The Rule of Mattress-Eaters: Media sensationalism is different for trans people – but it shouldn’t be

Stefonknee Wolscht, a Canadian trans woman who “takes on the persona of a little girl” as part of “reverting to a childhood she finds comfort in”, has been subject to an extraordinary degree of negative media and public attention for several years. Wolscht, who was told by her wife to stop being trans or leave, lost her job, attempted suicide, and spent months in a homeless shelter, then had her image used by an Alaskan anti-LGBTQ  group as part of their campaign against a nondiscrimination ordinance in the state. She’s had her photo used by anti-abortion activist Jonathon Van Maren in an article about a completely different person accused of sexually abusing several children. She’s been subjected to extensive, invasive personal attacks and stalking on websites like Encyclopedia Dramatica and the anti-trans Kiwi Farms forums, and Redditors seem to find her story important enough to dedicate walls of text to criticizing her existence. Wolscht was previously forced into hiding due to the sheer quantity of messages threatening her with death and mutilation. Recently, anti-trans YouTuber Blaire White, desperate as usual to position herself as the only acceptable trans person on earth, got more than 600,000 views for a video about Wolscht which she describes as: “A 52 year old man leaves his family to become a 6 year old girl. Let’s talk.”

And all I can think is: Must we? Continue reading “The Rule of Mattress-Eaters: Media sensationalism is different for trans people – but it shouldn’t be”

Why anti-trans parents’ testimonies are unreliable as evidence: a response to Jay Keck and the Kelsey Coalition

A recent opinion piece in USA TODAY by parent Jay Keck of the anti-trans Kelsey Coalition offers a disturbing picture of how trans-rejecting family members rationalize their refusal to recognize trans youth’s identities. Keck, whose trans son is already misgendered and invalidated in the headline as a “daughter” who merely “thinks she’s transgender”, rails against trans-supportive school policies and staff at length, and expresses his belief that their affirmation of his son as a trans boy “undermined my efforts to help her”. Continue reading “Why anti-trans parents’ testimonies are unreliable as evidence: a response to Jay Keck and the Kelsey Coalition”

How trans youth and their parents decide to start medical transition

The process by which trans adolescents seek out and access medical transition treatment, including puberty blockers and/or cross-sex hormones, is one of the most widely misunderstood subjects in the public imagination. Initiating treatment is frequently depicted as something capricious, a decision made rashly by youth who may simply be experiencing a “phase”, with little or no in-depth consideration of its significance and impact; their parents are portrayed as either going along with this under the coercion of threats of suicide, or swept up in an alleged “trend” themselves; trans-supportive clinicians are in turn maligned as reckless enablers who supposedly allow immediate access to these treatments on the basis of mere adolescent whims. This bizarre caricature is the image of adolescent transition most commonly promoted in alarmist and sensationalist media outlets today. Continue reading “How trans youth and their parents decide to start medical transition”

Evidence of increases in homophobic bullying linked to anti-gay political measures

Referenda against marriage equality, and the accompanying public debates which inevitably surround them for months or years, have been among the ugliest episodes in American politics. In the heyday of these measures, campaigners against marriage equality routinely promoted some of the most brazenly scaremongering political ads, events, and materials, crafted to stir up significant public hostility against any recognition of the legal equality of same-sex couples. These campaigns attempted to convince voters that if marriage equality were not stopped at the ballot box, all manner of terrible fates would befall not only them but their children as well, evoking the perennial libel of gay people as an inherent threat to kids. Continue reading “Evidence of increases in homophobic bullying linked to anti-gay political measures”

Scraping the bottom of the transphobia barrel: Daily Mail fearmongers about trans-inclusive safer sex advice

The British press often seems to have an insatiable need to find the next big thing to get upset about regarding trans people – and what could be a more sensational topic than having sex with us? This month, the Daily Mail decided it was necessary to express pretend bafflement at NHS safer sex guidance for lesbian women. What’s the issue? Well, the materials outrageously acknowledged that not all lesbians are cis: Continue reading “Scraping the bottom of the transphobia barrel: Daily Mail fearmongers about trans-inclusive safer sex advice”