Y’all know comorbidity is a thing, right?

By Penny Robo

One of the most frustrating arguments to encounter when witnessing discussions involving gender-crits on whether or not a person is “really trans” is the invocation of other conditions the person has as a catch-all explanation. “You’re not trans, you’re just depressed!” “You’re autistic, not transgender!”

This shallow gotcha tactic not only ignores the numerous public discussions trans people have on comorbidity, but also fails to account for the great number of people with those conditions that aren’t trans. Myself and another sibling both suffer from depression, another is autistic, all deal with anxiety to varying degrees, a whole slew of various other conditions and negative experiences plague the entire family, and yet I’m the only one that’s trans. Why haven’t any of the others laid claim to this wondrous, magical explanation for all that ails them???

Because the very concept is ludicrous. Any trans person will tell you that while depression is not a catalyst for gender dysphoria, gender dysphoria can very much be a catalyst for depression. In my case, it acted as a multiplier, amplifying my other issues in much the same manner as losing a job can amplify a person’s existing anxiety. Ignoring such basic ideas and rejecting such universal experiences in favor of this concept of GD as a phantom illness fabricated whole cloth by other factors is as ridiculous as claiming that someone can’t have a broken toe because they already have a broken ankle.

Not only is this a baffling argument to be made, it also belittles the experiences, emotions, and hard-won self understanding of the individual they’re supposedly attempting to “educate”. Because as anyone who’s ever faced multiple illnesses simultaneously can tell you: not only can you have a broken toe and a broken ankle at the same time, but they also tend to make the other feel that much worse.

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About Zinnia Jones

My work focuses on insights to be found across transgender healthcare, public health, psychiatry, and history of medicine, integrating these many perspectives and guided by the lived experiences of trans people. I live in Orlando with my family, and work mainly in technical writing.
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