Do you need to have gender dysphoria to be transgender?

One question that frequently comes up on trans support boards like Reddit’s AskTransgender is whether a person needs to experience gender dysphoria in order to be transgender. Most commonly, a person feels strongly that they are indeed transgender for various reasons, but worries that their apparent lack of dysphoric feelings means that they aren’t “really” trans. This process of questioning can also be complicated by trolls across the internet who seem to believe they need to protect the very concept of transness by keeping out so-called “trans-trenders” who don’t meet some particular criterion (as if trans people have ever been considered to be more trendy, popular, or desirable than cis people).

This self-evaluation often weighs heavily in their decisions regarding their gender, such as whether or not to start transitioning, and these people deserve useful guidance. I have some experience in this area: before I transitioned, I didn’t think I had gender dysphoria at all – but I chose to start HRT anyway. This turned out to be the right choice for me even though I didn’t believe I was experiencing dysphoria at the time, and similarly situated trans people may also find that this is a positive choice in their lives. Here’s what this process looked like in my case. Continue reading

Posted in Gender dysphoria, Personal | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Why some trans people don’t date cis people

Hi, welcome to Gender Analysis. There’s a certain genre of cisgender opinion piece that pops up from time to time, in which they explain to other cis people why they don’t date trans people, sleep with trans people, or find trans people attractive, all while taking pains to announce that this absolutely does not make them transphobic and protesting that nobody can “force” them to have sex with trans people. Clearly there are some dense layers of different issues wrapped up in this topic, and their often ham-handed take on this can be a real rollercoaster. A recent video by cis lesbian vlogger Arielle Scarcella, “I’m Transphobic Because I Like Boobs & Vagina”, is a representative example of the style and hits all the key elements note for note. (Note that this person runs a channel largely consisting of mad-libs headline grabbers such as “Gay Couple (Cut & Uncut) Shows Lesbian Their Penises” and “Lesbian Virgin Sees Naked Woman For First Time”, so keep in mind that this is the level we’re operating on here.)

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Posted in Sexuality, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

The simple truth: A message of support for trans youth

Hi, welcome to Gender Analysis. Like the rest of you, I’m incredibly disappointed in the Trump administration’s recent decision to withdraw federal guidance recommending that schools allow transgender students to use the restrooms and facilities of their gender. This guidance was significant and so meaningful at a time of ongoing conflict over this issue – it was a message from the very top declaring that trans students are to be recognized and respected at school. Thanks to the Trump administration, we no longer have this crucial support in our corner. (Public schools should be aware, however, that even though the guidance has been withdrawn, the existing case law still stands. If you discriminate against your trans students, legal groups defending our rights can and will sue you for this – it will be very expensive and time-consuming for you, and you will likely lose.)

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The Trump administration is using the queer community as a fig leaf for anti-immigrant bigotry

by Heather McNamara

For LGBT people, things have been getting better. The cisgender among us have won the right to live openly in the military and we’ve all won the right to marry whomever we please. Our trans siblings have had fewer victories but more mainstream recognition which normally brings us in the direction of progress.

Naturally, it’s time for conservatives to act like they’ve been our friends all along and to co-opt our struggles as theirs to fight for so long as it serves their interests. This change of heart made for a confusing display as Trump made himself the first conservative candidate to pay lip service to the LGBT community on the campaign trail, holding up a rainbow flag at one rally, supporting Caitlyn Jenner’s right to use bathrooms in a statement to the press, and at one point even betraying his religious base by calling the issue of marriage “settled.” Continue reading

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Playing both sides: Trans people, autism, and the two-faced claims of Ken Zucker and Susan Bradley

In late 2015, the Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health was closed following a review of its practices in the treatment of gender-nonconforming children. The clinic, founded by Dr. Susan Bradley in the 1970s and later directed by her frequent collaborator Dr. Kenneth Zucker, was notable for its use of an approach focused on discouraging children from identifying with or expressing a gender other than the one they were assigned, with the intention of ensuring that they would grow up to be cisgender rather than transgender. This clinical goal does not reflect the contemporary professional consensus that gender-affirming therapy and watchful waiting are the healthiest approaches when treating children who are potentially transgender or gender-questioning.

The allegation that the closure of the Gender Identity Clinic was purely “politically motivated” has received extensive coverage in an investigation by New York magazine, a recent BBC Two documentary on transgender children, and several articles in the Globe and Mail. However, considerably less attention has been given to Zucker’s and Bradley’s lengthy history of inflammatory and self-promoting rhetoric which irresponsibly plays to popular prejudices. While these researchers have claimed to support transgender adolescents and adults in transitioning, they continue to issue statements which misinform the public about the nature of transgender identity and are scientifically unfounded – in some cases going so far as to offer their tacit approval to religiously-motivated transphobia and long-running malicious rumors about queer and trans “recruitment” of children. Their misleading claims in the media do a disservice to transgender youth and adults, as well as the wider public. Continue reading

Posted in Autism, Media, Trans youth, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments