Her App and His Intrusion

by Penny Robo

A bit of a ruckus was caused recently during a takeover of dating app “Her”. For the uninitiated, takeovers are a commonplace practice where a product or service’s social media presences are basically “hosted” by an outside person as a promotional tool. And for a dating app this is a natural fit, allowing them to create and a cultivate a carefully curated image of who you’d find there. They can present bright, talented, beautiful people as examples of their users. Looking for a girlfriend? Look no further! Our users are brilliant, gorgeous, diverse; there’s a fit for everyone!

And Her has a special distinction within the dating app scene: it’s for lesbians! Oh yes, a dating service just for women loving women. So who did they choose to be the face of their first takeover in honor of Transgender Awareness Week?

A straight man.

A scruffy, bodybuilding, straight man named Aydian. To his credit, he is a trans man, and not the only one to perform takeover duties that week (then again, he also had the honor of being the first trans man featured on the cover of Gay Times magazine despite being, you know, straight and married to a woman) but that’s a whole other can of worms, so my first question must be: why? Why would a dating app for women feature a man? Continue reading

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The United Kingdom has a transphobia problem

by Heather McNamara

Heather McNamaraIn an attempt to better serve its transgender citizens, the UK government has recently proposed new guidance be considered in the Gender Recognition Act of 2004. Currently, a transgender person in the UK must prove they’ve been living as their gender for at least two years and present a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to obtain changes to their legal documents. If the changes proposed are accepted, however, this will not be required. A transgender person will simply be allowed to declare their gender.

Predictably, a lot of people are up in arms about this. British TERFs and conservatives alike are extremely concerned that cis men everywhere will declare themselves women in order to receive the benefits of being women, such as access to rape crisis assistance and incarceration in women’s prisons, which of course are things all women just clamor over because they’re super fun and really empowering. I mean I don’t know a single woman who isn’t excited for her next opportunity to weep in a rape support group or waste away in a women’s prison, right? Continue reading

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Why the “youth transition as anti-gay conversion therapy” myth doesn’t add up

Zinnia JonesAn increasing share of anti-trans discourse is now occupied by the contention that a gender-affirming approach to transgender-identified youth, including social transition and puberty blockers, constitutes a form of anti-gay conversion therapy that serves to prevent these youth from growing up into cisgender gay and lesbian adults. This possibility is hinted at in articles such as those by Debra Soh:

Of the boys and girls seen in clinics like Dr. Zucker’s, a high percentage — up to 80% in a study of 44 gender dysphoric boys — grow up to be not transgender, but bisexual, gay or lesbian adults. Thus, helping prepubescent children feel comfortable in their birth sex makes more sense than starting a lifetime of hormonal treatments and surgeries that will in all likelihood turn out to be unnecessary and unwanted.

And Alice Dreger:

I’m going to say something incredibly politically incorrect: Some pink boys may benefit simply from meeting a swishy gay man—or better yet, two or three such men who can show them you can grow from being a pink boy to a pink man and have (dare I say it?) a fabulous life. I’ve actually met one therapist who whispered to me at a meeting that when he met a “gender dysphoric” pink boy who seemed to need this kind of “intervention,” it’s just what he provided (with a consultation by a colleague). The point was to let the boy know that there were even grown-ups like him, men who love “girly” things like beautiful clothes and Martha Stewart (and, um, men), and who are perfectly at home in their bodies and their selves. Why can’t you have (and keep) a penis and love sparkles? Lots of men have.

I asked Sarah—who has engaged with many parents in situations similar to hers—about whether she thought some parents seek out the transgender route for their children because it will mean they might end up going from having a gay son to having a straight daughter. Was homophobia motivating these parents?

Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Hoaxes, Outcomes of transition, Trans youth, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Dissecting denialism: How transphobia’s bad science turned a Washington hospital into a battleground

Zinnia JonesThis summer, Pullman Regional Hospital near the Washington-Idaho border became the site of a wholly unnecessary conflict over vaginoplasty for trans women. The Washington Post reported that after surgeon Geoff Stiller sought permission to begin performing the procedure, an evangelical Christian physician at the hospital, Dr. Rod Story, began to agitate against the surgery and led opposition from hospital staff as well as the surrounding community. While the hospital’s board members ultimately agreed unanimously to go ahead with providing vaginoplasty, the public controversy surrounding the proceedings serves as an illustrative example of how the pseudoscience of transphobia can directly interfere with a useful grasp of medical evidence on an individual level, as well as the provisioning of necessary care on an institutional level. Continue reading

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When “desisters” aren’t: De-desistance in childhood and adolescent gender dysphoria

The progression of childhood gender dysphoria has historically been characterized by two known developmental pathways: persistence, in which dysphoria and cross-gender identification continue into adolescence and typically lead to social and medical transition, and desistance, in which the dysphoria abates and adolescents go on to identify and live as their assigned gender. While studies have found that anywhere from 2-27% of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria will persist in feeling dysphoric (Steensma, McGuire, Kreukels, Beekman, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2013), these findings have crucial limitations and have been widely misconstrued in the public discourse.

Continue reading

Posted in Gender dysphoria, Media, Regret and detransition, Trans youth, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments