Why the Trans Hate?, Part X: Final Words
After ten sets of reader comments, not to mention a number of accompanying items from us (see above), we think we
have hit on this subject as much as we can for now. Undoubtedly it will be back over the course of the next 2 years,
but for the moment we'll wrap it up. Here's one last set of comments, ending where it all began, with a letter
from P.R. in Arvada:
- J.K. in Boston, MA: I like reading these comments but didn't feel much like wading in.
We've got an 8-year-old kid who's been playing around with gender since they were 3, and it's honestly the least
interesting thing about them. But I want to make two quick points about they/them pronouns:
1. You already use them to refer to individuals! All of you, all the time! Consider how you'd answer this question:
"Did you think commenter J.K. from Boston made a good point in this week's mailbag?" You might say: "I think they
made perfect sense" or "They seem a little meta to me." Consider how you'd answer this question: "My neighbor's car
window is down and it's going to rain, what should I do?" You might say "Do you have their number?" or "Why are you
spying on them?" Just worth noting.
I have lots of thoughts and opinions about many of these comments and have quite enjoyed the exchange, but I'll leave it
here for now. Well, except to say that if anyone has a kid who has some feelings about their gender that cause you as a
parent some stress, feel free to reach out. We've gone through lots of feelings about all this, but most were
unnecessary and drummed up by the obnoxious fever pitch of the news. I'd be happy to be put in contact with
anyone who asks. [Ed note: We'll be happy to
2. If someone you love is asking for they/them pronouns, try what we tried: We think of our loud and energetic kid not
as an individual, but as a swarm of bees. As in "Ooh, I guess they're back from the park" or "Boy, they really love ice
cream" or "Oh no, I thought YOU were going to pick them up! I better go right now."
- J.L. in Glastonbury, CT: I'm disappointed that so many have written in to take
L.E. in Putnam County
to task for their comments. The exercise in better understanding trans hate is only hampered by taking
offense. We don't learn in an echo chamber. In my experience, L.E.'s perspective is not uncommon, and thus their
contribution to this exercise is appreciated by me.
I take these comparisons of trans people to alcoholics to simply reveal that deep down, that while never losing control
of their drinking, and never experimenting with gender and sexuality, there's a small voice in the back of the mind
suggesting those very things. So for folks like L.E., rejection of LGBTQ impulses and heavy drinking is analogous. They
didn't succumb to those urges; why can't everyone master their impulses? Life certainly seems easier, for L.E., after
making the "wise decision" to be a straight cis non-alcoholic.
Those of us who know LGBTQ folks understand they aren't weakly indulging a fleeting urge; even in 2023 the emotional
toll of bigotry means only the truly brave come Out. But L.E. and their ilk don't appreciate that the power of these
urges varies greatly. For many, these urges are existential.
Drunk driving kills people and destroys families and futures. Trans folks living their truth doesn't hurt anyone; Trans
hate is about punishing folks for harmlessly living their truth.
- R.L. in Alameda, CA: I heard an
on trans issues this week. It's on
Crooked Media's Hysteria show. Parker Molloy, a trans activist and writer, expertly discusses anti-trans legislation,
media coverage and finding hope for trans kids. She really helped this cis male better understand the trans experience
and what's really behind all of this awful legislation. The interview starts at 9:15 and runs for a well-spent 20
- E.J. in Woodstock, GA: I do not identify as trans although I am queer and gender
non-conforming (not unlike
I.F. in Toronto)
but I have a committed partner who is non-binary and many trans friends.
I have closely followed the ongoing conversation on the site regarding trans issues. I find it interesting to see
people either complaining about or downplaying the idea that trans people want attention, as though a desire for
attention invalidates one's right to own one's identity. If desiring attention is so wrong, where is the criticism for
pro athletes, film and television stars, pundits, or politicians whose entire career is all about "look at me!"?
(Nevermind the "influencer" phenomenon.) Is writing to a website like this one in hopes of having one's letter published
an attention-seeking behavior? The truth is that suggesting somebody is doing something solely "for attention" says far
more about the accuser than the accused. It's indicative that there's no salient argument to be made.
Furthermore, I have struggled to properly put into words my dismay at allegations of "bad marketing" on the part of
trans activists. Civil Rights activists have been asking the conservative white community for decades, "what is the
proper way to register our grievances?" Because no matter what people of color do to bring attention to their plight,
they are tone-policed. Non-violent sit-ins, lawfully armed community defense organizations, marches, speeches, it's all
"not the right way to ask." Because the "right"' way to ask is not to ask at all, to sit quietly and accept your fate.
