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”

Minnesota Mom is Just… Terrible. Really Awful.

By Penny Robo

Already self-sufficient for years due to parents dealing with substance abuse issues, 13 year old “EJK” came out to her parents as gay, triggering a wave of verbal and physical abuse. Her mother permitted her to live with her biological father at 15, but he was soon incarcerated and, rather than returning to her mother, lived with friends and her grandmother, all while attending school and starting to work, eventually moving into her own apartment by 16. After more than 6 months without any contact with her mother, and considering the ongoing circumstances of her life (including her demonstrated self-sufficiency) she was considered for all intents and purposes to be an adult and in charge of her own medical decisions.

One of her first decisions was to begin hormone replacement therapy. Continue reading “Minnesota Mom is Just… Terrible. Really Awful.”

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”

A closer look at trajectories of childhood social gender transitions

I’ve previously covered certain popular misuses of figures on the proportion of gender-dysphoric children whose dysphoria desists or persists into adolescence following the onset of puberty. While the figure, commonly repeated as an 80% rate of desistance, is actually subject to a wide variety of estimates and may be much lower, of greater concern to me is how this statistic is often misinterpreted and misapplied.

Even granting an 80% desistance rate as accurate for the sake of argument, this figure is frequently used to assert something else entirely. Under the assumption that gender-dysphoric children are an essentially homogeneous group, many who oppose gender-affirmative approaches for trans children and adolescents will use this figure to suggest that any given individual trans child can safely be assumed to have overwhelming odds of their dysphoria desisting before or at the onset of puberty, meaning that affirmation of their cross-gender identity will likely be inappropriate over the longer term. Continue reading “A closer look at trajectories of childhood social gender transitions”

Boston Children’s Hospital establishes a framework for gender-affirming surgeries on minors

Throughout the past decade, there’s been no shortage of popular alarmism surrounding the spectre of “children being given sex changes” – a misconception borne of either incidental or deliberately cultivated ignorance about what transition entails at various ages, suggesting the image of five-year-olds being given irreversible surgeries. In response to this, trans people and allies point out for the thousandth time that young transgender children undergo social transitions consisting of nothing more than changes of names, attire, and presentation, only those adolescents whose gender dysphoria persists past the onset of puberty are given puberty blockers that pause development without producing any permanent changes, and only legal adults aged 18 or older are able to access any irreversible gender-affirming surgeries such as vaginoplasty or chest surgery.

And this reply is largely accurate – just not entirely. Continue reading “Boston Children’s Hospital establishes a framework for gender-affirming surgeries on minors”