Anything but trans

Given that trans-antagonism still possesses enough social capital to be routinely published in mainstream media outlets, we ought to consider its influence on those questioning their gender identity. There is an entire sub-genre within the topic of “questioning” prompted by notably not-trans people that I’m calling the “anything but trans” narratives.

Questioning your gender? Take a shot of Pimozide. Results supporting this idea may be based on a single case study and not an actual sample, but anything to not be trans, right? (This is entering not even wrong territory–the WPATH recommends psychosis be “managed” before transitioning but no longer considers it an automatic exclusion from gender dysphoria).

Questioning your gender? Hey, this anonymous Tumblr survey circulated by TERFs says 20% of “detransitioners” actually had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder instead, they just fixated on gender. What a relief you’re not trans!

Questioning your gender? Hey, this “expert” says autistic people are disproportionately represented among gender dysphoric youth. You’re “just autistic,” and not trans. Whew!

Just Autism. Just OCD. Just a perception disorder. Just mommy issues. Just a sexual fetish. Just a phase. Just personal preference. Just PTSD. Just just just. On and on it goes, a never-ending refusal to actually listen to trans people in a desperate bid to find a cis explanation for a not-cis phenomenon.

Great page space is dedicated to the possibility of a misdiagnosis in the sense that a cis person is “mistakenly” named trans, but absolutely none of these “anything but trans” articles stops to consider the price of a trans person accepting a faulty or incomplete explanation of themselves. The very same arguments about misdiagnosis apply here, too–certainly many trans folk who were denied transition as youth have had experiences of otherwise well meaning caregivers insisting against all evidence that it was something else: Depression, anxiety, self-esteem. Issues that we are forced to live with, whose stranglehold around our necks will never relieve–indeed, tighten, if the anything-but-trans-ers have their way–until we acknowledge the actual root cause.

We already know what it looks like to deny a gender dysphoric person their needed options. We also know how often “regret” actually occurs, and that the most commonly cited reason is not mistaken identity but of the way society reacts to gender variance. It’s as though all the aggressive moralizing in Catholicism bludgeoning gays with “chastity” is suddenly fresh and trendy when it’s reinvented for trans-antagonism: We’re expected to pretend that the tremendous pressure to not be trans doesn’t exist, even as these articles actively increase that pressure by accepting the premise that we can and should scramble to find any alternative explanation.

And the worst part? It’s all for fucking nothing. There’s no threat to cis kids. The professionals who railroaded their patients have finally been discredited after decades of pain, and the people who updated their methods are producing splendid results. They know the difference between a kid who is dissatisfied with gender roles and a kid suffering from their experience of their sexed attributes. All these articles do is inject unnecessary white noise, completely ignoring the actual evidence produced from the actual WPATH practitioners.

The only cogent position is to increase access to trained professionals, not limit it, as is often implied (or even outright argued) in the “anything but trans” articles.

You can be unsure. That’s fine. But find a WPATH professional and get your guidance from them, rather than anonymous Tumblr charlatans. They’re already trained to consider the range of possibilities and as long as they’re following their own ethics, you’d still get referrals to help you manage the rest even if you conclude you are not trans.



  1. Allison says

    On a support website, we get a lot of people registering to ask if they’re “really trans.”

    What I always say is that “trans”, “gender non-conforming”, “non-binary”, “genderqueer”, etc., are simply ways of looking at yourself. The point isn’t to fit someone’s definition or even to “cure” yourself of whatever the heck you think it is. It’s to become yourself.

    If thinking of yourself as trans and trying on other people’s stories of being trans and transitioning — or not — to see what fits and feels comfortable helps you, then go for it! And if it seems to fit now and doesn’t fit so well later, then when it no longer fits, you put “trans” into the give-to-Goodwill bag and try something else. (Cf.: the many people who transition and feel that they are no longer trans. “I transitioned to female, and now I’m not trans, I’m just a woman.”)

    Really, only you can say whether you “are really trans” or not.

    Your task (which an enlightened professional can help you with) is to learn to listen to your innermost self and to discard the brainwashing and fearmongering from the outside world, the better to find out who and what you really are. Note that this is something that randos on Tumblr or 4chan can’t help you with.