Welcome to Gender Analysis

Gender Analysis is a web series launched in 2014 exploring transgender science and life experiences in depth, and revealing the many insights to be found at their intersection. We take a closer look at fields such as sociology, public health, psychiatry, cognitive science, and more, weaving these diverse perspectives into a deeper understanding of gender-related phenomena. Gender Analysis goes beyond the 101s to educate both trans and cis viewers on some of the most fascinating dimensions of our lives – and the pressing issues we face in society.

Support Gender Analysis on Patreon

New episodes of Gender Analysis are published several times a month and are backed by our generous supporters on Patreon. Want to learn more? Check out our instant index for a quick introduction to the wide range of topics we cover:

Curious about…?

Gender dysphoria Self-discovery
How hormones work Bathroom bills
Finding a doctor Treatments for trans youth
Passing Sexuality
Transness and autism Paul McHugh
Regret and detransition Sex chromosomes
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Book review: “Crash Override” by Zoë Quinn

by Heather McNamara

Crash Override

Overall: 4/5

Trans narrative: N/A

Crash Override is going to be a different kind of book than the previous works I’ve reviewed for Gender Analysis. While Zoe Quinn is out and proud nonbinary, this book is not a trans narrative. There is a lot of discussion about how they found out that they were queer online and they do conspicuously refer to themself as a “feminine person” several times and never as a “woman” but the book itself is about their experience as a victim of severe online harassment.

Online harassment is something that most trans people experience at some point or another. Sure, some trans people hide behind nondescript cartoon avatars and don’t ever talk about it, but those who come out will get hit with it. TERFs will dox and deadname. Concern trolls will “worry” about mental health. It will be impossible to avoid talk about delusions and dicks and attack helicopters. It’s impossible to discuss the experience of trans people online without acknowledging both the unique opportunity online communities present to trans people where they can explore themselves or support one another and the constant risk of personal, hurtful, and often dangerous harassment that trans people face.

Crash Override is the story of the biggest hit job the scum of the internet ever pulled off: Gamergate. I’m still nervous to type that without warping the spelling in some way for fear of being searched and subjected to the old bullshit. It began in late 2014. To most of us, the exact date may be a little fuzzy. Maybe at this point, the year is even a little fuzzy. To Quinn, however, it is not. Chapter 1 opens with a photograph of Quinn and then-boyfriend Alex on August 15, 2014 “a few minutes before the life I had built for myself – after clawing my way out of poverty, homelessness, isolation, and mental illness – would be destroyed by someone I had once loved.” Ouch.

While Zinnia and I have been the targets of a few internet hate mobs, our experiences have been nothing like this. Yes, it has sometimes become scary. Our address and pictures of our home have been posted online. People found Zinnia’s deadname and a certain infamous TERF has her posted as a lesbian harasser or some nonsense on her garbage TERF website. We’ve been threatened. We’ve had our social media accounts rendered almost unusable as a result of the bombardments. As trans equality activists who advocate for treatment of children and prisoners with or without the consent of parents and wardens, it comes with the territory. But still, we’ve never experienced anything comparable to gamergate.

Quinn’s partner, parents, past employers, and friends were harassed. People whose names happened to rhyme with their associates’ names were harassed. Quinn and partner were forced to couch surf for months because it was unsafe for them to return to their home. The courts got involved. The UN got involved. I don’t want to spoil it. It’s easy enough to google but I highly recommend reading the book. It’s a good book!

The book was not simply a memoir of the harassment Quinn faced during this time. It is an explanation of the group psychology, bonding, and tribalism that created the kind of atmosphere which allowed it to happen and continues to allow groups like the Alt Right and various other internet hate hubs to flourish.

“They bragged about victories like flooding my game’s page with hatred and nude photos of me and went so far as to create guides to share tactics on how best to ruin my life. They even orchestrated plans to donate to various charities specifically to make themselves look like concerned citizens and not a mob of people trying to get me killed. They built friendships and bonded with each other by reinforcing their dedication to the righteous cause of taking me down, reminding themselves at every turn that they were the good guys.”

Sound familiar?

The writing is less compelling than I’d hoped for such an incredibly terrifying story. Quinn mostly only skims their own narrative in the beginning of each chapter before rushing to the next group of facts about online harassers. Personally, I find Quinn to be a very compelling person and I’d been hoping to learn more about them on a personal level, but of course I understand that at this point in their life, they probably haven’t enjoyed much in the way of privacy and they likely want to keep a lot of that to themselves.

In the end, Quinn goes over what you can do to protect yourself from internet mobs in case they come after you. Their organization, Crash Override, does research in online mobs and assists victims. 

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New study: Hormone therapy appears to be safe in trans youth

It’s common to encounter uninformed claims online about the supposed toxicity, carcinogenicity, or outsized health risks of medical treatment for trans people, such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy. While such claims are almost universally unsubstantiated, positive evidence for the safety of affirming medical care is of great value in putting these misconceptions to rest and lowering the perceived barriers for trans people who are considering accessing these treatments.

A recent study of trans youth by Olson-Kennedy et al. (2018) provides such evidence. 59 trans girls and trans boys between the ages of 12 and 24 presenting for treatment at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles received a followup assessment after 21 to 31 months of hormone therapy. While trans girls were found to have changes in certain metabolic parameters, these were “not clinically significant”, and their HDL cholesterol and hemoglobin remained within a normal cisgender female range. Most participants’ blood pressure and glucose levels were within a normal range as well. Continue reading

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Nonbinary Visibility

by Heather McNamara

Heather McNamaraHappy Transgender Day of Visibility! 2018 marks the 9th year of the holiday, first celebrated in 2009 following its creation by activist Rachel Crandall who had noticed that the only day on the calendar for transgender people before then was Transgender Day of Remembrance – an important but macabre occasion during which we honor trans lives lost to transphobic violence. It’s important to honor the progress we’ve made and highlight the struggles we still face while we’re alive and visibility is a good way to do that! Many trans people live “stealth” – quietly allowing people to assume that we’re cisgender and sliding under the radar. TDOV is a good time to challenge ourselves to come out, be a beacon to those still in the closet, and let cis people know that we are living among them. Continue reading

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On our radar: Textured breast implants linked to anaplastic large-cell lymphoma

Breast augmentation is a procedure sought by a substantial number of trans women who medically transition: 11% of trans women respondents to the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey report undergoing the procedure, while another 40% state that they want it some day. However, trans and cis women seeking breast implants should be aware of the possibility of developing anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that appears to be linked to these implants in a small number of cases. Continue reading

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Pervasive misrepresentation of twin evidence for a genetic component of gender dysphoria

Major voices in the contemporary anti-trans movement, including American College of Pediatricians president Dr. Michelle Cretella and Heritage Foundation research fellow Ryan T. Anderson, have recently put forth questionable claims about studies of gender dysphoria in twins. Last year, Michelle Cretella argued:

But in the largest study of twin transgender adults, published by Dr. Milton Diamond in 2013, only 28 percent of the identical twins both identified as transgender. Seventy-two percent of the time, they differed. (Diamond’s study reported 20 percent identifying as transgender, but his actual data demonstrate a 28 percent figure, as I note here in footnote 19.)

That 28 percent of identical twins both identified as transgender suggests a minimal biological predisposition, which means transgenderism will not manifest itself without outside nonbiological factors also impacting the individual during his lifetime.

Continue reading

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