I don’t understand 2019, and that’s OK


If you’d told me in my youth that someone named hbomberguy would raise over $340,000 for a trans charity called Mermaids by playing Donkey Kong online, I would have said that I’ve heard of Donkey Kong, but could you repeat the rest slowly and explain what each of the words mean, and could you possibly tell me how it all works? Donkey Kong is that big box in the arcade that you push quarters into.

If you then told me that major political figures (like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) were dropping in to talk to hbomberguy about the cause…well hang on a moment, this is getting silly.

Then to learn that what motivated this whole episode was that an Irish television writer had become obsessive about denying trans people rights, that’s just too much, I’m going to have to go lie down for a bit.

Sometimes it’s nice how the future turns out to be nothing like what you expected. Although sometimes it’s not so nice. This is one I’m happy to have seen.

By the way, I have met Graham Linehan. He was at a talk I gave in Dublin, and joined the bar crowd afterwards. He seemed nice, but didn’t say much — maybe he hated the talk. I would never have expected him to become such a flaming asshat over trans rights.

By the way, the stream is still ongoing and still accepting donations, although that lazy hbomberguy has taken a break to sleep. And I hope, shower.

Comments

  1. specialffrog says

    How much of Linehan’s attitude is caused by people criticizing that IT Crowd episode with a “trans panic” plot?

  2. Sophie Jane says

    @specialffrog

    The fact that he wrote a “trans panic” episode in the first place gives us one possible answer.

  3. says

    There’s shades of the whole OB business all over again because Linehan and his wife spoke out very movingly and forthrightly (content warning on the video on that page as it’s quite upsetting) during the whole campaign to get the Constitutional ban on abortion repealed here in Ireland last year; for him to go full TERF was a real “ah, fuck” moment. Maybe people were too quick to give him a pass on that “trans panic” episode by saying, “ah, sure, it was 2008, we’re all more woke now” ☹️

  4. Mark Dowd says

    Games Done Quick has been streaming video game speed runs for charity donations for years now, twice per year even. The winter event (AGDQ 2019) just finished a couple weeks ago, you can find the videos on YouTube. GDQ is the biggest, but there are many other smaller events that follow the same format.

    The general format is to have “donation incentives” that people vote on with their donation money, and whichever choice gets the most money is the one that’s used. A common incentive is choosing the name for player character and other kinds of customizable things like that. There are also comments included with donations, which can be read out on stream.

  5. Muz says

    This reveal of Linehan’s views surprised me too. He’s definitely not conservative as far as I could tell. This whole anti-trans thing has some really strange bedfellowes. And none of this unity is possible it seems without buying into, on some level, the notion that trans activism and trans-ness itself is some decaying force of relativism that’s out to destroy all human existence/bring about some sort of inhuman socialism.

    Just how prevalent this is and how much regular uninvolved people from all over the place have very strong opinions on it (people who are usually suspicious of moral panics and conspiracy theories) is really kind of scary. It’s a dangerous comparison but sometimes wonder if this is the unnerving sense some people would have got at the start of the Jew panic in the 1930s. Then again I’m not old enough to remember the gay panic in the same way and that has gone better. (it’d be better if we didn’t need to ‘panic’ at all, obviously. But here we are)

  6. Zeppelin says

    Yeah, the “trans panic” episode really confused me at the time.
    I remember thinking there must be some level of the joke I was missing, because the surface reading seemed offensive and outdated even in 2010 or whenever I watched it. I was also confused because the episode made no acknowledgment of the, to me, obvious tragedy of two people who seemed perfect for each other breaking up because one of them can’t get over his prejudices. Turns out it really was just unfunny and bigoted.

  7. canofmelons says

    Hbomberguy also has a pretty good YouTube channel, which alternates between talking about media (namely video games), leftist ideas/critiques, and the intersection of the two.

    Fair warning though, his humor can get pretty absurd (I personally enjoy this, but it’s definitely a bit out there at times).

  8. andyo says

    Another one that might surprise you is Robert Webb (of Mitchell & Webb fame). He’s somewhat outspoken on Twitter about being “concerned” about the kids, and I knew about Mermaids before this stream happened because I follow him and was disappointed to read his tweets about it. He seems more open-minded than most though, and engages in what seems good faith with randoms that reply to him (many disappointed fans), but his sources seem to be sketchy, though I don’t know much about public figures in the UK.

  9. says

    By the way, I have met Graham Linehan. He was at a talk I gave in Dublin, and joined the bar crowd afterwards. He seemed nice, but didn’t say much — maybe he hated the talk. I would never have expected him to become such a flaming asshat over trans rights.

    That’s because you’re not a woman in desperate need of a cis guy to explain feminism and being female to her. Though usually he simply pretends that us cis women calling him out don’t exist, only the transphobic loudmouths.

  10. Acolyte of Sagan says

    If you’d have told me in my youth that a professor of biology would be supportive of a charity giving hormone blocking drugs that were developed for use in cases of extreme precocious puberty to pre-teens in order to block puberty at the usual age, an age group that the drugs have not been properly and systematically tested on, and on which the drugs can have very negative effects including retarding brain development at a time when the brain is going through a vital developmental stage, and further a drug that has been shown to actually reinforce the feelings of being another gender in a very high percentage of the cases studied (over 90% went on to cross-sex hormone therapy), whereas cases where the drug wasn’t issued have shown a very high percentage (73-88% of the kids go through puberty and become reconciled with their actual gender once into early adulthood; well, I’d have been absolutely horrified.
    Good job that hasn’t happened, eh?
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2018-314992 The paper is free.
    A copy of a letter to the journal regarding that paper
    https://t.co/JFisZfc5r6
    Remember Thalidomide? That wasn’t properly tested on pregnant women with morning sickness but was widely prescribed. Didn’t work out too well.

  11. kome says

    Twitch streamers and audiences are incredibly generous. Games Done Quick is charity event that puts on two annual streaming charity events raising millions of dollars for Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation; RPG Limit Break puts on an annual charity stream raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for National Alliance on Mental Illness. And they’ve been doing so for years. Tons of other smaller scale charity events, too. I love being a part of those communities and contributing, in some small way, to something much bigger and with more impact and influence that I myself could ever have.

    And good on hbomberguy for stepping up to the plate the way he did. His action, though silly on one level, is making the world a much better place for lots of people and I’m glad it’s getting the kind of widespread positive attention that it is.

  12. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Really. The paper’s there and free to view, the letter is from medical doctors sharing their concern.
    TL:DR, It’s concerning.

  13. chigau (違う) says

    My “Really?” comment originally appeared directly after your comment about moderation.

  14. says

    You’re horrified at a paper that advocates for rigorous assessment and long-term vetting of patients with gender dysphoria, and you think it’s refuted by a tweet from the contemptible Andy Lewis, citing a short letter that lists hypothetical objections to the treatment? OK.

    You use the strange phrase, “actual gender”. What does that mean? It sounds like you have a preconception about what gender the people described in the paper ought to have.

  15. says

    Acolyte of Sagan (sic) @ 12:

    If you’d have told me in my youth that a professor of biology would be supportive of a charity giving hormone blocking drugs … (128 words of egregious run-on horseshit elided) … well, I’d have been absolutely horrified.

    Fainting couch! Fainting couch to aisle 3!

    Spare us the histrionics. For the last time: Mermaids is a support group for trans children and their families. They do not and cannot prescribe drugs. When are you disingenuous toe-rags going to stop lying about this?!

  16. says

    Also, if you’re wondering why your comment was held up, it’s because “retard” is on my blacklist that gets comments held for review.

  17. ck, the Irate Lump says

    I tuned into his stream when it started, and I expected it to raise maybe a few thousand dollars. His initial goal of $500 was demolished before he even finished setting up for the stream. Every new goal he set, expecting to never reach it, was blown through. He’s promised to do something like this again, better organized this time.

    Worth mentioning is that hbomberguy tried hard to have a rotating cast of trans voices on his stream to help promote them. A few smaller crowdfunding campaigns were promoted on stream and often saw significant donations. All in all, it seemed like a pretty positive experience.

    Acolyte of Sagan wrote:

    If you’d have told me in my youth that a professor of biology would be supportive of a charity giving hormone blocking drugs […] to pre-teens in order to block puberty at the usual age

    For fuck sakes, stop spreading propaganda. Mermaids does not distribute drugs. They are only a support organization.

  18. says

    Acolyte of Sagan

    and further a drug that has been shown to actually reinforce the feelings of being another gender in a very high percentage of the cases studied (over 90% went on to cross-sex hormone therapy), whereas cases where the drug wasn’t issued have shown a very high percentage (73-88% of the kids go through puberty and become reconciled with their actual gender once into early adulthood; well, I’d have been absolutely horrified.

    Now, over in the “Deep disappointment” thread I got chastised by Holms for calling him “dishonest” since I could not know his state of mind. This is, of course, absolutely correct and I must apologise for not giving the alternative of “bloody stupid” enough consideration.
    I will therefore not make any claims as to whether you are dishonestly misrepresenting the study or just too bloody stupid to understand it.
    Here’s what that study actually says, emphasis by me.

    According to the WPATH and the recently updated Endocrine Society guidelines, GnRHa may be offered once an adolescent has demonstrated the first signs of physical puberty (Tanner stage 2 in either sex).4 5 This internationally endorsed approach stems from the fact that between 73% and 88% of children attending gender identity clinics who present prepubertally, whether they have socially transitioned or not, are likely not to continue with their intention of changing their gender once puberty has started.17 Some may ‘desist’ completely, with their initially perceived dysphoric feelings pointing towards developing homosexuality, while others may wish to pursue an expression of their gender identity which does not require medical intervention.

    GnRHa is prescribed in standard doses for a minimum of a year before additional medical interventions can be considered. This is to allow further psychotherapeutic assessment to take place once the anxiety and distress related to the progression in puberty and processes such as menstruation, erections and nocturnal emissions are reduced or stopped. All young people are counselled that GnRHa cannot be considered as a contraceptive, and that additional anticonceptive methods should be used.

    You do understand what that means, right? Basically the opposite of what you’re claiming.
    Of the prepubescent children, the overwhelming majority does not seek medical intervention (so much for the claim that children are rushed into medical treatment, but somehow this apparent contradiction in those claims never even raise an eyebrow). The remaining 12 to 27% are offered puberty blockers once they have started puberty. You are aware what “Tanner stage 2” means, right? It refers to children who have started puberty.
    It’s goal is to relieve stress and dysphoria caused by natal puberty and to allow the kids to consider their options.
    I could quote all the long paragraphs about counselling in the paper, but you’re right, it’s just a click away.

    Remember Thalidomide? That wasn’t properly tested on pregnant women with morning sickness but was widely prescribed. Didn’t work out too well.

    Nonsensical fearmongering noted.I don’t think any of the kids have sprouted an additional head so far and I’m pretty sure the puberty blockers aren’t recommended once you’re pregnant. Apart from the fact that “delaying puberty” is exactly what those drugs were developed and tested for…
    But tell me, just today I learned about a new medication for ADHD kids. It’s actually a blood pressure medication and was tested and licensed as such. By chance they discovered that it also has very positive effects in ADHD kids with much smaller risk than ritalin based drugs. Should we insist that this is not given to kids either?

  19. says

    …and further a drug that has been shown to actually reinforce the feelings of being another gender in a very high percentage of the cases studied (over 90% went on to cross-sex hormone therapy), whereas cases where the drug wasn’t issued have shown a very high percentage (73-88% of the kids go through puberty and become reconciled with their actual gender once into early adulthood…

    Or, and bear with me here, there are trans kids getting the help they need and are happy with the results, and there are trans kids who aren’t getting the help they need and go on to try to find ways to exist in bodies that they will never be happy enough with?

  20. Rich Woods says

    @Acolyte of Sagan #12:

    Remember Thalidomide? That wasn’t properly tested on pregnant women with morning sickness but was widely prescribed.

    It was properly tested according to what was known at the time. What changed after approval was the process used to produce it at scale, which resulted in a greater percentage of the drug being a left-handed isomer rather than right-handed (or the other way round; I forget) than in the laboratory production process used to create enough thalidomide for the trials. This created an elevated risk for a percentage of women with a particular gene, resulting in birth defects in some children. Because none of this was known (or even suspected) before the trials took place, those trials didn’t have sufficient statistical power to detect whether or not the rate of birth defects was higher than normal.

    By using thalidomide as an example, you effectively claim that since we can’t know anything with certainty we should never do anything. What do you think your hero Sagan would have thought of that?

  21. Acolyte of Sagan says

    You’re horrified at a paper that advocates for rigorous assessment and long-term vetting of patients with gender dysphoria,…

    No, I’m horrified at puberty blockers being used, as the paper’s author admits, in the context of profound scientific ignorance, especially so given the potential long-term effects on brain development along with the further potential for lifelong health, psychological and emotional issues and more so because the blockers are being used ‘off-label’ for patients on which the blockers have not been trialled.

    …and you think it’s refuted by a tweet from the contemptible Andy Lewis,

    Again, no. I think the use of such blockers has been called into question by the authors of the letter, namely Christopher Richards, Department of Paediatrics, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Uk;
    Julie Maxwell, Child Health Sevices, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Winchester, UK;
    Noel McCune, Retired. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Portadown, Northern Ireland, UK.
    People with the education, training, and experience to know what they’re talking about. I’ll take their word over anybody here unless they (the people here) can demonstrate the same level of expertise in the field.

  22. Onamission5 says

    Even if Mermaids was able to prescribe hormone therapy to young people who need it, which they aren’t, I don’t see the problem. Surely, @Acolyte of Sagan, you aren’t suggesting that people in need of prescribed medication as determined by consultation with their doctors should be forced to go without just because the idea of them receiving treatment offends your delicate sensibilities? Nay, surely a practiced, learned skeptic such as yourself wouldn’t find themselves caught up in the belief that their own predetermined bias should overrule the consensus– based upon decades of research– between a patient and their doctors. Why, that’s unpossible!

    You do realize the stats you posted can also read that for 90% of pre teens who received puberty delaying hormone therapy, it was absolutely the proper treatment, but that as many as three quarters of those who don’t receive such treatment end up being in the closet their whole lives. You consider this a success, apparently. I also note that the 90% stat came from the paper itself, a paper corroborated by twenty four sources, and the 73-80% stat came from a letter posted on twitter by someone with an anti-trans agenda that has a whopping three* signers-on, but you couldn’t possibly be trying to equate the two, could you.

    It would probably behoove you to take everything we already know about closets and orientation and try to apply it to closets and gender identity.

    *Article on first signer, who apparently runs the anti-abortion charity Lovewise, because of course he does: http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastle-based-charity-lovewise-accused-bigotry-4406946
    The other signers-on are both, as far as I can tell from their FB and Twitter, also anti-choice Christians. Looks like you’re promoting conservative christian propaganda as regards trans kids, AoC.

  23. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Rich Woods, all you’ve said is what I’ve said; Thalidomide was not trialled sufficiently.

    By using thalidomide as an example, you effectively claim that since we can’t know anything with certainty we should never do anything.

    For fuck’s sake what is it with you lot twisting the words of those who disagree with you? I am not claiming any such thing, merely stating that a drug should not be used without sufficient trials taking place, and those blockers have not been tested on children of normal puberty age, only on the very young who experience extreme precocious puberty. There are valid concerns about the new use of the blockers and those concerns need to be addressed before the blockers are made available for use by the new age group. That’s all. Not ‘don’t ever do it’, merely apply the same stringent standards that all new treatments have to meet.

  24. says

    A lot of the power of the success from that stream stemmed from the fact that it WASN’T a well organized effort. I love Awesome Games Done Quick, but Harris stream was something different.

    He normally streams before a few hundred people. He expected to stream just before as many people and maybe raise a few thousand dollars. This massive success was based on mouth-to-mouth propaganda, on left tube (aka bread tube aka good tube) coming together and promote the hell out of this stream and mostly on the tireless work of the people in the back ground getting cool, exciting guests. Jim Sterling, Chelsea Manning and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez where my favorite, but there were so many.

    Getting all these people together in the name of trans rights to watch a silly stream about a silly game for 57 hours and donate way over 340.000 $ shows not only the organizing power of the left, something that was painfully needed, but also that trans people have allies, even if that sometimes is hard to see.

    I will leave this video here, which made me tear up multiple times already and symbolizes the good that came out of this stream. https://youtu.be/DA2pviovbN4

    (Offtopic: I learned of HBomberguy through this blog here, when PZ posted a video of him. I still credit this post with my radicalization to the left. Now the circle is closed.)

  25. says

    Richards, Maxwell, and McCune hold a minority view. You complain that nobody here has the expertise to match them; but then you’ve got to recognize that all those other experts in the field reject the opinions of the 3 you want to believe.

  26. anat says

    And since we are exchanging papers, please note Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities. by Kristina R. Olson, PhD,corresponding author Lily Durwood, BA, Madeleine DeMeules, BA, and Katie A. McLaughlin, PhD, published in Pediatrics. 2016 Mar; 137(3): e20153223.
    doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-3223. Also see Author Response to McKean, Vande Voort, and Croarkin (2016).

    CONCLUSIONS:

    Socially transitioned transgender children who are supported in their gender identity have developmentally normative levels of depression and only minimal elevations in anxiety, suggesting that psychopathology is not inevitable within this group. Especially striking is the comparison with reports of children with GID; socially transitioned transgender children have notably lower rates of internalizing psychopathology than previously reported among children with GID living as their natal sex.

    Looks obvious to me – if your young child expresses a gender identity that is not congruent with the gender assigned to them at birth, whatever else you do, support them in their gender identity. Do whatever explorations you think are appropriate, but don’t insist on forcing your kid into the assigned gender against the child’s preference.

    Once they start puberty the time comes to evaluate whether puberty blockers are appropriate. (Blockers are a good idea for someone who will eventually be taking cross-hormones. For instance the dose of testosterone needed to suppress menstruation is such that would result in going through male puberty way too fast and too soon. So better delay puberty and then gradually add testosterone in a way that induces puberty on a schedule that is similar enough to that of cisgender male adolescents.)

  27. says

    Acolyte of Sagan @ 27:

    You posted claiming a support group was handing out hormones indiscriminately to children and you’re complaining that people are “twisting” your words?! You pestilent shitgoblin! You could line a blast furnace with your neck! 😂

  28. gijoel says

    That’s a damn shame. I really liked Father Ted and I.T Crowd.

    For fuck’s sake what is it with you lot twisting the words of those who disagree with you?

    What is it with your pearl clutching and ‘think of the children’ fear mongering. What made you think that you would get a receptive audience here? What made you think that referring to only one article (which doesn’t appear to say what you claim) would win over a crowd of progressive skeptics?

  29. Muz says

    @ Turi1337

    I learned of HBomberguy through this blog here, when PZ posted a video of him. I still credit this post with my radicalization to the left. Now the circle is closed.

    Hail Sobek!

  30. chrislawson says

    Hey, Acolyte of Sagan — the original Carl Sagan was not perfect, but he would never have misrepresented the scientific literature and played the fallacy from authority while simultaneously ignoring 99% of authority opinions just so he could perpetuate the suffering of a gender minority. You ought to change your name. Acolyte of Pence would be a better fit.

  31. says

    gijoel @ 33:

    What made you think that referring to only one article (which doesn’t appear to say what you claim) would win over a crowd of progressive skeptics?

    (Emphasis mine)

    This seems to be standard operating procedure with your average drive-by JAQ-off/ concern-troll-about-town nowadays: they know anything they say is going to be met with “citation oh-so-dearly needed, sunshine” so they stop at Google Scholar on their way, poke a few likely-sounding keywords in, and grab the first paper whose title that sounds like it might back them up. Read it? Where we’re going, we don’t have time for reading! If they’re feeling frisky, they might read the abstract first! Most of the time however they don’t which means when you look at the the abstract yourself, or the conclusions, or the paper in its entirety, you’ll find the either the effect they’re claiming is not as strong as they say, or the paper found the exact opposite of what the poster claimed. It’s cargo-cult argumentation: “look at me! I’ve got citations! I’m doing the grown-up arguments!” 🙄

  32. chrislawson says

    Zeppelin@7– that episode of the IT Crowd does end with Reynholm dissolving in tears because “it’s not the same” without her but he still can’t overcome his own prejudice. I used to think this made the episode clumsy and traded on lazy stereotypin, but at least the joke was punching up at Reynholm’s transphobia. I now see that this was not Linehan’s thinking and he deserved no generosity of interpretation.

    Sadly, the other half of that episode is one of the great IT Crowd storylines (Roy and Moss convince management that the Internet lives in a metal box in Big Ben and catastrophe ensues). That story is now poisoned for me.

  33. chrislawson says

    Cat Mara@37–

    Yep, it’s a variation of the Gish Gallop whereby people arguing in bad faith pretend to have citations to back up their arguments knowing full well that it takes time to check references, and they can move on to the next fallacy before the first one is demolished.

