Jesse Singal's “When Children Say They’re Trans” piece: resources & a response
 
The Atlantic just published a Jesse Singal article entitled "When Children Say They’re Trans" - it appears online here, and is slated to appear in the print version of their magazine. To people unfamiliar with Singal or the subject of trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) children, it will likely come off as a "fair & balanced" journalistic endeavor. But it is not: It is a heavily slanted piece written by someone who has a long history of smearing transgender activism and misrepresenting trans healthcare.

To help shed light on this situation, I posted the following two twitter threads yesterday - please feel free to share:

The first thread begins with my Jesse Singal story, in which I discuss his history of treating trans women shittily, including instances where he has publicly slut-shamed and lied about me, and his attempts to sic social media mobs on me and other trans women. I also include my critiques of his past anti-trans articles (Placing Ken Zucker's clinic in historical context & Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates), and my latest essay Reframing “Transgender Desistance” Debates.

In the second thread, I "live tweet" Singal's The Atlantic article, in order to highlight its biased framing and many omissions that practically strong-arm readers into being against gender-affirming approaches to trans/GNC children.

I was able to spend time on this thanks to the support of my patrons, so thank you! And for those reading this who don't yet support me here, please consider doing so - I explain what this site is all about on my Patreon overview page.

Additional resources added 6-23-18: Several critiques of Singal's article have since been published. Zack Ford's Atlantic cover story is a loud dog whistle for anti-transgender parents is especially thorough and provides evidence that at least one of the parents Singal interviewed is active in a known anti-trans group. Other worthy reads include Alex Barasch's Sacred Bodies and Noah Berlatsky's The Trans People Are Coming, Lock Up Your Children, among others.

Also of note: The Atlantic just announced that they will be running a "series of responses" to Singal's piece. The first one - Robyn Kanner's I Detransitioned. But Not Because I Wasn't Trans - is quite good, but it begs the question: Why weren't voices like this included in the original article? Well, we've seen this pattern before, haven't we? Step #1) mainstream media outlet publishes a one-sided fearmongering article that gets *all the clicks*. Step #2) then they publish responses and rebuttals to the article, which makes it seem like they are being balanced (& which generate even more clicks). Step #3) they move on to the next controversial topic without giving a second thought to the potential harm that their original article may have done to an already marginalized group...

Even more resources added 6-29-18: Here are a few other critiques of Singal's article that make additional points not found in (my or other) previous rebuttals of the piece:

  • No One Is Denying That “Desistance Occurs,” Jesse Singal, by Barry Deutsch, examines the article's many second-person-removed claims (e.g., where he says some people are doing things, or worried about things, without him ever stating exactly who these people are), plus Singal's mischaracterization of the "desistance myth" -- a phrase trans advocates and activists have used to describe the clearly exaggerated statistic that "80% of trans children desist"; see here and references therein) -- to suggest that we deny that anyone ever "desists." 
  • Why Is the Media So Worried About the Parents of Trans Kids? -- one of the Atlantic response pieces, by journalist Thomas Page McBee -- discusses how Singal's article is part of a larger genre: the Parenting Story, which is centered on the experiences of (typically white, middle-class, "relatable") parents and their "plight" dealing with having a trans child. 

Finally, this week Jezebel published an article that details messages from some private online group of about 400 public intellectuals (including "best-selling authors, Ivy League academics, magazine editors," and "award-winning journalist(s)," but no transgender people apparently), where Singal & other members discuss his work and trans communities' reactions to it. One of the Singal messages explicitly discusses me, so I found it necessary to respond to this revelation via this thread.

Additional resources 7-31-18: The Atlantic published a couple more responses to the Singal article - you can access all four pieces via that link. And Noah Berlatsky published a comprehensive Jesse Singal Resource Page, with links to critiques of not just the recent Atlantic piece, but his other forays into transgender-related topics. Finally, in response to Berlatsky's resource page, Singal doubled-down on his previous lies about me, which forced me to pen the post on Jesse Singal, slut-shaming, and calling women "hysterical".