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Booker Mendes @TheBookofCLE
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So Trans Twitter (and Gay Twitter, and Leftist Twitter) are all pretty mad about this article. But most people who are mad about it haven't read it, which is a big problem when Singal worked very hard to give it the appearance of balance. So lets break down how dangerous this is.
Singal checked every box for this article look genuine in its concerns, questions, and conclusions. He talked to happy transitioners and doctor advocates and dispelled myths often used to argue against medical transition. But make no mistake, this article is disingenuous at best.
While Singal talked to people on all sides of the conversation the fact of the matter is he did not reach the conclusions of the article through his work. He went into this article believing that access to transition is becoming too easy, with the goal of convincing you of it too
Whats really dangerous about it is that one must be very familiar with TERF discourse and knowledgeable about the trans experience in order to see past the veneer of balance. In short, you pretty much have to be trans and have a lot of trans friends to see the agenda he's pushing
Most of the ways this article shows its bias are very subtle so lets get the obvious out of the way. Each person who is at all in favor of taking things slowly with trans kids is given FAR more time than those who aren't. And he talks to a lot more of them.
Several doctors and their staffers are quoted and referred to throughout the article. Only one doctor who believes in making hormones as easy to access as possible is featured, and she is given three paragraphs directly before the articles final conclusion.
He only features two happily transitioned folx, only after featuring three detransitioners and two desisters and their parents, about two thirds of the way through the article. One of them is happy they were initially kept from hormones and made to work through other issues first
The trans people, the detransitioners, and desisters all have something in common. They are all Assigned Female At Birth. There is not a single (currently or formerly identified) transfeminine person featured; the exact opposite of most trans media coverage and theres a REASON.
The article never directly states, but HEAVILY implies that only AFABs detransition. The truth is trans women are far more likely to detransition for all of the reasons you probably expect. TERFs and Gatekeepers have learned that AMAB detransitioners undermine all their arguments
Talk to any AMAB detransitioner and they will eventually tell you they detransitioned b/c trans women are treated like SHIT and they felt that they would always be visibly trans and never pass as cis women. Nearly all of them retransition. See why Singal left them out?
People figured out that transfemme de/re transitioners only strengthened arguments for trans acceptance. So Gatekeepers and TERFs turned to the other side. AFAB detransitioners are RARE and the narrative around them has been built up almost entirely by TERFs and Evangelicals
See, TERFs especially LOVE AFAB detransitioners as they often cite sexual trauma and struggles with the patriarchy as reasons they chose to transition to male. This fits in perfectly with what TERFs already believe about Transmasc people so they've gone running with these stories
The most heavily featured detransitioner, Carrey Callahan, tells a story of deep regret. Transition, she says, prevented her from working on the true root cause of her dysphoria, sexual trauma. She is a big sister to hundreds of AFAB detransitioners. See why Singal included her?
Carey states that her story is "inconvenient to both sides" and that "evangelicals have misused my story. I felt violated." but Singal in his bias never dives any deeper. Where is the inconvenience for TERFs, Evangelicals, and gatekeepers? CAREY 👏SUPPORTS 👏TRANSITION👏ACCESS👏
Carey works hard to support&respect trans ppl AND detransitioners. She has detailed a way gender dysphoric people should explore the decision to transition and IMO her framing would help a lot of trans people dispel their doubts and fears far better than current popular discourse
Singal deliberately chose not to mention that all the detransitioners in his piece support EASY ACCESS TO TRANSITION. He never tells you that most AFAB detransitioners do not regret their transition or their permanent changes, and do not id as cis. Retransition is common.
You will not find a study to back up that claim. It is my conclusion from talking w/ HUNDREDS of trans people AND many detransitioners over YEARS in online trans spaces. This is why trans people should be in charge of the media that portrays, depicts, and defines us. WE KNOW BEST
Which brings me to the final problem BIG problem I will address about Singal's article in this main thread. The "desistors" in his story, the kids who pressed their parents for T but never got it, and eventually stopped iding as trans. Could they be cis? Yes but I have DOUBTS
Claire and Delta both give up on transition after hitting pretty big barriers. I will admit here I agree with the decision to make Delta deal with other mental health issues first. Transition = Puberty, and puberty+un/poorly treated mental health issues = Disaster. THAT SAID...
While Singal greatly softens the barriers to T that Claire, Delta, and Orion a transitioned kid, face, the fact is every barrier when you are first coming out/attempting to access treatment, looks and feels like Mt Everest x 10. Barriers placed by adults on kids, especially so.
Being trans is TERRIFYING. It is highly otherized so its very hard to accept that you can be trans. Being trans is a scary horrible thing that happens to OTHER people, and they are so dehumanized, are they even really people? Most trans people repress and deny it for a LONG time.
Repression and Denial are survival tactics. When being your true self is dangerous, and yearning for it causes suicidal ideation, repression is the safest option. Trans people often realize they are trans and then, faced with such a terrifying prospect, COMPLETELY FORGET ABOUT IT
This happened to me. It happened to most of my IRL friends who are trans. It happened to a countless number of the trans people I have talked to and befriended online. Most people experience a regular "what if I'm not really trans" freak out at each step of transition.
So when I hear a story about a kid who came out as trans, only to go back IDing as cis, yeah I'm skeptical AF. Even people in very supportive environments experience repression and denial. Of course kids who are invalidated by adults would just give up and pretend its fine.
Singal also tells that these kids had a lot of friends coming out as trans, and that many young trans kids tell the doctors in the story about kids who are "just doing it for attention". First of all, IF attention seekers exist, THEY NEVER EVER SEEK MEDICAL TRANSITION. EVER.
Second, coming outs don't happen in waves through social circles because its so trendy to be queer. They happen because like attracts like, and LGBT kids make friends with each other long before realizing their ids or their friends. Coming out is less scary after your friends do.
So yes, Singal talks to a lot of different people on "both sides" here. Yes, he strongly emphasizes that most people who transition NEED transition and get great relief from it. But he did these things so you would trust him when he says trans kids should be DOUBTED.
Waging a campaign to make sure that kids go through the entirely wrong puberty is fucked up and can ruin lives. Putting a non trans kid on hormone blockers doesn't. Thats why Dr. Olsen in the piece does not believe detransitioners and desisters should effect access to treatment.
Stop letting cis people, especially ones with an antagonistic relationship with the trans community be the narrators of our experiences. Let us tell you our own stories. And don't let tweets like this become the perception of this article and our reaction
This article perfectly sums up everything I couldn’t fit into this thread, so please read it if you can. Thank you @robynkanner
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