  34. anat says

    Oh, and BTW the paper AoS linked to quotes the following: Psychological Support, Puberty Suppression, and Psychosocial Functioning in Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria.. The full paper is not available, but the abstract reports:

    RESULTS:

    At baseline, GD adolescents showed poor functioning with a CGAS mean score of 57.7 ± 12.3. GD adolescents’ global functioning improved significantly after 6 months of psychological support (CGAS mean score: 60.7 ± 12.5; P < 0.001). Moreover, GD adolescents receiving also puberty suppression had significantly better psychosocial functioning after 12 months of GnRHa (67.4 ± 13.9) compared with when they had received only psychological support (60.9 ± 12.2, P = 0.001).
    CONCLUSION:

    Psychological support and puberty suppression were both associated with an improved global psychosocial functioning in GD adolescents. Both these interventions may be considered effective in the clinical management of psychosocial functioning difficulties in GD adolescents.

  35. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Turi1337 wrote:

    This massive success was based on mouth-to-mouth propaganda, on left tube (aka bread tube aka good tube) coming together and promote the hell out of this stream and mostly on the tireless work of the people in the back ground getting cool, exciting guests.

    Lots of twitter organizing happened too. I get the feeling that the trans community should probably be credited for a lot of the promotion of this, working behind the scenes to get the attention of various big names, including several people who did not appear on stream, but did lend their names to support the cause (Cher apparently tweeted about it, for instance)

    Also, major props to @CaseyExplosion. She seemed to have worked her ass off to support this, and she definitely deserves a ton of credit.

  36. forodrim says

    hbomberguy is one of the “lefttube” Youtubers. I think PZ already posted Videos by Contrapoints. Also part of that group are shaun and ThreeArrows. All those channels are highly recommended.

  37. says

    @42 ck, the Irate Lump

    I would call twitter organizing mouth-to-mouth propaganda these days (the #ThanksGraham hashtag was massive) so we absolutely agree here. You are also right that the trans community carried this with Casey being the prime example. She did the miracles that made the stream something special :)

  38. Ichthyic says

    For fuck’s sake what is it with you lot twisting the words of those who disagree with you?

    hilarious projection is hilarious, mr: “a professor of biology would be supportive of a charity giving hormone blocking drugs ”

    seriously, you misrepresent the paper you cite, do not understand the difference between correlation and causation, and blatantly lie about the very premise you started with in your very first paragraph.

    why PZ even let your bullshit through is a wonder to me, but no doubt you still somehow think you’re being censored.

    it’s pretty clear you actually know nothing and are not worth engaging in any way.

    ta.

  39. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Acolyte of Sagan: The “untested” port of your claim is false.

    Apparently Leuprorelin, the only puberty blocker currently approved for use in the US, was patented in 1973. It was approved for use in humans by the FDA in 1985, want to guess what happened in those 12 years? That’s right, testing.

    It has been in use since, that’s 33 years in case you can’t be assed to do the math. Thirty three years. Your thalidomide analogy is put paid to right there. If there were any dire consequences from taking leuprorelin we’d know about it by now.

    Here are two phrases you are well familiar with:

    -motivated reasoning
    -the perfection fallacy

    You might want to take a hard look at just why the former is causing you to commit the latter.

  40. =8)-DX says

    @ck, the Irate Lump #42

    I get the feeling that the trans community should probably be credited for a lot of the promotion of this

    As someone close to the action (I’ve been modding and watching hbob’s streams for.. well over a year now) that is exactly correct, or maybe a bit of an understatement. This was only possible thanks to the tireless and amazing work of trans activists, not just in refusing to tolerate abuse and transphobia, but also actively participating in and building online communities over the past decade.

    I can draw a direct line from Zinna Jones building support for Chelsea Manning helping her survive incarceration and later thrive, to Chelsea inspiring leftwing anarchist communities leading to twitch/youtube communities surrounding leftists youtubers, one of whom started a small charity stream based on an issue the trans friends in his immediate community were actively pointing out, including CaseyExplosion who then organised the reachout on social media which brought AOC’s attention to Chelsea Manning’s invitation and ended up with Harris asking her where the next golden banana is, her saying “Trans Rights are Human Rights” and Harris making a point about how some things have to be said despite them being “of course” and discussing the need for housing and healthcare, especially along intersections.

    This is the kind of stuff that the progressive side of the “Deep Rifts” is capable of when we listen to marginalised people and join with them to build communities of mutual solidarity and support. But yeah, the various trans/nonbinary/agender intersectional communities not only deserve credit for the promotion of this, but I’d say although they shouldn’t have to do that, (us cis people should be better) it’s something trans people built from the ground up and now I’m tearing up again.
    (mod gang)
    =8)-DX

  41. Marissa van Eck says

    @Acolyte of Sagan:

    Heya! Just your friendly local neighborhood trans-inclusive cis lesbian dropping by to tell you to take your “concerns” and stuff them so far up your ignorant, bigoted ass your great-great grandfathers, all eight of them, choke to un-death :)

    Tell me honestly, did you ever date someone who turned out to be a pre-operative transwoman and get traumatized or something? Where is this “concern” (hah!) of yours coming from?

  42. says

    One thing about being in the future is that it seems like a foreign country to those who were raised in the past. Past knowledge once acquired at great cost has to be relinquished if it is invalidated by newly acquired insights that overturn those old ideas, lest you find yourself continuing to live in the past.

    When discussing medical treatment of transgender children there is frequent recourse to longitudinal surveys of patient outcomes, which for quite obvious reasons, take many years to compile and utilise the cohort of trans people who were treated by particular clinics with which the researchers are associated. There are obvious caveats: older longitudinal surveys not only tend to involve older case studies, but the clinics involved also may have used older treatment methodologies which in some cases included what amounted to conversion therapy (in some countries clinics are still using old treatment protocols or have only very recently ceased using them).

