it even more difficult than it already is for trans kids to even receive social support in favor of their names and pronouns.
And the worst part of it all is this:
He cites a heart-breaking tale of a genderqueer (i.e. NON-BINARY) individual who experiences variations in just how destructive their gender dysphoria is not as an example on non-binary experiences and how they are frequently erased in these “trans debates” or an example of what fresh hell trans people are expected to deal with before society considers them “trans enough” to even experiment with pronouns and names…
No, not as any of that, but as an example of his bugaboo hinting at a supposed “regret culture” of ex-trans individuals.
Which… no, fuck you. Our non-binary brethren. Our questioning brethren. Our egg-mode brethren terrified by a general culture wherein it is perfectly legal to discriminate us out of jobs, wherein most of our murders aren’t even investigated, and where family disownment is so common, that we’re actually stunned when a trans person actually has the support of their parents.
These are not tools for you to push your bullshit ex-trans cheerleading on behalf of bankrupt ideologies working to strip us of all legal rights.
These are people, scared people, trying to figure themselves out.
Who are not planning on hoping on the surgery three weeks in. They’re still working on whether or not to try a different pronoun or wondering if they remain in the closet, whether or not they’ll become one of the many statistics of trans youth who off themselves because our society treats gender dysphoria as some sort of game or meaningless distraction.
And here’s Singal, defending hate groups, smearing people who expose them as “liberal journalism at its worst”, all because he does not understand what gender dysphoria is, what the transgender spectrum is, or even what trans activists want for trans kids.
Cause, for all the hinting that he’s doing working up to his no-doubt lucrative future career being a Robert Oscar Lopez or a Maggie Gallagher for trans issues that trans activists are somehow recruiting the youth and confusing them with “you can only be x binary with x transition path”, that’s not how any of this shit works.
Trans adults, what we want for our trans kids is for them not to be dying by the hundreds every year. We want them to not commit suicide, feeling alone and scared like so many queer youth have felt for years.
We want them to be able to explore what they want to be without it being terrifying or brutally punished, even if at the end of it, they decide they’re totally cis.
We want kids to be able to try on a pronoun and see if it fits and not have to fight their teachers for it to be respected. To be able to try out a name and have it not be a thing.
And frankly, modeling this behavior in my own school. Letting kids explore, letting them see that trans teachers exist, that trans adults exist, is so fucking easy and non-disruptive. Even our genderfluid students whose pronouns changed from week to week. And for all the scare tweets from Singal hinting at societal ruin resulting from letting kids be, even if they are non-binary. It doesn’t have to be a thing.
Cause if we can do a little to make teenage life less hellish, to create a safe space for trans students to exist and thrive and be who they are. Where their identities and pronouns are respected whatever they may be today.
We should do it.
And in the meantime, I’d like this to serve as the closing of the book on Singal. Because it’s clear that this is just gonna be the typical path of the neo-TERF. Hang out with TERFs, pen questionable articles, defend your hanging out with TERFs and questionable articles, straight up cite hate groups and prominent anti-trans organizations and join a fictional reality.
Because apparently we’re going to have to go through all the same steps as gay folks for the mushy middle to actually recognize their antipathy as the bigotry it is and grow the fuck up already.
In the meantime, fuck Jesse Singal. And when he’s opening for Focus on the Family or retweeting the dark lord of TERFdom in a few years, let it be a surprise to no one.
FINAL UPDATE (8/23):
For those who say, okay, no, Jesse Singal couldn’t actually be defending the Liberty Council’s pet think tank as if they were a legitimate science organization:
No, he did.
So either he’s so bad at his job he literally does not understand what organizations of medical professionals are real or not or he’s gladly willing to stir the pot and murky the waters if it will feed causes he believes in (to whit, performing gender reparative therapy on young trans kids*)
*Again, no really:
Oh, and supposedly “many” trans people now apparently believe reparative therapy is awesome. Yeah, totes, and “many” gay people love ex-gay camps and “many” pregnant women love pregnancy crisis centers.
He’s also a fan of the theory that we were forced to be trans by evil parents who “confuse us” about our true gender (because his unstated belief that comes through in all his works seems to be that trans kids need to be saved from the “irreversible” consequences of trying out a name and a pronoun for awhile and seeing if it sticks, because some combination of evil mothers and trans activists will trick them into taking hormones and getting surgeries when they are actually cis (rather than the kid just figuring it out along the way):
Which, I say to that, I wish. My mom tried to beat the trans out of me and hide that possibility from me and my parents disowned me when I came out. These trans kids I work with, almost none have parents that support them. Every ounce of identity they have to carve out of a mountain of constant fighting. But hey, it’s not like we’ve noticed how sexist asshole men tend to assume that mothers of trans folks are bad mothers “forcing them” to be trans:
Oh wait, we have. And it’s transparent as fuck.
Bonus points? He’s also a non-binary truther, who believes that non-binary gender identities and neopronouns are all a trick to get feminists to “waste resources” on non-women. As if non-binary people aren’t hesitant enough about belonging to “women’s spaces” or like non-binary identities don’t exist:
Cause to ignorant cis assholes the notions of more than two genders seems absurd and proof that us trans folks are delusional and lying.
Bonus to the bonus? He’s also a big fan of claiming trans folks are gender essentialists because of his whole “not supporting reparative therapy means you believe in a strict binary system where there is one way to be trans” strawperson oral sex contest… while decrying the notion of more than two genders as ignorant claptrap and non-binary people as not deserving protections of being a protected class.
Fuck you, you disingenuous hack. Fuck your ascientific bullshit and rancid repolishing of TERF talking points and fuck your working for and standing up for literal hate groups. And fuck your transparent transphobia. Fuck you trying to exploit our NB youth while denying they even exist. Fuck your sad little douche dance and just fucking come out as the bigot you clearly are but don’t want to be seen as.
It’ll at the very least be less insulting to our intelligence.