The American Enterprise Institute’s statistical fumbles: Misusing linear regression for short-term COVID-19 trends

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, an expert in statistics or epidemiology, or a former FDA commissioner.

Zinnia JonesSince the widespread outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, certain conservative-leaning organizations and institutions – including federal and state governments – seem to have gotten into a bit of a tussle with the fields of statistics and data analytics generally. These entities will typically express agreement that the spread of the pandemic must be brought under control as a precondition to restoring former levels of economic activity, employment, school attendance, and every other aspect of our lives that has been upended. But whether out of a differing arrangement of priorities and values in encouraging economic recovery versus protecting human lives, an especially strong desire to return to pre-pandemic normalcy, or simply the need to appear to be doing something about all this, certain groups and individuals are indeed content to settle for the mere appearance of improvement. Continue reading

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Why do trans women and transfeminine people choose orchiectomy as a standalone surgery?

Zinnia JonesFor trans women and transfeminine people, vaginoplasty – the surgical construction of a vulva and vagina from the penis and scrotum, along with grafts of other tissue as needed – is certainly the most well-known genital surgery undertaken as part of transitioning. Vaginoplasty has been found to reduce gender dysphoria, improve body image, boost mental health and well-being, and improve sexual functioning and satisfaction. But it’s also not the only game in town, and some trans women may instead opt for an alternative surgery: orchiectomy, the removal of the testes while leaving the penis and scrotum intact. Continue reading

Posted in Endocrinology, Nonbinary, Surgery | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The classic Utrecht Gender Dysphoria Scale gets a nonbinary-inclusive update

Zinnia Jones“Am I transgender?” This is a question that all trans people have faced at some point, or at many points, becoming the focus of self-reflection and personal exploration however brief or protracted. Among the community, this line of inquiry has inspired a number of mental exercises such as considering how you might feel if you were told you were indeed transgender (or not), whether you would press a button to become another sex instantly, and other scenarios meant to illuminate feelings and desires about one’s gender. Such informal and open-ended processes can be useful to varying degrees for different individuals; for instance, when I created the single-page website AmITransgender.com which always displayed the word “yes”, some trans and gender-questioning people found this affirmation to be valuable in thinking about their gender, while others saw it as a flippant and unhelpful response to a serious question. Continue reading

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Update on ovarian stimulation after testosterone use: Successful fertility preservation with less than a month’s interruption of HRT

Zinnia JonesContrary to widespread misconceptions, medical transitioning does not necessarily produce sterility in trans people. Provided that a trans person hasn’t undergone gender-affirming surgeries that involve the removal of the ovaries or testes, even the use of cross-sex hormone therapy that can impact fertility to varying degrees may not produce a permanent or complete impairment, and the effects of HRT on the viability of reproductive material can differ widely between individuals. For these reasons, HRT is not at all a reliable method of contraception for trans people (Amato, 2016), and trans people using hormone therapy can experience unintended pregnancies (Obedin-Maliver & Makadon, 2016). Continue reading

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“Biological sex”, empirical backfire: How transphobes gambled on COVID-19 – and lost

Zinnia JonesAs the pandemic coronavirus has spread around the globe, the growing numbers of infections have revealed a surprising pattern: from China to Italy to the United States, men are more likely than women to contract the virus. And among those infected, men show a consistently greater likelihood of suffering from a more severe course of the disease, and men make up a clear majority of COVID-19 deaths.

These trends in infections and disease severity offer an opportunity for fruitful research, as scientists and medical professionals investigate the factors that could provide greater protection from serious or fatal COVID-19 disease and whether this may point the way toward beneficial treatments. On the other hand, if you’ve made a career out of transphobia, then mass death and worldwide economic devastation offer something far more important: a chance to remind everyone that trans people don’t matter. Continue reading

Posted in Biology of transition, COVID-19, Philosophy and language, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , | Leave a comment