Even more data confirms: Trans people’s awareness of their gender long precedes disclosure to others

Last month, I looked at the findings of Restar et al. (2019) in Transgender Health, which examined the developmental trajectories and milestones of trans women aged 16 to 29 and found that their own awareness of their identity as women typically preceded their disclosure of their gender to others by several years. This is relevant to the uniquely poor methodology used in the “rapid onset gender dysphoria” study, in which reports from parents alone were used, and a child’s disclosure of their transness to a parent was equated with the time at which that child’s transgender identity actually appeared. It also comes to bear on the all-too-common objection heard by trans people from family members that they “never saw any signs” of the person’s transness – when all this means is that the trans person hadn’t yet decided to show any signs.

Findings such as those from Restar et al. overturn the naïve assumption of a developmental trajectory that starts with reading about trans people on Tumblr, continues with self-identification as trans 5 minutes later, and is followed by telling your parents 30 seconds after that realization. And another recent study offers further details on the developmental course of known and lived transgender identity among an even younger age group. Continue reading “Even more data confirms: Trans people’s awareness of their gender long precedes disclosure to others”

Transphobic and homophobic attitudes are so highly correlated they might be the same thing

Within the baseless anti-trans claim that gender-affirming care for trans youth constitutes a form of anti-gay “conversion therapy” applied to these children, one key component is the assertion that their parents would prefer to have a child who isn’t attracted to the same sex, and so they would instead rather have a trans child who is heterosexual. The extent to which this claim has penetrated anti-trans discourse is remarkable given how it falls flat at almost every point. Affirming treatment, such as with puberty blockers, does not appear to induce any change in an adolescent’s gender identity. A stance of rejection does not cause a trans person to stop being trans, and such an approach is an attempt at conversion therapy meant to impose change on a person’s gender identity. And same-sex attraction is vastly more common among trans people than it is among cis people – being trans certainly does not reduce the likelihood that a person experiences attraction to the same sex.

But the ascribed motivation behind the alleged attempt by anti-gay, pro-trans parents to change their child’s gender identity is itself implausible from the very outset. Why? Simultaneous anti-gay and pro-trans attitudes are unlikely to be held by an individual – this supposed association has been posited with no evidence for it. And there’s much evidence against it. Continue reading “Transphobic and homophobic attitudes are so highly correlated they might be the same thing”

What is transphobia made of? Perception of deception predicts transphobic prejudice

To the frustration of trans people, allies, and other generally reasonable individuals, transphobic attitudes continue to exist and inflict harm on innocent people. We know all too well that far too many people are transphobic – but why? What motivates this hostility, and in what beliefs and attitudes is it rooted? Previous studies have identified correlations between negative attitudes toward trans people and endorsement of homophobia, benevolent sexism, religious fundamentalism, discomfort with sexuality generally, and a lack of any personal contact with trans people (Rye, Merritt, & Straatsma, 2019).

These associations between transphobia and attitudes in other areas of life are well-established. But what is it about trans people specifically that inspires disapproval? A recent study looked more closely at one manifestation of prejudice, distrust toward trans people, as well as what beliefs are linked to this mistrust and what separates this antipathy from disapproval of other sexual minorities. Continue reading “What is transphobia made of? Perception of deception predicts transphobic prejudice”