Jesse Singal is a freelance writer who frequently writes about trans issues and/or about what he sees as left intolerance. He is one of the most prominent voices on trans issues in the mainstream media—which is a problem inasmuch as he is not trans, and frequently uses his platform to attack trans writers and activists, and to advocate for restrictions on trans people's access to health care.
Because trans people often don't have access to large platforms, much of the criticism of and corrections to Singal's writing are fairly scattered around the web. I've tried to provide links to the most important responses to the largest controversies involving him. I'm sure I missed a lot; feel free to tag me on twitter (@nberlat) if you think something else should be included, or leave a comment here.
ALSO, if I have linked something by you and you do not want your piece or post linked, please contact me and I will remove the link.
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Singal has written numerous articles about desisters—people who transition and then change their minds and transition back to the gender they were assigned at birth. Singal's biggest article about this issue (so far) was a lengthy cover story at the Atlantic with a sensational title designed to strike fear into the hearts of parents with trans kids, encouraging them to put the brakes on their children's efforts to transition. Singal suggests that social pressure from trans activists may lead children to transition when they are actually cis; he argues that there need to be more barriers to trans children obtaining puberty blockers or hormones.
Singal's Atlantic article was cited by seven states in their lawsuit to overturn sex discrimination protections for trans people.
Julia Serano has a lengthy discussion of detransition and how it is misused to target trans people by Singal and others.
Grace Lavery has a twitter thread explaining the issues.
Kelley Winters has a shorter article touching on many of the same points—i.e., Singal misrepresents the prevalence of desistance and uses that misrepresentation to advocate against trans children's access to health care.
Zack Ford on how Singal uses junk science, and ignores how access to support for transitioning helps trans kids.
Following the publication sf Singal's Atlantic article, Serano created a page with links to a livetweet of the article and other resources about Singal.
Robyn Kanner on how her detransitioning was the result of social pressure and transphobia,not (as Singal's narrative claims) because she wasn't trans.
Tey Meadow, a sociologist, explains why Singal's use of desistance narratives harms trans kids.
Natalie Wynn (Contrapoints) on how Singal's Atlantic article is based in condescension towards trans people.
Dawn Ennis on her efforts to reach out to the Atlantic before they published Singal's article, and on the Human Rights Campaign's criticism of the article.
Zack Ford explains that Singal's Atlantic essay was a dogwhistle for anti-trans parents. He also notes that Singal interviewed people associated with anti-trans groups, without noting those connections in the article.
Zack Ford talks to researchers about the problems with the science behind Zucker's and Singal's claims about desistance.
Andrea James on the history and dangers of Singal's "trans-suspicious ideology."
Lisa Harney on the clear benefits of early health interventions for trans kids, and how Singal misrepresents them.
Alex Barasch on how Singal uses discussions of detransition to harm trans people, and how his narrative is based in transphobia.
Barry Deutsch examines Singal's shoddy reporting and straw manning. Singal fails to prove that clinicians are pushing children to transition. Singal also claims falsely that some people somewhere claim that desisters don't exist.
Thomas Page McBee argues that the obsession with the experience of cis parents erases the experiences of trans children.
Brynn Tannehill gives the Atlantic tips on how not to publish bigots.
Noah Berlatsky argues that Singal's article is intended to create a moral panic around trans kids, because moral panics drive clicks.
Harron Walker asks "What's Jesse Singal's Fucking Deal?"
Kenneth Zucker Links
Kenneth Zucker is a psychologist and sexologist who was fired from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) because his treatment of trans patients was judged inadequate. Singal has argued repeatedly that Zucker was fired without cause due to a witch hunt by trans activists (this will come up again). Singal has also championed Zucker's research and treatment approach.
Julia Serano explains, contra Singal's article, that Zucker's therapy is meant to prevent cross-gender expression, and is harmful to trans people.
Casey Explosion on how Singal's defense of Zucker is essentially an argument for conversion therapy.
Parker Molloy explains how Singal and Zucker's approach to detransition is a disaster.
Siobhan O'Leary on how Singal creates a false dichotomy between trans people and scientists and then argues that trans people who disagree with him are anti science.
Siobhan O’Leary with more on Zucker and the science against conversion therapy.
Ana Valens on how Singal admitted to misinterpreting a Zucker study, and therefore argued that desistance was far more common than it actually was.
Rebecca Tuvel is a philosopher who wrote an essay arguing that "transracial" people should receive the same protections and consideration as transgender people. She was heavily criticized; Singal characterized the criticism as a witch hunt in an article for New York magazine. Below are responses and replies.
Florence Ashley explains why criticism of Tuvel was not a witch hunt.
Noah Berlatsky asks whether Jesse Singal is a bigot. (Julia Serano is interviewed.)
Julia Serano on why using the term "witch hunt" against marginalized people is especially bad.
Siobhan O'Leary on how Singal's defense of Tuvel is characteristic of his liberal transphobia.
Transphobia in Media
A private email group including more than 400 prominent editors and journalists has been reported to be supportive of Singal. The group contains few or no trans journalists.
Harron Walker reports on leaked posts from the email group. Walker shows how Singal's connections allow him to denigrate trans perspectives and undermine trans journalists in the minds of powerful cis people in the media.
Julia Serano has a thread about how Singal in the group chat dismisses her expertise as a biologist and peer-reviewed author on trans issues.
Brynn Tannehill explains why the transphobia expressed in the chat logs is dangerous.
David Perry was accidentally sent an email by journalist Katha Politt smearing a trans journalist and arguing that she should not be invited on the list.
Singal and "Debate"
Josephine Livingstone on how Foucault describes Singal's relationship to knowledge and power.
George Hemington on Jesse Singal's naive and unhelpful engagement with the rationalist subculture.
S.J.S. Hancox-Li on why Singal's efforts to decouple science and politics are ignorant and unworkable.
Singal's Personal Unpleasantness
Singal has been accused by multiple trans women of treating them unprofessionally and disrespectfully in personal interactions.
Katherine Cross on Singal sending her a profanity filled email when she tweeted something he disliked.
Julia Serano on how Jesse Singal misrepresented her, lied about her, and slut-shamed her. (Singal attacked me for linking to this piece and argued that Serano's accusations are obviously laughable and should be ignored. Serano responded here.)
Ana Valens on how Jesse reacts poorly to public criticism.
Melissa Gira Grant on Singal's part in anti-trans backlash.
Katherine Cross on Singal's refusal to listen to trans people.
Samantha Hancox-Li on how Singal's failure to listen to trans people is bad science.
Siobhan O'Leary on Singal defending a doctor slurring and insulting trans people.
Kate Griffiths on what the links on this page indicate about Singal's methods, perspective and approach.