    Some of the statistics from longitudinal surveys also have to be parsed much more carefully, and dare I say it honestly, than commenters like the Acolyte seem to manage: one which is even cited in the WPATH Standards of Care Version 7 included, as part of the percentage of patients that desisted, the group of patients in the longitudinal study who could not be reached for follow-up and therefore whose persistance or desistance was unknown. Another way that statistics are used to drive down the desistance percentage is to include all clients accessing the gender clinic in the denominator, not just the subset of clients who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria in children – and for whom the desistance criterion would you know, have actual relevance.

    Basically, the newest statistics from gender clinics have quite different desistance rates from those even published ten years ago. Why is there such a disparity? I could make a guess but I don’t have more than a handful of anecdata from my own personal experience. You’ll have to wait for the research to be published. The most recent data I can gather from my neighbourhood in Australia is from a 2017 affadavit from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne used in the court case Re: Kelvin [2017] FamCAFC 258 and summarised in the case orders:

    55. The fifth intervenor, the Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service in Victoria is a specialist unit comprising of a team from multiple disciplines including Paediatrics, Psychiatry, Psychology, Endocrinology, Gynaecology, Nursing and Speech Pathology. Since its commencement in 2003, the Gender Service has received 710 patient referrals including 126 between 1 January 2017 and 7 August 2017.

    56. 96 per cent of all patients who were assessed and received a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria by the 5th intervenor from 2003 to 2017 continued to identify as transgender or gender diverse into late adolescence. No patient who had commenced stage 2 treatment had sought to transition back to their birth assigned sex. No longitudinal study is yet available.

    (For reference, stage 2 treatment in the Australian standards of care and treatment guidelines is HRT.)

  43. methuseus says

    @Giliell
    Thank you for pulling the relevant, good info out of that paper that AoS linked. I was undecided on my thoughts about the use of puberty blockers because I had not searched out the info on it. My laziness has been “rewarded” by your explanations. I now understand that, yes, this is a good thing for these kids. It’s not like I was going to do anything about it or even speak out against it without getting more information, but it’s good to come down on the side of what’s best for actual people.

    Now, talking about the IT Crowd, I enjoyed the series as a whole, but there were definitely times that I hated the way things were portrayed. I only vaguely remembered the trans episode referred to above, even after looking up a relevant clip from the show. I’m sure I somewhat blocked it out because of the idiocy of how it’s played out. But, if, as chrislawson says, the other story in that episode was quite good, I don’t remember it at all because of the stupidity of the trans storyline.

    As for the main story in the original post, I applaud the efforts of everyone involved. I would normally say that if it saves even one person’s life it’s worth it, but it seems like many more than one will be saved by these actions. It’s also great to see any politicians speak out about this as it’s been avoided by pretty much all of them for so long. Trans people are here, they will never go away, just like the rest of the LGBTQ (hope I used all the right letters) group that have started to be acknowledged like gays and lesbians. Accept people as they are.

  44. dangerousbeans says

    From memory the ‘80% went back to identifying as their assigned gender’ statistic usually comes from Zucker’s clinic in Toronto which, in addition to the more general problems mentioned by Xanthë above, practised conversion therapy.
    I don’t think there’s been a follow up on what proportion of those 80% went on to transition later (i know some did) or just killed themselves.

  45. Aoife_b says

    Can we not suggest that someone became a transphobe because they dated a trans woman without knowing?

  46. ck, the Irate Lump says

    =8)-DX wrote:

    As someone close to the action (I’ve been modding and watching hbob’s streams for.. well over a year now) that is exactly correct, or maybe a bit of an understatement.

    Thanks for the confirmation. I had the distinct feeling that quite a few of these activists were probably doing significant amounts of the heavy lifting to make this as successful as possible, and want to make sure they get the credit they deserve. CaseyExplosion’s contribution to this was obvious since I don’t think she got much (or maybe any) sleep during the stream and was a constant voice throughout, but figured that there was an army of folks doing similar work, and I don’t want to credit it all to merely lefttube.

    Harris making a point about how some things have to be said despite them being “of course”

    I think he said that in reply to the Chapo folks. Every advertiser and propagandist can tell you that repetition can make a lie seem true, so we shouldn’t be afraid to use this for actual truths. Repeating obviously true things like “Trans rights are human rights” can make them seem more true.

    Also, I liked his point about spite. Perhaps I’d be a better person if I sought out more charitable venues on my own, but I have to admit to donating several times out of spite to counteract terrible people doing horrible things to people who just want to live their lives. Alas, you’ll get more good out of me if you highlight a travesty and also give me an outlet to help remedy it than if you just did one of those two things.

  47. John Morales says

    I think I know to what PZ refers (I’m a little younger than he); older people will know even better.

    Not to invoke social Darwinism, but it’s a case of continuing to adapt or be to left behind.

    (I reckon PZ has more than adapted, despite his ostensible protestation — he groks the zeitgeist)

  48. John Morales says

    davidmc, your first link goes to a site which will not display for me; the second is Maria MacLachlan, transphobe extraordinaire.

    I’ve interacted with her right on this blog, FWTW. It was informative.

    (Her epistemology is weak, and she’s not very cluey, so it’s kinda funny to see you cite her as some sort of authority)

  49. John Morales says

    PS davidmc, I note that your comment evinces precisely the attitude of the laggards to whom I referred in the immediately preceding comment. Such a bewildering new century!

