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Julia Serano @JuliaSerano
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THREAD: earlier I tweeted about Jesse Singal's long history of writing fearmongering anti-#trans/GNC #children articles (+ also treating me & other trans women shittily): #transgender #LGBTQ #health #psychology
...Here I will "live tweet" Singal's latest Atlantic article, which is in the same vein as the others. If I was teaching a journalism class, I'd use this latest article as an example of how to write a highly biased piece that comes across as "fair & balanced" as possible...
...and since people unfamiliar with this subject will no doubt be unaware of all the misinformation & biases at work here, I'm gonna do math to it! I'm dividing it into 14 sections, each of which begins with its own header (aka, giant capital letter)...
...to be clear, I don't doubt any personal stories he shares, nor do I dismiss any individual opinion expressed here. I'm just saying that his overall presentation/emphases/omissions paint a distorted picture, one that is in line with his history of penning anti-trans pieces...
(btw, my apologies in advance for being an extremely a slow writer)
...let's begin w/sections 1 & 2, which focus on Claire & her family. At 12, Claire thought about transitioning to male, but now (at 14) identifies as female. there was no GD diagnosis here, just YouTube videos & online info...
plus, at that young of an age, no physical interventions. but this sets up the premise of the piece: "kids are being rushed into transitioning & irreversible procedures," even though neither happened in this case...
...a side-note: many now-happily-transitoned adults (including myself) had pre-teen desires to transition that we then transcended/repressed during teen years, only to transition later...
I am *not* saying this will happen to Claire. but it's extremely disingenuous of Singal to portray this as though "see, Claire was cisgender all along," when he knows all of this is more complicated than that...
for the trans-unaware, I discuss all of these complications in this essay: medium.com/@juliaserano/d…
- it's a long-read b/c this is all far more nuanced than Singal depicts it...
...anyway, section 3 ("THE NUMBER OF SELF-IDENTIFYING TRANS PEOPLE...") talks about the rise in trans-identification, and all the "pro-trans articles" that are supposedly being written, as though this were the 2014 "Transgender Tipping Point" era...
In reality, way more trans-antagonistic & trans-suspicious articles are being penned these days (especially in the UK) these days than the opposite. This omission is super-f-ing glaring, and makes this seem like a "pro-trans section" (for balance) when it's a mere distortion...
section 4 ("WE ARE STILL IN THE EARLIEST STAGES") frames the gender-affirming approach as a debate between those rushing kids into irreversible procedures vs those who are more hesitant (who he calls "competent" later on). THERE IS NO DISCUSSION OF HOW AFFIRMING ≠ TRANSITION!!!
...affirming approaches treat children differently, depending on who/where they are, whether they are "insistent/persistent/consistent" (a phrase Singal never utters once in his piece). but he does talk about surgeries, which no affirming practitioners advocate for trans kids...
...also (unsurprisingly) not mentioned in this section: forcing insistent/persistent/consistent trans kids to delay transition until after puberty is ALSO IRREVERSIBLE, and may lead to otherwise unnecessary surgeries/procedures...
section 5 ("FOR GENDER-DYSPHORIC PEOPLE, physical transition can be life enhancing") is a short section immediately followed by section 6 ("FOR GENDER-QUESTIONING CHILDREN AND TEENS the landscape is different"). this continues the lie...
......that the gender-affirming approach = rushing to hormones/surgery, and ignores gender diversity. like, seriously, READ ANY GENDER-AFFIRMING RESEARCH PAPER AND IT'S OBVIOUS THIS IS NOT THE CASE! Singal is blatantly/purposefully misrepresenting here...
interesting side-note: in section 6, Singal acknowledges that gender-reparative therapies are now considered unethical. In which case, he might want to go back & retract some of his earlier articles on the subject: juliaserano.blogspot.com/2016/02/placin…
taking a breather for a few minutes. be back shortlly. in meantime, if you appreciate this and other work I do, please consider supporting me on Patreon: patreon.com/juliaserano/ov…
ok, back now. so to summarize so far, the first two sections of Singal's piece were dedicated to Claire (a non-diagnosed person who never transitioned) & the next 4 to misrepresenting gender-affirming approaches as being "universally accepted" (ha!) and...
