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And I’m not going to miss it

It looks like Anderson Cooper’s talk show is being canceled. And I’m happy to hear it. On one occasion, Cooper used his new platform to publicize the claims of a trans woman who’s suing drug manufacturer Merck because she believes their hair loss medication made her trans, citing unnamed and likely nonexistent “thousands” of men who have allegedly experienced the same thing. This kind of sensationalism can ultimately be more harmful to us than the Jerry Springer “my girlfriend is really a man!” style of overt transphobia. In this case, it served to promote absurd, unproven, and completely impossible ideas about what it means to be transgender, by seeking to tie it to a pathological origin.

The drug in question, finasteride, reduces male-pattern baldness by blocking the action of testosterone. This is why it’s also sometimes used in hormone replacement therapy for trans women – women who could potentially lose their access to this medication if a ridiculous lawsuit like this were to succeed. The reduction of testosterone in cisgender men does not turn them into transgender women. Indeed, cis men who suffer from low testosterone often experience something similar to the dysphoria that can occur in trans people who are missing the hormones specific to their gender identity. Likewise, their symptoms can be relieved by replacement of those hormones. Trans men without testosterone don’t just become women for lack of male hormones. Neither do cis men. Gender identity simply doesn’t work like that – hormone deficiencies can result in or amplify dysphoria, but they don’t cause people to flip genders. And the relief of dysphoria that comes from transitioning isn’t typically accompanied by trying to sue the pants off the people who supposedly cursed you with this terrible fate.

Anderson Cooper willingly allowed this woman to spread bizarre misconceptions about being trans to the wider public. It’s a relief to see that the show’s ratings now reflect how empty-headed its content was. Good riddance.

Comments

  1. says

    Misinformation can be confused with bigotry, bigotry can be supported by misinformation, and misinformation can lead to bigotry supported by selectively edited misinformation.

    But ratings beats it all out. Sensationalism without fact checking is, in effect, advertising. Using the veil of legitimacy to promote pseudo-science which hurts people makes me sick!

  2. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Grownups (old enough for male pattern baldness, apparently) switching gender identities due to some hormonal influence? Do they suppose we are all just huge talking fetuses or something?

  3. Jess says

    Just a quick point, finasteride does NOT block testosterone it stops testosterone being converted into dihydrotestosterone or DHT for short, DHT is a more potent androgen then normal testosterone. Finasteride will not stop testosterone in anyway, just the male pattern baldness inducing DHT.

  4. brenda says

    You are yet again projecting your own transphobic anxieties into a situation where it does not exist.

    Anderson Cooper put her on his RidicuList because she filed a ridiculous lawsuit and was being a buffoon not because he wanted to spread false conceptions about trans women.

    So it’s a good sign because when you treat someone as an equal that means you get the bad along with the good. Women have been on his RidiculList but that doesn’t mean Anderson is trying to marginalize women.

    If you are considered part of the larger community then when someone in the trans community does something stupid they’ll get criticized for it.

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