    (You’d do well to get with it, instead of remaining mired in the past, and trying to justify it by listening to know-nothings. Perhaps do some actual medical and psychological research, at worst you’ll be no more ignorant. This is also the age of the internet)

  50. says

    davidmc @ 55:

    …and I’m surprised it gets any support here

    Ooh, first it was Acolyte of Sagan (no, not “Satan”, autocorrect, but thanks…) who was “horrified” and now davidmc who is merely “surprised”– honestly, have you lot anything more interesting in that rhetorical kitbag of yours beyond mealy-mouthed concern trolling? Or linking to posts quoting articles from the Murdoch-run Times like they were worth a tug of a dead dog’s cock? I wouldn’t eat chips wrapped in a copy of The Times lest I catch something from it. (And, FWIW, I don’t much care for the Irish Times either, seeing as how they gave a platform to reactionary crackpot Kevin Myers for years, and still give one to John bloody Waters to throw his MRA and homophobic shite through the bars of his cage when his serial litigation isn’t paying the bills… maybe Glinner fits in over there better than he knows, eh?)

    I’ll tell you what’s horrifying: suicide rates among transgender kids. You can fuck off with your phony “surprise”.

  51. davidmc says

    John, the second was in The Times, by Janice Turner, but that may not be readable as it’s fire walled

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/trans-ideologists-are-spreading-cod-science-m8n0pdbq3.

    I got to respectfully disagree, we are going backwards , if boys cant like “girly” things and vica versa, without being told they may be born in the wrong body. And when anyone can pop on a frock and declare they are a woman and a lesbian, when child murderers can do the same, changing their name to that of their victims mother, when rapists can be transferred to women’s prisons to rape again, that is not progress. when the number of referrals of girl to clinics rises by 4000 percent and when any research or investigation is shouted down as trans phobic, again, not progress. When a shit cyclist can write about the “cotton ceiling” and become a world champion, and lesbians are called transphobes for not sucking “girl dick” “no such thing) its not progress. When women are banned from pubs for a t shirt that says the dictionary definition of a woman , that’s not progress.

  52. lumipuna says

    For all this fearmongering over Mermaids UK, you’d think they’re pushing actual human-merfolk transitioning to kids.

  53. John Morales says

    davidmc, I actually wrote (but deleted) a lengthy fisking. You’re not worthy.

    Suffice it to say, your grasp on reality is weak, and things don’t work the way you imagine they do.

    I got to respectfully disagree, [blah]

    Fuck your respect; what would impress me even slightly is if you got a clue.

    (Yeah, I know. Fat chance)

    Still, can’t resist:

    When women are banned from pubs for a t shirt that says the dictionary definition of a woman , that’s not progress.

    So, exhausting the possibility space, it’s either stasis or regress.

    (Care to attempt to justify your claim?)

  54. John Morales says

    davidmc, heh. You just spent time telling me I’m not worthy of your time, thus disproving your claim even as you make it.

    (Squeak!)

  55. says

    davidmc, you are, what we call in the business, a transpobe. Also known as an asshole, a shitweasle, an all around bigot.

    At this point you will try to appeal to some kind of intellectual superiority, not realizing how unbelievable uninformed you already have shown yourself to be. Your intellectual rigor could be outdone by a young earth creationist. Your since denial is on the same level as flat earthers.

    Your willfully ignorance about a topic that is literally life or death for millions of people makes you morally inferior to both.

    Get lost and never come back

  56. canofmelons says

    I’m honestly not sure where people keep getting this “kids are being forced into being trans because of their gender expression” thing from. Speaking from personal experience, as a nonbinary person who came out not too long ago: it was the trans community (namely in online spaces such as reddit) that helped me to figure out my identity. I never felt pressured into choosing one way or another.

    It was, however, one of the first times a large community of people made me feel welcome regardless of what my identity was. Perhaps some people are confusing acceptance for coercion?

    At any rate, my understanding is that currently, gender affirming therapy starts with giving kids a safe place to explore their gender identity, without pressure from outside sources to behave one way or another. The idea is to let the kid be themselves openly and honestly, and figure out what works for them.

  57. latsot says

    By the way, I have met Graham Linehan. He was at a talk I gave in Dublin, and joined the bar crowd afterwards. He seemed nice, but didn’t say much — maybe he hated the talk.

    Oh bullshit, PZ. I was there too. It wasn’t “a talk you gave”, it was a conference at which a lot of other people spoke, too. And I was there in that bar: Linehan was quite reserved, didn’t really know anyone in the community and – when I spoke to him at least – seemed to feel a little bit overwhelmed. I doubt his shyness was anything to do with whether or not he liked your talk. What an absolutely blithering thing to say.

  58. says

    Someone seems a bit touchy. Yes, he was at a talk I gave. I agree he seemed reserved, I thought he was polite and quite nice, but we didn’t converse much. Joking that maybe he didn’t like my talk is not an attack on his character.

    You’re reaching if that’s what you find offensive.

  59. latsot says

    I don’t find it offensive, I find it wrong. Inaccurate. I think you included that anecdote to discredit Linehan. That seems like a weird personal attack rather than a description of why you think he’s wrong.

  60. says

    transphobe of the day

    I got to respectfully disagree, we are going backwards , if boys cant like “girly” things and vica versa, without being told they may be born in the wrong body.

