A shared frame of reference should be a necessity

I exchanged a rather grating series of messages on one of my private Facebook groups about transition regret. With such a politically loaded trope I said early on in the conversation that we should pick a specific story–bearing in mind it would be anecdotal unless it was accompanied by data–so that we have a shared frame of reference.

They said they would refuse to divulge the personal disclosures from their friends. I never actually asked for those, nor would I. I literally said pick a story. Pick just one. Her response was to flippantly tell me to Google it.

That badly missed the point. We need a shared point of reference because otherwise we’ll keep trading in hypotheticals and get nowhere. I’m well aware that stories of transition regret exist and I’m also aware that of the minority who regret their transition that the cited reason is most often poor surgical outcome and not a mistake about their identity. But that particular observation lacks political traction and doesn’t propagate as quickly as “TEH TRANS ARR RECROOTING TEH CHILDREN!”

I’ll go–but what about the fantastic mental health outcomes of youth who are supported in their transition?

They’ll go–but what about those who regret it?

And nothing will be actually achieved, because without specifics we can’t identify whether there was a failure in the service provided or if the service provider was competent or if the actual cause of their regret is discrimination or surgical outcome rather than having made a mistake about their identity and on and on and on it goes.

This is one reason–there are many–but one reason why I moderate my comments extensively. You could say the guiding principle is “stay on target.” People making references to “those damned children!” without actually providing some kind of shared frame of reference by which we can participate are usually filtered precisely because the sort of circle jerking that ensues annoys me deeply.

It reminds me of one of the most important lessons I learned in my time at university. Open-ended questions were often posed in essay projects and the only way a student can stop floundering in such prospects is to select a reference to which the professor (or more likely the professor’s teaching assistant) can compare your argument. Students who neglected to pick a specific topic found themselves failing because their essay ended up being a bunch of fluff.

Needless to say, a chorus of insults followed when I bowed out of the conversation by saying that without a shared frame of reference, I would not participate. I was accused of trying to cover up the “dark side” of transition.

Patently ridiculous considering my job is doing exactly that.

Was providing that link so difficult?

-Shiv

 

Signal boosting: “you’re asking me to entertain an implausible claim with zero evidence”

Blaire White is an internet dumpster fire of transphobia, who has the dubious distinction of being the anti-trans lobbyists’ token trans woman. I will never fully wrap my head around why anyone would apologize for the systems that abused them, but that is precisely what White does: Identify a system that harms trans people, and tell her fans (who range from neo-Nazis to more commonly trans suspicious people looking for confirmation of their prejudice) that the damage is justifiable, regardless of whether or not she had the good fortune to avoid it.

A few months ago a reader sent me a link to one of her anti-trans videos and I never quite recovered from the migraine ensuing. Thankfully, Zinnia Jones was already on the case, disputing many of White’s misconceptions about transitioning protocols for transgender children and teenagers.

But, you know with internet dumpster fires, every so often someone likes the smell, and they decide to throw more fuel into the dumpster. Same reader, another link, this one more recent, another migraine, more swear words, and a brief existential crisis wondering if accurate information will ever out-perform the white noise continuously injected into trans health and rights discourse.

As ever, Zinnia Jones can be trusted to fact check specious claims when the topic is gender variance. Jones responds to the criticisms of National Geographic, who recently featured a young trans girl on the cover of a recent issue. As it turns out, Blaire White, not phased in the slightest in her running for brightest and smelliest dumpster fire, is advocating for the cyber-harassment the trans girl’s parents are receiving.

Jones writes:

If you’ll only read just enough to find something marginally compatible with what you already wanted to believe, if you can’t work up the effort to inform yourself in the slightest degree, but you’re still so passionate about this that you’ll accuse someone of “child abuse” on the basis of absolutely nothing, you have a problem. Yet you’re asking me to entertain an implausible claim with zero evidence, which also happens to have an impossible timeline?

The deceptive cry of “Somebody think of the children!” is one of the oldest weapons of prejudice, wielded against same-sex parents, parents in interracial marriages, and now, parents of trans kids. These baseless allegations of abuse pose a real threat. Groups like Trans Youth Family Allies advise parents to keep what’s called a “safe folder”: a file of medical records and statements from doctors, counselors, school faculty, and others, to ensure that the family will be protected in the event of false accusations.

This is a particularly insidious tactic, because it cloaks itself in feigned concern for children while actually calling for the mistreatment of those same children. A study published in Pediatrics in 2016 found that socially transitioned trans kids aged 3 to 12 who were supported by their families had low levels of depression and anxiety, comparable to their cisgender peers. For trans children, family support for their transition is healthy and good for them. Conversely, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that respondents who were rejected by their families were more likely to have attempted suicide and more likely to have experienced homelessness. Another study also found that family rejection was associated with higher rates of substance abuse.

Allowing trans kids to live as their gender is the better choice for their healthy development, and denying their gender is known to be worse for them.

Yeah. Trying real hard not to get depressed that other trans people are helping transphobes spin outright fabrications in their quest to derail, derail, derail.

Jones tracks the timeline of the NatGeo family, debunks several claims advanced by White, makes a few cases as to how the reasoning itself is flawed even if the premises were accurate (they aren’t), and also provides a number of helpful links investigating the health and wellbeing of trans youth.

Read more here.

-Shiv