...and pushing a one-size-fits-all "rushing kids into transition" agenda, which they don't (although readers won't be aware of this, because Singal never even brings up "insistent/persistent/consistent" or gender-affirming recognition of non-binary & gender-questioning kids)...
...so it's only at this late point that Singal finally shares first-hand experiences of trans kids who who've benefited from socially transitioning & have their identities affirmed. whoops. my bad, actually before that happens, we get 2 sections about kids who detransition...
...as I've said many times before, some people detransition, and should be able to tell their stories. but hacks like Singal are determined to pit their stories against those who are happily transitioned, when our stories are not 100% mutually-exclusive: tinyurl.com/y8x6rmxx
...section 9 ("WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING TGNC young people") is centered on a psychologist who predicted all this (detransitioning & desistance) all would happen...
...finally, it's not until section 10 (of 14) that we meet our first happily transitioned subjects of the piece, Scott & Orion. of course, the section begins with the line: "COMPETENT CLINICIANS do occasionally challenge their clients’ conception of their gender identity"...
...the logic implying that it's "competent" to challenge clients' gender identities, and that this (and this alone, since we've been given no other positive example) leads to happy trans lives...
...anyway, the final sections are more back-and-forth along the false dichotomy/misrepresentation Singal has established between "rushing kids into hormones/surgery" vs "competent" delaying and diagnosing...
...by this point, readers have a skewed view & are oblivious to the actual concerns that drive gender-affirming approaches, which I describe & cite here: medium.com/@juliaserano/r…
okay, finally stepping away from the computer for a bit. if you appreciate this and other work I do, please consider supporting me on Patreon: patreon.com/juliaserano/ov…
[ooops. unintended thread break, we continue here...] ...the logic implying that it's "competent" to challenge clients' gender identities, and that this (and this alone, since we've been given no other positive example) leads to happy trans lives...
...by this point, readers have a skewed view & are oblivious to the actual concerns that drive gender-affirming approaches, which I describe & cite here: medium.com/@juliaserano/r…
that's it for now. if you appreciate me spending the time on this thread, and the other work/writings I do, please consider supporting me on Patreon: patreon.com/juliaserano/ov…
...upon re-reading this thread this morning, I wanted to add a couple more points. first, forgot to mention that Singal spends section 12 ("WHEN PARENTS DISCUSS") forwarding the anti-trans talking point of "social contagion"...
there is absolutely no scientific/research evidence that "social contagion" is making kids trans, but Singal promotes it anyway, even though there are simpler, less sinister, explanations for increase in trans identities
medium.com/@juliaserano/t…
As I've outlined in this thread, nearly every step of the way, Singal both emphasizes & personalizes the potential horror stories of early transitioning, while omitting or overlooking both positive stories of early social transition for insistent/persistent/consistent trans kids
...as well as the horror stories of delayed transitions & parents who disaffirm their children's identities. Regarding the latter, here is a review of that research (none of which Singal discusses); source: cfp.ca/content/64/5/3…
...Singal's horror stories only go in one direction (what if "cis kids" accidentally transition?). but what about the potential harm to trans kids if we deny their genders until after puberty? Singal never shares scenarios like this; source: medium.com/@juliaserano/d…
...while Singal doesn't explicitly state it, his article (like all his previous ones) is an argument for pushing back the age trans kids can self-ID & transition until well into teenage years. If he believes that, fine, let him write an f-ing op-ed!
...but let's not pretend that Singal is a dispassionate uninvested journalist who is sharing all sides of the story, because he most certainly isn't...
finally, I agree with this line from Singal's last section. But pushing back the age of transition & self-ID *is* a one-size-fits-all approach. In contrast, gender-affirming approaches respect the fact that trans/GNC children are diverse from one another & have different needs.
another thought about Singal's The Atlantic piece, regarding editorial failure (or purposeful direction), whichever it was... source: patreon.com/posts/19542136 #LGBTQ #trans #transgender #health #children #psychology
fwiw, I've started work on a new piece - a guide of sorts - for how to write about #trans/GNC #children issues in a fair way, w/o pitting gender minorities against one another. perhaps it will come out next week, probably on my Medium channel: medium.com/@juliaserano/l…
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