And if this is the case, as it also plainly is for trans activism, there is absolutely no reason to moderate one's tone
when demanding action on issues faced by marginalized communities. Indeed, I agree with T.F. in Tulsa that by placing
themselves in the vanguard the most visible and aggressive trans activists are doing "an amazing job." After all, Martin Luther King Jr.,
Rosa Parks, and the NAACP did not carry out their activism in a vacuum; the existence of organizations like the Black
Panther Party and The Nation of Islam are arguably the only reason King was ever invited to the table in the first
So at a time when trans people are more
than 4 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general public... At a time when a majority of US States have pending anti-trans
legislation... At a time when many critical thinkers can plainly to see that trans is the new Jewish with respect to the rising
tide of American fascism. And when hostility toward trans people as a wedge issue is in fact part of a broader plan
to replace American democracy with a Christian white
nationalist theocracy... I cannot help but be reminded of Dr. King's ruminations as he sat in a
Finally, just as E.L. in Missoula MT, who among us has never fallen short of the Platonic ideals of our
assigned gender? Where does this end? Well, Martin Niemöller
has some thoughts.
- R.C. in Denver, CO: Up until recently, every time I heard about someone being trans, it
was always someone who said from an early age that they were in the wrong body, or were "really a girl" or something
like that. Now, there seem to be many people, in particular girls, coming out as non-binary in their teens, with no
indication of previous discomfort with their gender. I live in a liberal area, and I really do worry that some of this
is just kids fitting in with their friend group. That would sound crazy if I lived in rural Texas, but where I live,
kids will get nothing but praise from most adults, and many of their peers as well, if they come out as any sort of
gender non-conforming. I am fine with kids choosing whatever gender expression fits them, so why does this matter?
Because, as a parent, I worry that some trans kids are making decisions they will regret, either getting top surgery
(children assigned female at birth) or going on opposite-sex hormones (of either sex). Neither of these processes is
fully reversible, and we don't know enough about the consequences. Some European countries are hitting the brakes on
medically treating underage trans people because of this, and I think rightly so. None of us are the same person at 25
as we were at 16, and 16 is much too young for someone to make that kind of decision.
- P.R. in Arvada, CO: I really appreciate you taking the time to publish my letter asking
why the hatred of trans people. I also appreciate how many people took the time to respond.
The only regret is that there were so few people willing to answer the question of why they hate trans people so much.
We all have an opinion on why people hate anything but I genuinely wanted to hear from the people who are supportive of
the laws restricting what trans people can do, when they can get help, when anyone can talk about them or even who
people in drag can entertain.
There are three main comments I would like to address. First, L.E. in Putnam County. There was so much wrong with
your argument that has been addressed by others. The main thing that stood out though was "Among the most obvious
mistake anyone can make is to insist that they are of the sex opposite to that dictated by their genes." So what? Why do
you think you are the person to tell someone they are making a mistake and stop them from doing it? Where is the line
you have drawn that dictates the mistakes we have the right to make and the mistakes we don't have the right to make?
How many trans people are thanking you for your efforts and wishing you had been there to stop them from making a
mistake? All of the responses seem to suggest they would like you to keep your opinion to yourself and let them make
their own decisions.
Second, R.C. in Madison, WI. I wasn't telling you how to interpret your religious text. I was asking you how you do
interpret it. I am genuinely interested. Why is breaking a promise to god ok but making your own decisions about who you
are is wrong? If the bible tells you a man should not wear a woman's clothes and you think that is something you need to
speak up for, then why not stand up for stoning a child who speaks back to their parents? Why one and not the other?
That is all I am asking.
A.B. in Wendell.
I will always be there for you and others. Partly because no-one deserves to be treated
the way you are and I will stand up for anyone who wants to live their life the way they want to. Partly because I am
pretty sure that if the day comes and you are being rounded up it will be led by the religious right and I will not be
far behind you or a lot of other marginalized groups.
Finally, I just want to point out that people came to this country seeking a better life and to be free from
persecution. The right to be free to do as you want is pretty fundamental to what this nation is. Everyone is so proud of
the American dream to be able to live a better life than is possible elsewhere. It isn't clear, but I am pretty sure that
is about more than just money. Any true patriot should be defending people's right to live how they desire and not be
persecuted by someone else. Someone also suggested that it is about poor messaging. Next time you hear someone speaking
badly of LGBTQ+ people or Jews or Catholics or African Americans or Asian Americans or the Irish or whoever, ask them
"Why do you hate America so much?"
Thanks to everyone who wrote in! We will have one more set of responses to comments in this weekend's mailbag.
This item appeared on www.electoral-vote.com. Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news,
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