By Heather McNamara
Since the dawn of pride parades, homophobes have been demanding to know “why isn’t there a STRAIGHT pride parade, huh?” Many patient queers have articulated far better answers to that question than I ever could. Personally, I prefer just to respond with “Fuck off.” At least as far as I have always been concerned, it isn’t important how we respond anyway. The question has always been a mixture of an empty threat and a poorly laid trap intended to make some kind of point about how they, too, experience discrimination from queer people and we should all just “be equal” (read: shut up and get back in the closet so they would no longer have to acknowledge our presence). And for a long time anyway, it was an empty threat. At least until John Hugo, Mark Sahady, and Chris Bartley set out this past June to make all of our nightmares come true. Continue reading “So they finally got their straight pride parade”
I’ve previously criticized Lisa Littman’s study of the alleged condition of “rapid onset gender dysphoria” – since corrected as “perceived to show signs of a rapid onset of gender dysphoria” – on the grounds that its methodology, solely relying on the reports of parents about their children’s history of gender identity expression, will by design entirely fail to capture the developmental processes that trans people experience prior to expressing their gender externally in a way that would be perceived by others. The suggestion that their transgender identity should be regarded with suspicion as a mere passing phase or transient interest rather than a genuine expression of gender dysphoria, and that any kind of affirmation of their “newly” expressed gender is therefore likely to be premature or inappropriate, may thus be unwarranted. The study’s corrected title much more accurately describes the limits of this methodology: parents may indeed perceive that their child’s transness has simply appeared rapidly. But this is just an incomplete picture – it does not account for trans people’s experiences of gender dysphoria before coming out, and this limitation does not therefore mean that these experiences never took place. It is a study of parents’ secondhand perceptions, not trans people’s firsthand realities, and asserting that there must have been an actual “rapid onset” of gender dysphoria based solely on the former is a mistake.
A recent study in Transgender Health provides further information on those unseen developmental processes of gender identity in trans people, and it does so via the appropriate method: by asking trans people themselves. Continue reading “New study on trans women’s developmental milestones: Self-awareness precedes disclosure by several years”
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”
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”
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”