    I’m pretty sure you’ll show us evidence of this right now. I mean, real actual evidence of children being “pushed” when waiting lists are long and opposition is fierce.

    when child murderers can do the same, changing their name to that of their victims mother

    You do have quite an imagination. But tell me, why would that be so much worse than changing their name to the victim’s father’s? Are men not devastated by the loss of a child?

    when rapists can be transferred to women’s prisons to rape again

    This, of course, relies on the presumption that prison rape of men doesn’t happen. Again, why would it be so much better to put a rapist in with men? And do you claim that no cis woman has ever raped another woman? And we haven’t even touched the issue of sexual abuse of men and women and enbys by prison guards of any gender…

    ++++

    Someone seems a bit touchy.

    Latsot has long climbed aboard the “gender critical” train.

  61. zenlike says

    I’ve now read that particular anecdote multiple times, with squinted eyes, and even tried to read it in the worst interpretation possible, but find it impossible to see how that can be construed as trying to “discredit” someone. Maybe the “personal attack” seems “weird” to you, latsot, because it is in no way a personal attack.

  62. microraptor says

    canofmelons@65:

    I’m honestly not sure where people keep getting this “kids are being forced into being trans because of their gender expression” thing from.

    Because fearmongering is a classic tool of oppression.

  63. says

    latsot @ 69:

    I don’t find it offensive, I find it wrong. Inaccurate. I think you included that anecdote to discredit Linehan

    Wow. Anyone with a functioning set of neurons or sense of humour would conclude that PZ’s remark was a bit of self-deprecation at his own expense, but both seem to be in short supply in whatever ill-lit cistern of undifferentiated protoplasm you and the rest of the TERFs crawled from. To the killfile with you.

  64. says

    What? “He seemed nice, but didn’t say much — maybe he hated the talk” is now a weird personal attack? The whole point of my comment was the contrast between his perfectly reasonable demeanor and his current obsession with attacking trans rights.

    I can also say that I’ve found his television work entertaining and amusing. Is that also a weird personal attack?

  65. anat says

    Also to davidmc @60: Regarding the sex ratio of children seeking gender transition services: People from the local support groups in my area say that in the early ages you see a majority of AMAB, in the teen years a majority of AFAB, then among young adults a majority of AMAB again. FWIW.

  66. says

    It wasn’t “a talk you gave”, it was a conference at which a lot of other people spoke, too.

    That seems to be your only real factual beef with PZ. I think it’s a rather slim basis for complaint.
    A talk given at a conference, as one of several speakers, can reasonably be described as “a talk I gave”. At most, you can claim PZ wasn’t as precise as possible, but since this is an anecdote of little substantial value, I don’t know why you’d think that it’s a big deal.

    I imagine PZ mentioned it because it was his one actual interaction with the guy. The comment at the end is easily parsed as self-deprecating humor. Whether you think it’s funny or not, it’s certainly not a personal attack.

  67. says

    canofmelons@66 a lot of anti-trans rhetoric sounds to me like re-purposed anti-gay/lesbian rhetoric. Specifically the implication that large numbers of predators are just waiting with baited breath to exploit improved rights for those minorities to gain access to new targets. That members of those groups are recruiting children and brainwashing them to become members of their groups. That people can catch being not straight/cis just by mere exposure to those ideas.

  68. says

    Gish gallop alert in aisle 60! As unoriginal as the one who turned up on the last thread. Also, a note on the press in the UK; there is no major daily newspaper in England that is NOT publishing transphobic fear-mongering on a regular basis (and the Daily Mail and the Guardian are trying to export it to the rest of the world, though not without pushback). It’s a weekly feature of the Sunday Times by now.

  69. connorhicks says

    For anyone interested, RTE Prime Time Special on Gender Dysphoria that was shown in Ireland last night is now on youtube, link here:

  70. says

    For anyone interested, RTE Prime Time Special on Gender Dysphoria that was shown in Ireland last night is now on youtube, link here:

    Oh gods, I hate “balanced approach” and I especially hate how they tried to frame it as feminists vs. trans people.
    But to go directly to the core of the matter: The main lie peddled by the “those children might make a decision they come to regret, therefore they must not be allowed to alter their body” crowd is that natal puberty is benign. It is not.
    Natal puberty will dramatically and irrevocably change the child’s body as well. The interventions done in adulthood have to be a lot more drastic and yield less satisfactory results.
    But Lineham made it perfectly clear that this is just another cudgel to beat trans women over the head with: they couldn’t get appropriate medical care as teens, they developed the height and shoulder width of cis men and therefore they cannot be women or compete in women’s sports*.
    And I am forever puzzled as to why people who try to raise a bathroom and changing room panic about “men in dresses” sharing space with their daughters would apparently be perfectly comfortable with that person sharing space with their sons.
    I mean, I currently don’t have any sons, but if I had, I would be very concerned of predatory cis men in those spaces.

    *Funny enough, the Australian rugby player isn’t the tallest player on the lists. But somehow nobody thinks of making cis women who pass a certain height compete with men and short cis men compete with women…

  71. rq says

    Tsk, don’t be silly, Giliell, all sports are played with the genitals you were born with. This is why that’s important.

  72. Matrim says

    @timgueguen, 79

    lot of anti-trans rhetoric sounds to me like re-purposed anti-gay/lesbian rhetoric

    It doesn’t just sound like it, it IS repurposed anti-gay rhetoric. I read How To Survive A Plague a month or two ago and the rhetoric is identical. It really struck a chord when I saw that. And it makes sense given that the anti-trans movement is backed up by the same evangelical organizations that funded the anti-gay movement. The end goal, of course, is to turn the tide against all LGBTQ+ people by “breaking up the alphabet.”

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